+ Béla Tarr
Marianne Vitale, Double Decker Outhouse (Next), 2011, reclaimed lumber, 12 x 3 x 3 ft. Courtesy the artist and Zach Feuer Gallery.
Movie poster of Sátántangó, 1994 , directed byBéla Tarr. Poster donated by Artplex Attica S.A.
Q+A: Marianne Vitale
How has the artist you chose influenced or inspired you?
And in turn how have you influenced those around you?
How has the audience, if at all, been influential?
For the sake of the exhibition, I must choose a creator of influence. I went through half dozen dead poets, a few live ones. I thought about my butcher, my lover...I went on, reeling in the past, wrestling memory to conjure up my most lit moments.
I was brought back to my years at the School of Visual Arts studying film. At the time I had an internship with Anthology Film Archives (quite different from a mentorship). Stationed in the darkness of the cutting room, with film cement and splicer, to sift through cans of rare, priceless, cracked works of Deren, Brackhage, and others. Our editing instructor at SVA taught us a quick tip to tell which side the emulsion was on by touching the film strip to your mouth—one side sticks. My lips are all over those archives.
In exchange for labor we could sit through all screenings. I had never heard of Béla Tarr before, and Sátántangó was on the calendar. Taking in this seven hour masterpiece inspired my continued need to be an artist. Soon after I graduated from SVA I toured Europe. I traveled to Hungary, took a train to Pecs,
Béla Tarr's birthplace. Why? What did I expect to find? Béla Tarr? I thought I would step into the universe I felt while watching
his film? I didn't know a thing about Eastern Europe, it's culture, politics. In some way my voyage was bleak, almost dreadful,
missing trains, getting on wrong ones...being detained in Slovenia, where, I later learned, there was war on down the road. Didn't talk to a soul for months. I cringe reading the journal entries, so naive. I was romanticizing about things I
had no fucking clue about. I guess I believed Béla Tarr's
cinematic vision as truth... and thought I could locate it—
his trance, the phantasm, his head-trip.