MADI PILLEROne of the things that characterize Madi Piller’s work is her ongoing experimental approach to film processes, exploiting all the possibilities that the medium offers in all its forms and sizes. The constant research of new techniques, procedures and ways of making new kind of unseen images, emerge from the filmstrip guide her work, that moves across two dimensions: on the one hand, the one related to formal concerns, to visual pleasure and to an abstract approach to film, either through film manipulation and processing or through the work on the animation stand, with different materials and techniques, or just by letting herself go in the sheer impulse of shooting. On the other hand, especially present in her most recent works, the one that draws from a deep exploration of memory and of her roots looking for her own identity, in films in which the personal is intermingled with the collective and political. This selection of works, necessarily partial and incomplete since she has made more than 40 films and installations since the late 90s, goes through some of the aspects and interests of her work. In her constant experimentation with analog formats, Madi Piller has developed an endless imagination that revises and reinvents itself for each film, without any boundaries when it comes to think in new ways of generating images (and of new reasons to generate them), for the film, in this case, justifies the means.PROGRAMINTO THE LIGHT: THE FILM RESISTANCE
Madi Piller, Austria, Canada, 2016, 35mm to video, 4 min.
Mushroom spores contacted onto 35mm for a decade are collected, then printed onto high contrast black and white film, before hand colouring. A cosmological impression, a dazzle of specks and ribbed circles. Made during a residency at MQ21 in Vienna. Music by Stephen Voglsinger, recorded live at Sternstudio Gallery, Vienna during a film performance in April 2016. (Mike Hoolboom)FILM ON FILM
Madi Piller, Canada, 2014, super 8, 4 min.
Kaleidoscopic structures mirror and dissolve in a circular iris, shimmering with colour, perfectly abstract, shot on super 8 film. The pictures were prepared by painting 35mm film frame by frame. These frames were optically printed and the resulting footage was hand-processed and manipulated. These images were then transposed to acetate cels before being re-animated onto super 8 using reflections in glass. Original music by Rick Hyslop. (M.H.)7200 FRAMES UNDER THE SUN
Madi Piller, Canada, 2011,super 8 double projection, 3 min.
The film is comprised of two super 8 films, each fifty feet, created in camera. One flm animates the landscape with methodical incremental movements that flash rapidly changing images, offering the flora of northern Ontario. The second film focuses a lingering lens on outcroppings of solid rock exposing fossil-like imagery and sensual shapes that visually insinuate their primal connection to the advance and retreat of the glaciers that were central to their formation. (M.H.)BACCHANAL
Madi Piller, Canada, 2014, super 8, 15 min.
A particular record of the Caribana, the biggest street carnival in North America, a yearly celebration of the Caribbean culture that takes place every August in Toronto since 1967. Beginning as an abstract celebration of color and shapes in the decoration and costumes, the film surrenders to the dances and the faces, to end up joining the collective twerking.GRAFITTI
Madi Piller, Canada, 2003, 16mm, 2 min.
Building reflections in water. Originally shot on super 8, then optically printed onto
16mm stock, then hand-painted with red ink and reprinted. The architecture is
flowing, breathing. (M.H.)THE SHIFTING SANDS
Madi Piller, Canada, 2018, 16mm, 10 min.
Jacques Madvo’s documentary, Israel: Land of Destiny (1977), is abstracted in The Shifting Sands. Piller’s film asserts the intersection of history and identification with the Land through the personal struggles of the filmmaker’s father as a young Jewish refugee, arriving in 1946 in the British Mandate of Palestine. High contrast, repeated images of the war in 1948 immediately after the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz Israel (to be known as the State of Israel) interact with Madvo’s observations of Israeli society after its first 30 years of existence. The film juxtaposes images in a fractured timeline that reflects on the acceptance of the formation of a Jewish state. The work is framed within the philosophical thinking of Martin Buber and the recent history of Israel. Shifting sands can both erase and reveal human endeavour. (M.H.)UNTITLED, 1925 (TRILOGY)
Madi Piller, Canada, 2018, 16mm to video, 26 min.
Untitled, 1925 is a suite in three parts, through which filmmaker Madi Piller retraces a journey taken by her grandfather, Isaac Banarer, from his native Romania to Peru. Her tracing of this journey is not simply a physical re-enactment, a visit along a mapped route, but a confrontation with the nature of identity itself. […]. With this suite, Piller confronts her identity, not by definitions of blood or sensibility, but as the result of a complex migration, an identity pitched between civilizations, each with their own deep roots and legacies. (Stephen Broomer)NOT MOLDOVA, 1937
Madi Piller, Canada, 2019, 16mm to video, 13 min.
In another virtuoso turn, the artist brings her exemplary camera eye to Moldova, home of her grandparents, before they were driven out along with their Jewish comrades, thousands of them killed. Fragments of survivor testimonials mix with archival photographs and objects, along with present-day city celebrations (what is being forgotten in these civic rites of memory?). Haunted natural scapes grow over the dead, the abandoned graveyards and stones mark the places where culture and community used to be performed. This is a synoptic act of grieving, but also: a summoning of the present, a conjuring of the thousand ways that the betrayals of neighbours and friends marked out the Jews who had lived peaceably amongst them for generations, newly caught now in a terror of state oppression and greed. (M.H.)