Villa Empain was a passion, a vision, a plan, a home, an artwork. It is a heartfelt dream that was abandoned. Villa Empain, today, looks like it did in the 1930s, but it has turned into another entity held by the same fundament.
Villa Empain exists between past and present, comprised of pieces of contemporary art within a single, unique piece of Art Déco and Bauhaus. It is a humble and enduring architectural body. It is a dichotomy of private mansion and public space. It is a conversation between a family’s history and an architect's dream, between a father's travelogue and an artist's performance, an encounter of water on stone, of charcoal on paper and of light on film.
Concrete, marble, brick and steel: little else made by human hands seems as stable, as immutable as a building. Yet, the life of any structure is neither fixed nor timeless. Outliving their original purposes, buildings are forced to adapt to each succeeding age. To survive, they must become shapeshifters.
Villa Empain's atmosphere is strange and full of wonders. The camera touches gently upon textures, as if to glimpse the moments they witnessed. There is a secret to unveil, but as with every good secret it evades us, it is elusive, we can never grasp it. This experimental short film is an attempt to find out about something that we cannot put our fingers on.
So we put our fingers on wood, water, marble instead, and feel.
AT/BE/GER | 24min | 16mm | colour
starring TAMAR KASPARIAN
directed by KATHARINA KASTNER
produced by NICOLA S. SANGS | THE MOON EMBASSY
edited by OLIVA DEGREZ
director of photography IVO NELIS
sound design by HÉLÈNE CLERC-DENIZOT
colour grading by DANIEL HOLLERWEGER
title design by MICHA ELIAS
historical research LEEN ENGELEN and NINO GOGUA
assistant director OLIVIA DEGREZ
focus puller BORIS GODFROID and BJORN DEFRERE
gaffer JELLE BOLLEN and ROBBE MEYKENS
assistant production ZEIHAH QAHWAJI and HOSSEIN JABBARI
assistant post production CLAUDIA HAMMERER
special thank you to
LUC EMPAIN | THE FONDATION BOGHOSSIAN
This film owes to the artists and their works
ENTRELACER work in situ | 2016
A CHAQUE STENCIL UNE RÉVOLUTION | 2007
CHAMBRE (L'INHUMAINE) installation in situ | 2016
"UNTITLED" (BEGINNING) | 1994
"UNTITLED" (GOLDEN) | 1995
CAMBRIAN EXPLOSION 14 | 2016
SILVER CLOUDS installation | 1966
CHUN KWANG YOUNG
AGGREGATION 15-JL038 | 2015
TIMEFOLD | 2014
UNTITLED FROM THE SERIES STATELESS | 2014-15