Keren Cytter
I Was the Good and He Was the Bad and the Ugly



25 June – 20 August 06



Keren Cytter. I Was the Good and He Was the Bad and the Ugly
June 25 - August 20, 2006

Opening: June 24, 2006, 17 - 21 h

KW Institute for Contemporary Art is pleased to present the first Berlin solo exhibition of the young artist and writer Keren Cytter. Keren Cytter is engaged in representations of social realities through experimental storytelling in which she cultivates radical subjectivity as a challenge to the restraints and rules of genres and language, both written and cinematic. Recalling amateur home-movies and video diaries, her films and videos are made of re-composed elements of the everyday, of impressions, memories, imaginings, desires and dreams. The scripts are part of the stories themselves, and the story in turn is always a story of the clash between a (perfect) script and an (imperfect) reality.

The exhibition I Was the Good and He Was the Bad and the Ugly (a title borrowed from one of Cytter's scripts) brings together seven short videos that are, primarily, formalistic games embodied in private social situations. Their playful treatment of the script's framework is unique; the usual distinction between content and form is dispersed.

The episodic video chronicle The Date Series (2004) is illustrating the author's momentary states of mind during spring/summer 2004. Shot in black and white, the short stories are played by two characters, depicting situations of extreme oppositions. In KW a selection of three episodes are presented: 21.05.04 (5 min) recalls an American Western film, in which the hero confronts his enemy and loses the battle, as well as his role as the director of the film. In 21.07.04 (5 min) a documentary director manipulates official findings to fit his false stereotypical presumptions about his subject. The subject is an acclaimed artist whose neat private environment doesn't correspond with his eccentric public image. The triple sequence psychological drama 17.08.04 (8 min) depicts the metaphorical couple Mr. X and Mrs. Y whose values vary radically in relation to the specified situation. In the given conflicting reality, their reaction shifts from resistance through ambivalence to indifference.

In Atmosphere (2005, 11 min), Julia (the author's flat mate) is haunted by dreams and memories of a lost friend and a lost lover, made into a sensual, dreamlike story. The characters seem aware of the distorted formalistic qualities of the film, which mirror Julia's sweeping emotions. Dream Talk (2005, 11 min) portrays a group of friends who mistake their own desires and fantasies with the ones of characters in a reality TV show. Hostage to a hyper-mediated world, they have no control over the means of their own communication. French Film (2003, 11 min) is an experimental film in French that follows a young composer who leaves Tel Aviv for a better future in Paris. An over-sentimental attitude of longing and sadness and cruel fear of the unknown overshadow his mind, transferring a sense of brutality and absence onto every element of his immediate environment.

For the presentation on the KW 3rd floor, the selected videos are composed as a continuous cycle (53 minutes long) running on four synchronised screens, including instructive commentary addressing the viewer.

The second half of the exhibition consists of a denser looped sequence. In The Victim (2006, 5-min loop) five anonymous characters (it is not clear if they are friends, family or lovers) gather around a dinner table. The rhythmic stream of speech and rapid action advance the plot to its bewildering (although foreseeable) climax – the suicide of the character who has been rendered 'the victim'.  All the elements, tactics and aesthetics characteristic of Cytter's work culminate in their most extreme logical conclusion in The Victim, her latest work to date.

Keren Cytter's (Tel Aviv, 1977) prolific artistic practice has gained an outstanding international recognition in the past three years. Since completing her post graduate studies in the studio program de Ateliers in Amsterdam, Cytter held solo presentations at Galleria d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Bergamo (2006), Kunsthalle Zürich, Zurich (2005), Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt am Main (2005), Stedelijk Museum Bureau, Amsterdam (2004), and an upcoming solo project in Extra City, Antwerp (2007).  Keren Cytter is also the author of the novels: The Sunset of Yesterday (Shadurian, Tel Aviv, 2003) and The Man Who Climbed Up the Stairs of Life and Found Out They Were Cinema Seats (Lukas & Sternberg NY-Berlin, 2005). Keren Cytter has just been awarded the Baloise Art Prize at the "Art Statements" sector of Art 37 Basel. Keren Cytter's first feature film CARS will be released in The Netherlands in winter 2007.

Curator: Hila Peleg

The project is being realized with financial support from the Mondriaan Foundation, Amsterdam.


08.12.2006, 8 pm
Book presentation, film screening and reading