Cultural Autopsy 5
MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE WALL...
Location: Filmtheater t’Hoogt
The artist, film director and curator Johan Grimonprez divides his time between Paris en Ghent and is currently working on a new documentary on Hitchcock lookalikes. Although he works with several different media – photography, digital image samples and found footage – video is central to his work. Grimonprez achieves international acclaim in 1997 with Dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y, a piece that mixes snippets of archive material such as news items and extracts from science fiction films with personally recorded images. Already in the first video works by Grimonprez such as Kobarweng, or Where Is Your Helicopter? (1992) the artist articulates a strong concern for the impact of images on the viewer. Grasping onto an anthropological and sociological context, the artist directly and indirectly asks himself through his work what remains of the value of images in what he himself calls “our catastrophic culture”. The same properties of Grimonprez’ video work are also articulated in his selection in the Cultural Autopsy. His program casts criticism on Western egocentricity and it forms an enquiry into the impact of images.
About the program
The astonishment of the one at what is self-evident to the other, anthropologists who are subtly kept at bay, and a parody of the Western tourist who prefers to view the world through a lens.
Kobarweng of where is your Helicopter?
JOHAN GRIMONPREZ (BELGIUM 1992, VIDEO, 25:00 MIN)
In 1959 the first helicopter lands on Dutch New-Guinea, on board is a group of western anthropologists. That culture-shock initiated this reflection on the meeting of different cultures.
Trobriand Cricket (An Ingenious Response to Colonialism)
JERRY W. LEACH & GARY KILDEA (AUSTRALIA 1974, VIDEO, 60:00 MIN)
The British introduced cricket to many of their colonies, and Jamaicans, Indians, and Pakistanis are among the. world’s best cricketers today. But in the Trobriand Islands, cricket escaped from its English mold. In the hands of the Trobrianders, it was transformed drastically into an enterprise that reflects and supports Trobriand culture, not transplanted English culture.
Johan Grimonprez― Curator
Johan Grimonprez (Belgium, 1962) studied at the School of Visual Arts and attended the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program in New York. Grimonprez's work dances on the borders of practice and theory, art and cinema, documentary and fiction, demanding a double take on the part of the viewer. Informed by an archaeology of present-day media, his work seeks out the tension between the intimate and the bigger picture of globalization. It questions our contemporary sublime, framed by a fear industry that has infected political and social dialogue. By suggesting new narratives through which to tell a story, his work emphasises a multiplicity of histories and realities. He achieved international acclaim with his film essay dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y at Documenta X in Kassel, Germany, in 1997, which eerily foreshadowed the tragic events of September 11th in New York. His films have been included in prestigious film festivals around the globe, including New York, Edinburgh, Telluride, Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo and Berlin.