Klaus W. Eisenlohr: On track

Many of Petra Lottje’s films, on a first view, seem to plainly criticize the stereotyped depictions of women in media. In „Jedes Zimmer Hinter Einer Tür“ (Every Room Behind A Door) Petra Lottje stages the female part of dialogues in diverse films, using the German dubbing voices and borrowing her lips to the sound like it is practice with the “playback mime singers” on TV.
However, the lip-sync is not perfect in some parts, the settings seems not to fit correctly but still, and over time, the viewer gets the impression of honest enacting instead of parody. One reason for that impression may be the very understated acting of Petra Lottje. Her minimal gestures and mimic, reminding of Buster Keaton, leave ample space for projections by the viewer.
(Buster Keaton’s “poker face” was a novelty in cinema at that time. Some film critics see him as the starting point of modern cinema, where the actor on close-up shows only minimal expressions in order to become the mirror for emotional projections by the viewers). Thus over time of watching the film „Jedes Zimmer Hinter Einer Tür“ and the programme as a whole, the acting of Lottje seems to become more and more “real”.
It may come as a surprise that Petra Lottje selects the sound clips of German dubbings of mainstream movies mostly because she feels personally moved by those scenes. Consequently, if the viewer starts to identify emotionally with the female protagonist in the film, the categories of viewer perceptions start to twirl like a merry-go-round. Artist Lottje started to collect these kind of sound clips firstly in order to make sound installations, but then over time, she started to feel
the need for some kind of visual representation and thus has turned herself to video as her media of choice, besides drawing, her other art practice. If taking a critical distance, we could summarize Lottje’s strategy in art as a kind of “critique by affirmation”.