The Gold Projections

The world premiere of Joe Ramirez's groundbreaking work

Erika Clugston

Date: 07.02.17 – 19.02.17
Venue: Kulturforum

In the words of artist Joe Ramirez, “The Gold Projections are poems.” Silent films wash across a gilded surface like a painted dream, the chiaroscuro images morphing seamlessly into one another. Not bound by time, the painted film images are seductive and surreal in their storytelling. Though not paintings and not quite films, the misty moving images are a language born of both.

The world premiere of The Gold Projections, Joe Ramirez’s latest work, is presented by the Kulturforum on the occasion of the 67th Berlin Film Festival. Using a recently-patented process, Ramirez projects moving paintings onto a circular, hand-gilded wooden disc. Experimental and visually stunning, the images come alive on the textured gold-leaf surface. The gilding process is painstaking and time consuming – each sheet of gold leaf used is twenty-times thinner than a cigarette paper. The process is a labour of love, Ramirez’s life’s work.

While the creation process is complex and groundbreaking, the splendor of the films need not rely on the novelty of the process. The two-hour film-painting holds the viewer in its grasp with an intimate collage of images, woven together in what Ramirez refers to as, “An epic poem.” The story of the film, Somnium (Dream), is based on the 1608 novella by Johannes Kepler. It tells of a dream journey to the moon in the form of a visual poem. Ramirez says of his work: “I wanted to strip down the language of moving image.” The artist’s intention is realized in The Gold Projections new mode of storytelling that is an evocative exploration of the unconscious.

Joe Ramirez’s background is in film, fresco painting, and woodworking, so it makes sense that The Gold Projections are the culmination of disparate methodologies and influences working together. The painted films pay homage to old masters – particularly Goya and Caravaggio – with state-of-the-art technologies and contemporary narratives. While both looking back and forging ahead, Ramirez has imagined a method of storytelling both old and new.

The artist will be finishing the gilding process in the Kulturforum until February 14th, when Somnium will then show continuously for the rest of the exhibition. In this way the creation process becomes a kind of performance. It will then be transformed into a new piece called Limits of the Marvelous which will be shown on February 18th and 19th and later included in the exhibition Alchemy. The Great Art from April 6th to July 23rd, 2017. This transcendental work is well worth the visit.

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