[Van AbbeMUSEUM]

Cinéma Cinéma

Contemporary Art and the Cinematic Experience


With work by Pierre Huyghe, Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Fiona Banner, Christoph Draeger
Douglas Gordon, Joachim Koester, Julie Becker, Pierre Bismuth, Mark Lewis
Sharon Lockhart and Christoph Girardet.
From 13 February 1999 the Van Abbemuseum will present the international group exhibition Cinéma Cinéma - Contemporary Art and the Cinematic Experience. The exhibition explores the various ways in which cinema plays a role in the work of a number of young contemporary artists. This influence is not limited to artists living in the vicinity of Hollywood, as is shown by the participation of artists from Finland, France, Scotland, Denmark, England, Canada and the United States.

There is nothing new about art taking an interest in cinema. In the 1960s especially, in the wake of a new concern with popular culture, artists like Ed Ruscha, John Baldessari and Andy Warhol were drawn to film. In the second half of the 1990s there has been a renewed interest among artists in everything to do with the moving image. Video, film and television have been the main points of reference. One of the reasons for this might be the fact that many of the artists in this exhibition have grown up, as it were, next to the VCR and the video shop. Not only were hundreds of films immediately available to them, but they were able to study them closely using rewind, fast forward and slow motion.

Cinéma Cinéma aims to throw light on the relationship some younger artists have with cinema. The exhibition is not concerned with the medium of film in the general sense, but focuses specifically on how artists make use of cinematic experience to formulate their ideas.
Broadly speaking, two approaches can be distinguished. On the one hand there are artists who make frequent use of existing material. They investigate the structure of a film, analysing and dissecting its language before holding the different elements up to the light in order to tell their own tale (Pierre Huyghe, Fiona Banner, Douglas Gordon and Pierre Bismuth).
On the other hand there are those who themselves employ cinematographic techniques, such as casting, lighting, mise-en-scene, camera work, editing and narrative structures. They do not use these methods to make a film in the normal way, however, but instead apply them to other media such as photography and installations. They experiment with combinations of multiple projection screens, spatial objects, sound, slide shows, props and set-like performances (Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Julie Becker and Sharon Lockhart).

In the Cinéma Cinéma exhibition we see various ways in which young artists refer to famous films, make use of certain cinematic techniques and reflect on an already developed language. The naturalness with which this generation uses, analyses and critically views film parallels the way artists have always reacted to the generations before them and to developments in art.
It looks as if towards the end of the twentieth century the relationship between artists and cinema has matured in many respects.

[Van AbbeMUSEUM]