HAPPENINGText: Kana Sunayama

One of the aspects that amazed us in this exhibition was that it was aiming to show “the art history” out of one private collection. And further, the standard of all the selected 96 works by the 39 artists was very high.

In the exhibition of collective photography and video works, some works simply could not have been ignored.

François Pinault Foundation Collection
Dan Flavin, “Untitled (to Saskia, Sixtina, Thordis.)”, 1973 © Adagp, Paris 2007

The work by Dan Flavin, in which 304 fluorescent light fixtures were laid over 50 meters, served as a tunnel going into the womb of the Francois Pinault collection. Walking through the blue space, which was lit up in pink, green and yellow neon lights, made it feel like we, the audience, were somehow becoming the subject of photography or video works. This installation created an atmosphere where we felt as if actually going into a former Post Office depot in a cloudy, rainy industrial city typical of Northern France. With our excitement level up, it was like entering a wonder world of contemporary art in the 6000 square meter space.

François Pinault Foundation Collection
Rosemarie Trockel, “Untitled”, 1993-2002

This excitement was only to be raised more, as if it were challenging us, as we walked from one work next to the other.

Dan Flavin’s work mentioned above opened as what was known as the first chapter of “Dizziness,” and was then followed by 5 chapters over 3 floors of the exhibition space altogether.

The second chapter started with artists from the 70s, Cindy Sherman, Vito Acconci, Bruce Nauman and Dan Graham, who questioned what it was to be an artist. I’d never seen such a beautiful work as Une seconde d’eternite by Marcel Broodthaers.
The exhibition then moved to the works by artists who inherited the ideas of the above artists but incorporated more humour into their work such as Pierre & Gilles and Fischli & Weiss. In the photography works by Gilbert and George, the viewers could see the naked bodies, the blood, the tears, the semen and the urine, which were often portrayed in Gilbert and George’s work; and it was probably a rare opportunity to see those elements all in one work.

François Pinault Foundation Collection
Gilbert & George, “Blood Tears Spunk Piss”, 1996

Feature films can often be associated as one of the most influential aspects in the medium of video art, and some or the works exhibited in this section incorporated some scenes from feature films. Douglas Gordon’s Through a Looking Glass featured the scene from the Taxi Driver where Robert de Niro talked to himself, which was projected on two screens next to each other but there was a slight time lag on one screen to the other. Paul Pfeiffer’s Self-Portrait as a Fountain brought back to life the fear and excitement of the famous shower scene from Psycho by setting up the video installation with so many cameras and with the sound of water from the shower and the bathroom. Works by Rodney Graham and Pierre Huyghe were also included. Generally, most works were selected not only by the fact that they integrate feature films in the works, but also time lag effects such as repetition and fowarding, that would leave the viewer anxious.

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