A hauntingly beautiful video of tremendous scope, spun across cities and oceans, Provenance is an example of Amie Siegel's 'cine-constellations' that in their many layered reflections uncannily peel back time, examples of which have been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, PS1, New York, Hayward Gallery, London, The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Kunstmuseum Stuttgart. While in her twenties, Siegel was awarded the prestigious DAAD Berlin Artist's Program residency, and her reputation as one of the most innovative artists working with the moving image was established with Empathy (2003) and Berlin Remake (2005). Siegel combines a conceptual, polished methodology with the sensual poetics of her vision. Executed in 2013, Provenance marks a pivotal moment in the artist's career, turning as she did from pictorial devices of simultaneity to address the spectral possibilities of temporality by using a slowly revealing timeline. Meditating on the trade in furniture, Provenance takes for its protagonists the silent pieces of furniture conceived by Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret in the 1950s for their utopic, modernist city Chandigarh in northern India. Taking the present as a moment of departure, Provenance traverses the furniture's individual peregrinations in reverse. The furniture is traced backwards from the homes of its collectors, to its sale at auction, its cataloguing and exhibiting, to its restoration, passage over the ocean, finally arriving at the furniture's birth place - Chandigarh.
Lucidly juxtaposing her signature elegant tracking shots, recurrent architectural geometries, shapes and vignettes, whilst eschewing dialogue and actors, Siegel subtly realises a wholly unique and discursive sphere. It is through this process of accumulation that Provenance shrewdly exposes the dual mechanisms that dictate the life of objects: provenance and history. Speaking of this self-reflexive technique Siegel remarked, 'I have been at war with montage as cinema's main mode of expression and have been in search of other more accumulative and architectural modes of structuring film' (A. Siegel, http://whitney.org/www/2008biennial/www/?section=artists&page=artist_si egel [accessed 6th September, 2013]).