Abraham Ravett. The March
   

15 October – 8 November, 2009

Abraham Ravett. The March
   

15 October – 8 November, 2009

Info

Wednesday’s screenings of Abraham Ravett’s films

21.10.2009, 5:30 pm

The Balcony
1988, 48:00, b/w, silent, 16mm

28.10.2009, 5:30 pm

The Boardwalk
1998, 29:00, b/w, silent, 16mm

Zeger’s Note
1984, 17:00, 16mm

Mizuko (The Water Child)
2002, 9:00, video

04.11.2009, 5:30 pm

Horse / Kappa / House
1995, 33:00, b/w, 16mm

Ijime Part I
2008, 13:00, video

Ijime Part II
2007, 8:00, video[/ramka]
15.10.2009-08.11.2009

Film exhibition

Curator: Piotr Krajewski
Cooperation: Agnieszka Kubicka-Dzieduszycka
Exhibition design: Zbigniew Kupisz

Marsz. The March.

Marsz. The March.

Experimentation and a Sense of Loss

Inliterary and autobiographical accounts on the subject of the childrenof Holocaust survivors, we can see certain conventions in the way thesurvivors’ descendants write about the past. These works are a responseto a need to unearth missing information about the past, and/or toexpress feelings about experiences that were often left unspoken in thewriters’ relationships with their parents. But little has been saidabout film accounts of the second generation’s relationship to history,and the few critical texts that do exist on this topic have usuallyfocussed on films with an easily recognizable traditional narrativestructure.
Abraham Ravett hasmade a series of documentary films about his family’s experiencesduring and after the Holocaust. The footage is a product of many yearsof filming, although some of the final products are relatively brief.Ravett’s aim is to reveal, both literally and metaphorically, thepainful scars that the past has left in his own life and in the livesof his relatives.
Ravett’sobservations of Holocaust survivors show that even though theirmemories of the events are lasting and painful, they are not immune tothe passing of time. A second-generation documentary filmmaker canaccess those memories mainly through other people’s accounts and theuse of artifacts and photos as testimony, but Ravett also freely usesanimation to supplement his sources when the flow of recollectionswarrants transforming his story into an audiovisual presentation.
InRavett’s films, there is an emphasis on recording the passage of time,which reflects his experimental approach to film. At the same time, itis a way of negotiating with the past, distancing himself from it, butalso dancing with it. One of the characteristic features of Ravett’sfilms is a distrust of narrative. Even when he comes close topresenting an undistorted chronological sequence, the narration isstumbling, incomplete, insufficient and in conflict with what it’strying to convey. Ravett’s experiments thus undermine anyrepresentational claims the narrative might have, by demonstrating thata full narrative account is beyond our reach.
Onthe other hand, this experimental fragmentation can also be seen as alegitimate representation of the post-traumatic disorientation thatsurvivors experience. The experimentation also fulfills a mimeticfunction: Ravett is attempting to convey the gaps in his knowledge ofthe past, the inadequacies of autobiographical filmmaking, and thefriction between his project and his parents’ resistance. The filmsalso reflect a process of realization that efforts to penetrate [theconsciousness] of an Other are inherently inadequate. Despite hisparents’ consent and cooperation, certain aspects of their experienceremain beyond the filmmaker’s reach, partly because his parents avoideddwelling on the most painful details of what they went through, or leftthem out altogether. The potential for a visual medium to convey atraumatizing experience is largely illusory, no matter how much effortis put into it.
Ravett can’t beregarded as a “prisoner of his family’s history” – his other filmprojects are unrelated to his family and the Holocaust – but the timehe has dedicated to documenting the family dynamics is certainlyimpressive. The repetition of particular motifs symbolizes an“endlessness” that defies closure. At the same time, Ravett’s films area form of grieving that arises from the conviction that loss isinevitable.
Tomasz Łysak /excerpts from “Experimentation and a Sense of Loss: Abraham Ravett’sBiographical and Autobiographical Experimental Films”, in FilmQuarterly [Kwartalnik Filmowy]

Abraham Ravett

Was born in Wałbrzych, Poland in 1947, where he spent his early childhood. In 1950 his family moved with him to Israel, and then to the USA in 1955. He holds a BFA (Massachusetts College of Art) and MFA (University of Syracuse) in Filmmaking and Photography, and has been an independent filmmaker for the past thirty years. He received grants for his work from The National Endowment for the Arts, The Artists Foundation Inc., The Massachusetts Council on The Arts and Humanities, The Japan Foundation, The Hoso Bunka Foundation, The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and The National Foundation for Jewish Culture. His films have been screened internationally at world-class festivals and in prominent art institutions worldwide. He teaches filmmaking and photography at Hampshire College, Amherst, MA.

Films at the exhibition

Half Sister, 1985 / Toncia, 1986 / The March, 1999 / Lunch with Fela, 2005 / The Visit, 2003 / And Then…, 2002 / Tziporah, 2007 / Trepches, 2009, premiera europejska / Non-Aryan, 2009, premiera europejska

Załącznik Rozmiar
Tomasz Łysak_Eksperymentowanie i doznawanie straty (Auto)biograficzne filmy eksperymentalne Abrahama Ravetta_Kwartalnik Filmowy – Zima 2007.pdf 156.63 KB

(Polski) PRACE

(Polski) Filmy prezentowane na wystawie

Half Sister, 1985
Toncia, 1986
The March, 1999
Lunch with Fela, 2005
The Visit, 2003
And Then…, 2002
Tziporah, 2007
Trepches, 2009, premiera europejska
Non-Aryan, 2009, premiera europejska

Accompanying events

(Polski) 21.10.2009, środa, g. 17:00

The Balcony
1988, 48:00, b/w, niemy, 16mm

28.10.2009, środa, g. 17:00

The Boardwalk
1998, 29:00, b/w, niemy, 16mm

Zeger’s Note
1984, 17:00, 16mm

Mizuko (The Water Child)
2002, 9:00, DV

04.11.2009, środa, g. 17:00

Horse / Kappa / House
1995, 33:00, b/w, kolor, 16mm

Ijime Part I
2008, 13:00, Beta SP i Mini DV

Ijime Part II
2007, 8:00, Beta SP i Mini DV
15.10.2009-08.11.2009

About the artist

(Polski) Abraham Ravett

Abraham Ravett urodził się w 1947 roku w Wałbrzychu, w którym spędził pierwsze trzy lata życia. W 1950 roku wraz z rodziną wyemigrował do Izraela, a następnie, w roku 1955, do Stanów Zjednoczonych. Ukończył studia filmowe i fotografii artystycznej (B.F.A. Massachusetts College of Art; M.F.A. University of Syracuse). Od trzydziestu lat pracuje jako niezależny filmowiec. Jest laureatem stypendiów i grantów takich instytucji, jak m.in. The National Endowment for the Arts, The Artists Foundation Inc., The Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities, The Japan Foundation, The Hoso Bunka Foundation, The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation czy The National Foundation for Jewish Culture. Jego filmy były prezentowane na prestiżowych festiwalach oraz w najważniejszych instytucjach artystycznych na całym świecie. Wykłada film i fotografię w Hampshire College, Amherst, Massachusetts.