Nude Descending a Staircase

Sirah Foighel Brutmann and Eitan Efrat

HD video, color, 16:9, stereo sound, BE, 2015, 18’

The first part of Nude Descending a Staircase is a composition of clips found online that were made by visitors—pilgrims—to the remote memorial site of Walter Benjamin in Portbou, Spain. Each of these individual registrations is anchored in the specificity of the location. They start with the arrival to Portbou, go through the small town up to the cemetery, and end in a dramatic descent down Dani Karavan’s iconic staircase, which was created as an homage to Walter Benjamin. The assembly this audiovisual material transforms the autonomous experiences into one collective trajectory, and entangles collective memory, experience and the production of images.

The second part reveals another staircase, abandoned and barricaded, on a small stage-like platform, outside the former Espai Memorial Walter Benjamin. The second staircase modestly suggests an alternative mode of framing memory.

The title, borrowed from Marcel Duchamp’s 1912 painting, proposes to dialogue Walter Benjamin’s writing on history and reproduction with Duchamp’s attempt—in relation to the developments in photography—to capture movement autonomous from a body.

Selected exhibitions and screenings:

Wiels Brussels 2017; Plastik Dublin 2017; EUtopia Strombeek 2017; Argos Brussels 2016; November Film Festival London 2016; Skulpturenmuseum Glaskasten Marl 2016-2017; Les Rencontres Internationales Paris 2016.