Contemporary Art and the Cinematic Experience
With work by Pierre Huyghe, Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Fiona
Banner, Christoph Draeger
Douglas Gordon, Joachim Koester, Julie Becker, Pierre
Bismuth, Mark Lewis
Sharon Lockhart and Christoph Girardet.
From 13 February 1999 the Van Abbemuseum will present the international
group exhibition Cinéma Cinéma - Contemporary
Art and the Cinematic Experience. The exhibition explores the
various ways in which cinema plays a role in the work of a number
of young contemporary artists. This influence is not limited
to artists living in the vicinity of Hollywood, as is shown by
the participation of artists from Finland, France, Scotland,
Denmark, England, Canada and the United States.
There is nothing new about art taking an interest in cinema.
In the 1960s especially, in the wake of a new concern with popular
culture, artists like Ed Ruscha, John Baldessari and Andy Warhol
were drawn to film. In the second half of the 1990s there has
been a renewed interest among artists in everything to do with
the moving image. Video, film and television have been the main
points of reference. One of the reasons for this might be the
fact that many of the artists in this exhibition have grown up,
as it were, next to the VCR and the video shop. Not only were
hundreds of films immediately available to them, but they were
able to study them closely using rewind, fast forward and slow
Cinéma Cinéma aims to throw light on
the relationship some younger artists have with cinema. The exhibition
is not concerned with the medium of film in the general sense,
but focuses specifically on how artists make use of cinematic
experience to formulate their ideas.
Broadly speaking, two approaches can be distinguished. On the
one hand there are artists who make frequent use of existing
material. They investigate the structure of a film, analysing
and dissecting its language before holding the different elements
up to the light in order to tell their own tale (Pierre Huyghe,
Fiona Banner, Douglas Gordon and Pierre Bismuth).
On the other hand there are those who themselves employ cinematographic
techniques, such as casting, lighting, mise-en-scene, camera
work, editing and narrative structures. They do not use these
methods to make a film in the normal way, however, but instead
apply them to other media such as photography and installations.
They experiment with combinations of multiple projection screens,
spatial objects, sound, slide shows, props and set-like performances
(Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Julie Becker and Sharon Lockhart).
In the Cinéma Cinéma exhibition we see
various ways in which young artists refer to famous films, make
use of certain cinematic techniques and reflect on an already
developed language. The naturalness with which this generation
uses, analyses and critically views film parallels the way artists
have always reacted to the generations before them and to developments
It looks as if towards the end of the twentieth century the relationship
between artists and cinema has matured in many respects.