monografischer Artikel | monographic review

(catalogue text)
by Anne-Kathrin Auel

Michael Brynntrup does not keep his diaries shut up. He provides access to the pages which he has written since 1979 on three medial levels: a selection of diary pages (78 in total) are presented by the artist framed and behind glass. This block hangs opposite a DVD projection showing the Super8 and 16mm filming of the first diaries in an ongoing loop. A console between these two presentations allows online access to the project “”. Brynntrup offers his chronicles there for sale and ensures potential buyers that they will be the only one to receive any copy of the selected double page. With this limitation he follows the dictates of the art market and at the same time demonstrates the absurdities within the system because this “personal original” is itself a reproduction. The artist levels the process of creating value by placing the acquired facsimile online thus making it accessible to everyone. In this way, the act of purchasing does not entail taking something away from the larger public but rather making it available to them.

“Tabu” functions as an abbreviation (the german word for diary is “Tagebuch”) and at the same time is a virtual stamp that defines the project and makes one curious as it has to do with the intimate sphere of some other. As reader and viewer it is easy to become immersed in the material because Brynntrup writes as if he is only writing for himself, as if it were never his intent to make something public, although the intent to publish existed very soon. So much truth is contained in Brynntrup’s diary that it doesn’t matter if individual details are represented differently from how they were within the situation owing to the artistic intent behind the notations. If one asks others, the personal perception of what has occurred is always different. And this is particularly so with memories.

Michael Brynntrup devotes loving attention to the language that he uses and subtly reveals the humour contained therein with puns and word play. To see a man fucking a skull is unusual, though one can get some erotic pleasure from the viewing. I should ask gay men if this image pleases them in particular. I guess there is a stronger tendency towards self-love in homosexuality than among heterosexual couples. In that the love act here is enacted with something inanimate, the arousal and gratification can only come from the self. And because this one through whose member(s) blood flows devotes himself in his abandonment to death, he factors out the last spark of a drive for reproduction and self-preservation. Male potency meets human transience here and becomes one with it.

With “TABU / KONTINUUM” we decide where and whether we want to look and read and navigate. We consume what another has lived and finally decide whether we want to acquire some part of the taboo that has been lived for us by buying a page, then to possess it like a decorative graphic, an unusual picture story, a trophy or as an example to emulate.

(Catalogue 23rd Kassel Documentary Film & Video Festival, November 2006 - Anne-Kathrin Auel)


monografischer Artikel | monographic review
Cristina Nord, "Einblicke ohne Offenbarung", die tageszeitung, Berlin, 31.10.98
monografischer Artikel | monographic review
Robin Curtis, "Situating the Self" (excerpt on MB), Dissertation, 2003

Interview | interview
Steff Ulbrich, interview with MB, excerpt on »TABU I-IV«, printed in:
BERLIN - Images in Progress, Contemporary Berlin Filmmaking, Buffalo, 1989

Interview | interview
Steff Ulbrich, Interview mit MB, Auszug zu »TABU I-IV«, translated and printed in: BERLIN - Images in Progress, Contemporary Berlin Filmmaking, Buffalo, 1989