SO LONG AFTER SUNSET AND SO FAR FROM DAWN – 2014-15 – film (7min) / installation. Original language : Kurdish. Version with English subtitles available.
FILM – Oscillating between the birth and decline of light, night plunges the ruins of Ani (ancient Armenian capital) and some under construction buildings of Mardin (at the Syrian border) into the blueish glows of their own destinies, between past and future, in a uncertain present. Subtitles accompany the film where a dialog builds up between titans and gods, two mythological opposite entities symbolising mechanical and organic, order and desire, and reveal their tragic irreconciability.
INSTALLATION – The installation So long after sunset and so far from dawn is made of a screen and two photographs displayed side by side, all of the same height and constituting a fresco. In the film, a Kurdish and subtitled voice, treated as music and accompanied by other musical elements, unfolds an imaginary dialog between a Titan and a God.
CREDITS film, music, texts and photographs by Romain Kronenberg / Kurdish translation by Kawa Nemir / with Mehmet Korkut and Mazlum Adıgüzel.
CATALOGUE DU 61ème SALON DE MONTROUGE – Guillaume Désanges
Romain Kronenberg (a musician and film-maker) develops a work in sparseness and precision, a way of sublimating a complexity of affects and thoughts in the simplicity of the object (material and cinematographic).
He designs hybrid installations, kind of total artworks, somewhere between sculpture, music, photography and film, forming landscapes arising from the spatial explosion of a film, and organised around recurrent objects, at once sculpture sculptures in space and props, or even fully-fledged characters.
Based on a dense network of references, intentional as much as intuitive (and whose outlines, let us wager, depends as much on the spectator as on the artist), the work proceeds on a game of non-control or theoretical “letting-go”, giving pride of place to the imagination. Relying on the emergence of chance within an established programme, there is a sort of poetic relay of the discourse which determines its forms. Among the motifs hidden in the folds of the narrative, we find the issues of life force and stagnation, progress and decline, never in a Manichaean way (or even dialectically), but in a logic of identity-related tension, like the two sides of one and the same reality. This unity of opposites is very present in Romain Kronenberg’s film writing, just as the figure of a time curled up or folded beneath the form of a tight arc, between power and fragility. Based on the resurgence of the fantastic and myth in contemporary reality, it is the eye which the work casts on a current state of the world which is the most disturbing, shedding indirect light on the marks of a change of civilisation, somewhere between resistance, resignation, hope and destruction.
What happens when references are too far removed from one another, when myths, the mythologized and facts collide and collapse onto one another? So long after sunset and so far from dawn (2014), Paris-based artist Romain Kronenberg’s arresting video, juxtaposes new high-rises being built in outer Mardin with the stoic yet somber remnants of the Armenian medieval city of Ani (located in present-day Kars). The apartment blocks rise seemingly in the middle of nowhere, encircled by the vast emptiness of Mardin plains, as the story of the fall of the Titans is narrated through subtitles. Minimal modulations of the two-tone electronic ambient sound occasionally mix with something akin to a whistle; the camera cuts from one view to another, switching between the abandoned and the not-yet-occupied.
In the video, the cranes over construction sites become “the great columns that support the sky,” whose guardian, Atlas, not only has to bear the weight of the heavens, but also that of loneliness. The absence of human activity, which will soon materialize anyways in the newly built environment, allows one to see more clearly how the ruins of Ani constitute memento mori for the expanding city. Kronenberg extends the “temporal relief” in Aktaş’s work, the suggested locus of all mythology, into a Bergsonian time spiral, and overlays it with elements like love and faith that immediately recall cycles of life. The simultaneously (homo)erotic and messianic addresses of the unidentified narrator to Atlas subvert a monolithic understanding of myth-making (in the Greco-Roman tradition) limited to patriarchal struggles among gods and demi-gods, and Zeus’ violation of beautiful women.