Open End: Goetz Collection at Haus der Kunst, Munich

Open End is the fourth exhibition in an ongoing series of presentations of film and video works from the Goetz Collection in Haus der Kunst. Featuring the work of 14 renowned international artists, the cinematic works in this exhibition explore the idea of the open narrative with regard to the visual aspect and the use of language. As in the modern and contemporary novel, which constitutes one of the most overt aspects of the literary narrative, freer, open, narrative forms take the place of conventional, linear action towards an end point. Likewise, all the films in this exhibition share the trait of being open ended, thus pointing to affinities between the narrative techniques of the novel and visual structuring of contemporary film installations.

In House with Pool by Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler, for example, multiple plot lines are consistently pursued without ever touching – a woman waiting in a tidy house, a young girl fleeing from this house only to return, and the gardener who retrieves a dead deer out of the swimming pool. Not only is the end open, but also the beginning. And everything that provides the viewer with a certain order of events, allowing him to interpret these, remains mere conjecture.

In The Man with the Bag, Sebastian Diaz Morales joins six very similar episodes. In all episodes a man is walking through a bleak and desolate landscape while carrying a sack that hinders his progress. He trips in each episode, losing his bag’s contents – sometimes bones, sometimes rocks – and leaves his sack on the wayside only to continue his journey later from this same spot. A version of “Canto Ostinato” for two pianos and the sound of the wind constitute the soundtrack.

In Laurent Montaron’s film Balbvtio, a young boy shoots pigeons in an old church and unwraps a piece of paper from the leg of one of these birds. The text on the paper is as clear – or unclear – as Concrete Poetry. By all of these is the sequence of events as loose and with as many breaks as those in a dream.

The selection of works in Open End demonstrates that a film director has as many possibilities at his disposal as does the author of a novel in terms of artistic media and narrative techniques. These include the open end as well as the genre mix, the context, and episode story, the entire range of narrative perspectives (from the character perspective to the omniscient author, and all hybrids of these), the stream of consciousness as a technique, and the variation on a basic theme.

Open End, 28 September until 7 April, Haus der Kunst, Prinzregentenstraße 1, 80538 Munich.


1. Honey (mi), 2003, Yang Fudong, Courtesy Sammlung Goetz.
2.The Quickening, 2006, Sue de Beer, Courtesy Sammlung Goetz.
3. House with Pool, 2004, Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler, Courtesy Sammlung Goetz.