Conceptual Paradise

Screening and discussion with Prof. Dr. Stefan Römer
May 9th, 2007

In a three-year cinematic research, the artist and author Stefan Römer and his film team interviewed numerous outstanding, international artists. In the intellectual debate in front of the camera, Stefan Römer developed a special cinematic way of reflecting on the state of international contemporary art.

The film essay “Conceptual Paradise” (110 min) traces discussions that gave rise to the intellectual art movement of “conceptual art” in the 1960s and have led to the most relevant issues in contemporary art today. The artists talk about their own artistic practices and the socio-historical development of the various conceptual movements. It becomes clear that there can be no single valid definition of conceptual art, since the permanent confrontation with it also constitutes its art-theoretical and philosophical complexity. This includes, for example, the question of whether there is an objectless art.

In the discussions with the most interesting living artists and art theorists, the fiction and ideality of an art as a political debate come to life. The history of art is a history of struggles over strategies of representation. Therefore, this film about conceptual art is also a film about filmmaking. Stefan Römer reflects on documentary film in several digressions with the well-known German filmmaker Hartmut Bitomsky.

With the documentary essay “Conceptual Paradise” Stefan Römer continues his analytical examination of the forms and narrative modes of artistic documentation. In addition to his extensive photo cycles, the Super-8 film “Corporate Psycho Ambient” (released by 235 media Cologne on DVD 2004) and the short film “The Analysis of Beauty” (elaborately created from individual photo montages) were recently released (on the DVD “Loop Pool” by Graw Böckler, commissioned by the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen 2005). His filmic practice extends back through the period of video activism in the mid-1990s via interview videos, for example, of the 1993 exhibition “Unfair,” to his numerous multimedia punk performances in the 1980s.