Since 2012 the series FADE INTO YOU of Kunsthalle Mainz presents and discusses video works of international artists.
Sabine Idstein presents episode XXXIX
Wednesday, 11 March 2015, 7 pm
Marcel Odenbach – Im Schiffbruch nicht schwimmen können, 2011, color, sound; 8:23 min
Eugène Delacroix, who watched Théodore Gericault creating his work “The Raft of the Medusa” (1819) nearly 200 years ago, is reported to have said that the viewer of the depiction of the raft felt as if he, too, stood with one leg in the water.
The picture delivers an immediate shock. Its subject is the famous catastrophe, which was considered to be the consequence of inappropriate political decisions. After the French frigate Medusa was shipwrecked on its way to take over the colony of Senegal from the British, 149 people were imperiled as they were set adrift on a raft on the ocean. Only 15 of them survived—by resorting to cannibalism—and were rescued to return to France.
Marcel Odenbach (born 1953, in Cologne) surveys the world-renowned painting in the Louvre, together with three African men; these men originated from former colonies, and also entered Europe by sea. Odenbach invites the viewer of “Im Schiffbruch nicht schwimmen können” to participate in the immigrants’ viewpoint, by capturing in images their statements about escape, home sickness, apprehension, and what it is like to be an outsider.