Still Moving: The Films And Photographs Of Ulrike Ottinger (4 stars)

Still Moving: The Films And Photographs Of Ulrike Ottinger

Ulrike Ottinger, Begegnung im Grasland, 1988 / Courtesy of the artist/Ulrike Ottinger Filmproduktion

German filmmaker presents an exhibition of photographic prints and short film works

The only negative element which can be applied to this retrospective show by the German filmmaker Ulrike Ottinger is that the complete picture of her works comes with an exploration of her full-length films, some of which were shown elsewhere very early in the run of this exhibition, during the Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art. While three shorter, more recent films are on display in a screening room here, most of the pieces presented in Still Moving are photographic works which particularly document her output from the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s, after she had returned to Germany following time in Paris during the late 1960s. Yet many specialist photographers would be happy with such a rich catalogue.

Specifically, the bulk of the pieces shown document her 'Berlin Trilogy' of films ('Ticket of No Return' (1979); 'Freak Orlando' (1981); 'Dorian Gray in the Mirror of the Yellow Press' (1984)), which together conjure Berlin as a sumptuously-costumed Brutalist dystopia which absorbs references to Woolf, Wilde, noir cinema, science fiction and Biblical costume drama, in a manner which is gorgeously elegant and degradingly violent in turn.

The rest of the photographs refer to 'Johanna d'Arc of Mongolia' (1989), which was shot in Mongolia and reflected Ottinger's interests in colonialism and ethnography, once again conjuring a furiously detailed symbolic psychogeography of the imagination.

Hunterian Art Gallery, Glasgow, until Sun 29 Jul.

Ulrike Ottinger

Images by German filmmaker and photographer whose work has hardly been seen in the UK.

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