…You have to live out of your own imag­i­na­tion of things, as if there had been no Serge Eisen­stein, nor John Ford, nor Jean Renoir or any­body else…“

Orson Welles


The project Fac­ing Fame is spread between two rooms, at first noth­ing seems to bind them the­mat­i­cal­ly. The assump­tion is, that they are sep­a­rate exhi­bi­tions. Two sep­a­rate invi­ta­tions are sent, and two open­ing speech­es are giv­en.

The first room con­veys the stag­ing of an exhi­bi­tion about the life and work’s of U.S. actor and direc­tor Orson Welles. Next to set-designs, stage props, cos­tumes and pri­vate sketch­es and pic­tures, stand’s six large-size black and white film stills. They show motives from films either by, or with Welles: Touch of EvilCit­i­zen Kane, or The Third Man.
Key scenes from these films are shown on monitor’s: The open­ing sequences of Cit­i­zen Kane asks the cen­tral ques­tion of the film: What type of char­ac­ter is con­cealed behind the pro­tag­o­nist, the news­pa­per mag­net Charles Fos­ter Kane? In his debut film, Welles broach­es the issues of the destruc­tion of a child’s impar­tial­i­ty, and the loss of one’s psy­cho­log­i­cal iden­ti­ty, as a grim trib­ute to wealth and influ­ence…

The project’s sec­ond room seems to be the ret­ro­spec­tive of a pro­fes­sion­al artist of the present. A suc­cess­ful career:  Photo’s show the artist with a group of estab­lished friends, trustee’s and politi­cians. In video record­ings, art deal­ers offer an assess­ment of his work, the sig­nif­i­cance of which is also con­veyed by the work’s of his artist col­leagues dis­played in the room: Pop­u­lar posi­tions of the present, that assume a rela­tion­ship with the work’s of the artist. How­ev­er, works of the artist him­self are not to be found.
On the con­trary, a mod­el of a small apart­ment is locat­ed at the cen­tre of the room. Behind it, six photograph’s pic­ture indi­vid­ual cat­e­gories of the premis­es. The pic­ture detail and pho­to­copied objects bring back to mind the black and white film stills in the first room of the project, only the actor is miss­ing. Not far away, he is to be found pic­tured on the cov­er of well-known art mag­a­zines, which by clos­er con­tem­pla­tion also appear to have asso­ci­a­tions with the first room. Evi­dent­ly, the artist’s resem­blance to the his­tor­i­cal film icon Welles, is quite star­tling…

Next to the mod­el, on a mon­i­tor, an art deal­er is shown talk­ing about an ear­ly work of the artist, one in which he is por­trayed as a film leg­end of the 1940‘s: The pri­vate apart­ment of the then unknown artist serves as a back­drop for the pho­to­graph­ic record­ed moments of the dreamed of lime­light. In inter­view, the in seclu­sion devel­oped debut fea­ture is, due to the allu­sion to estab­lished celebri­ty, depict­ed as promis­ing com­mer­cial suc­cess.
Mean­while, through the asser­tions of the art deal­er, the authen­tic­i­ty of the exhibits in the Welles exhi­bi­tion becomes increas­ing­ly ques­tion­able. More and more the stag­ing in the first room comes across as the work of the artist: Orig­i­nal sequences and stills from film clas­sics seem hence­forth imi­ta­tion, authen­tic props pre­sume to become pro­fane arti­cles of dai­ly use from the pos­ses­sions of an art debu­tant.
The ques­tion­able authen­tic­i­ty in the sec­ond room sug­gests an alter­ation in per­cep­tion con­cern­ing the works of the oth­er artist’s. The pop­u­lar­i­ty of some posi­tions becomes deci­pher­able.

The project Fac­ing Fame attempts to reveal and scru­ti­nize the mech­a­nisms of the estab­lish­ment and their unreadi­ness.
In his film Cit­i­zen Kane, with ref­er­ence to the biog­ra­phy of media mogul Ran­dolph Hearst, Orson Welles crit­i­cizes and show­cas­es the thought manip­u­la­tion of 1940‘s USA. In the project, Welles’ com­plaints turn out to be a strat­e­gy of the present art mar­ket: Against the back­ground of com­mer­cial inter­ests, the essence of artis­tic work, based on orig­i­nal devel­op­ment, presents itself as an anachro­nism; the sig­nif­i­cance of a piece of work is depen­dent on it’s mar­ket val­ue, artis­tic work’s are con­veyed as a result of banal coin­ci­dence or the repli­ca­tion of the estab­lished cur­rent art scene. There­by, depict­ing the cal­cu­lat­ed val­ue and real­i­ty dis­place­ment sit­u­a­tion as a farce: With ref­er­ence to the debut exhi­bi­tion of the artist, the art deal­er being inter­viewed con­tin­ues: The scenic and for­mal per­fec­tion of the work and career of the film icon, has giv­en cause to irri­ta­tion: Time and again the impres­sion arose, he report­ed, that the Hol­ly­wood great actu­al­ly was…

Amidst the grotesque­ness, the artist turns out to be a face­less great: When exit­ing the sec­ond room, a mag­a­zine arti­cle with a pic­ture is seen, film work on set, a bor­rowed motive from Cit­i­zen Kane, right in the mid­dle the artist. Under the pic­ture is writ­ten: “Who was the man behind the icon of the for­ties?”
An inter­view with the artist is found next to the pic­ture: He remarks: “You have to live out of your own imag­i­na­tion of things, as if there had been no Serge Eisen­stein, nor John Ford, nor Jean Renoir or any­body else!”