Pierre Bismuth, Michel Gondry
12/10/2005 > 17/12/2005

Opening on 08/10/2005, from 7 pm to 9 pm

The All Seeing Eye is the latest collaboration between PIERRE BISMUTH and MICHEL GONDRY, after the success of the feature movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, directed by MICHEL GONDRY and based on an original idea by PIERRE BISMUTH.

Their first collaboration dates back from 1993 and one of MICHEL GONDRY's first music video, borrowing its principle to an art video by PIERRE BISMUTH. Since then, while BISMUTH was becoming an internationally known artist and GONDRY one the most celebrated music video director, acclaimed for his work as an author, they have kept on sharing ideas.

In 1998, PIERRE BISMUTH told MICHEL GONDRY about a narrative concept based on volontary and selective memory eraisal. Michel, then looking for a scenario, liked the idea and asked Pierre to write a synopsis. Developed along with scenarist Charlie KAUFMANN, it became six years later Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a feature movie directed by MICHEL GONDRY starring Jim CAREY, Kate WINSLET, Elijah WOOD and Kirsten DUNST. In February 2005, at the 77th Academy Awards ceremony, BISMUTH, GONDRY and KAUFMAN won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for this much celebrated movie. PIERRE BISMUTH is the first conceptual artist to ever receive an Academy Award.

The All Seeing Eye once again explores, this time in the visual arts field, the ideas commonly interesting the two artists, amongst which a taste for plays on langage and perception, knowledge and meaning.

This video is based on a technique already used by BISMUTH in the art video Link (1998) and by GONDRY in the Kylie MINOGUE music video Come Into My World (2002). The image was recorded by a revolving camera. But whereas in Link, where the set would change on each turn, and in Come Into My World, where each turn doubles some elements of reality, here the concept refers to Eternal Sunshine and the idea of memory erasure.

A bourgeois appartment is gradually constructed and deconstructed before our eyes in successive swipes of a revolving camera. What begins as a circling motion quickly becomes more of a spiral, as Eames armchairs, house plants, chimneys, Brillo boxes, mirrors, and a dining table with multiplying place settings appear only to successively vanish until finally the room is stripped bare.

At the end of this subtractive process the spectator is left alone, confronted with the emptiness of an 'eye' that is both 'all seeing' and yet sees 'nothing' – a final solitude reminiscent of the Cartesian mind's bid to achieve self-certainty by emptying itself of concrete contents. In a further irony, the panoptic pretensions of the camera are undermined by our awareness of a crucial blind-spot: what is not shown by the kino-eye is precisely the off-screen manipulations that account for the scenery changes, an example of PIERRE BISMUTH and MICHEL GONDRY's shared fondness for special effects created by low-tech or non-digital means.

The presentation of the video doubles the camera's rotary motion as it is projected spinning around the exhibition space, thus transforming the traditional static screen of the video into more of a traveling spotlight.

The theme of erasure links the new video work with Eternal Sunshine, a connection that is underlined by a television in the room playing a scene from the film throughout the piece.

PIERRE BISMUTH was born in 1963 in Paris. He lives and works in Brussels. Recent solo exhibitions include Kunstmuseum Thun, Kunsthalle Basel, Witte de With Museum Rotterdam, Sprengel Museum Hanover. Recent group shows include Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Casino Luxembourg, MAMCO Geneva, 49th Venice Biennale.
Monography to be published in October 2005 (Crétaion COntemporaine coll., Flammarion ed.).

MICHEL GONDRY was born in 1963 in Versailles. He lives and works in Paris and New York. He directed several acclaimed and prize-winning commercials and music videos (including some for Beck, The White Stripes, The Chemical Brothers, Björk, Kylie Minogue, Massive Attack, The Rolling Stones, Daft Punk), as well as two feature movies.
His new film The Science of Sleep is now in post-production.