Toward Fewer Images
The Work of Alexander Kluge
448 pp., 7 x 9 in, 212 b&w photos
- Published: August 7, 2018
The first English-language monograph devoted to the full oeuvre of Alexander Kluge, the prolific German filmmaker, television producer, digital entrepreneur, author, thinker, and public intellectual.
Alexander Kluge (born 1932) is a German filmmaker, author, television producer, theorist, and digital entrepreneur. Since 1960, he has made fourteen feature films and twenty short films and has written more than thirty books—including three with Marxist philosopher Oskar Negt. His television production company has released more than 3,000 features, in which Kluge converses with real or fictional experts or creates thematic montages. He also maintains a website on which he reassembles segments from his film and television work. To call Kluge “prolific” would be an understatement. This is the first English-language monograph devoted to the full scope of Kluge's work, from his appearance on the cultural scene in the 1960s to his contributions to New German Cinema in the 1970s and early 1980s to his recent collaborations with such artists as Gerhard Richter.
In Toward Fewer Images, Philipp Ekardt offers both close analyses of Kluge's individual works and sustained investigations of his overarching (and perpetual) production. Ekardt discusses Kluge's image theory and practice as developed across different media, and considers how, in relation to this theory, Kluge returns to, varies, expands, and modifies the practice of montage, including its recent manifestations in digital media—noting Kluge's counterintuitive claim that creating montages results in fewer images. Kluge's production, Ekardt argues, allows us to imagine a model of authorship and artistic production that does not rely on an accumulation of individual works over time but rather on a permanent activity of (temporalized) reworking and redifferentiation.
A rewarding book for those seeking some clarity and guidance to this body of work.
Toward Fewer Images is therefore not only an entry point into Kluge's multiverse, but also an interpretative key to unlock its depth, not always visible to the naked eye.
Los Angeles Review of Books
As the first monograph in English-language scholarship to address Kluge's body of work, Ekardt's book is remarkable. Yet this is not the extent of the book's important contributions. In his analysis of Kluge's work and his conception of the activity of work, Ekardt does a skillful job of balancing his in-depth discussions of particular works with coverage of the breadth of Kluge's career. Toward Fewer Images presents a rigorous and cogent analysis of Kluge's past and current work that stands out among scholarship on Kluge in any language.