Max Ernst, Caspar David Friedrich, Niki de Saint Phalle and Friedensreich Hundertwasser have already portrayed director Peter Schamoni, formerly a representative of the New German Cinema of the 1960s (“Closed time for foxes”). Now it is the tu

Posted by Bragg Cain on January 14th, 2021

Fernando Botero was born in Medellín in 1932. At the age of 16 he exhibited his pictures for the first time. From now on he devoted his life to art, with Paul Gauguin being his great role model from the start. After studying in Madrid, he moved to New York, where he was unable to assert himself against the supremacy of Andy Warhol's abstract painting. His success story only begins in Germany, where his works are accepted, bought and exhibited. In his extremely productive life he created numerous paintings and sculptures. The latter are exhibited in numerous metropolises, such as Berlin, New York and Barcelona. These are also the cities to which Schamoni accompanies the artist in order to let him tell stories on site. Botero wants to create his own reality in his art, because the right one already exists. So he wouldn't draw an orange, but rather eat it beforehand and then record his idea of ​​the same - the dictum is not restricted by reality. In addition to the anarchic proportions, the rich color compositions, which for Botero largely determine a painting, play the second major role. The bullfight, the “dance with death”, is a central theme of his works. Because there watch TV shows is teeming with colors, colorful costumes and red scarves, which Botero allows to flow into his pictures ...Peter Schamoni accompanies the artist to important places in his life, such as Tuscany, New York or Madrid. He does not conduct interviews with him, but simply lets him talk. Above all about the reception of his art, but also about private strokes of fate, such as the accidental death of his four-year-old son, which he repeatedly processes in his pictures. “Botero” does not suffer from the content, but from the formal design. In a review of the evening newspaper it was said: “This documentary indulges in Botero pictures…” And that is unfortunately not the case. Underlaid with driving music, a sculpture of Botero is shown at the beginning of the film in umpteen quickly successive shots - from the front, from the back, near, far, again from the front and so on. So the viewer does not have the opportunity to look at the work in peace. Botero's pictures also follow one another too quickly: sometimes in sequences that leave each painting for around two seconds, sometimes in detailed shots of certain aspects of the images that are also presented in a highlight. Schamoni takes this to extremes when he shows two pictures at once using a split screen or works with picture-in-picture techniques, as is known from TV commercials. Where should you look? Sure, this procedure makes sense in some places. For example, when a comparison is made between the “Mona Lisa” and Botero's version of the same. But as a rule the formal design prevents indulging in the images, which are such an essential part of Botero's life.In Schamoni's documentation, the focus is primarily on the artist's reception; The director visits museums in a precise and clearly structured manner and visits cities in which Botero's sculptures are publicly exhibited. “Botero” always works extremely well when it mixes the past with the present. Schamoni cleverly uses old documentary recordings to assemble them between his current ones. And here - with this interlacing of past and present - the split screens also make sense.Even if Schamoni often gets in his own way with his kind of montage and for the most part denies the viewer an own critical examination of Fernando Botero, one notices the versatility of Schamonis a

Bragg Cain

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Bragg Cain
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