Rosemarie Trockel is exhibiting the first part of a trilogy about her childhood. In the first installment, "Liquefaction", a mother disappears, dissolves into thin air, but it is not revealed where she ends up. That is the subject matter of the second episode, "Diffusion", while the third part is devoted to the mother's reincarnation, culminating in the finale entitled "Come Back".
"Liquefaction" consists of a black-and-white double projection, a narrative and a trick film made of woolen threads. The atmosphere in the story is similar to that in a children's circus or the magic of side-stalls at a fair ground. Several scenes are played out simultaneously around a large tent with a big sign reading "La Grande Illusion": An artist tries to perform a cheap trick with a cigarette, but keeps failing, twins steal things from each other, thereby turning fateful circles around themselves, a drummer just keeps on drumming, announcing events that don't take place, a magician causes the mother of a child to disappear, a young girl offers a rendition of "Was soll das bedeuten ..." on the flute.
What we see is a loosely connected group of tragedies that are not interpreted and perceived as such, either by those directly involved or those on the outside. Everybody is immersed in his/her own history, like a circus number, practicing diligently, fervently repeating it or failing again and again. "La Grande Illusion" presents a collection of isolated "tragic pieces", whose indifference causes them to appear as a movable pattern of relationships with no relation.
As such the narrative is not at all unlike the woolen thread trick film. This initially presents a picture of a carefully composed game with loose woolen threads, which, contrary to music (which is contradictory in itself), creates and disbands black and white constellations. However, narrative references to "La Grande Illusion" can also be discerned in the composition.
Just as in the constellation of isolated tragedies, references to b&w patterns, those of the threads are full of allusions to social structures, personal relationships and pictograms of all types of elective affinities. Only unambiguous meanings cannot be clearly identified in both. Neither is the narrative part concerned with meanings, nor the non-narrative part with abstractions.Both sections are receptive to each other, but always remain what they are. Together they create a non-illusionist history in image form, marking a difference from the grand illusion of cinema.