Irina Birger Thinks Drawing is Important
HDV, 15 min

Directed and Edited by: Jose Miguel Biscaya, Brian McKenna and Irina Birger
Scenario: Irina Birger
Sound: Studio Kinematix
Sponsored by: Fonds BKVB , The Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture

film stills

film stills

film stills

Text by Vera Stiphout

What is the essence of a photograph, or more precisely, of an ID photo, portrait or self- portrait? You could almost ask, what is the essence of art. Or, what is the essence of life? That time always passes. As the Greek philosopher Heraclitus put it in the 5th century BC, Panta Rhei, ‘Everything changes, nothing remains still’. In the short video film ‘Irina Birger Thinks Drawing is Important’, Irina Birger provides her answer to such questions.
A waterfall of self-portraits taken from photo albums belonging to her, her family and circle of acquaintances, creates an ingenious, dizzying autobiography of the artist through the years.

We see the stereotypical development of the artist influenced by the history of art, from classic to contemporary, and by the places where she has lived in her nomadic existence, from communist Russia, the former Yugoslavia at the beginning of the civil war there, Israel during the Second Intifada and Germany after its reunification, to her present but certainly not final destination: the Kingdom of The Netherlands.

There's a pinch to these moving images, where the essences of film and photography converge and clash. In a similar manner Birger's life collides with the wrenching history of the conflict zones and the sometimes difficult existence as an artist. ‘Drawing is Important,’ she posits at the end, her answer in this photo-turns-film project to the question of how she holds her own in life.

Since 2012 part of EYE Film Institute Collection

The video was exhibited and screened a.o.: SMBA (NL), The Israeli Center for Digital Art (Holon) Fresh Paint (Tel Aviv) Preview Berlin, Nieuw Dakota (Amsterdam), Directors Lounge 9 (Berlin), Contemporary Art Ruhr (Essen), Art Table (Amsterdam), Tan Kah Kee College (Xiamen), Multimedia Art Museum (Moscow), De Punt (Amsterdam), Quartier21 (Vienna) and Blue Oyster Art Project Space (Dunedin).