The Scorpion’s Sting

The Scorpion’s Sting

Museum Villa Stuck

Tobias Zielony, The Scorpion’s Sting, 1st Episode (still). Film. © Tobias Zielony, 2013.

April 14, 2014

Der Stachel des Skorpions (The Scorpion’s Sting)
An exquisite corpse based on Luis Buñuel’s L’Âge d’or

March 28–June 9, 2014

Museum Villa Stuck
Prinzregentenstraße 60
81675 Munich 
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Artists: Tobias Zielony, Chicks on Speed, M+M, Keren Cytter, Julian Rosefeldt and John Bock
Concept and artistic direction: M+M

Luis Buñuel’s film L’Âge d’or ranks as the seminal Surrealist film, of fundamental importance for that medium’s acceptance among the fine arts. The influence the film has exerted on contemporary art―especially on more recent narrative tendencies―is inestimable. For the project The Scorpion’s Sting initiated by the artist-duo M+M, the Museum Villa Stuck and the Institut Mathildenhöhe Darmstadt have invited six artist-groups or individual artists to reinterpret the Surrealist work. The approach of the Surrealists included the aim of making film, a multimedia form of expression, fruitful for the fine arts. In L’Âge d’or (1930) Luis Buñuel used radical, partly scandalous means to try and achieve a social impact―with a particular focus on an imaginatively expanded concept of reality. These features are also characteristic of important positions in art today. Six contemporary artists who use the medium of film will each respond to one of the six heterogeneous episodes in that surrealist film, presenting it from their viewpoint.

The sequence of the film L’Âge d’or adheres to the construction principle of an exquisite corpse consisting of six individual loosely connected elements or scenes. In the first scene, Buñuel himself underscores this compositional aspect of six narratives linked to form a whole by pointing to the six parts of the scorpion’s tail and by particularly emphasizing the poisonous sting (l’humeur venimeuse) at the end. Correspondingly, the film ends with the poisonously humorous final De-Sade scene.

The episodes of L’Âge d’or each have different thematic and stylistic features, and these were decisive in choosing the artists to participate in the project. Tobias Zielony engages with the unfathomable quasi-documentary scorpion scene at the beginning of the film. The Australian-American music-artists group Chicks on Speed develop their version of how groups present themselves today as a modern equivalent to the film’s bandits scene, with Max Ernst playing the Surrealist leader of the gang. The duo M+M takes the film’s violent separation of the lovers as their point of departure for a mysterious nighttime odyssey, while the Israeli artist Keren Cytter transfers the feast in the mansion to a Texan saloon using a mixture of fatal violence and boredom. The Berlin artist Julian Rosefeldt presents the death of Buñuel’s hero Modot, only to then have him turn up, post mortem, in the Deep Gold nightclub. The project ends with John Bock’s variation of Buñuel’s De-Sade grotesque, with an unsettlingly obscene view of the Marquis’s orgiastic deathbed.

Funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation and the Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain

Also on view: gute aussichten – junge deutsche fotografie // new german photography 2013/2014 (April 12–June 9). gute aussichten – junge deutsche fotografie // new german photography centres on an annual competition for final thesis projects from all German universities and academies offering a study course in photography. The award-winners of 2013/14 are Nadja Bournonville, Anna Domnick, Birte Kaufmann, Lioba Keuck, Alwin Lay, Marian Luft, Stephanie Steinkopf, Daniel Stubenvoll and Christina Werner.


Museum Villa Stuck presents The Scorpion’s Sting
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April 14, 2014

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