Open Sales #1

The Empty Plan – Anja Kirschner and David Panos
29 June – 9 October 2011

The artists Anja Kirschner (*1977) and David Panos (*1971) from London present their Depot selection in correspondence with their new film "The Empty Plan", produced with the support of the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart.

The protagonist of the film, which is being shown in Germany for the first time, is the German author, playwright and director Bertolt Brecht. Starting with his time in Hollywood from 1941 to 1947, the film examines Brecht's theoretical and practical theatre work and its changing historical conditions from the late Weimar Republic to his exile in California and his return to Germany and the later GDR. As a collage of contrasting improvisations on stage, imaginary dialogues in film studio backdrops and documentary reconstructions, "The Empty Plan" also raises fundamental questions about the ideological content of different forms of representation and the relationship between art and politics, which are also relevant in current aesthetic-political debates.

In their selection of works from the depot, above all from the Prints and Drawings Department of the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Kirschner and Panos also explore the complex and changing relationships between artistic forms and political movements in the crisis period before the Second World War. The starting point is Brecht's critique of naturalistic and nationalistic constructions of realism, which gained popularity in that period and were also present in the exhibition programme of the Graphische Sammlung. In his theoretical as well as practical work, Brecht rather defined realism as a critical attitude towards prevailing conditions in relation to possibilities of collective change. The selection of works from the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart was made in dialogue with art historian Kerstin Stakemeier, who researches the subject of realism, among other things.

The production of the film "The Empty Plan" was funded by Arts Council England through Film London Artists' Moving Image Network, co-produced with City Projects / London, with support from Focal Point Gallery / Southend-on-Sea, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart and Kunsthall Oslo.