Ana Esteve Reig


Paraísos Perdidos/ Verlorene Paradiese, 2011

Three channel video installation FHD, color, stereo sound, language german

10 minutes, loop

This three-part video installation consists of a young woman with a horse, a cowboy next to a campfire, a housewife cooking and the housewife’s son. Three very different roles, both in reality and a fictional world. However, this apparent familiarity irritates reasoning. The young woman, resembling an Indian woman – filled with strength and self-confidence – runs in search of freedom and independence throughout the landscape. Simultaneously, due to the ratio that she projects on her horse, it appears that she longs for proximity and tenderness. The cowboy, a strong male character, sits around the campfire with a guitar and sings a vulnerable love song with a French accent. The housewife appears to be a woman but could be a man that moves between genders. Is the character a mother or father? What is the importance of the role? Or does this play with different types of roles that determines the individual? This raises a question of circling gender roles conducted by modern society and the consequent dependence. The three characters share the same desire for paradise, an ideal space where their cravings are satisfied and where hope exists, while simultaneously knowing they will be incapable of achieving their own ideals. This becomes a work that does not only reflect one paradise, but of three subjective paradises that exist as utopias in the character’s minds. This is indicated by the title of this piece, “Lost Paradise”: in order for one to lose something, one must have had it previously.
The viewer observes that this is not the case. “Mom is sometimes thoughtless?. She complains of a lost paradise. She believes she had it at one time. We haven’t lost it because we never had it. It was only in her head.”: is what the little boy’s voice recites while he eats with the male parent at the kitchen table. What is the human being like and how should it be orientated? Can paradisical ideals and settings be used as a guide? What is real, and what is wishful thinking? These are all issues and questions discussed in this work through poetic imagery but are not answered. The viewer remains alone with these associations and impressions, as they are the protagonists of their own desires. Lonely and in search of themselves and their own ideals in a non-existent paradise, they remain prisoners of their imagination. Paradisical perfection is unattainable but driven by ideals and they move (perhaps: *and thus, the characters move towards their undeterred roles?) forward undeterred in their roles. A larger question of self-deceit? The result is peculiar, breaking with the transfigured tragic poetry of work, which is not unfamiliar to us.

Text by Miriam Bettin for the catalog of the exhibition Monitoring, Kasseler Dokumentarfilm und Videofestival 2011

Written, directed and produced by Ana Esteve Reig
All rights reserved © Ana Esteve Reig

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Idea, production, edition: Ana Esteve Reig
Camera operator: Benjamin Brix
Camera assistant: Florian Seemüller
Sound: Tobias Bhöm
Light: Eva Dhurhold
Filmed and edited in Kassel, Germany

Set assistants: Christoph Pfannkuch, Stefan Bast, Annika Mayer, Janna Jankowski, Aiko Okamoto Hair and Make up: Katrin Geske Performers: Matthieu Saubanere, Jana Lange, Jürgen Wink, Finn

Thanks to Frau Mondon, Jana Lange, Matthieu Saubanere, Jürgen Wink, Finn, Benjamin Brix and Bjørn Melhus.