Nina Fischer & Maroan el Sani
7.4. – 8.6.2021
Nine projects provide an exciting overview of 25 years of joint work. Fellowships have taken Nina Fischer & Maroan el Sani to Amsterdam, Rome, Tokyo and Sapporo for extended periods. Thus, not only the transformation of the metropolis of Berlin since reunification has been a continuous theme of their work, but above all other historical spaces where they track down changing identities and critically re-evaluate them under the altered view of the present.
Fischer & el Sani begin a joint body of work in 1995. From the beginning, transformation processes of individual and collective identities, of places and utopias are the focus of their attention. In this way, the works bring to light deficits in the medially mediated everyday life of past decades. By succeeding in portraying the foreign as equal and making tangible the tension that arises in people’s lives at places of outmoded utopias from technology, economics and politics, Fischer & el Sani’s seemingly documentary work appears more topical than ever.
It is not only in Berlin where they create poetically dense films that make the changes in urban space visible. Fischer & el Sani also, and above all, pick up traces in other regions of the world that illuminate individual lives in times of great upheaval. For example, during several stays in Japan as long-term projects about the fate of families who lost their homes in the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Or the story of an artificial island off the coast of Nagasaki, where more than 5,000 miners and their families lived and worked in a very small space until 1974, when they were abruptly relocated because nuclear power plants had become more inefficient and the island has since fallen into inaccessibility.
In “Freedom of Movement” (2019), they take Ethiopian Abebe Bikila’s 1960 Olympic marathon run in Rome and use found footage and re-enactment to commemorate the first ever victory by a sub-Saharan African at the Olympics. Another work explores the claim that all the world’s knowledge can be stored in a building like the National Library in Paris, which can be understodd as a presumptuous and culturally exclusive utopia in the past.
The critical examination of the appropriation of the foreign plays also a central role in the most recent works of the two media artists. Again and again they succeed in posing fundamental questions about change and identity. In one of their most recent works, “Appropriation takes you on a weird ride” (2020), in which they investigate the Germans’ over 300-year-old fascination with Native Americans and bring to light outdated patterns of domination, they convince with detailed research, surprising perspectives and technical perfection.
The Berlin-based artists have been working as a team since 1993. Nina Fischer (*1965, Emden) studied visual communication at the Berlin University of the Arts with Valie Export, among others, and directing at the German Film and Television Academy Berlin. Maroan el Sani (*1966, Duisburg) studied Film Studies and Journalism at the Free University of Berlin. Both artists held an associate professorship at Sapporo City University for Media Art in Japan from 2007 to 2010. Since 2015, Nina Fischer has been a professor of experimental film and media art at the Berlin University of the Arts.
Curated by: Katja Blomberg