Surface of the World

Retrospective Michelangelo Antonioni feat. Johanna Billing: Project for a Revolution


From mid-September 2008, the Kunsthaus Graz and the Augartenkino KIZ cinema are putting on a retrospective of the work of Italian film director Michelangelo Antonioni (1912-2007). Along with a selection of his best-known feature films, including Il Deserto Rosso (1964), Blowup (1966) and Zabriskie Point (1970), documentation will also be on show to do with the director's life and work. Venue: KIZ cinema in the Augarten.


As a film critic and director, Antonioni was along with Luchino Visconti and Federico Fellini the most important pioneer of the Italian post-war cinema. He was born in Ferrara on 29th Sept. 1912. After working as a film critic and assistant director, he initially made short films such as Gente del Po (1943). His breakthrough feature film was L'Avventura in 1959, which made him a successful auteur and director in Italy and especially in France.


The international success of the L'Eclisse trilogy (1962) with Alain Delon made Antonioni a bankable director abroad. Commercially, his most successful film was Blowup (1966), filmed in London, and it also brought him the Golden Palm award in Cannes.
In 1992, he was appointed a knight of the Order of Merit, Italy's highest state decoration, and in 1993 he won a lifetime's achievement award from the European Film Academy.
Antonioni's last major film was Al di là delle Nuvole (1995), directed jointly with Wim Wenders.
Michelangelo Antonioni died in Rome on 30th July 2007.


Feat. Johanna Billing: Project for a Revolution
Opening: 7pm, Space04, 16th Sept. 2008


The second part of the key theme constitutes an exhibition of a work by Swedish artist Johanna Billing at the Kunsthaus.
Conceptual artist Johanna Billing's video Project for a Revolution (2000) will be screened from 16th Sept. 2008 in Space04 at the Kunsthaus Graz.


The video is based on a scene in Antonioni's film Zabriskie Point (1970) that features a heated meeting of student activists. Billing's adaptation is set in contemporary Sweden, and shows a group of young people who appear to be just waiting for something to happen - completely passively, avoiding any kind of communication or emotion. The revolutionary tension still evident in Antonioni's work in the wake of the events of 1968 has abated, giving way to a feeling of boredom. The fact that the video is a loop reinforces the perception of this inactivity. The stillness and feeling of endlessness are interrupted only by the noise of the copier, though what the copier churns out is not leaflets but blank pages.


In Project for a Revolution, Johanna Billing queries the possibilities for social commitment, protest and rebellion in our present-day culture. Are revolutions by present-day young people at all conceivable? In what circumstances did radical social change take place in the past?


"The generation of our parents brought the revolution. They did everything for us and taught us that we need not worry about anything."


About the artist:
Johanna Billing, born in Jönköping (SE), lives and works in Stockholm.


About the video:
Project for a Revolution (2000)
DVD 3 min 14 s
The video is shown in loop mode, as the artist intended.
Cinematography: Johan Phillips & Henry Moore Selder
Sound: Mario Adamsson
Photography: Johanna Löwenhamn


Carlo di Carlo: Lecture "Meine lange Reise mit Antonioni"
7pm, Space04, Kunsthaus Graz, 23rd Sept. 2008


The third part of the Antonioni retrospective is also a high point:
Starting at 7pm on 23rd Sept. 2008, Carlo di Carlo, Antonioni's biographer and long-standing collaborator will be giving a talk in Space04 at the Kunsthaus. The subject is his years of collaboration with the great director.



At the beginning of his career, Carlo di Carlo was a film critic. He has written essays and books, including Michelangelo Antonioni (1964, publ. Bianco e Nero), Il primo Antonioni (1973, publ. Cappelli), Professione: Reporter (1996), Il Cinema di Antonioni (2002, publ. Il Castoro), Michelangelo Antonioni sul Cinema (2004), Antonioni (2004).
For the next decade, he continued his activity as an author, and worked on at least 30 short and mid-length films. Critical points for his development were the collaboration with Michelangelo Antonioni and working on the Italian versions of films such as Blowup (1967) and Zabriskie Point (1970).
From 1987 to 1993, he was curator of the Ente Autonomo Gestione Cinema and then Cinecittà International and the Progetto Antonioni, a multimedia project to reissue all the films by the Ferrara-born master and show them at 22 international events. In 1996, he worked on the project for the future Antonioni Museum in Ferrara. In 2002, he was in charge of the first complete solo show of all Antonioni's works for the 59th Venice Film Festival. In the following years, the exhibition toured several countries, including Paris, London, Los Angeles and - after being banned for 32 years - Peking (2004), where the film of Antonioni's China (Chung Kuo.Cina) was shown to the Chinese public for the first time.
In 2004, he was one of those who worked on a documentation film Lo Sguardo di Michelangelo, a documentary film by Antonioni about the restoration of Moses.


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