Edith Clever

Cinematic Portrait, 2023

Film: Alex Salinas


The cinematic portrait of Edith Clever at the "end of her career" shows the actress' bold resoluteness. It was filmed for the exhibition by photographer Alex Salinas, who also documented the work of the painter Luc Tuymans. At first glance, you see a static image-a close-up of a face in deep concentration. Initially, it is only her eyes that open slowly, thus indicating a slight shift in emotion. Extremes are avoided, and this is precisely what attunes our awareness to a cosmos of hope, melancholy, sadness, contentment and peace. Finally, her eyes close decisively and without haste. The game starts anew.


Edith Clever, who achieved stardom as a member of the Schaubüne in Berlin (1971-1889), began exploring new paths during the 1980's. Her participation in Hans-Jürgen Syberberg's aesthetically radical film adaptation of Parsifal (1982) led to an intensive artistic bond with the director. This collaboration culminated in the two-part film Die Nacht (1985), where the actress performed a six-hour monologue. The performance premiered two evenings in Paris in 1984 at the Festival d'Automne but has never been shown in Berlin.


Syberberg's film - show in the exhibition's penultimate room - entails a close-up of Clever in her younger years. Captured up close with her eyes closed, she recites from Goethe's Faust, with her hands and fingers pressed to her face, in a meditative immersion in the text. The Cinematic Portrait created for the exhibition heralds the exhibition's main themes: the representability and legacy of the past, and the dialogue arising from the interplay between static and moving images, between the visual and the audible.



Featured in the ‘Luc Tuymans - Edith Clever’ exhibition in the Akademie der künste at Pariser Platz.

On view from 15 September until 26 November 2023



Screenshot from the film / Installation view