Ursula Wevers

The Elbe in front of the North Sea

15.10.2023 -

The course of the river, rain, ship movements and the occasional flight of seagulls, nothing of what you can see in this video remains, everything connects in a kind of floating state in which the visible elements hardly want to separate.

Ursula Wevers has put herself in the course of things with the camera. The normal ability of a film camera to record the passage of time meets the unpredictability of the scenery overflowing with water, but although so totally determined by the cold, wet weather, the situation seems strangely soothed. Is it because of the unalterable weather or is it the attentive patience of the camera, which is not impressed by it, that makes us co-observers of the natural spectacle of the Elbe estuary?

Intuition and experience speak from the documentary means of the video work, which, apart from a few cuts, takes place in real time. Ursula Wevers says that this work simply resulted from the situation. But doing without a tripod or accepting the car window turn out to be important decisions in order to later shift the events into the eyes of the viewer and to make rain and cold tangible. They reinforce the atmospheric ambivalence between sadness and devotion, which is communicated involuntarily and which contrasts all the interchangeable gray in front of the camera with the natural symbolism of this place.

“The Elbe in front of the North Sea” can be traced back to the year 1969, when Gerry Schum and Ursula Wevers helped a new art approach to breakthrough with the first film project of the “Fernsehrgalerie” under the term Land Art. “The Elbe in front of the North Sea” shows exactly what the artist's camera was able to record at this location in just under half an hour. It hardly seems possible to get closer to nature using cinematic means.


Ursula Wevers, Die Elbe vor der Nordsee (Still), 2001