Maya Schweizer’s film works revolve around questions of history, identity, and memory connected to spaces and how we perceive them.
One of the main interests of the artist, who also works with photography and collage, is urban space as the interface between individual and collective action. This is where social realities and temporal stratifications occur, which are captured and set in relation to one another in montages. Observations of situations and found footage serve as springboards for an artistic read of everyday spaces and merge with other elements to tell new stories. Public space serves as a historical image that can be entered into, one whose textures can be read, but also reformulated from an individual perspective. The respective visual language used and the degree of blurring between documentation and orchestration are always in service of specific aims. – Andreas Prinzing, Camera Austria 136, Dezember. 2016
Maya Schweizer shows:
A Memorial, a Synagogue, a Bridge and a Church, 2012, 12 min
“In Maya Schweizer’s video “A Memorial, A Synagogue, A Bridge and A Church”, a square is turned into a laboratory setting, the artist into a meticulous observer of everyday situations. Where are we? The location is “Fish Square”, Rybné námestie, in Bratislava. Here stands “The Holocaust Monument”, a five-meter high bronze statue by the Slovakian artist Milan Luká?. It was erected in 1996/97 where the old synagogue once stood. From the detailed observations of the materials making up the sculpture and the square, Maya Schweizer guides the viewer around the square on film. Without the havoc wreaked by the Second World War, or the invention of the automobile, the peculiar overlapping of epochs and the parameters for organizing the space of this square would have certainly been very different. Here the period after 1945 is exemplary for the assault launched by postwar Modernism. It has resulted in an irreparable disfigurement that has since dominated this location and each of its composite parts, the monument, the synagogue, the bridge, and the church.” – Brigitte Franzen
Texture of Oblivion, 2016, 18 min
The film begins with footage of a city of ruins, when the entire cityscape of Warsaw is covered with stones.
It is 1945. Themed around stones as carriers of historical memory, the movie is so closely filmed that the viewer can never see the city’s memorials in their entirety. Special attention, though, is paid to the author of the Umschlagplatz Wall, a monument located in the former Ghetto. Hanna Szmalenberg is explaining the process of realization of the Umschlagplatz as the camera winds through a snow-covered sculpture garden.
A tall Tale, 2017, 16:30 min
“A thin crack extending from the roof, down the front of the building and into the adjacent lake“ forms the mise en scene of the film, noted by the narrator when he arrives at the House of Usher.
A cinematic ghost seems to lead the spectator onwards, passing through a landscape of ruins and films and ruins of films that evoke phantoms and fairies
Regarde par ici, …Und dort die Puschkinallee, 2017/18, 25 min
Didn’t look that different? The camera’s gaze rises high above an area in Berlin, where the paths of tourists, homeless people, passersby and police officers cross. Then the gaze sweeps into the interior of a room and we realize where we are: in a watchtower that once controlled the no man’s land where East and West collided. In the background we hear radio broadcasts connecting time and space – a transformation of the regimes of gaze as the transformation of disciplinary architectures. The entire scenario metaphorically short-circuits the architectural and social “interior and exterior” and shows our social order as historically stratified power relations of exclusions, demarcations and transitions.
Maya Schweizer (b. 1976 in Paris, France) lives and works in Berlin. She studied at the university, Aix-Marseille I, at the Academy of Visual Arts Leipzig and Berlin University of the Arts, where she graduated. Maya Schweizer exhibited at Kunstverein Leipzig (2017-18), Drawing Room Hamburg (2017-18), Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2016); Skulpturenmuseum Glaskasten Marl (2016); Nordstern Videokunstzentrum, Gelsenkirchen (2016); 45cbm, Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden (2015); GAK Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst, Bremen (2015); GRASSI Museum für Angewandte Kunst Leipzig (2015); MWW Wrocław Contemporary Museum (2015).