Conceptual artist and filmmaker Renée Green creates deeply researched works that explore specific spaces and make visible the ideas, memories, and perceptions layered within them. Her “essay films” create dialogues between distant places and become visual examinations of longing, loss, and a lack of center in a modern global world.
Green’s 2015 work Begin Again, Begin Again is the latest installment in the Museum’s New Media Series. The film centers on the West Hollywood home and surrounding gardens of architect Rudolph M. Schindler, built in 1922 and considered a masterpiece of modernist architecture. Throughout the film, a baritone voice reads from Schindler’s 1912 manifesto “Modern Architecture: A Program,” which he wrote before immigrating to California.
Beginning in 1887 in Vienna, Austria, the year and city of Schindler’s birth, the 40-minute film moves through time and space to reach Los Angeles in 2015. Footage of the Schindler House is interspersed with many “elsewheres” in between the two cities, including underwater scenery and open expanses of land. Throughout the film, historical archival imagery marks events from those years, including wars, struggles for freedom, and migration. A reflection on life, death, and time, Begin Again, Begin Again explores what emerges between Vienna and Los Angeles over 128 years. Green’s film exposes problems inherent to utopian ideologies of modernism underpinning apparently neutral, natural, and contemplative spaces.
New Media Series is devoted to showcasing film and video as an integral part of contemporary-art practice. This exhibition is curated by Hannah Klemm, assistant curator of modern and contemporary art, with Molly Moog, research assistant.