Columbus, OH—The Wexner Center presents Cyprien Gaillard: Disquieting Landscapes, a selection of films and large-scale photographs made between 2005 and 2008 by the French artist. This body of work, showcasing Gaillard’s interest in a rereading of contemporary landscapes, will be on view January 30– April 11, 2010.
A recurring motif in Gaillard’s work is the modernist tower block and the physical and aesthetic spaces it occupies and defines. In the photographic series Cairns, he sets up a stark contrast between residential buildings in Glasgow slotted for demolition, and the Neolithic stone markers of burial sites (cairns) that still dot the landscape in various parts of England and Ireland. Situated next to a graveyard, the tall buildings depicted in the photographs acquire a new historical dimension. The ones still standing become monuments foreshadowing their imminent demise, but in Gaillard’s eyes there is also a strange beauty in their fall and failure—unmoored from their utilitarian purpose they become readable as monuments, ruins, stage sets, and sculptures. When Gaillard photographs a heap of debris, the aesthetic vocabulary of Robert Smithson and Gordon Matta-Clark is always implied but taken in an entirely new direction.
Desniansky Raion (2007), one of Gaillard’s most celebrated pieces and a centerpiece of this exhibition, is a 29- minute video montage that includes dramatic still imagery of an enormous residential tower in Belgrade, footage of two throngs of people fighting in front of tract housing developments in St. Petersburg, a spectacular nocturnal color light show and subsequent demolition of a high-rise building in France, and finally, a bird’s-eye view of a massive housing development outside of Kiev, which lends the video its name. A mesmerizing soundtrack by Koudlam, a French symphonic musician who frequently collaborates with Gaillard, adds to the seductive, yet disturbing, filmic experience.
Notes the Wexner Center’s senior curator Catharina Manchanda, “The impact of Cyprien Gaillard’s films hinges on the immersive experience of the installation. The scale of the images and the symbiotic connection of visuals and sounds—whether the mechanical hum of 35mm projector or a pulsing electronic soundtrack—can only be fully experienced and appreciated in person.”
Disruptive and subversive gestures are part and parcel of Gaillard’s work. Some of his earliest urban interventions involved stealing fire extinguishers and setting off plumes of white “smoke”—a practice that marked the beginning of a string of short films titled Real Remnants of Fictive Wars. One of these films will be shown on a 35mm projector in the galleries.
Cyprien Gaillard (b. 1980) lives and works in Paris. He has exhibited extensively in Europe and has also attracted recent attention in the U.S., where he was one of the artists in the New Museum’s 2009 Younger Than Jesus exhibition. Gaillard was named one of the top 100 emerging artists by Flash Art this year, and one of his works will be shown at Performa 09 in New York.
Gaillard will participate in a public event on Thursday, January 28 at 4:30 pm when the Wexner Center hosts a screening of several additional Gaillard films, followed by a discussion between the artist and the show’s curator, Catharina Manchanda. Admission to this event is free.
Manchanda will also conduct a gallery talk on Wednesday, March 10 at 12:30 pm (free with gallery admission).
Walk-in Tours will be held Thursdays at 5 pm and Saturdays at 1 pm.
A gallery guide with an essay by Manchanda will accompany this show.
VISITOR INFORMATION: Cyprien Gaillard: Disquieting Landscapes is on view to the public January 30–April 11, 2010 at the Wexner Center for the Arts, 1871 N. High St. (at 15th Ave.) on the campus of The Ohio State University in Columbus. Gallery hours are Tuesday–Wednesday and Sunday 11 am–6 pm; Thursday–Saturday 11 am–8 pm; closed Mondays. Walk-In Tours will be held Thursdays at 5 pm and Saturdays at 1 pm beginning February 4. Admission to the galleries is $5; free for Wexner Center members, college students, and visitors 18 and under; free Thursdays from 4 to 8 pm and the first Sunday of the month. More info: wexarts.org or 614 292-3535.
All exhibitions and related events also receive support from the Corporate Annual Fund of the Wexner Center Foundation and Wexner Center members, as well as Greater Columbus Arts Council, The Columbus Foundation, Nationwide Foundation, and the Ohio Arts Council.