At first sight, the sixty-minute video “Die reine Notwendigkeit” developed especially for the Städel Museum looks like a direct appropriation of the popular animated film “The Jungle Book” by Wolfgang Reithermann from 1967. For his work, Claerbout had the drawings re-created in an elaborate process – the major difference being that he eliminated the humanized character of the familiar animals the Bear, the Panther, the Snake, the Tiger etc and therefore all narrative thread. They now move through the jungle like members of their species in an animal documentary, undisturbed by humanity’s stories. Rather than telling the tale of a young boy, the video culminates every hour on the hour in the final scene of the 1967 original: the singing girl who has come to the jungle to fetch water. For Claerbout, this scene serves as the beginning and end of the loop dividing time into one-hour units on a large LED screen in the Städel Garden.
In his photographic and filmic installations, David Claerbout employs visual material ranging from found historical photographs and reconstructed images to films shot according to his instructions. He processes this material digitally in such a way that the boundary between photography and film becomes fluid. Claerbout deconstructs linear courses of time, thus inquiring into how we tell stories with images.
Picture: David Claerbout, Die reine Notwendigkeit, 2016