In the early 1980s Peter Sempel (*1954, lives in Hamburg) made his first music films in which he combined underground and classical music and dance. The discussions he had with musicians after performances gave him not only profound insight into their art but also led to many close friendships, the basis for most of his films. His best known music films are "Dandy" (1988) and "Lemmy (Motörhead)" (2002/03).
In addition to music, he has also been interested in the medium of film as an art form in its own right. In this context he has devoted a great deal of attention to the Lithuanian filmmaker Jonas Mekas, making two documentaries or film collages: "Jonas in the Desert" (1994) and "Jonas at the Ocean" (2003). Many companions and admirers have their say in the films, such as Kenneth Anger, Allen Ginsberg, and Martin Scorsese. He was also deeply impressed by the Butoh dancer Kazuo Ohno, who recently died at the age of 103; in 2004 he made a film about him entitled "Just visiting This Planet" (1991) and "I dance into the light." Dance is indeed a recurring theme in his films. For instance, "Flamenco mi vida" (2007/08) explores the essence of flamenco in impressive images, investigating worldwide influences and relations.
n recent years, Peter Sempel has been turning more and more the the visual arts. His latest film "Die Ameise der Kunst" (Animals of Art) is to be premiered in September in the context of his first institutional solo presentation at the Kunstverein Hamburg. The "music film in collage form" follows numerous persons in art business like Bazon Brock, Jonas Burgert, Harald Falckenberg, Shilpa Gupta, Jonathan Meese, Neo Rauch, Daniel Richter or Herbert Volkmann in their studios, at exhibition openings, as members of an international art scene. But the focus is also on the dancer sculpture by Edgar Degas "Grande arabesque, deuxiéme temps" in the collection of the Hamburger Kunsthalle. The film plumbs various art worlds. Filmmaker Peter Sempel is guided by his impressions rather than pursuing concrete issues.
He sees the film project as a "music painting composition," in which music plays an important role. For example, the soundtrack of the film includes music by the Einstürzende Neubauten, Abwärts, and Goldene Zitronen alongside pieces by Schubert and Mozart, not to mention flamenco. His long-term film project took him from Hamburg to Yokohama, to Art Basel Miami Beach, and to Barcelona. He came across many well-known people from the art world, international artists, art dealers, collectors, museum directors, and – surprisingly – many sorts of animal: from the "Dictatorship of Art" to the "Animals of Art."
Apart from his film projects, he repeatedly turns to the photograph and the collage. They serve not only to accompany his films but also constitute the logical extension and continuation of his films in other media. In an image and sound installation, the Kunstverein presents the long version of the film “Animals of Art” as well as other films and videos by Peter Sempel. An "Underground Amusement Park."
"Animals of Art" is presented by Kunstverein Hamburg. The film is generously funded by Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein. Supported by Hamburger Kunsthalle, Phönix Kulturstiftung / Sammlung Falckenberg and others.
The current edition by Peter Sempel is still available.