SCHOENHERR, [Hans Helmut Klaus (HKK)]. Play 9’ / 22,9.69. [Zurich].: N.p., [1969].

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SCHOENHERR, [Hans Helmut Klaus (HKK)].
Play 9’ / 22,9.69.
[Zurich]: N.p., [1969].

Thick 4to (292 × 210 mm), pp.[762]. Monochrome xerox-like images to recto of each page; lightly age-toned, nick to bottom of one page. Blue wrappers with titles to front in black marker, painted blue spine, ‘Schoenherr’ in red marker to fore-edge; short tears to head and foot of rear spine-fold, light wear and creasing to top edge of rear wrapper and last few pages. A very good copy.

First edition, an artists’ film book by German experimental filmmaker HHK Schoenherr, who moved to Zurich in 1963. In October 1991, Jonas Mekas organised a retrospective of Schoenherr’s work at Anthology Film Archives in New York. In the catalogue introduction for the retrospective Mekas writes that Schoenherr had been making films in the purest avant-garde film tradition for over three decades, but that his work remained little known outside of his immediate circle, suggesting that this may be due to the fact that his films require special projection equipment.

Schoenherr states that some of the films in his ‘Play’ series, such as Play 11, only exist as concepts. He also states that the present work, Play 9, exists as ‘a leafed film book, the size of a telephone directory’. The Anthology Film Archives catalogue also includes translations of texts from HHK Schoenherr: Das Kaputte Kino (1986), including an introduction to Schoenherr’s work by Ulrich Gregor:

‘At a time when the traditional narrative feature film is more prevalent than ever and long-standing film industry structures are being reinforced, it is important to recall the work of authors who have taken the medium back to its sources, who have taught audiences that there is another, freer way to work with pictures and sound. It is to this group that H. H. K. Schoenherr belongs. For the past twenty-five years, Schoenherr has steadfastly and tenaciously worked to develop a cinematographic style that contrasts sharply with the dominant commercial one. While his films must be viewed in the context of the cultural ferment of the sixties, their singular contribution to the larger development of experimental film must also not be forgotten. His are films that challenge both the established cinema and conventional viewing practices. Simultaneously programmatic and lightheartedly anarchic, they evidence a novel “material witness” of the seventh art by incorporating the idea that films are made of, and realized from, exposed material, from single frames that can be altered, technically manipulated, superimposed, and combined with painting and drawings. The film that results is thus decisively affected by the various stages of its technical processing.’

This is the second of two copies of Play 9 that we have handled, both were previously acquired at the same time from artists’ book dealer Robert Krauthammer. Krauthammer was in business from the 1960s until 2001 when he sold his shop in Zurich to Orell Füssli.

Rare, no copies in OCLC.



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