Johor

2003
Country: Switzerland / Malaysia
Duration: 19 mins
Colour,
Sound: sound
Ratio: 4:3
Available Format/s: SD Digital file
Original Format: SD Video

  ,

“In the first scene of Hanspeter Ammann’s video Johor, tourists wander about the courtyard of a temple somewhere in South East Asia.  One elderly gentleman brusquely waves away some children who are blocking his view, though the focus of the spectacle lies just out of camera range.  We look at the people looking, not seeing the things they see, and our ignorance creates an effect of mystery.  What secrets do the glittering walls contain, what manner of enlightenment do these (perhaps unconscious) pilgrims seek?  As if in answer, the next image shows the awesome twin towers in Kuala Lumpur – temples of commerce, yet reaching up to the sky with infinite aspiration and longing.  Thereafter, the scenes oscillate between questioning and response.  Many of the subjects (groups and individuals, easterners, westerners, a man sitting in an empty restaurant, a woman lighting her cigarette at a window) seem faintly lost as though waiting for some nameless revelation.  It arrives in the form of pure beauty.  We glimpse a bride and groom posing ceremonially at a traditional wedding, and their festive solemnity reminds us of the pudgy gods and goddesses we also see adorning a fantastically coloured façade.  Temples, caves, murals and people as still as murals – serenely self-sufficient images that offer redemption and yet withhold it.  We feel we are in the presence of a plenitude whose meaning finally slips from our grasp.  Ammann’s tableau-like shots suggest moments frozen in eternity, while the nonsynchronous soundtrack implies the whole human commotion going on regardless.  An elusive, elegant tape that grows richer with each viewing.” Peter Matthews, Sight and Sound, London

More works by Hanspeter Ammann

We’d love to hear from you

If you would like to speak to a member of our team, please get in touch

VISIT US

LUX, Waterlow Park Centre,
Dartmouth Park Hill, London, N19 5JF, UK

Telephone: +44 (0)20 3141 2960

Sign up to our newswire to stay up to date with everything LUX

LUX is a registered charity and not-for-profit company limited by guarantee:

Company No: 4421812
VAT No: 795 9063 73
Charity No: 1094936

Artis Council Supported Logo

© 2021 LUX. All rights reserved.

Skip to content