Sue de Beer
Hans und Grete



27 September 03 – 9 January 04



In her two-channel video installation Hans and Gretel, the American artist Sue de Beer illuminates scenes from the life of four Youngsters, whose fictional stories are based on the artist's research on the psychological profiles of American ‘school shooters’. With the help of a series of monologues in the form of an interview and experimental episodes, de Beer approaches the psychological abyss of juvenile obsessions and violence.

De Beer examines real terror events and their social impact, in which they create references to terrorist acts of violence and, on the other hand, to the morbid and realistic fantasies of the horror genre. The narrative of the video refers to the massacre at Columbine High School 1999 in Littleton, Colorado. The title Hans and Gretel is borrowed from the cover-up names of German terrorists in the 1970s, on which American students have repeatedly referred to in their deeds. In doing so, the artist connects two historical events, which are about 30 years apart, and breaks them by referring to youth culture and cult legends. It is full of allusions to subcultures, on which many young people today are characterized: horror films, video games, psychedelic rock, metal and gothic.

The precisely structured, multi-part video relies on the monologues of the four protagonists. It is presented on two screens arranged at right angles to each other, which are embedded in an installation of oversized doll animals on a pink, fluffy carpet. The viewer who settles here is torn between the fictitious world of the artificial, kitschy youth room and the oppressive reality of contemporary events.

Sue de Beer has developed the project Hans und Grete as the winner of the Philip Morris Art Fellowship at the American Academy 2001/2002 in Berlin and as participant of the International Atelier Program of the Künstlerhaus Bethanien. The book (German / English), which has been published for the project, will be available throughout the exhibition at KW (58 pages, 15 Euro).

Curated by Ellen Blumenstein

The exhibition is supported by: Philip Morris Art Promotion, American Academy Berlin, Mr. Michael Clifton, Gallery Postmasters, N.Y. and Tracey Williams.

Special thanks go to Gallery Sandroni.Rey