Shot during Michel Auder’s one year residency in the Italian capital, Roman Variations (1991) is an epic film with Rome as its subject.
The fifty-minute travelogue is an uncanny document of the eternal city at the dawn of the Berlusconi era. Images of the Palatine hill under a bright blue sky or of the Campo dei Fiori market on a rainy day are alternated with erotically underpinned fragments of Italian television. Television and real life are blended as a visual of the city’s immortal skyline, and forefronted by a close up of an electrical stimulation belt wrapped around a young woman’s body.
The artist pays homage to Rome’s magnificence, chaos and decadence capturing, with his sophisticated eye, the paradoxical expressions of this complex city. A pioneer in experimental film, Auder began in the early 1960s as a photographer and soon explored video as an artistic medium to document his life and New York’s bohemian underground. Over the years he has shot thousands of hours of film; much of this footage is edited by the artist many years after it was recorded and turned into video works ranging from sequences lasting just a few minutes to feature-length films.
Roman Variations by Michel Auder
GBE Sant’Andrea De Scaphis, Rome
Through April 8
Courtesy of the artist and Gavin Brown’s enterprise New York/Rome
Photo: Roberto Apa