26 Nov 21:30 Screening: Steve Reinke & James Richards, What Weakens The Flesh Is The Flesh Itself

What Weakens The Flesh Is The Flesh Itself

James Richards / Steve Reinke
Country: Germany, USA
Duration: 40 mins
Sound: stereo
Ratio: 16:9

Chicago-based Steve Reinke and Berlin-based James Richards may be artists separated by twenty years of age and the Atlantic Ocean, but they share a fascination with psychically haunting images that “elicit, fulfill or negate some desire.” Their collaborative videos combining various media clips are deeply unsettling as they produce ambiguous, often visceral sensations rather than knowledge. What Weakens the Flesh Is the Flesh Itself originated in production designer and actor Albrecht Becker’s (1906–2002) auto-erotic photo collection held by The Schwules Museum* in Berlin. In these staged and manipulated self-portraits, Becker both poses in his street clothes and shows off his radically modified, tattooed body, including a sculptural penis. The video evolves into a profound meditation on masculine self-fashioning and the materiaility of flesh and of analog and digital images, where the double identity of the artists commingles with Becker’s split personas in the shadows of the archive. For film scholar Erika Balsom, the film is ultimately “a means of feeling out how generations of men shape each other – in care and cruelty, pain and pleasure – as they live and die.”

Steve Reinke is an artist and writer best known for his monologue-based video essays. His work is in many collections including the Museum of Modern Art (New York), Centre Pompidou (Paris), MACBA (Barcelona) and National Gallery (Ottawa). He has shown work at many film festivals including Sundance, Berlinale, Rotterdam, Oberhausen, BFI London and the New York FF. He has been in many exhibitions including the Whitney Biennial 2014. He is represented by Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi (Berlin).
The Toronto International Film Festival named his The Hundred Videos (1989 — 1996) one of the 150 essential works In Canadian cinematic history. In 2006 he received the Bell Canada Video Award. A collection of his writings, The Shimmering Beast, was published in 2011. He has co-edited several anthologies, most recently Blast Counter Blast (with Anthony Elms) and The Sharpest Point: Animation at the End of Cinema (with Chris Gehman).

James Richards (b. Cardiff, UK 1983) lives and works in Berlin and London.
Selected exhibitions include: When Were Were Monsters, Haus Mödrath Raum für Kunst, Kerpen,(2021) Alms for the Birds, Castello Di Rivoli, Turin (2020); SPEED 2, Malmö Konsthall w/ Leslie Thornton (2019); SPEED, Künstlerhaus Stuttgart w/ Leslie Thornton (2018); Ache, Cabinet, London (2019); Slight Ache, Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff (2019); Mouth Room, Galeri Isabella Bortolozzi (2017); Requests and Antisongs, Kestner Gesellschaft, Hannover (2017); Requests and Antisongs, ICA, London (2016); Crossing, Rodeo London (2016); Crumb Mahogan, Bergen Kunsthall (2016); James Richards, Kunstverein München (2015); James Richards, CCA, Kitakyushu (2012); Not Blacking Out, Just Turning The Lights Off, Chisenhale Gallery, London (2011); Art Now, w/ Clunie Reid Tate Britain, London (2010).
Selected group exhibitions include: The Botanical Mind, Camden Arts Centre (2020); Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2017); Less Than Zero, Walker Arts Center, Minneapolis (2016); Cut to Swipe, MoMA, New York (2014); Frozen Lakes, Artists Space, New York (2013); and The Encyclopedic Palace, 55th International Art Exhibition La Biennale de Venezia, Venice (2013).
In 2017 Richards represented Wales at the 57th Venice Biennale, and he was shortlisted for the 2014 Turner prize.