The twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall sparked a renewed interest in understanding the political struggles that divided a nation for over forty years. In The Fugitive, Berlin-based artist Elena Bellantoni tells the story of an anonymous character who one day finds himself transported into a different state of reality. Secure in the familiarity of his own room, the man peers into a mirror and compulsively dives through it, as if pulled by a gravitational force.
He tumbles out of a box into an open space. A large wall creeps into the picture as he pushes the box away. Trapped and scared, he attempts to escape through a hole in the ground. When he re-emerges on the other side of the wall, he is immediately apprehended by two imposing figures. It is here that the protagonist as well as the police assume their actual faces and identities, ultimately humanizing this particular slice of history.
By way of minimal illustrations that are animated in a constant process of drawing, erasure, and re-drawing, The Fugitive bears evidence of the artist's hand. The darkening page, filled with indelible marks and smudges, functions as evidence of make-belief, of a fantastic narrative that acts as a buffer between the story and us. Bellantoni confronts us in the final instant with a chilling photographic still that unveils the truth: our cartoonish figure is in fact a real person. As the viewer's fictional lens is abruptly shattered, so too are the hopes of this man to live in freedom.