Ulrike Ottinger. Floating Food
Bernd M. Scherer, Ulrike Ottinger
Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, 2011
Ulrike Ottinger, the filmmaker, photographer and collector of worlds, is arranging a comprehensive collage covering four decades of her creative work: “Water and food are elementary necessities for humanity. So where should we even begin to understand these things that meander through all areas of our physical and psychological lives? It has always been my artistic principle to adapt myself to these things, and to join the flow of their nature and their primordial conditions.“ Her copious exhibition runs the gamut from antiquity to modernity, along waterways and through fictitious and real worlds: it begins in the foyer, where a water basin, based on the Cisterna Basilica in Istanbul, playfully alludes to maritime trade between Asia and Europe. By presenting sequences from her films such as “Taiga“, “Johanna d’Arc of Mongolia“ or “China: Die Künste – Der Alltag“ (“China: The Arts, The People”), Ulrike Ottinger lends plasticity to the triad of water, food and ritual. Still and moving images take us on a journey through cookshops, harbors, markets and temples, to the Mongolian slaughter ritual and Mexican sacrificial altars. Her allegorical installations project landscapes full of sensuality, with mythical creatures and figures from an artist who will be honored with the Hannah Höch Prize this year.