This Is the hour

Video and photo installation, 2001-2002

Das ist die Stunde

(Bild)-Lectüren / (Image)-Readings


Lion Feuchtwanger’s exposition of the figure of Francisco de Goya became the point of departure for Aurelia Mihai’s video and photo installation “Das ist die Stunde” (This is the hour) created in 2001. The installation consists of two videos and three photographic works. The underlying rhythm and mood of the various motifs refer to the full-blown backdrop of the library in Feuchtwanger’s study in the Villa Aurora, his home during his California exile.

The protagonists in all the scenes are two girls who are very similar: one sits on a stool in front of a large wall-to-wall bookcase, reminding one (a clear reference to Spanish Court Painting) of an Infanta in a hoopskirt. The two of them page through Feuchtwanger’s novel Goya and read aloud from it. They build sentences by each alternating a word. Mihai weaves a complex structure of image, sound and action in “Das ist die Stunde”. She narrates about narration by steadily breaking the illusion of the narration contained in the images. She fragments the flow of the words in order to emphasize and make audible each individual word.

Aurelia Mihai explores life in a stage of flux, existence in two worlds, which is manifested in the Now: between old Europe and California, between two biographies, that of Goya and that of Feuchtwanger. She also addresses the concept of the original: what occurs between the original and its translation? What happens in the transfer from one medial language to another, from one century to another? In the end, what remains quite clear the that the mechanisms of appropriation and deciphering, of reception and remembance are universal. The new is born out of the field of tension between historically authentic facts and interpretation. Aurelia Mihai's quiet arrangements transmit the non-visible: that which occurs in travels through time, during art write its stories. (...)

Excerpt: (Bild)-Lectüren / (Photo)-Readings by MAGDALENA KRÖNER / Translated by Barbara Schönberg, 10 Years Villa Aurora, 2005