The main focus of Anette C. Halm’s video works and performances is the self portrait. While relying on the tradition of the self portrait in the context of the history of art she is as well challenging the advancements of modern videography, constantly exploring the conflicts of her own identity in the process. Alternating between the exploration and the denial of her own self and the staging of a superficial reality, Anette C. Halm does exactly what videographers have constantly been criticized for since the 1970s: She uses the camera as a mirror and a merciless recording device. Rosalind Krauss in particular has examined this approach in her essay „Video. The Aesthetics of Narcissism“ and revealed the essence of videography (at least the videography of the 1970): „A video’s real medium is a psychological situation, the very terms of which are to withdraw attention from an external object – an ‚Other‘ – and invest it in the ‚Self‘.“. Halm also pursued self exploration in her numerous works and used the medium [of videography] as a „Technology of [=for exploring] the Self“, quite in line and agreement with Michel Foucault’s approach. Yet what appears to be so authentic is broken and fragmented as she so often identifies herself with the mass media. Whether she uses well known sound references from movie classics such as „Pretty Woman“ or „Gone with the Wind“ and uses their contexts and dialogues as her own or as some sort of re-enactment based on movie history, the enacted person [or her own person] cannot be looked at out of context: Life follows TV! Halm’s works have a therapeutic quality. If there is such a thing as ‚therapy through art‘, there also must be a ‚therapy through media‘, which Halm has tested on her own and with herself as the object of her testing. Is this despicable or subject to dispute? Rather, therapy is a common result of art in general. In the words of movie maker Heinz Emigholz: „Since Freud stated that artists heal their own neuroses, artists heal their own neuroses.“ This is exactly what gives the thrill to Halm’s works: Where does artistic observation and articulation cross over into personal healing? Ever since art has been regarded as an independent and autonomous field of work (from Piero di Cosimo to Tracy Emin) there has been no clear definition do distinguish between personal therapy and artistic autonomy, between [psychological] analysis and the representation of facts or fiction – and there will never be one. Halm does not even pretend to hide this discrepancy, as some of her male competitors would do. Yet she uses mainstream Hollywood as a protective shield to divert the view from looking inside, but rather develops a view of a ‚persona‘. As the art historian Beat Wyss repeatedly states, the term ‚persona‘ derives from ancient Greek theater and denotes the mask that was typical for the character in the performance (drama or comedy). What Anette C. Halm tries to achieve is a characterization of emotional states such as desolation and rage, love and pain. The scope of her work has continuously expanded in the process and ranges from scripts to live performances, such as the performance of „Undine“ dedicated to Ingeborg Bachmann. Be it video, script or performance – Anette C. Halm proves in her works the courage to risk crash and burn. Just as Christoph Schlingensief, she also does not shy from crossing the borderline between descriptive and embarrassing. And show which is neither expected nor strategically calculable. This kind of mercilessness repeatedly shows in her documentaries in which she depicts and deals with sex and gambling addicts while developing a strange closeness to them. Digital online media such as chats and video blogs, which – following her natural intuition – she occasionally likes to use, are possibly suited to be the best continuation of this auto portrait of Anette C. Halm. Within a few years, Anette C. Halm has created her own artistic universe, built from her astonishing drive and energy as well as a mixture of naïveté and strategic acting. And in her charming manner she always shoots for the target but scores far beyond. This is just as well a way of overstepping boundaries – and a very pleasing form of transgression it is.

(Ulrich Wegengast, translation Sandro Weiss)
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