Keren Cytter’s three-channel installation Cross. Flowers. Rolex leads viewers into a terrifying and vicious circle of a couple’s destructive relationship. Like the work’s title, the films are played sequentially, one after the other, in an endless loop. When one film plays, the other channels fade to black; as soon as one film ends, the next one begins with no overlap. Cross. Flowers. Rolex was created in 2009 for presentation at the Hamburger Bahnhof on the occasion of the National Gallery Prize, for which the artist was nominated.
The inspiration for the installation were three shocking stories Cytter discovered on the internet. In one, a woman survives two gunshot wounds in her head inflicted by her husband and then calmly makes tea. In another, a suicidal man tries in vain to kill himself twice by jumping out of a fifth floor window. In the third story, within minutes of leaving his home, a man is stabbed to death in just five seconds.
The artist, who was born in Tel Aviv in 1977 and lives in Berlin, engaged professional actors for this film installation. Read mostly from the off, the incoherent texts resemble soliloquies and memory fragments rather than narratives. Injuries are inflicted on both a verbal and physical level. Glasses are thrown across the room or smashed on the partners’ heads. Shards of glass cover the apartment floor, on which the couple walks barefoot. Blood drips from gaping wounds, drips into carelessly placed teacups, drips onto the splinters of a shattered mirror. “I'm not afraid. I’m made of fear. Blood, sweat, no tears,” says one of the protagonists. There is no escape from Keren Cytter’s sinister emotional entanglements - not even in death.