Camille Henrot — Grosse Fatigue
Past: February 5 → March 22, 2014
With Grosse Fatigue, Camille Henrot set herself the challenge of telling the story of the universe’s creation. Indeed, her fatigue is grosse, or hugely weighty, she who has condemned herself to carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders like the Titan Atlas. But aren’t such dark and lonely burdens meant to become as light, as beautiful and fragile as soap bubbles in the hands of an artist? Holding the world in the palm of her hand… it floats effortlessly at the palm’s surface as though, imbued with magical powers, the artist has truly resurrected the youth of humanity from the depths of the ages — bringing to life the magisterial dawn we had thought too far off to ever be seen again, yet which captivates us as easily as a magic lantern does a child.
The backbone of Grosse Fatigue is a long poem delivered in the style of spoken word, the form of expression used to great effect in the ’70s by the New York musicians The Last Poets. It mixes scientific history with Creation stories belonging to religious (Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Christian, Islamic, etc.), hermetic (Kabbalah, Freemasonry, etc.), and oral (Dogon, Inuit, Navajo, etc.) traditions in a joyous syncretism. In the visual background of this impassioned oration, Camille Henrot performs what she calls an “intuitive unfolding of knowledge” through a series of shots unveiling the treasures hidden away in the prestigious collections of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.1 — shots that have been reworked with images found on the internet and scenes filmed in locations as diverse as a pet store and a domestic interior that appear like pop-ups at the screen’s surface.
1 The Smithsonian Institution is the biggest scientific and museum complex in the world. As part of the Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship, Camille Henrot was granted permission to film the collections […].
Opening Wednesday, February 5, 2014 7 PM → 9:30 PM
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