Fugue (Die Wende)

a filmed installation about the removal of light

by Sadia Sadia | Darren Munce | Stephen W Tayler

CAN | UK | AUS | 2014 | 6’ 32” | HD | 4 channel audio




'Fugue (Die Wende)’ is a reaction to an environment, and a collaborative participation in an exceptional event, the Leipzig Lichtfest ‘Kulturparcours’ 2014, which celebrated the 25th anniversary of the demonstrations in Leipzig that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the overthrow of the fascist DDR government.


The idea is very simple but technically challenging: a film is made of two of the tall (3.5 m) windows in the artists’ studio in the historic Leipzig Spinnerei artists’ complex, during bright daylight and with the light streaming through the windows.

Each window comprises multiple individual panes of glass, which are individually blacked out, one by one, by an anonymous ‘Everyman’ until only a single pane of glass remains with light streaming through. This final pane is then blacked out, and the screen plunges into complete darkness.


The installation works on a number of different levels: the two windows in the frame represent duality, the separation of two things which are the same, and yet apart, reflecting the division and then reunification of the country. The blacking out of the individual panes of glass produces the effect of building bricks, of building a wall which removes the light one brick at a time, and which can then be torn down.


The work is accompanied by a composition commissioned for this installation. A fugue (in two voices) was chosen, the musical idea beginning as a fugue or dialog, the musical themes in counterpoint, at odds with each other. Gradually they evolve to synchronise and become united. The composition is ‘timed’ to the film, the two working in tandem to create subtext as the film builds towards its dramatic climax.This serves as a musical exposition of the dialogue between the protesters and the dictatorship, culminating in a resolution of these themes through a musical representation of ‘The Peaceful Revolution’.

The integrated result is a simple, elegant, and deeply moving piece of work.

'Fugue (Die Wende)’  formed part of the City of Leipzig’s ‘Lichtfest 2014 Kulturparcours’, a city-wide event celebrating the ‘Peaceful Revolution’ demonstrations of October 9th 1989 that are credited with bringing about the collapse of the DDR government, and the fall of the Berlin Wall exactly one month later. The work ran across two locations: as part of Sadia’s solo show ‘Echoes and Ashes’ at Spinnerei’s LIA, as well as at Halle 14 Zentrum für zeitgenössische Kunst (Centre for Contemporary Art).

Filmed and Directed by Sadia Sadia; Concept and Realisation: Darren Munce & Sadia Sadia; Original Soundtrack by Stephen W Tayler; Edited by Stephen W Tayler for Chimera Arts