Laeticia Bénat, 'Condensation' - Pierre BISMUTH, 'Presque identique, très légèrement différent'

Press release

Pierre Bismuth
09/10/2003 > 24/10/2003

Opening on 09/10/2003, from 7 pm to 9 pm

PIERRE BISMUTH uses his artistic practice as a tool for examining our perception of reality, especially regarding our relation to cultural productions. With limited means and a lot of humour he aims at destabilising pre-established codes of perception and pushing the viewer to become critical when presented with cultural objects whose meaning seems obvious. He has it that it is by creating unexpected shifts in the everyday meaning of things that changes in perceptual habits can occur.
Cosmic Galerie presents for the first time in Paris series of works based on the ideas of substitution and equivalence.
For instance, In prevention of technical malfunction (unplugged Bruce NAUMAN video work) comes down to the presentation of an unplugged video of the American artist. With this piece, PIERRE BISMUTH profits from these more or less short periods of time where video works are installed but not necessarily working, due to technical problems or simply when the show is closed at the end of the day.
Some things less, some things more consists of three thin partitions pierced with circles until as little material as possible remains, while the circles removed from the partitions accumulate on the floor. This installation generates leftovers from production that have to be managed, whereas In prevention of technical malfunction tries to exploit them.
The room is completed by two new versions of the series From red to nothing and From green to something else which are the formal development of the Synonym series. However, here the progression is visible through the different exhibitions of the artist. Each new presentation of these two works reproduces with a hardly noticeable difference the colour of the latest show, with a slight addition of white for From red to nothing and colour for From green to something else. It is only after a certain number of venues that the evolution becomes visible for those who follow the series, doomed for ending in white for From red to nothing and never ending for From green to something else.
The new series Replace by the same plays on the idea of substituting one thing by its double: on each of the pictures, produced by the artist and without thematic link between them, elements taken from duplicates are glued at the exact same place as they were on the originals.
Lastly, Foldings are also presented for the first time. They consist of origami made out of different materials (magazines, newspapers, posters, maps, etc). The origami is then showed unfolded, bearing only the trace of its folding. However, each piece keeps the name of what it was as an origami.

Five video works of PIERRE BISMUTH, selected by bdv (Stéphanie MOISDON-TREMBLEY et Nicolas TREMBLEY), will be screened alternatively, one per day: La Partie I, 1999 ; Link, 1998-2003 ; Jungle Book, 2002 ; One Man Show, 2003, Respect the Dead, 2002-2003.

Video works

(work in progress) since 1999
Video work on a monitor, 14 up to date, based on Joseph L. Mankiewicz's film « Sleuth » (1972)
Courtesy Lisson Gallery, London
Production OK Centrum für Gegenwartskunst, Linz / Casino Luxembourg - Forum d'art contemporain, Luxembourg

As with « Alternance», continuity and discontinuity are fundamental themes in Link. The artist's starting point and basic material is the film classic « Sleuth » (1972), an English ‘whodunnit' spoken in slang, by Joseph L Mankiewicz (featuring Michael Caine and Lawrence Olivier)
To make this piece the artist is (still) looking for producers who will each finance 170 seconds of his remake. The work was first shown at the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven in 1999. Since then the artist has only found four more institutions that have been willing to fund the making of this on-going piece.
In Link the original film is shown being run on different television screens in different apartments.
The editing in the original movie corresponds with changes of location in the PIERRE BISMUTH's « remake».
The use of « Sleuth » is significant since all the filming took place on the same set. By constantly changing scene in the different apartments, the artist's Link becomes a paraphrase of the original's adaptation.

Back to the jungle (the Jungle Book project)
Video, 2002
Based on the original Walt Disney Production« The Jungle Book », 1967.

« I was always fascinated with the way children can watch the same video or listen to the same record over and over again, several times a day, for weeks or months. In December 2001, looking for a present for my god-daughter, I wanted to see if « The Jungle Book » could pull her out of her several-months'-old addiction to Winny the Pooh. The idea was not to buy one version, but three or four: Dutch, English, Spanish, Italian, etc. I wanted to see how an 18-month-old baby would react to watching the same thing and hearing something different each time. Somehow, before I could send her the tapes, I was fascinated by the experience of listening to all the dubbed versions. I wanted to give
a different language to each character in the same film. » (PIERRE BISMUTH)

Respect the dead
Video, 2001-2002

In Respect the Dead, PIERRE BISMUTH edits feature films so that the film sequences are cut immediately after the first death occurs on screen. As in Collages for Men, the artist´s refusal to understand the normal meaning and function of death in cinema, the way it creates a certain setting or serves the development of the plot, changes the balance of the film and gives identity and significance to otherwise unimportant characters and events. Most of the films edited in this way last no more than few minutes.

The Party
Video, 1997/2001, 95'
Based on the Blake Edwards movie (1968)

The Party is a video based on a text that was written after listening to the soundtrack of a Blake Edwards' film. Without having ever seen the film, in the time of a single uninterrupted hearing, a typist was given the task of describing the ambiances and the actions implied by these atmospheres while transcribing the dialogue as she could. Confronted at the same time with problems of sound, interpretation, memory, and speed of execution, she produced in this way a new scenario in which the objectivity and subjectivity are mixed, giving as much information on the progress of the film as on the process of comprehension. The text, then added to the image, acts as a set of subtitles. It intervenes like an absurd commentary, moving ahead of the images, and so, becoming the main action.
(Translated from) Stéphanie Moisdon-Trembley

One Man Show
Video, 2002, 6'
Based on the Buster Keaton's movie « The Playhouse » (1921)

Buster Keaton's film 'The Playhouse' whose action is centred on the idea of symmetry, has been manipulated to create two screens: a mirrored image on the right-hand-side of the screen and a mirrored image on the left-hand-side.


A film of the installation of the exhibition of Laetitia BENAT and PIERRE BISMUTH, directed by Sabine BOUCKAERT, is screened in the first room.
Cosmic Galerie also hosts a bookshop in collaboration with Ofr.
In the garden, Helmet, 2003, is a permanent installation of Marco BOGGIO SELLA.