From My Desert

2019, animated film 

14 minutes

Director: Veneta Androva

Music: Nadia D’Aló & Benedikt Frey

Voice: Una Hepburn

FROM MY DESERT accompanies a young investor into the freeport in Geneva to a meeting arranged by his art dealer to review the terms and conditions of his most recent asset. When the purchase contract is concluded, the artwork will be stored in the tax-free zone for the next several years, until its market value increase makes a resale lucrative. Through labyrinthine aisles in the style of computer games, the computer-generated character moves through the strictly secured warehouse, built to preserve the anonymity of its customers, to a private, air-conditioned showroom. There, the investor meets the famous portrait of Martin Luther (1528) by Lucas Cranach the Elder.

“He was exhilarated about this first meeting. This kind of investment was new to him. Tangible assets were not his main forte, but since 2008 the art market had become more stable and profitable choice. He opened the heavy bullet-proof door to the private viewing room. […] He was mounted on the wall and illuminated by various spotlights. On this occasion, they saw each other for the first time. “Oh yeah, you’re all mine now,” said the investor out loud. […] He looked him deep in his eyes and was so impressed at how vividly they were painted. […]”

However, what’s supposed to be simply a tangible asset turns out to be so much more. Suddenly, the investor thinks he hears the painting speak, then he receives a friendly smile from Luther. A budding friendship begins between the investor and the reformer, they talk about “typical guy stuff” – such as how to use political power and loyalty to get ahead, and let others do the work while pursuing own interests. Soon, the young investor develops unknown erotic feelings for the serious and manly-looking Martin. Whenever he can, he visits him for a tête-à-tête in the “dark room”. However, Martin’s attention expires when the investor, who can’t bear the thought of losing his “beautiful prisoner”, becomes weak and loses sight of the common goal: the profitable resale.

Intelligent and with humor, Veneta Androva traces the grotesque absurdity of an art market that has degenerated into pure speculation and the questionable role of freeports, conjuring up the mutual attraction of “Protestant ethics and the spirit of capitalism” (as in the famous work of Max Weber published in 1905), and amalgamates in the hand-painted, animated portrait of “Martin” – in the installation it is already located in the transport box instead of in the museum – digital animation and painting.

Text: Eva Scharrer

Martin, 2019, oil on canvas, 30x45cm
The film hast been screened and exhibited at the following:

2020 BOOM, 48 Stunden Neukölln, online screening, Germany

2019 International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film, Germany

2019 I ENGINEER, Leipziger Baumwollspinnerei, WERKSCHAU Halle 12, Leipzig, Germany

2019 Monitoring, Kassel Documentary Film and Video Festival, Germany

2019 BAZA Award for Contemporary Art, Sofia City Art Gallery, Bulgaria (group exhibition)

2019 Perfekte Zustände, X LANE, Berlin (group exhibition)

Upcoming:

2020 LINOLEUM Contemporary Animation and Media Art Festival, Official Selection, Ukraine