After its world premiere at the International Film Festival Rotterdam in January, An Impossibly Small Object (2017) will be on view as art edition at Flatland Gallery.
In the proximity of an immense shopping mall in the metropolis of Taipei an eight-year-old girl plays with her kite on a nightly parking lot. Submerged in what we would consider an impressive, chaotic, and even a bit unpleasant environment the girl uses her buzzing surroundings as playground. An observant bystander, a Dutch photographer, is able to capture the moment with his camera. The loneliness and emptiness evoked by this scenery illustrate the atmosphere of the newest film by Dutch director, video artist and photographer David Verbeek (1980, Amsterdam), An Impossibly Small Object (2017). The film forms the centre point of his first presentation at Flatland Gallery, titled ‘An Impossibly Small Object’ as well.
Over the last decade Verbeek has explored the idea of disconnection. Most often his films carry a highly contemplative character taking as their subject the solitude and desperation of people in crowded and impersonal cities such as Shanghai or Taipei. His latest film, An Impossibly Small Object, explores this path by telling the twofold story of a photographer, impersonated by the artist himself, and a little Taiwanese girl who loses her best friend in the course of the narrative. The security of certainties as a friendship or a home is comforting. However, when those certainties disappear a feeling of loss and hardship emerge. Upon losing her friend the young girl feels alienated, disconnected. Confronted with the child the other protagonist of the story also senses some sort of disconnection. He recollects his own childhood memories, a time in which he felt a greater sense of belonging than he experiences in his current life. After many travels around the world he comes to the conclusion that home and inclusion are fundamental concepts that influence one’s life.
An Impossibly Small Object could be perceived as a semibiographical story telling. The feelings and sentiments of Verbeek regarding his stay outside his motherland, the concept of home, our attachment to new places and consequently the uprooting of where we once belonged, and the beginning and ending of relationships between people in our surroundings, play a major role in the film. Defined by solitude and estrangement, Verbeek manages to capture a universal notion familiar to every one of us, whether we are a foreign adult or an eight-year-old child.
An Impossibly Small Object is produced as feature film and as art edition. The art edition is presented at Flatland Gallery while the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) screens the feature film. By creating two versions Verbeek aims to present a versatile message. Whereas the feature film depicts a fictional world where the narrative is leading, the art edition explores profoundly the perceived universe in slow shots, bringing the story to the background.
For the gallery presentation, and as an addition to the film, Verbeek includes a series of five photographs - evoking the same atmosphere as the film. ‘An Impossibly Small Object’ is exemplary for the artist’s thematic exploration in his films, presenting a world where alienation and loneliness are universal, ageless, continuous, and thus never-ending.
Verbeek was born in 1980 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands and lives and works in Shanghai, China. He studied film, photography and philosophy at the New School University in New York and graduated in film directing at the Dutch Film Academy in 2005. His feature films have granted him international recognition in the world of contemporary art-house cinema. Films such as Shanghai Trance (2008) were selected for several festivals around the world as Rotterdam, Chicago, Hong Kong and Angers. In 2010 R U THERE (2009) was selected for the Cannes film festival where it was in competition for the prestigious ‘Un Certain Regard’ award. The film was also the winner of several prizes at Du Grain à Démoudre Festival, Fantasporto Festival, and Nederlands Film Festival. His last film Full Contact premiered in 2015 as part of the PLATFORM competition at the Toronto International Film Festival and its art version was exhibited in the group show ‘Close Up – A New Generation of Film and Video Artists in the Netherlands’ in EYE, Amsterdam and at the 2017 edition of the fair Art Rotterdam in the section ‘Projections’. An Impossibly Small Object has now been selected and is in competition for the BIG SCREEN AWARD of the International Film Festival Rotterdam - IFFR. The film premiered at the festival end of January.
With the support of Canjune International Inc. and Flash Forward Entertainment Taipei, Taiwan.