Assaf Gruber’s films examine how art affects individuals who are not necessarily drawn to it. What may seem to be at the margins of culture sometimes turns out to be its most conspicuous parts. The films’ plots emerge from the situations of their characters, addressing the ways in which personal stories become intertwined with political ideologies, and how social relations between private and public spheres are shaped.
Gruber’s protagonists include: a sixty-year-old man, who due to his religious background was rejected multiple times from East German art academies in the 1970s; a retired security guard from the Old Masters Gallery in Dresden, who now wants to spend the rest of her days as a volunteer in an avant-garde museum; and the Chinese owners of a manufacturing company for contemporary sculpture in Poland.
Composed of transcribed and edited conversations alongside film stills with captioned subtitles, the conceptual design of each of the book’s eight chapters allows Gruber to present the films (or their protagonists), as the third party in each discussion, as if they too are commenting, questioning, and completing the dialogue.