The prolific, enigmatic director Werner Herzog has traversed the world, from Antarctica to the Chauvet Cave to the Alaskan wilderness (and those are just his documentaries). He has also pulled some of the most controversial, taxing stunts in filmmaking history.
A short list: a mock Passion and the crucifixion of a monkey in Even Dwarves Started Small; eating his own shoe to settle a bet (and filming it); pulling a steamboat over a jungle mountain for Fitzcarraldo; pulling a gun on Klaus Kinski when he threatened to walk off the set of Aguirre. (To be fair, Kinski had it coming.)
Needless to say, Herzog can be as polarizing as he is fascinating. There is a lot in particular to be said about his fascination with the jungle (as a metaphor for many things). His abstracted (yet visceral) view of the tropical wilderness has been a key feature of many of his original films. The artwork currently on display at SOIL Artist-Run Gallery in Pioneer Square responds to this. The installation Jungle Heart by Ben Hirschkoff in the gallery’s front space is a salient example.
Devouring emotion and biological narratives are fused together in a tri-person show featuring Ben Hirschkoff, Adrienne Heloise, and Dakota Gearhart, where the artists respond to Werner Herzog’s description of the “The Obscenity of the Jungle” (from Les Blank’s Burden of Dreams) depicting nature as a cruel, self-satisfying, asphyxiating, overwhelming obscenity before which we should humbly pay our respects. The artists seek to further understand the so-called “tragedies” of evolution, including decay, fornication, and consumption through the lens of multidisciplinary art.
This Monday, March 20, Dakota Gearhart and Meg Hartwig lead a night of reading and discussion, regarding Herzog’s ideas and methods. Guests can bring a piece of writing related to Herzog to share or just come listen.
Werner Herzog Reading & Discussion Night
When: Monday, March 20 from 6pm to 8pm
Where: SOIL Gallery (112 3rd Ave S)
Free and open to the public.