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For most of his career, avant-garde filmmaker Harun Farocki has pointed his camera at his native Germany and exposed life in a 20-century capitalist culture. In this powerful meditation on art and perception, still-life paintings of the Dutch masters are compared with their contemporary equivalents advertisements for beer, cheese, and watches. Farocki then goes behind the scenes of a modern advertising office to show ad execs toiling to create their version of a still life. Yet, the comparison does not yield what the viewer might expect. In his commentary, Farocki, who earned money to finance the work by taking on commercial photo shoots, acknowledges the need for artistic compromise while de-mythologizing the creative process. In doing so, he challenges conventional ways of seeing and our perceptions of what is art.
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