The Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo (CAAC) is presenting the exhibition Remake Resnais, which is part of the expository session Mal de Archivo, and is being held in collaboration with the Institut Français and the Seville European Film Festival.
This exhibition aims to investigate how some of the films from the 50s by the French filmmaker Alain Resnais (1922-2014) are presently influencing a new generation of artists of different nationalities in establishing aesthetic and political relationships with the present. Specifically, three of his films will be screened and installed in the CAAC spaces: Toute la mémoire du monde, (1956), Les statues meurent aussi, (1953), which he made along with Chris Marker and Ghislain Cloquet, and Guernica, (1950), in collaboration with Robert Hessens.
In the exhibition, the structure is symmetrical and repeats itself: three elements for each of the three films chosen. Starting from the object of investigation of each one, an expositary discourse is established in which approach, climax and denouement are always developed inversely, as regards chronology and exposition. First, a group of works that can signify the subject or matter to be dealt with, secondly a reinterpretation of each film by a contemporary artist and, finally, Resnais’ film. That is, a kind of journey to the past from the present, just as each of these essay documentaries are.
In 1956, the French director Alain Resnais made Toute la mémoire du monde, one of his most widely seen short films, in which he shows the inner workings of the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, one of the most important institutions in the world, with a collection of over 30 million volumes (partly thanks to the decree in 1537 which ordered that at least one copy of every book published in France should be deposited there).
The German artist Candida Höfer focuses her attention on this institution in which Resnais shot his film and also exhibits a series of photographs in the CAAC. In addition, also in relation to the film, there is a two channel video installation by Nina Fischer & Maroan el Sani.
The film Les statues meurent aussi was the second film Resnais made in collaboration with Chris Markerr. The text of the film begins as a study of primitive art and gradually, with the images of a series of African masks and statues connected with legends and magic rites, the filmmaker denounces imperialism, oppression and colonialism, leading us to more profound reflections on the cultural submission of peoples, trading control and Euro-centrism. It is a work that clearly shows the search by Resnais and Markter to strengthen a political position from the image, for which the film was censored for ten years after it was made.
Accompanying Les statues meurent aussi on its expositive journey are a series of African sculptures similar to those which appear in the film, and which come from the Sánchez-Ubiria collection. And next to these, a contemporary work by the Irish artist and winner of the prestigious Turner Prize in 2014, Duncan Campbell, titled If for Others, from 2013. In this video, which was part of Scotland’s pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2013, Campbell mixes the iconography of African art with the conflict in Northern Ireland and the ideas of Karl Marx.
Resnais’ last film in the exhibition is Guernica, made in 1950 and co-directed with Robert Hessens. The film is made up of a series of fractured images that trace the evolution of Pablo Picasso’s paintings and sculptures, from 1906 to the creation of the work Guernica in 1937. The film contains texts by the French poet Paul Éluard and the voiceover is by Jacques Pruvost and the Spanish actress María Casares. The short film reflects on barbarity, war and human resistance.
Presented along with Guernica is a series of photographs by the French artist Dora Maar, also Picasso’s partner, who made a photographic record of the whole creative process of the painting, from 11th May to 4th June 1947, at the request of Christian Zervos, founder of Cahier’s d’art, who sensed the importance of that work. The photographs are on loan from the Reina Sofia Museum in Madid which has a collection of 28 images by Dora Maar of those sessions of the creation of Picasso’s legendary work.
Accompanying the film by Resnais and Hessen, there are two works by the Spanish artist Daniel García Andújar, Carpet Bombing, Guernica (2012) and CCTV, Guernica (2014). The first is an installation that also includes a large scale projection of image of what is known as indiscriminate air raids, which were used for the first time in the attack on Guernica. The second is a 3D animation in which Andújar shows several distinctive characters looking at Guernica, among them, Superman, Marcel Duchamp’s emblematic urinal and the coyote from the famous performance by Joseph Beuys, I Like and America Likes Me (1974). Both works show Guernica’s double status as an artefact inscribed in the mythology of art and fiction and as a witness to a real act of war.
Exhibition: Remake Resnais
Expositive session: Mal de archivo
Curator: Juan Antonio Álvarez Reyes
Artists: Duncan Campbell, Nina Fischer & Maroan el Sani, Daniel García Andújar, Candida Höfer, Dora Maar and Alain Resnais
Inauguration: Thursday, 29th October 2015 at 20:00h
Dates: 30th October 2015 to 28th February 2016
Organizer: Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo
With the collaboration of: Institut Français and the Seville European Film Festival