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Years of Construction

GER 2019, 93 min

The renovation, demolition and reconstruction of different parts of the Kunsthalle Mannheim between 2013 and 2018. The before and the after are brought together in 93 minutes, allowing their comparison rather than letting them disappear in nebulous time windows.


Starting from the fountains in the Friedrichsplatz opposite, Emigholz’s camera approaches the building complex. A passage leads from the imposing Jugendstil edifice to the 1983 extension by Hans Mitzlaff. The sculptures it was built for seem to be trying to find their place in a space not big enough for them. The architecture isn’t suitable for paintings: it casts light and shadow according to its own whims. In between, Emigholz shows streets that cross at right angles, bridges and overpasses, the city of Mannheim. References to the vision of architects Gerkan, Marg and Partners: after the demolition and construction phase, a complex of cubes, passages and terraces appears and forms an interior. A stone and a clock swing through the air: “The Moving Emptiness of the Moment” is the name of the installation. Metal meshing holds the new Kunsthalle – a mighty cube when seen from the outside – firmly in its grip.
Shot over five years, YEARS OF CONSTRUCTION traces how one wing of the Kunsthalle Mannheim is torn down and re-built. Images rich in contrasts question the role of architecture and reflect on how the building ensemble relates to the rest of the city.

YEARS OF CONSTRUCTION is the 29. part of Heinz Emigholz’s series „Photography and beyond“.


kein Dialog, internationale Fassung

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Director and Screenplay
Heinz Emigholz
Director of Photography and Editor
Heinz Emigholz, Till Beckmann
Original Sound and Postproduction
Till Beckmann
Sound Design
Christian Obermaier
Sound Mixer
Jochen Jezussek
Heinz Emigholz, Ulrike Lorenz
Produced by
Heinz Emigholz Filmproduktion, Kunsthalle Mannheim
Financed by
H.W. & J. Hector Stiftung
Funded by
Stadt Mannheim, Kunsthalle Mannheim, Stiftung Kunsthalle Mannheim