Mario De Brabandere
Avery T.C. Preesman
Angel Vergara Santiago
A retrospective by the filmmaker and artist Johan Grimonprez. In the course of several sections, he brings his works face to face with contemporary and historical counterparts, some taken from the Internet. Grimonprez's video work manoeuvres graciously between art and cinema, documentary and fiction. Brei: Manfred Pernice presents a collection of recent work. His sculptures are constructed from simple materials, the power of his work lies in its unfinished state, the visible creative process and its variability. The new museum's collection presentation is composed like a visual chain, starting with pure colour and moving through abstract paintings to more figurative works.
For his exhibition in the S.M.A.K., the German artist Manfred Pernice (1963, Hildesheim) will present a collection of recent work centred on the monumental 2010 architectural installation 'Tutti'. The presentation is a confrontation with the architecture of the S.M.A.K. exhibition rooms and gives the exhibition a special site-specific character.
Tutti is a development of the installation sculpture D & A-Punkt, a work the museum purchased more than ten years ago. This approach is typical of Pernice’s artistic practice. Indeed, the power of his work lies in its unfinished state, the visible creative process and its variability. His architectural sculptures are constructed from simple materials like wood and chipboard, to which cuttings from newspapers and magazines, photos and found and ready-made objects are attached. They look like scale models of impracticable structures, or monumental models on a modest scale. They refer to metropolises with flows of traffic, industry, canals, freight transport and consumer patterns.
Although Pernice’s models are formally relatively plain and simple, they refer to complex economic processes. They examine the link between form and content, and aesthetics and function, and express themselves in compacted structures and a dense web of associations. This focus on context, history, production processes and surrounding infrastructure implies a world vision: the utopia Pernice pursues is not just architectural but largely social.
The exhibition is a coproduction by the Museum of Modern Art in Oxford, Dundee Contemporary Art in Dundee and the S.M.A.K.
It's a Poor Sort of Memory that Only Works Backwards: On Zapping, Close encounters and the Commercial Break
S.M.A.K. is presenting the first Belgian retrospective by the filmmaker and artist Johan Grimonprez (1962, Roeselare). In the course of several sections, Grimonprez brings his works face to face with contemporary and historical counterparts, some taken from the Internet. He enters into dialogue with the artists Roy Villevoye and Jan Dietvorst and also with other makers of film and television including Adam Curtis, Brian Springer, the Yes Men, Dr. John Mack and Adbusters. His constantly expanding ‘vlogging installation’ runs through the exhibition like a referential thread and, as a sort of artistic sketchbook, it offers an insight into the way Grimonprez broaches new topics and develops visual associations.
Grimonprez’s video work manoeuvres graciously between art and cinema, documentary and fiction, practice and theory. In a world awash with images produced and reproduced on a massive scale, Grimonprez suggests new narrative structures that make it possible to continue telling personal stories. His work is based on an archaeology of the contemporary media and reveals – and disrupts – the part the moving image plays in the construction of our personal and political histories, our fears and desires and the way we see ourselves and the world. Using documentary material, found footage, historical items from archives, his own home videos, news pictures, advertising, video clips and excerpts from Hollywood films, Grimonprez tries in his own way to give some meaning to the havoc wreaked by History.
dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y (1997), the astonishing film with which Grimonprez made his international breakthrough and which premiered at Documenta X, is a dazzling study of terrorist strategies that merges television images and home videos. Under the guise of a chronicle of aircraft hijacks, the film exposes the ‘hijack’ of reality by the media. Grimonprez’s recent film Double Take (2009) too unravels the mechanisms of paranoia and the introduction of fear into the fabric of our society. Against the background of the space race, as a metaphor for the Cold War, and through a series of cloned Alfred Hitchcocks, Double Take symbolises the double effect of cinema and television and the recent history of capitalism, communism, advertising and warfare. Grimonprez’s earlier film Kobarweng or Where is Your Helicopter? (1992) deconstructs the legacy of an anthropological discourse by studying the confrontation ensuing from the first encounter between Westerners and the villagers of the highlands of New Guinea. The multi-channel installation It Will Be All Right If You Come Again, Only Next Time Don’t Bring Any Gear, Except A Tea Kettle (1994-2004) also explores the creation of new mythologies and cultural stories in the wake of Western imperialism.
Other versions of this exhibition have previously been shown at the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich, in 2007, and at The Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh and the Blaffer Museum in Houston in 2010. The book It’s a Poor Sort of Memory that Only Works Backwards is being published to accompany this exhibition.
Thanks to the backing of:
the Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh; The Blaffer Art Museum, Houston; Artist Rooms, Tate; National Galleries of Scotland; Cultuurcentrum Strombeek; KASK, Gent; Gallerie Kamel Mennour, Paris; Sean Kelly Gallery, New York; ZAPOMATIK, Brussel.
In the current presentation of works from the collection, S.M.A.K. has assembled a selection of paintings; not only on the traditional canvas, but also on more unusual supports. These works may offer a moment of calm after the stream of flashing media images and film excerpts in the adjacent exhibition by Johan Grimonprez. This collection presentation is composed like a visual chain, starting with pure colour and moving through abstract paintings to more narrative, figurative works. It closes with Angel Vergara’s work ‘Le mécanisme secret qui guide le créateur dans son aventure périlleuse’ which refers to the practice of painting itself.
Louis Cane, Alan Charlton, Amédée Cortier, Franky D.C., Mario De Brabandere, Wim Delvoye, Helmut Dorner, Vincent Geyskens, Mary Heilmann, Eugène Leroy, Peter Phillips, Avery T.C. Preesman, Stephan Runge, Jan Schoonhoven, Marien Schouten, Han Schuil, Thomas Schütte, Mariella Simoni, Walter Swennen, Juan Uslé, Angel Vergara Santiago, Franz West, Robin Winters, Heimo Zobernig.
Image: Manfred Pernice
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