David Claerbout

Die reine Notwendigkeit

28 September to 23 October 2016

In the framework of the “In the Städel Garden” series and as part of the programme offered by Flanders & the Netherlands Guest of Honour at Frankfurt Book Fair 2016, the Städel Museum presented a work produced by the Belgian artist David Claerbout especially for this occasion. The film “Die reine Notwendigkeit” (2016) is a surprising adaptation of the animated movie classic “The Jungle Book” of 1967. Claerbout’s one-hour loop turns the sentimental and comical story about dancing, singing, and trumpet-playing jungle animals into a film that has dispensed all ‘humanization’ of the animals – but also its young protagonist Mowgli – and portrays them instead in a manner befitting their species. Baloo, Bagheera and Kaa, whose songs and slapstick acts have been delighting children and adults alike for decades, are now back to being pure bear, panther and python.

For “Die reine Notwendigkeit”, the artist painstakingly redrew the frames of Wolfgang Reitherman’s prototype by hand, one by one, and then assembled them to create an entirely new film. Now no more than shadowy outlines, the animals move around before a jungle backdrop. Claerbout alludes to the original only in the work’s title, “Die reine Notwendigkeit”, a reference to Baloo the Bear’s song about the “bare necessities of life”.

David Claerbout, Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020
Adolf Luther, Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020

CURATOR Dr. Martin Engler, Head of the Contemporary Art Collection
SUPPORTED BY Flanders & the Netherlands Guest of Honour at the Frankfurter Buchmesse 2016, the Government of Flanders and the Städel Gartengesellschaft

Art after 1945: David Claerbout