UNTITLED No. 15 Spring 1998

Real Fiction - Wigmore Fine Art
REVIEW by Gavin Wade

Real Fiction is a title which sounds very much like an opt out clause, or else an investigation into the politics of processing reality into fiction and vice versa. It's all about the real again these days isn't it! Heading straight for where the action is, I "break on through to the other side" with Stefan Banz's video Door to Door. A man in a blue shirt is out in the garden with his camcorder this looks real enough, low-budget shaking camera work just your average amateur video excursion waiting for something to happen, and here it comes in the form of that feared adversary, the next-door neighbour. Something is definitely up, but I can't tell what exactly as they're speaking in Swiss. The neighbour's intentions soon become clear as he lunges through the shrubbery, trying to land one on Mr Blue Shirt. Unsuccessful, he storms down the garden, breaks the gate down and proceeds to assault Mr Blue Shirt. A short scuffle ensues during which the camera is passed to Mrs Blue Shirt, who screams continuously. Why is it that a flailing kick will always land in the bollocks! It certainly slows the neighbour down, but he did manage to get in one good punch so he decides to leave the party. Mr Blue Shirt rushes out of shot and returns wearing sunglasses. He's not trying to look cool though, they must be prescription lenses and he's looking for his other glasses which came off in the fight. Fade out.

Next up on the screen is Dryden Goodwin's Hold; it looks like the film he showed in last years New Contemporaries, but that's fine as it really is worth a second viewing. Hold is a fascinating stretch of the imagination. Hypnotised by what sounds like endless notes on a scratchy violin you try to catch up with the film as thousands of people walk down the street, sit on benches or just generally hang around. Flickering on by, there must be about 5-10 different shots every second, you stand transfixed, engulfed in the elongated moment(s).Whereas Banz's Door to Door, though captivating, seems like an authentic one-off where he had a lucky break and happened to have his camera at hand, Goodwin's work seems pregnant with possibilities and I regretted that there wasn't more from this promising young film-maker Everything else seems a bit dull in comparison.

Luckily, I spotted a couple coming out of the bathroom and wondered what they had been up to. On the wall just where it should be, sits a waste paper dispenser with an altered frontage reading "Miss Susan (History Student ! Masseuse)': Susanne Weirich's Consolarion Dispenser give you a little something extra. Pull the lever for paper and Miss Susan tells you that she finds history fascinating and asks if you'd like the special. Hand is 25, oral is 40 and she doesn't go further than that. A male voice chooses. I presume she's getting down to the job at hand whilst reciting historical facts about the year one thousand and the imminent end of the world. "Excuse me, I'm coming already." says the lucky fella. "Oh, I'm sorry, I talk too much" says Miss Susan as he grunts and groans. A flurry of music fills the background and it's all over: "Thank you very much. "You're welcome, sir." A job well done. I head back upstairs to pull the lever on the other dispenser. What a let down; all you get this time is Mr Winston Wolf (Cleaner) and an excerpt from Pulp Fiction. Where was Miss Susan's excerpt taken from! Real or fiction! They've got me. Mainly because of the challenge set up by the title of the show, Real Fiction seems a bit like a quiz, except it seems so obvious which work is the real thing, I feel set up. Maybe that's the idea...