The flipbook is now a curio to most of us, but for Volker Gerling it’s something much more profound: a mode of moving image that captures the human presence in stillness as much as motion. Gerling embraces the traditions of the magic lantern and the drawing room raconteur. His works are rapidly taken still shots of people, arranged in order to move as they’re flipped through. Onstage, he shows us a collection of his favourite portraits, projected live onto a large screen. All the while the artist charmingly recounts the stories behind the moving image. Gerling’s art provides an incandescent, flickering glimpse of human persona and essence.
At once a photographer and an animator, Gerling uses the flipbook to show us intimacy in motion. Each captured moment is a tale: the beginning and end of a smile, an awkward embrace, glimpses of a long-time love affair. They’re vivid and poignant—large-scale tributes to small-scale beauty. In the end, what the artist gives us is something truly special: instances frozen in time and then brought back to life. It’s a spectacle that invites laughter, bittersweet recognition, sadness and even awe.
Gerling has achieved nothing less than a new form of theatre.
—Theater Der Zeit