E Melhus

Bjørn Melhus :: Again and Again (The Borderer) :: video installation
ZKM Projektraum Medienmuseum :: 22.3. - 5.5.  

In the work Again and Again (The Borderer) Bjørn Melhus explores the horrific vision of cloned people and the infinite multiplicity of the individual. Like all acting figures in his films and videos, this one is also embodied by the artist himself.

To the heartbeat rhythm of the background music the figure of a seemingly sexless young man copies itself. In love with himself and thrilled with the copies of his own self the figure repeatedly produces new lookalikes. The clones created are more than simply perfect. Unlike identical clones they differ from the original, morph to a new, apparently improved species that consists of pure surface. The front and back sides of the new figures are completely identical. The total disintegration of the identity through the creation of a two-dimensional transfer is commented on in the video with the words "it’s fabulous". Superficiality becomes an improvement, identity is lost in multiple figures. Thus the original has outlived its purpose, becomes superfluous, and is ultimately displaced by the new, improved copies.

An important aspect of the work is conveyed via the soundtrack. Melhus employs in his works existing material taken from films and television. For Again and Again the soundtrack and dialogs of a US program advertising jewelry served him as a starting point. In an ironic touch, he links the promotional catchwords and eulogies with the horrific scenario of people devoid of identity. The existing sound material is newly combined, sentences, snippets of sentences and words are wrested from their original context and rearranged, the narrative structure is broken up until there is ultimately no overall sense. There is no longer any real communication between the acting figures; they only exchange meaningless phrases.Melhus belongs to a generation that grew up with the medium of television, and TV provides him with his sources, models and ideals. In his works he copies the icons of the mass media, and explores the influence of the medial world on our reality.

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Bjørn Melhus
born 1966 in Kirchheim/Teck, lives and works in Hannover and Berlin, Solo exhibitions: 2001 Primetime Kunstverein Hannover, Limboland (film-video-retrospective) a.o. Goethe Institut Los Angeles, Goethe Institut Toronto, Babylon Berlin, Caligari Wiesbaden; 2000 Again & Again (The Borderer) Galerie Birner & Wittmann, Nürnberg; Gute Freunde (Good Friends) Museum Schloss Hardenberg, Velbert, Kunstverein Wolfenbüttel; 1999 ich bin du (me is you) Skulpturenmuseum Glaskasten, Marl, Primetime vol.1, Galerie Anita Beckers, Frankfurt; Group exhibitions (selection): 2000 reality checkpoint – körperszenarien/body scenarios Edith-Ruß-Haus, Oldenburg; 1998/99 8. Marler-Video-Kunstpreis a.o. Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Neues Museum Weserburg, Kunstverein Braunschweig; 1996 German Video Art Metropolitan Museum of Contemporary Photography, Tokyo


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