"HERMETICA" 2018 / film, leyla rodriguez, video art, optimistic cover

HD / 05:08 min. / color / stereo

With a series of six short films in all, Leyla Rodriguez composes sequences of family and identity. In many cases, penetrating autobiographical and intimate shots are assembled, developing the character of moving collages. Ahistorical, multiply ambiguous, symbolically charged images suggest narratives that are ultimately left open. In this way, the films do not generate a stringent view of time or narrative, but in a kind of endless loop form variable interpretations and possibilities of entry. The relationship between nature, culture, ‘Heimat’ and ‘dépaysement’, comes across as a superordinate and recurring principle, generating the melancholy and yearning that overlie the films.

Leyla Rodriguez comes from a musical family. She grew up under the military dictatorship in Argentina that lasted from 1976 to 1983, and in 1984 she finally moved to Germany. Many of her relatives remain in Argentina, while others emigrated to the United States, Brazil and Australia, so that the once close-knit family has become dispersed. What remained was a feeling of lack of identity and a home for ever lost.

Various members of the family are musically integrated film by film, forming a focal point of the narrative without themselves appearing. In their place various shots of landscape, wild and domestic animals and Rodriguez herself – disguised as a hooded figure, as a hybrid between animal, human and textile – take on the role of abstract personifications. Old melodies, some composed by family members, are supplemented by new ones and back up the pictorial narratives. Sound sequences dominate the different scenes, linking them and becoming lead actors in their own right.

Much of the film material shows excerpts from the everyday life of the artist and creates a random, casual structure. In the expansion of often strange-looking images, aesthetic affinities arise between the images, creating a parallel world between order and disorder. The film medium alternates between photographic, pictorial and performative episodes and no clear categorization is possible.

The film series starts with The Separation Loop, dating from 2015, followed by Optimistic Cover, 2015, Supreme Presence, 2016, Interior Season 2017, Homeless, 2017 and the final film, completed 2018, Hermetica.