Mandla Reuter’s Pictures is the transformation of a private flat in Madrid into a cinema showing current mainstream movies, which at the same time are also running in blockbuster theatres in Madrid and elsewhere, worldwide. A large light sign on the building’s façade announces the movie being screened, connecting the interior of the flat-turned-movie theatre with the exterior of the city.
Rather than commenting on a lack of space, Pictures negotiates ideas about access and space’s potential. Privacy is erased to make an intimacy in public space possible: you could say that the work does not offer a public service as much as an ‘intimate service’. This intimacy, however, gets a double-edged function in relation to the glamour of Hollywood that the sheer size and particular architecture of multiplex cinemas is meant to convey. What will big Hollywood stars look like when they are squeezed into a small Madrid flat? Will they still be the main attraction of the place, or will the massive projector take centre stage? In this way Reuter is doing a versioning of the movie industry much akin to the way Andy Warhol invented his own ‘small stars’ in films such as Chelsea Girls, a closet drama in which the actors projected their glamorous selves through improvisation. In Reuter’s Pictures what is at stake is again the co-habitation with stardom through a kind of playful parasitism on the illusionism of culture industry.
The transformation of space is aligned with other works of Reuter’s, first and foremost Invitation (with Alexander Wolff), in which together with an invitation card 400 keys were distributed to a flat in Warsaw. His predilection for the movie industry is also apparent in 3105 Cinestar-Original (2006) consisting of a soundtrack of a blockbuster movie played back in an art gallery. Accompanied by the audience’s coughs and crackling of sweets bags, the soundtrack becomes a kind of “polluted readymade”. By lifting the soundtrack a transport of spaces is brought about: the illusory space of the movie industry is added to the gallery, while the memory of a film is at the same time conveyed and withheld.
Reuter’s ambivalent attitude towards the material he appropriates can be framed by Jacques Derrida’s hybrid term ‘hostipitalité’ which denotes an unconditional hospitality that plays on the fact that ‘hospitality’ and ‘hostility’ comes from the same root, ‘hospis’. Based on openness, on total hospitality and inclusiveness, Reuter’s project also becomes a public arena where democratic sentiments can be played out – in peaceful as well as potentially antagonistic ways.
Lars Bang Larsen
c/ Antonio Acuña, 18 7º Dcha, 17:H
February 8,15 and 22: 19 H.