Clemens Wilhelm

14 -30 September 2018 | Small Projects Tromsø

Opening: Friday 14 September from 8 pm
+Special Screening: 16 September 2018, 4 pm

Small Projects presents “A FRIENDLY FRIENDLY WORLD”, the second solo show of works by Clemens Wilhelm in Norway. The show combines three recent videos by the Berlin based artist: “A HORSE WITH WHEELS”(2017), “SIMULACRA” (2015) & “CONTACT” (2014).


Video | 29 min | France, Germany, Iceland, Norway, Scotland | 2017

In his latest video work, Clemens Wilhelm explores what might be the oldest piece of art we know. The object The Swimming Reindeer was made during the last Ice Age, around 13,000 years ago, and was carved from a mammoth’s tusk. Researchers call it a “useless tool” – a tool just for the mind. Wilhelm sets out on the trail of this extraordinary sculpture, from where it was discovered in a cave in France to northern Norway, where large herds of reindeer still live today. In an essayistic manner he tries to get closer to our ancestors who carved this work of art. Were they really so different from us? Has humanity progressed since then? The Swimming Reindeer was made in a period of global warming at the end of the Ice Age, prompting the question: was this existential human crisis a catalyst for the emergence of art? And what parallels are there with today?


Video | 32 min | China | 2015

Simulacra was filmed in the Chinese theme park Window of the World in Shenzhen, which was built in the 1990s and displays replicas of the world’s best-known tourist attractions. Apart from the shifts in meaning that result from presenting these buildings in a new context, Wilhelm is especially interested in the fact that the entire park was designed for taking photographs. Wilhelm enhanced the surreal character of this artificial world by shooting Simulacra in slow motion. In this way he applies a magnifying glass to the question of what it means to take pictures and how they relate to reality.


Video | 15 min | Czech Republic | 2014

In Contact the two film genres “romantic love movie” and “porno movie” clash: A man and a woman meet in real life after meeting online. They get close to each other but the contact is quite unreal. Substitutes replace the “real thing” in the name of security. A computer camera watches the scene. All they talk about is the beauty of Prague.


+ Special Screening:


Sunday 16 September 2018 | Small Projects Tromsø |Start at 4 pm

This additional program presents four films by Clemens Wilhelm which are connected by the theme of mortality: A lonesome tourist, a struggling truck driver, Scottish village seniors and a rolling tumbleweed are the protagonists of these four films which explore the complex connections between memory, creativity and death:

ANDANTINO | 2015 | 10 min

This film is based on the “Andantino” from one of Schubert’s last sonatas. This composition is known to be the first translation of a nervous breakdown into music. Dark romantic melodies get fragmented by strange disharmonious chords. “Andantino” is a tempo that is a little bit faster than walking. A snail, clouds, rivers and mountains set the slow pace of the film. A single male tourist is taking a break from walking in the Scottish Highlands. The shots of nature are contrasted with abstract fields of the three colors: red, blue and green.

PETER IST TOT | 2012 | 15 min

Peter is dead. Why do humans make puzzles? Does photography conserve memory? What is a good story? Why is one interested in the life of a stranger? How do you read a stranger? This video consists of photographs which the artist found in the garbage bin of his house. The essence of a stranger’s life was thrown away. A fictive biography based on analogue photographs tells the life of Peter, the truck driver and barkeeper from West- Berlin, who could also have been called Klaus or Jürgen. Why were these pictures thrown away? Does Peter not deserve to be remembered? Or do we just want a good story?

A STONE | 2018 | 16 min | collaboration with Jan Sobotka

In a remote village in the Scottish Highlands a monument is erected. Three older men roll a heavy stone along a windswept winterly coastline. One of them digs a hole and places the stone. A group gathers to pay tribute and a bagpiper plays. A war memorial looms over the village. Seabirds circle in the sky.


Cuxhaven has the demography in 2015 that is predicted for all of Germany in 25 years. The wind blows invisibly through the film. The sea comes and goes. Nature is neither nice nor evil. The climate is changing. Everything seems to be on the move. The future happens elsewhere and comes to the spectator. Do the things change, when you change the way you look at them?

Clemens Wilhelm | SIMULACRA
Clemens Wilhelm | A HORSE WITH WHEELS
Clemens Wilhelm | CONTACT