Beethoven’s Nephew, 1999
In 1998 Ana Torfs made the feature film ZYKLUS VON KLEINIGKEITEN (Cycle of Trifles). For this work she drew upon Ludwig Van Beethoven’s so-called ‘conversation books’. These allowed others to ‘talk’ to the famous composer after his hearing deteriorated dramatically in 1818, at the age of 48. Visitors had to make themselves intelligible by writing in small notebooks Beethoven always carried with him until his death in 1827. The conversation books contain the words that were literally addressed to the deaf composer during some of the most important phases of his last years: they conserve as it were what happened all around him. ZYKLUS VON KLEINIGKEITEN provides an insight, albeit literally one-sided, into Beethoven’s everyday life, through very stylised and timeless black and white scenes. While the film was being made, photos were taken with a view to compiling a book. BEETHOVEN’S NEPHEW is not a film’s book, but an artist’s book in its own right.