The Quiet Shore, 2011
single channel video projection, black & white, silent, 36 min 32 sec loop
Courtesy Lilian and Billy Mauer, © David Claerbout
the time that remains
31 May–10 August 2012
On 30 May 2012, Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art will preview a solo exhibition dedicated to the filmic works of the Belgian artist David Claerbout. The exhibition features works spanning Claerbout’s practice from 2000 to the present. The time that remains will be the artist’s first solo exhibition in a London public gallery.
Claerbout situates his striking work between the complex worlds of digital photography and film, investigating this intermediate area in concise and thought-provoking installations. Claerbout’s films often depict everyday activities or events, which once digitally manipulated negate the linear passage of time. His work questions the viewer’s conventional ideas of time and narrative processes.
Filmed in a house designed by contemporary architect Rem Koolhaas and using the same episode shot at ten-minute intervals from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Bordeaux Piece, 2004, lasts nearly fourteen hours. Three actors repeat flat dialogue and use dramatic gestures. They seem to be the protagonists of the work, but as time goes by the narrative slowly collapses into the movement of the sun and the changing light of day. A different sense of time is created and the protagonist is now the natural world. This work contains Claerbout’s first use of dialogue.
The Algiers’ Sections of a Happy Moment, 2008, is set on a small soccer pitch on a roof of the Algiers casbah. Young men, surrounded by a group of elderly people, pause in their game as one of the players feeds a flock of eager seagulls. The succession of images in this ‘happy moment’ provides a reflection on what Claerbout terms ‘the suspicious gaze’. The artist uses the passage of time as a tool for moderating that suspicious gaze, and more generally as a means of reconsidering what we see.
Set within the rigorous architecture of Skywood House, near Denham in the UK, Sunrise, 2009, takes the viewer into near-total darkness. The film depicts a nocturnal scene inside the villa, where a maid goes about her usual routine while the inhabitants sleep. The camera follows her through the course of her work and finally films her as she cycles home along a country road under the rising sun, accompanied by an imposing piece of music by Rachmaninov.
The landscape of The Quiet Shore, 2011, is that of Brittany, where the tides are known to be the strongest in Europe. An empty beach is shown at dusk at low tide. Still soaked in water, the sand, with its silvery shimmer and stillness, functions like a mirror reflecting the world around it.
Finally, Orchestra, 2011, a recent light box work, is about theatrical silence. The viewer enters a darkened room, where the conductor of an orchestra emerges from the dim scene. Both conductor and the audience within the work focus their attention on the gallery viewer, creating a moment of suspended silence.
Born in 1969, David Claerbout is one of the most internationally acclaimed video artists of his generation. Recent years have seen his work honoured with prizes and numerous solo exhibitions in Europe and North America. Recent shows include a retrospective at WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Belgium, and the touring exhibition The Shape of Time, which travelled between 2007 and 2009 to the Centre Pompidou, Paris; the MIT List Visual Arts Center, Massachusetts; the Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, Switzerland; the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, University of British Columbia, Vancouver; and the De Pont Museum for Contemporary Art, Netherlands. He currently lives and works in Antwerp and Berlin.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a comprehensive publication, co-produced with WIELS, Brussels, distributed by Ludion.
Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art
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London, N1 7RW
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PARASOL UNIT foundation for contemporary art
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