Ruth Novaczek

The five presented films by the British artist Ruth Novaczek have one feature in common. They are all in a state of flux: Their audiovisual snapshots – images, sounds, text excerpts – flow one after the other, despite their fragmentary character, at times slower, at others faster. Yet differences can be found in both the tempi and the colouring. In Sense, black-and-white images alternate with monochrome images in red, green or blue. One can repeatedly discern urban motifs, New York, Venice: ›running from one place to another‹, the female narrating voice comments. Travelling permeates Novaczek’s films as a leitmotif, with the films functioning like a diary. In the deliberately diffuse picture quality of the recycled images recorded with a mobile phone or shot from a screen, the experiences dissolve to a train of thought; the viewer can grasp individual elements only at certain points. Novaczek indeed wants rational access to fail at times. Because our identity turns out to be similarly ‘intangible’ as the world we try to perceive: ›We are an identity in flux, Jewishness has many registers and tones, any of my own works embeds these questions within narratives that are not always overt, just as identity inhabits a subtextual dimension, informing and inflecting expression rather than forcing meaning out of the obvious.‹ The narrating voice in Episode corresponds with this: The loose sequence of city and landscape shots is accompanied by sentences such as ›It was a long journey, it didn’t make sense, nothing really connect to‹. In this incoherence of events one can also find a statement and a sense of life that the seemingly distinct determination of meaning, sense and identity is confronted by being ›out of place‹ in an historically preconfigured present, not as an idealised form but as an open sketch of identity.

Ruth Novaczek (* 1956 in London) lives and works as an artist and film-maker in London.

    Ruth Novaczek: Still from ›Radio‹, 2004-2011. Photo: Nikola Radić Lucati
    Ruth Novaczek: Still from ›Radio‹, 2004-2011. Photo: Nikola Radić Lucati
    Ruth Novaczek: Still from ›Radio‹, 2004-2011. Photo: Nikola Radić Lucati