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Barbara Visser

2018

The End of Fear

Film 70"

The End of Fear

poster, 2018

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The End of Fear is a cinematographic essay on our relationship to modern art from the perspective of a crucial and controversial work of art from the 1960’s, the painting Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue III by Barnett Newman.


From the moment the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam acquired this large – 245X544cm
  – primarily monochrome red painting in 1969 until today, Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue III is an artwork that raises questions, triggers emotions and provokes emotional reactions.

A brutal attack on the piece on the first day of spring in 1986 was followed by what later proved to be a rather unconventional restoration procedure which in its turn led to a 125M legal battle, turning the artistic highlight into a juicy conversation piece. Some said the work has become a ‘prop’, a copy of itself, while others argue that the basic concept remains intact.


This icon of Abstract Expressionism, once permanently on display in the Hall of Honors, is now in the museums’ storage and is not allowed to travel to be exhibited abroad, like other key works.

The End of Fear takes multiple perspectives on important and fascinating questions that were raised during the painting’s lifetime, starting with the provocative title of the work itself, and looks at how they are still present in our current relationship to contemporary art.

What is a work of art made of? What makes it authentic? Which values does it represent? What is it worth, and what affects the value in economic, artistic, societal and social terms?


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— IFFR 2018 – Rotterdam, Nederland, world première

CPH:DOX Festival 2018, competition Copenhagen, Denmark

Docaviv 2018, Tel Aviv, Israël

Docfest 2018, München, Germany

Hotdocs 2018, Toronto, Canada

DOK Leipzig 2018, Leipzig, Germany

Openingsfilm Panorama Europe 2018, New York, USA

New Horizons Wroclaw 2018, Poland

Open City Docs 2018, London, GB

Doku.Arts 2018 Berlin 2018, Germany

Brussels Art Film Festival 2018 – Brussel, Belgium

Lo schermo dell’arte 2018, Florence, Italy

Rencontres Internationales du Documentaire de Montréal 2018 – Canada

Antenna Documentary Film Festival 2018, Sydney, Australia

broadcast VPRO - NPO2 30 mei 2018

Nederlands Film Festival 2018, Utrecht, NL

Dokfest Kassel 2018, Germany

Salem Filmfest 2019, Salem, USA

Master of Art Filmfestival competition 2019, Sofia, Bulgaria