Im Fokus: Barbara Hlali

A person painted black and white sits in a train and is painted over with stripes in orange and pink Schwester Gretel Nr2 Flucht

imai Videolounge

August 1 – September 8 2019

The screening series Im Fokus (In Focus) presents individual artistic positions that have been recently included in the imai Foundation's video distribution. The changing programs will be projected on a large screen in the imai-Videolounge at the NRW-Forum Düsseldorf, starting on the 1st of August with a screening of selected video works by Dortmund-based artist Barbara Hlali (*1979).

Barbara Hlali graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Münster in 2007. Her animated films have won various awards. For Painting Paradise she won the prize of the Verband der Deutschen Filmkritik for the best experimental film of 2009.

In the imai Foundation's video lounge, visitors can immerse themselves in the history of video art from the 1970s to the present day and explore it interactively: Info sheets on more than 1000 videos extend across the walls of the lounge and allow visitors to physically experience the principle of searching and finding. The videos can be accessed individually on available tablets. The selection of videos will be constantly expanded. On the large projection screen, the changing video programs are curated.


Painting Paradise
Animated film (gouache on TV screen, video stills)
Length: 00:05:30
Year: 2008

Desert Eagle
Video/animated film
Length: 00:02:30
Year: 2009

Revolution Contra Revolution
Video/animated film
Length: 00:03:50
Year: 2009 

Schwester Gretel Nr. 2 - Flucht
Animated film (gouache/mixed technique on photocopies)
Length: 00:23:15
Year: 2012

Duration: 1/8/ - 1/9/2019
Curator: Darija Šimunović

Under blurred color stripes a person can be recognized outdoors in front of trees Painting Paradise

Barbara Hlali's animated films revolve around the ongoing theme of war, flight and expulsion, always bearing in mind the possibility of resistance and liberation. In Painting Paradise (2008), the artist overpaints the television screen on which street scenes from Baghdad are shown. Soldiers are transformed into civilists, and the war-torn city is transformed into a holiday paradise with a palm beach. Barbara Hlali's gesture replaces the media images of the conflict in the region, which have been repeated for many years, with a vision of peace. 

Instead of brushes, in Desert Eagle (2009) the artist uses more drastic tools and saws up a Desert Eagle handgun with an angle grinder. From this she forms a bird body whose wings quickly set themselves in motion over a desert landscape and finally disappear on the horizon. The pursuit of freedom is also the theme of the video Revolution Contra Revolution (2009), in which a man dressed in black repeatedly runs against a freshly painted white wall, leaving behind imprints of his body. From his traces, the artist creates a protesting crowd in an animated film process that gradually seems to occupy the entire white wall. In the end, everything melts into white, the color of peace. In Schwester Gretel Nr. 2 - Flucht (2012) Barbara Hlali follows a family story, the traces of which she discovers in her grandmother's remaining photographs and descriptions of her own experiences during the Second World War.

The video lounge is funded by

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