Film: 6494

Art + Architecture | 1950 | Sound | B/W


Documentary about the development of a surrealist painting. The painter, Mac Zimmermann, walks through nature, observes and absorbs forms and images and transforms and combines them into a painting.
A gallery with modern paintings. Visitors. Narrator: 'Many people don't understand modern art.' He 'talks' to a visitor and asks him to look at a particular picture. 'Doesn't that tell you anything?' - Pictures are TRANSFORMATIONS. Title, credits (background: paintings). How can you understand the painter Mac Zimmermann? Quotation of Picasso: 'You want me to tell you what is art? If I knew, I would not tell.'
Water. 'Art is like water: continuously transforming itself and its shores - and the people who live there.' Mac Zimmermann. Looks at a shoe in the water, then at the trees, at grass. He wants to draw Daphne transforming herself into a tree. He draws rocks (or something similar). He draws little things (shells, pebbles). Bizarre formations of branches. Pebbles in water, waves, foam. Strange formation of sticks used by fishermen to hang up their nets. Boats. Wharves. The modern painter doesn't draw just anything - he observes nature. And everything in nature is form, structure. Nets. A swimming duck. Nets with fishermen hanging them up, a lake in the background. Rocks in the water reflecting the sun. Zimmermann walks by in front of the lake. Zimmermann, sitting in the grass, drawing. 'He observes nature all the time.' Zimmermann, sitting, drawing, a strange pattern of sticks in the foreground. A flag pole. Strange pattern of clouds in the sky. Wharves. Bucks of wood, Zimmermann walks by. Spinning mixer of concrete: Zimmermann turns over his observations in his artist's mind. Zimmermann examining pebbles. The shore of a lake. People sunbathing. Zimmermann walks by. A group of people in bathing-suits. Children in bathing-suits, lake in the background. Narrator talks about the innocence of children. Zimmermann, drawing. A frog leaps over his drawing. Baroque (?) castle in the background, Zimmermann walking by. Some statues on a fountain. 'At that time, you knew exactly what the objects of art were meant to be. The surface was important.' Statues of yawning turtles and crocodiles at the base of the fountain: this is the attitude of many people towards modern art - yawning. Zimmermann lying at a fountain, resting. Zimmermann walking up stairs: 'He knows his way.' His studio. Windows. A mug with flowers. A candlestick. A glass. Several corners of his studio with oven, small paintings, lots of little objects. Zimmermann at his desk, looking through his sketches he made during the day. They are presented to the camera. 'How to draw Daphne transforming herself into a tree?' Repeat of some of the images of nature that have already been shown: Nets, yawning turtles, pebbles, clouds, wharves, concrete mixer, sticks, boats, water. All these images are elements that contribute to the painting. Now the TRANSFORMATION begins. Zimmermann at his desk, drawing. Trick shot: His painting comes into existence - Daphne transforming herself into a tree. 'Is this picture credible or truthful? - It doesn't have to be, it is not a photograph. Fairy-tales are not credible or truthful, either. And painters, artists, are storytellers too, using their imagination, creating a world that is different from our own.' Description of the picture, of the objects of his environment. Ships, masts, flags, nets, pebbles. 'You have to try and find the poetic objects in the picture in order to understand it.' - 'It is not strictly necessary to draw like Zimmermann, but it is a valid way.' A gallery of modern art, visitors. 'And next time you look at a modern painting, don't use your intellect but your feelings.'

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