A Collective Tragedy Waibel’s Stalingrad Inferno (Director Handuo Zhang)

A Collective tradedy: Waibel’s Stalingrad Inferno is a documentary work by young director Handuo Zhang. The main character of the film is visual artist and poet Joachim Waibel. He is an author of the painting series dedicated to Stalingrad battle. This artist has his own creative style, which has absorbed many modern trends of visual art. His paintings with abstract and postmodern influences are designed to influence on emotional and associative perception.

The timing of the film is only 13 minutes. During this time Handuo Zhang shows the process of preparation for the exhibition, the footages of military chronicle, the interviews with art experts. Despite its short form, the film is very informative. It allows the viewer to get a general idea of the artist and his works.

When we see how Joachim Waibel prepares the installation of paintings, it seems we’re looking at the intimate process of creation. A true artist can always express things the way he sees them. It’s gonna be a unique and unlike any other vision. That is why every creative act is nothing but a new universe of here and now. Without a doubt, the director is not accidentally use the shot where the cleaning lady wipes the paint off the floor. Contemplating this, the viewer observes an act of art. A paint on the floor is perceived as a part of the creative idea. It illustrates how the paintings can overcome their boundaries and leave a mark not only in the souls of the audience. And then it becomes clear that in the same way a war leaves the traces in human history. These are the footprints that can’t be erased clean.

It’s very difficult to tie Waibel’s pictures to historical Stalingrad. If there were no military chronicle shots in the film, it would be difficult for us to build an associative array. There is nothing that could be associated with the battle of Volga in 1942-1943 in the pictures that we see in the film. Then why is it Stalingrad?

The fate of mankind was decided in Stalingrad. In case of victory of Nazism it is impossible to imagine how the further history of mankind would develop. It would be a catastrophe not only for individual peoples, but for all mankind. That is why the works of Joachim Waibel evoke the horror and terror. The predominance of black and red colours shows all the dirt of the war without the pathos and heroism. At the same time they open all abyss of darkness which have been defeated the by Soviet people.

The film by Handuo Zhang does not overload the viewer with artistic information and biographical details. At the same time, the film is something more than an information report. This is a documentary observation that allows you to highlight the main thing in a particular creative project of the artist. A Collective tradedy: Waibel’s Stalingrad Inferno is a wonderful presentation of the artist and his works. This movie opens up an artist Joachim Waibel and  encourages the viewer to become interested in his work.