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Alex Gerbaulet

* 1977 in Salzgitter, GER
Studied at Technische Universität Braunschweig, GER, Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Braunschweig, GER, and Universität Wien, AUT



Alex Gerbaulet x

SCHICHT, 2015, 28:30 min. [extract 07:26 min.], colour & b/w, sound [VIDEONALE.16]

SCHICHT (SHIFT) is a documentary collage. Picture by picture, we are presented with the outline of three histories which seem to be inextricably interwoven: the history of Germany, the history of mining (centered on the Conrad mine in Salzgitter), and the history of the Gerbaulet family. The film draws an arc from the first coal mining in the 1930s to the storage of nuclear waste in the now defunct mine. It hunts down the traces and remnants of history scattered throughout the city in the form of architecture, photographs and diary entries. Director Alex Gerbaulet confronts us with a densely woven fabric of memories. In hindsight, the boundary between the public and private spheres blurs. Pictures from the family album are mixed with archive footage; autobiographical moments are interwoven with regional history and images from collective memory.
Using a combination of found footage and new material, Gerbaulet develops a rich mosaic, a kind of archeology of the everyday lives of the post-war generation. These are images which give us insights into the story behind the idyllic images of tidy front gardens from the settlements of the 1950s: the mining industry which provided the materials for the Second World War, as well as for the postwar rebuilding and economic growth; the normalized symmetrical settlements built for the workers, the individual families who lived through the economic miracle. The non-chronological fragments circle around public and private memory, revealing the hidden underbelly of the town. It was here that the Hermann Göring works dug the earth, and where concentration camp prisoners were buried in the rubble. It’s here that father worked during the day, and where mother is buried. And it’s here that nuclear waste now finds its final resting place. (Lisa Weber)

*The complete version of the work can be requested from the artist and pong film GmbH Berlin.


Mareike Bernien & Alex Gerbaulet x

Tiefenschärfe / Depth of Field, 2017, 14:30 min., colour, sound [VIDEONALE.17, together with Mareike Bernien]

The scene of a crime is still a place. Nuremberg is still Nuremberg, even if National Socialism and the National Socialist Underground (NSU) have cast a dark shadow on the city. In their documentary approach, Bernien and Gerbaulet seek to grasp the complexity of history. They show places connected to the three murders that the NSU committed in Nuremberg between 2000 and 2005 and expand the narrative to include the dimension of the entire complex.
While a narrator outlines the individual fates, gives an account of the authorities’ misconduct, who presumed that the perpetrators were to be found in the surroundings of the victims, and problematizes the ensuing media reports and the stigmatization of the victims as criminals, the German and Turkish languages mingle with Bavarian dialect. Everyday accounts of the victims are juxtaposed with low points in the German history of Nuremberg: » Nuremberg, city of the Reichsparty convention. Nuremberg laws. Nuremberg under attack. Nuremberg process.«
The artist duo unfolds a multiple narrative that seeks to do justice to all dimensions. Media-related, personal, and national histories overlap, just like the views of the city that are shown either directly or as reflections on opaque windows.
Depth of Field thus replicates the structures of the crime on a visual level as well, whose complexity is revealed through the spoken narration circling around the locations. The scenes gradually lead to a picture of a city whose building facades show no visible traces of the violent crimes that took place there. Only the tilting image frame, a central stylistic means, visualizes the disruption of normalcy and the collapse of daily life when violence erupts.
The artistic documentary film is the first collaboration between the two artists and adapts journalistic methods to question historical coherence and continuity. (Jana Bernhardt)

Alex Gerbaulet