Heinz Cibulka, day dream interpretation

A cinematographic portrait of the artist by Magdalena Frey


Heinz Cibulka's oeuvre since the 1960s is the topic of Magdalena Frey's new film. Picture poems and digital collages are woven into an associative narration involving sequences selected from current and old footage. A strong musical current including compositions by Anton Webern, Norbert Math, Andrea Sodomka, and alien productions, among others, guides the viewer through the 40-minute-long film portrait. Beginning with the most recent activities in France, Magdalena Frey has, during a stay in Reims and Paris, managed to capture the atmosphere of both exhibitions, and situations of everyday life. Just as it has been the case for Cibulka's journeys in the past, the very occasion of taking a trip mingles into the artist's photographic concept. New experiences serve as raw material and find their way into the artist's pool of pictographic vocabulary. From there they might reemerge as a fragment used in a new photographic composition. In this sense, when creating her films, Magdalena Frey relies on an approach similar to the principles used in photographic pieces: The footage compiled both spontaneously and following a plan, will later on be assembled in order to form a film.

During four years of arduously collecting material from within diverse areas of action, and after a number projects carried out together in different parts of the earth like Mexico, Nigeria, Asia, Syria, the USA as well as in a wide range of European locations, Magdalena Frey has brought together a vast volume of footage. Some of it has emerged from the archives of colleagues, especially the footage she owes to Ferdinand Cibulka, shot 9 years ago and used for his film portrait on his father. In the course of this undertaking, old 8mm films and mini discs were digitized. Some of the footage dates back to the 60s, and forming part of the family's archives, was even shot by Heinz Cibulka himself.

Cibulka's participation in performances of Schwarzkogler and Nitsch as "model" or "passive actor" is merely touched upon.

To a certain extent, the approach Magdalena Frey uses for constructing this film portrait resembles the creative process that brings forth Cibulka's associative photographic picture poems. Yet unlike those, the film articulates within a lapse of time, both simultaneously with, and determined by musical structures. Reading between images as an act of re-creation within the flow of a musically composed current, gives one an idea of the formal structure of Heinz Cibulka's picture poems. Here too, the meaning is being held in between the images, underneath the visual surface; revealing it will require an effort of re-creational reading.

Selecting from different stages of Cibulka's photographic oeuvre, and starting from the present, Magdalena Frey develops her cinematographic construction though important aspects of Heinz Cibulka's artistic work, reaching as far as the earliest stages in the 70s. Picture poems as still images are entwined with sequences of footage, and give way to associative interpretations of Cibulka's work as well as to its biographic background.