As If Memories Could Deceive Me, 1986
LCD monitor, headphones; 17:28 min
© (Marcel Odenbach) VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2010
An orchestra rehearsal — initially divided into multiple parallel scenes shown on a split screen, it subsequently appears in a single wide shot — stands at the beginning of As If Memories Could Deceive Me. A child plays the piano before historic shots of folk dances are superimposed on the keyboard, followed by views of German baroque architecture. The child falls asleep, and Marcel Odenbach himself takes the seat at the piano. Documentary footage from the Nazi era, showing Hitler’s seizure of power and book burnings, are followed by selections from the Nuremberg Trials on display in the lower half of the screen while the piano keys move silently in the upper half. Colourful shots of shop windows sumptuously decorated with men’s shirts mark the conclusion of this sequence of pictures about German culture and history. The film presents itself as an indissoluble conglomerate of dream worlds and recollections shaped by historic imagery.