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Why I Never Became a Dancer

The  air-raid-shelter basement of the Haus der Kunst is reason enough to visit the Goetz Collection‘s latest exhibition. It was apparently used as of 1944, when Munich was attacked from the air for the first time. The showers are still in tact, toilets are still there…and right now, the Haus der Kunst is working in collaboration with the Goetz Collection to bring us artists’ impressions of youth in the shelter.

The title, Why I Never Became a Dancer, takes its name from Tracey Emin’s eponymous 1995 film, made in Margate. In it, she revisits areas she frequented as a teenager – fish & chip shops, dancehalls, the beach…all filmed in a very nineties holiday-movie style. The story is a sad one – empty sex aged thirteen with men a decade or so older than her, the pain of failed dance ambitions juxtaposed with the hope of what another city could bring.

As absorbing and troubling as it is, the film is but one of an ensemble of fascinating movies about growing up. My favourite were the absurd series from conceptual artist Gillian Wearing’s 2003 video, 10-16. Children’s confessions are lip-synced by actors on screen, resulting in an uncomfortably absurd viewing. It’s unnerving, and it’s brilliant.

The exhibition is showing until 1 April 2012, and it’s open until 8pm daily (entrance is 5 €) – there really is no excuse not to pop down there.

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