Kim Corbisier exhibition

Date: 2 December 2022 - 26 January 2023
Time: 18:00
Venue:  Liszt Institute Brussels
10 Treurenberg, 1000

documentary film 87’

The origo of telling the story of the exceptional painter talent, the Hungarian-Belgian Kim Corbisier is the short acquaintance of the filmmaker and her 10 years ago. Erika Kapronczai, who was a film director student at that time, wanted to make a short film with Kim who was already an urban legend in Budapest due to her unique talents and the mysteries around her origins. After their first meeting the film project turned into a life saving mission, which was supposed to be accomplished by another film project. Kim and Erika started to make a documentary film about Kim quitting drugs. But after a few months this process remained unfinished as well. Kim committed suicide. And she left her camera with Erika, full of mesmerizing footage about her last period. Now, 10 years later, Erika finally makes their film, tells her short and intense experience with Kim, summarizes her oeuvre and dig deep in the direct antecedents of her collapse and suicide. We end up with more questions than answers, and the Kim phenomena becomes understandable in a complex context. At the same time Kim, the artist icon, who left a brilliantly powerful oeuvre behind after her tragically short and intense life, takes her well deserved place in the canon of contemporary art.

The story of an exceptional painter talent, the Belgian-Hungarian Kim Corbisier, who left behind a powerful oeuvre after her tragically short and intense life. And a camera at her filmmaker friend Erika Kapronczai. The camera's mesmerizing and often shocking footage bears witness to Kim's struggles with methadone addiction and, above all, to the identity crisis caused by a series of unfortunate and criminal accidents in her family. On 18 March 2012, Kim jumped off the balcony of an apartment in downtown Budapest. After their unfinished projects, the filmmaker is now, 10 years later, realising an old project they had together by making this documentary. In parallel with the film, Kim's oeuvre is processed and her paintings will be included in the collections of the Ludwig Museum and the National Gallery.

Kim and Erika's brief acquaintance began in late 2011. Erika, who was back then a film director student at the University of Theatre and Film Arts, was looking for a lead actress for her short feature film, and that’s why she met Kim, who was already an urban legend in Budapest due to her unique talent and the mystery surrounding her origins. But after their meeting, the film project almost immediately became a life-saving mission. This process included a new film project: they started making a documentary about Kim quitting drugs. After a few months, however, this too was left unfinished.

The dramaturgy of the documentary follows the process of Erika's exploration of the circumstances and key factors in the tragic life of this exceptional artist. So we start from the outside, from the surface. Kim's early success and her art are discussed by the most renowned professionals in the contemporary Hungarian art scene. Despite her short life's work, her three painterly periods are clearly distinguishable. The works of the last period are considered by experts to be typical late works, Kim's most outstanding works, and at the same time reveal the artist's psychological problems. Kim was extremely successful, with several galleries wanting to work with her, selling paintings and winning numerous prizes. But at a significant moment in her career, at the Strabag Art Award artist residency in Vienna, she could no longer control the chaos she had created around herself.
One day her studio was found vandalised and she was dismissed. Then began her descent, accelerating at a fatal pace. We can follow all this through documentary footage Erika shot at the time and Kim's own videos. Together with close friends, witnesses and people involved, we reconstruct exactly what happened. Could it have happened differently? Could we have saved her? Who is responsible, her or the lack of a supportive milieu? Can someone be saved from themselves? Was it a decision or an accident? Kim was obsessed with the great rock icons, the members of the 27 Club, Amy Winehouse, Janis Joplin. She envisioned a destiny for herself like theirs. She was terrified of it, but she ran towards it without control.

This is not a dramatic drug movie. Addiction was just the tip of the iceberg. Kim's severe identity crisis and the trauma of a criminal family background manifested in this way of life. At the age of 18, Kim learned that the person she thought was her mother was not her real mother. Her real mother was Belgian and committed suicide before she was one year old. Kim was born in Brussels, and her Belgian father, whom she also lost at an early age, moved to the small Hungarian village of Nagyvenyim with her Hungarian partner when Kim was 9. No one from the family is still alive today, except Kim's cousins in Brussels, whom Erika visits now. It is from her that we learn that Kim's father was a rich, mysterious figure: no one knew what exactly he did for a living. The Belgian family suspects that he may have been involved in the death of Kim's mother. In any case, after her mother's death, he refused the Belgian grandmother to have any contact with her granddaughter and practically kidnapped Kim when she was secretly brought to Hungary and her birth certificate was forged: the official document listed the Hungarian foster mother as Kim's mother.

Kim "always found the light in the darkness", recalls her Belgian cousin. Her dark and traumatic story was full of bright moments, she loved life, she "loved to live", and the film ends with a serene, even if bittersweet, episode. Ten years after Kim's death, she has her first solo exhibition abroad, in Berlin, and her paintings were included in Hungary's most important collections. Kim finally takes her rightful place in the fine art canon.

The documentary was made without NFI funding, with the help of private funding. The research and interviews started in summer 2020. Several forgotten Kim paintings were uncovered in the process of unravelling the chain of acquaintances and relatives. However, the whereabouts of some are still unknown.

director: Erika Kapronczai
producer: Péter Kozma
creative producer: Erika Kapronczai
co-producers: András Muhi, Gábor Ferenczy
editor: Viktor Pacsorasz
photographer: Krisztián Pamuki
music composer: Kata Kozma
professional consultant: Dániel Ongjerth
animation: Zoltán Ásmány
additional music co-composer - Kim's theme: Kriszta Dányi
sound design: László Reményi
colorist: Ferenc Szabados
trailer: Krisztián Pamuki
archive footages photographers: Marcsi Tóth, Erika Kapronczai, Kashefi Vandad, Ferenc Sebő
produced by kArton Productions
post-production: Focus-Fox Studio