07/12/2007 > 23/02/2008
Opening on 07/12/2007, from 7 pm to 9 pm
PIERRE BISMUTH uses his artistic practice as a tool to examine our perception of reality, particularly regarding our relation to cultural production. With humour and minimal means, he seeks to destabilize pre-established codes of perception by sabotaging the very logic of his material, lancing the viewer toward incredulity before even the most common cultural objects. His practice produces constant transformations and spontaneous change, an entropic release of excess energy in a system that gradually discloses its paradoxes.
For this exhibition, entitled Coming Soon, in a gesture both minimal and radical, one sole piece occupies the main space of the gallery: a neon sign illuminating, letter by letter, the phrase 'Coming Soon', then flashing like a store marquee. Though blinking out the familiar conclusion to film trailers that promises their imminent arrival, the sign grows increasingly incongruous the longer it's considered – its font too literary for the typical neon sign, its blinking white characters too brilliant for a storefront vitrine. While it can be viewed itself as a trailer for an exhibition to be held in September 2008, featuring PIERRE BISMUTH's collaborations with several different artists, the sign emerges as a self-sufficient anomaly, broadcasting its generic expectancy into the vacant hall.
In the adjoining room, a video presents a montage of the final seconds of movie trailers, which accumulate in a dizzying stream of the ritual 'Coming Soon'. Simultaneously overture and valediction, the phrase suspends the spectator in protracted, and indeed endless, expectation, as if to emphasize that the anticipation is often better than the award, and the wait often more exciting then the event. Through the repetition of his unique evangelical message, heralded by celestial light and organ chords, Coming Soon appears like the ideal and eternal promise of salvation.
And if we stand rapt rather than frustrated before BISMUTH's montage, perhaps it's that Coming Soon tests the inversion of the Stendhalian adage, 'La beauté n'est que la promesse de bonheur.'
PIERRE BISMUTH was born in Paris in 1963. He lives and works in Brussels. Recent solo exhibitions include Kunstmuseum Thun, Villa Arson (Nice), Kunsthalle Basel, Witte de With Museum (Rotterdam), Sprengel Museum Hanover. Recent group shows include Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), Ludwig Museum (Cologne), Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), Casino (Luxembourg) and MAMCO (Geneva).