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Das Pelzchen

Michael Curran
1997
1 min Colour 16 mm

Das Pelzchen

Michael Curran explores his obsession with Sacher-Masoch, and in this film revisits Rubens' eponymous masterpiece.

In the style of an incomplete film trailer, the grainy, tinted images have a beauty which belies the sinister nuances of the voice-over.

"I was in delightful company: the lady who sat facing me across the massive Renaissance Fireplace was none other than Venus; she was no demi-mondaine who had taken a pseudonym to wage war upon the masculine sex, but the goddess of Love in person.

She had lit a crackling fire and was settled in a comfortable armchair; the firelight flickered over her pale face, her white eyes and from time to time her feet when she sought to warm them. Her head was magnificent in spite of the stony lifeless eyes, but this was the only part of her I was able to see, for the sublime creature had wrapped her marble body in a great fur beneath which she was huddled like a shivering cat."

Venus in Furs / Sacher-Masoch

In 1997 Michael Curran came to Vienna with the intention of unveiling the mystery of Rubens painting "Das Pelzchen" (The little fur) in the Kunsthistoriche Museum. The painting, a combination of portrait and mythological travesty, is a key reference in Leopold von Sacher-Masoch's literary work "Venis im Pelz", immortalised by the Velvet Underground in their song "Venus in Furs". Curran, whose films contain aspects of masochism, develops a disturbing video work in which he combines various elements: the rooms of the old museum, it's video surveillance system, played scenes, an insinuated art attack that is never quite solved"

Karin Zimmer / Air exhibition catalogue, page13

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