Between reality and fiction
Academy of Fine Arts Munich
Janis Joplin and James Dean, but also Dorothy from the “Wizard of Oz”, a talk-show host who resembles a priest, or a war veteran haunted by his memories – these are the more or less heroic protagonists in the cosmos of German-Norwegian artist Bjørn Melhus (*1966), all played by himself. Melhus makes films of a slightly different art: they could easily be called extraterrestrial, but they always remain close to our pop-cultural reality. Ironically, he uses plots and action schemataund in the mass media and investigates their relationship to the viewer. He always stages moving images to self-arranged composite soundtracks of found footage material from movies and television. While in “Again&Again” (1998) he offers clones for purchase and caricatures telesales, and in the wonderfully strange “Auto Center Drive” (2003) he lets icons of American pop meet, in “Deadly Storms” (2008) he stages a news show in which the viewer is informed about an alleged danger until he finally understands that this is primarily a media strategy to keep him sitting in front of the screen. In the past few years, Melhus has dealt especially with war and its consequences, for example in “I’m Not the Enemy”, which received the German Short Film Award in 2011.
Originally from the experimental film world, his works are shown at film and media festivals such as the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen or the European Media Art Festival in Osnabrück as well as in museums such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Serpentine Gallery in London or the Museum Ludwig in Cologne. Melhus has won numerous awards, including the Marler Video Art Award (1998), the HAP-Grieshaber Prize from VG Bild Kunst (2003) and the Prize of the Cinema Jury of the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen (2009).