COLLAPSING MIES

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by Claudia Larcher

grade: 7.5

What Collapsing Mies conveys, observed as a whole, is almost a sense of anxiety. Or, it would be better to say, of apprehension, of extreme reverence. The forms created by van der Rohe – and here, in fact, reworked by Claudia Larcher – are almost intimidating and become, overall, a complete and exhaustive manifesto of an era.

Shapes, colours, visions

Among the greatest exponents of classical modernism, in the architectural field, is undoubtedly the architect Mies van der Rohe. Particularly emblematic and characteristic are the forms he created, with buildings consisting of rigid structures in which concrete, steel and glass prevail. Artist Claudia Larcher has paid tribute to the great architect in her Collapsing Mies. Her innovative short film was selected for the Diagonale 2020 and, following the cancellation of the festival, included in the programme Diagonale 2020 – The Unfinished.

In just seven minutes, then, the extraordinary art of Mies van der Rohe magically comes to life on screen. And it all takes place through complex computer graphics animations that – with Alexander J. Eberhard’s electronic and strongly minimalist music in the background – overlap, blur into each other and, in turn, confuse the audience in an explosion of geometric shapes and colours that, seen as a whole, perfectly convey the idea of what van der Rohe created during his honourable career.

Everything is in motion, everything is constantly changing in Collapsing Mies. Nothing, not even for a few seconds, remains the same. And so interiors mix and blend with building exteriors, to the point that it is difficult to distinguish each individual element. With the prevailing colours of grey, ochre, blue and brown, then, what we find ourselves before is a true abstract painting. All this results in a strongly conceptual and deliberately anti-narrative work, and a new way of understanding not only the film language but also, in a broader sense, art and art history.

Claudia Larcher, for her part, has opted mainly for two-dimensional images – designed, in this case, to emphasise the rigidity of the forms shown – which, as they slowly overlap one another, give rise to further new forms, this time three-dimensional.

What Collapsing Mies conveys, considered as a whole, is almost a sense of anxiety. Or, it would be better to say, of apprehension, of extreme reverence. The forms created by van der Rohe – and here, indeed, reworked by Claudia Larcher – are almost intimidating and become, as a whole, a complete and exhaustive manifesto of an era. An era of which we are all an active and integral part and which, at the same time, knows how to unsettle and confuse us, making us almost lose touch with ourselves.

And so this short but intense screening turns out to be much more complex and stratified than it might initially appear. A small, sophisticated gem of the most experimental Austrian cinema.

Original title: Collapsing Mies
Directed by: Claudia Larcher
Country/year: Austria / 2019
Running time: 7’
Genre: experimental
Screenplay: Claudia Larcher
Cinematography: Claudia Larcher
Produced by: Claudia Larcher

Info: the page of Collapsing Mies on the website of the Diagonale