press release

In Toute la mémoire du monde – The world’s knowledge, Nina Fischer and Maroan el Sani reinterpret French director Alain Resnais’ similarly titled 1956 film. Resnais’ twenty three-minute documentary sweeps through the historic French Bibliothèque Nationale on Rue de Richelieu in Paris, exposing how the library functions as a storehouse of all the world’s knowledge. The jam-packed library seen in Resnais’ film is a stark contrast to the vacant library in Fischer and el Sani’s 2006 work—where that knowledge has now vanished. After a new Bibliothèque Nationale was opened in 1996, the Rue de Richelieu building was emptied of most of its collections, creating the ultimate setting for Fischer and el Sani to examine ideas of knowledge and memory.

As the camera slowly pans the deserted stacks and exquisite domed reading room, the viewer reacts to the emptiness, the feeling of loss, and the history of the space. Toute la mémoire du monde – The world’s knowledge carefully explores collective memory. Even within the shell of the historical building and void of books, the library feels full. By presenting the empty space, Fischer and el Sani focus on the withdrawal of knowledge while commenting on the subjectivity of memory.

Yet, the rooms are not completely empty. Throughout the seven-minute film, the viewer is confronted with a series of young people, sitting at tables or standing around, waiting. These interjections into the architectural landscape of the film entice a viewer. With their uninterested poses and the heightening feeling given off by the electronic soundtrack, the filmmakers allude to the possible resentment that might arise with the loss of “all the world’s knowledge.”

Nina Fischer was born in 1965 in Emden, Germany and attended the University of the Arts in Berlin. Maroan el Sani was born in 1966 in Duisburg, Germany and attended the Freie Universität in Berlin. They have worked together since 1993 and currently live and work in Berlin and Sapporo, Japan. Select exhibitions include Museum of Contemporary Art, Hiroshima; Stedelijk Museum Bureau, Amsterdam; Neues Museum, Weimar; and Museum of Modern Art, Amstelveen. This is their first solo exhibition in the United States.

only in german

Nina Fischer, Maroan el Sani
Toute la mémoire du monde - The world's knowledge
Ort: The Jones Center