Kristina Talking Pictures (1976, 90 min) by Yvonne Rainer. Screening. With an introduction by Nóra Lukács, curator of the exhibition If the Berlin Wind Blows My Flag. Art and Internationalism before the Fall of the Berlin Wall.
Yvonne Rainer (*1934 in San Francisco) is a dancer, choreographer, and filmmaker and one of the most influential representatives of postmodern dance.
She studied with Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham in late-1950s New York and began choreographing her own works shortly after that. In 1962, Rainer co-founded the Judson Dance Theater collective with Trisha Brown, Elaine Summers, Meredith Monk, and others. Their inaugural performance occurred on July 6, 1962, at Judson Memorial Church in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, marking the birth of postmodern dance.
From 1966 onward, Rainer began to infuse her dance choreographies with elements like slides, film sequences, and textual fragments. Later, dance and performance became a central focus of her experimental films. In 1972, she produced her first feature-length film, Lives of Performers, seen as an extension of her mixed-media performances.
Rainer’s early films subverted conventional directorial norms and bear a distinctive feminist and political signature, with autobiography and fiction intertwining to examine themes such as the female body and its objectification, relationship dynamics, political radicalism, and female sexuality.
In late 1976, Rainer came to West Berlin as a guest under the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program (BKP) in the film section. That September, she featured in the exhibition SoHo – Downtown Manhattan during the Berliner Festwochen at Akademie der Künste (West). In May 1977, Kino Arsenal, in collaboration with the BKP, screened her first three feature films, including Kristina Talking Pictures (1976, 90 min). The artist describes it as follows:
“[It] is a narrative film inasmuch as it contains a series of events that can be synthesized into a story if one is disposed to do so. (A European woman line-tamer comes to America and takes up choreography) The film can also be characterized by its discursions from a strict narrative line via reflections on art, love, and catastrophe sustained by the voices of Kristina, the heroine-narrator, and Raoul, her lover. Within its form of shifting correlations between word and image, persona and performer, enactment and illustration, explanation and ambiguity, Kristina Talking Pictures circles in a narrowing spiral toward its primary concerns: the uncertain relation of public act to personal fate, the ever-present possibility for disparity between public-directed conscience and private will.”
Kristina Talking Pictures will be screened at Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.) as part of the collaborative project If the Berlin Wind Blows My Flag.
This exhibition delves into the artistic scenes in West Berlin before the fall of the Berlin Wall, based on the history of the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program and examines its role in nurturing artistic practices and networks during the Cold War.