48 Heads from the Merkurov Museum (after Kurt Kren)

(Anna Artaker, 2011, 4 min)

Varying realities: That would define one of the most important processes employed by Anna Artaker, which in her case often involves putting historiographic constellations into perspective. Working
intensively with death masks made by the Soviet sculptor Sergey Merkurov (1881–1952), a student of Auguste Rodin, Artaker translates them into various medial forms. The masks, from the Merkurov Museum in Gyumri, Armenia, represent an unusual “archive of faces,” particularly because the personalities from the fields of culture and politics (primarily male) in it represent both progressive and totalitarian tendencies of the Soviet regime.

Artaker explicitly connects the film to Kurt Kren’s 48 Heads from the Szondi Test (1960): Kren took the projective personality test created by Hungarian psychiatrist Leopold Szondi in 1937 to an absurd level by
undermining the principle of similarity and recognition on which the experiment’s based by means of a swift montage of photographic portraits. This confrontation of a variety of references and their contexts illustrates Artaker’s objective: a critical revision that in each case represents an examination by means of visualization processes. -excerpted from a description by Naoko Kaltschmidt, (translated by Steve Wilder).


Directed by Anna Artaker


Saturday, March 23 7:15pm

Films in Competition 7

Animated, experimental, documentary, and narrative films including new works by Duke and Battersby, Scott Stark and Josh Gibson.

Michigan Theater (Main Auditorium)