David Claerbout. Moving images humanization

In Austria, at Kunsthaus Bregenz, Belgian artist turns the museum into an unnatural landscape, disintegrating space and time.

David Claerbout, The Pure Necessity, 2016, Kunsthaus Bregenz, 2018

David Claerbout at Kunsthaus Bregenz offers a meditative show, consisting of video and sound works. No curator, not title, the exhibition turns the Austrian institution into a tangible phantasmagoria. In full compliance of Peter Zumthor’s  suave building. The Quiet Shore (2011), Travel, (1996–2013), Breathing Bird (2012), Radio Piece (Hong Kong), 2015, Olympia (The Real-Time Disintegration into Ruins of the Berlin Olympic Stadium over the Course of a Thousand Years), 2016 — 3016  and The Pure Necessity, 2016 inhabit four ambiances, from the façade to the third floor.
Each single Claerbout solo show enshrines a gemma, a work relating and grafting whole of the imagery branches of his poetic. From Van Abbemuseum (2005) to Centre Pompidou (2007), from WIELS (2011) to SFMOMA (2011),  from Marabouparken Konsthall (2015) to MNAC — Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, (2017) as well as to Schaulager, Münchenstein (2017).
Even at Kunsthaus Bregenz, as it happened in Berlin in 2016, at KINDL – Centre for Contemporary Art, the exhibition blooms around Olympia (The Real-Time Disintegration into Ruins of the Berlin Olympic Stadium over the Course of a Thousand Years).This huge cinematic narration, based on the computer-generated replica of the Olympic Stadium, enhances the Ruinwert’s theory on human decadence.

On the third floor, time and its perception becomes a single dimension. And the video installation could be read as an attempt to measure biological duration against imaginary duration. The grass slowly begins to grow, and lichens and other plants run wild. The influence of the actual weather plays a crucial role in the work: real-time weather information is constantly integrated into the ongoing disintegration of Claerbout’s digitally rendered stadium.
The same approach to natura naturans concept corresponds to The Pure Necessity, a single channel video, installed and projected directly on the façade. Over a period of three years, David Claerbout and a team of professional artists painstakingly redrew the frames of the original movie The Jungle Book (1967). Unlike his other films, these shots were not digitally rendered. Instead, each frame was drawn by hand in the style of the original animated film. In this Claerbout’s film, Baloo, Bagheera, and Kaa do not play no more a musical, but they act as bear, a panther, and a snake into the wild. They are no longer anthropomorphized.

A similar process, involving a certain kind of in-human research has been contextualized into the walled city of Kowloon. Indeed, on the second floor, at Kunsthaus Bregenz, the audio-visual installation titled Radio Piece (Hong Kong) shows an uninterrupted backtracking camera, smoothly moving from one type of space into another, starting inside a photograph of a Zen garden, gradually revealing a cramped room, and finally escaping from the vertical slum in the district of Hong Kong. Here a ritual sequence of sounds misrepresents the perception of architectures, living conditions, mental and virtual spaces, revealing how our mind could become unexpectedly hurbanized.

David Claerbout, Exhibition view, Kunsthaus Bregenz, 2018
David Claerbout, Olympia (The Real-Time Disintegration into Ruins of the Berlin Olympic Stadium over the Course of a Thousand Years), 2016-3016, third floor, Kunsthaus Bregenz
Exhibition Title:
David Claerbout
Opening dates:
14 July – 7 October 2018
Kunsthaus Bregenz
Karl-Tizian-Platz, Postfach 45, 6900 Bregenz, Austria

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