Anthology Film Archives


April 21 – April 26


Astonishingly prolific both as a photographer (under the name Friedl Kubelka) and a filmmaker (as Friedl vom Gröller, since 2009), Friedl Kubelka vom Gröller has been active since the 1960s, but the majority of her moving-image work has emerged in the years since 2000, with a nonstop flood of short films whose refreshing but deceptive brevity (they rarely exceed 3 minutes in length) belies their formal variety, thematic richness, and vibrant spontaneity. Though her films encompass a wide range of ideas and approaches, they very often gravitate around the practice of portraiture. Indeed, even if she had never made a motion picture herself, Kubelka vom Gröller’s photographic body of work would be vitally important within the realm of experimental cinema thanks to her commitment to producing extraordinary portraits of many of the most important avant-garde filmmakers of her time, including her ex-husband Peter Kubelka, Jonas Mekas, Bruce Baillie, Kenneth Anger, Hollis Frampton, Shigeko Kubota, Stan Brakhage, Ken & Flo Jacobs, George Landow, and many others (as well as numerous artists, friends, and strangers).

But of course, Kubelka vom Gröller has made many films of her own – in fact, more than 120 and counting. Though these works have cropped up in various short film festivals and showcases of new avant-garde cinema in the U.S. over the years, they have rarely, if ever, been showcased all together. Long overdue, this five-program survey of her work will take place in conjunction with her month-long residency at the Deutsches Haus at NYU, a component of the ExtraVALUE Award that was bestowed on her film L’AVENIR? DE F.V.G? at the 2019 Viennale film festival.

The series – which will combine her films with slides of selected photographs from throughout her career – has been guest-programmed by Dietmar Schwärzler, Austrian artist film distributor, representative of the distribution company Sixpack, and editor of the book Friedl Kubelka vom Gröller – One Is Not Enough. Photography & Film II (Buchverlag Walther König & Index 2018). Both Kubelka vom Gröller and Schwärzler will be here in person to present each program.

“The heart of Friedl Kubelka’s photographic and filmic work is the portrait. Kubelka often finds her protagonists in her circle of friends, acquaintances, and family. Other frequent subjects are artists or clients, whom she mainly portrays looking straight into the camera. The face as the image of one captured moment, of an emotion, of a controlled or uncontrolled circumstance, of a pose or gesture, functions as a blank slate, which affectively bonds the protagonists with the spectators. […] Often the artist also uses her camera to document and stage personal events, to make – as she says ‘her own life more interesting.’ Her personal approach to filmmaking combines a keen eye for the humor and poetry of everyday experiences with a playful cinematic sensibility.” –Dietmar Schwärzler

“Vom Gröller is…one of Austria’s great, if profoundly unrecognized, artists. Traditionally one would say, vom Gröller’s work specializes in portraiture, but more accurately the artist’s prolific practice is one of intimate encounters, which capture and seize upon elongated moments and brief experiences that refuse to relinquish their fleetingness.” –Andrea Picard, TIFF

Since 2011, each annual edition of the Viennale (Vienna International Film Festival) has featured the granting of the ExtraVALUE Film Award to one or more Austrian filmmakers whose films are included within the festival. Designed to showcase the best of Austrian cinema, the Award was founded by Erste Bank, the Viennale’s main sponsor, and is awarded according to the findings of an independent jury. The Award brings a cash prize as well as a one-month residency as a visiting film scholar hosted and organized by Deutsches Haus at NYU.

This program is co-presented by Erste Bank, Deutsches Haus at NYU, the Austrian Cultural Forum New York, and Sixpack. Special thanks to Juliane Camfield & Sarah Girner (Deutsches Haus at NYU); Christian J. Ebner (Austrian Cultural Forum New York); Ruth Goubran (Erste Bank); Eva Sangiorgi & Paolo Calamita (Viennale); and Gerald Weber (Sixpack).

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