Louis-Cyprien Rials — Par la fenêtre brisée


Film, installation, photography, mixed media...

Louis-Cyprien Rials
Par la fenêtre brisée

Past: March 16 → April 20, 2019

Louis cyprien rials eric mouchet galerie 1 grid Louis-Cyprien Rials — Galerie Eric Mouchet Le jeune artiste français, lauréat du Prix SAM pour l’art contemporain 2017, parcourt dans le monde entier des territoires abandonn... 2 - Bien Critique

‘’Through the broken window’’, Louis-Cyprien Rials’ personal exhibition, constitutes the second part of the artist’s trilogy inaugurated at Palais de Tokyo on 20 February 2019.


Louis-Cyprien Rials’ video work has garnered a great deal of visibility in recent years, not least thanks to its elliptical and suggestive — in the noble, non-sensational sense of the term — character: his films, all of which address violence, are anything but exhibitionist. They evoke rather than explain or demonstrate, and invite one to uncover and assimilate. Essentially, they are an invitation to exercise one’s intelligence. Unseen, Rials films the unimaginable lurking beneath apparently peaceful landscapes: scenes of desolation, everyday urban landscapes and buildings severed from their original purpose and history. His films are punctuated by a rhythm and/or soundtrack that renders the unseen at the very least disturbing, and sometimes immediately unbearable. When one scratches at the surface of the disturbing and queries what pushed the artist to film such everyday scenes, one comes into contact with the unbearable.

Louis-Cyprien Rials’ work favors landscapes that figure on no map in countries that remain unnamed: these are places and lands whose very existence is denied by the international community, places that have been ravaged by such atrocities and exactions that only ruins, ashes, and desolation remain. Using the filter of landscape, Rials seeks to evoke the peregrinations of humanity. He is no reporter, however, since while he’s constantly seeking for evidence, his work features neither witness testimony nor any form of analysis of the catastrophes he observes; the invitation instead is to investigate the causes outside the framework of his films. While this use of landscape to frame his work may seem anachronistic, it needs to be understood as the artist’s urge to place his work within a long-standing artistic tradition. Louis-Cyprien Rials recounts that his artistic sensibility was first awakened when as a young adolescent he stood before the Medici Paesine in Florence, and again before the recently discovered rock paintings at Laas Geel in Somaliland and Nyero Rocks in Uganda, whose meaning and authors alike are shrouded in mystery. It should come as no surprise therefore that his work is based around landscape and minerals, and sometimes a combination of the two: a collector of rocks, he cuts them, scans them, and saturates the colors to the point of abstraction, transforming them into dream-like landscapes. Awarded the Prix SAM Art Projects 2017 for his programme entitled Sur la route de Wakaliga (On Wakaliga’s road), Louis-Cyprien Rials returned from Uganda with a joyous and extremely violent adaptation of Akira Kurosawa’s cult film Rashomon, shot under his direction in a Kampala ghetto by a team from Wakaliwood studios, in addition to the fruits of four months traveling through East Africa.

His quest for arid landscapes inhospitable to all forms of life took him to the accidental national parks of Tanzania and Ethiopia where rare and endangered geological phenomena are to be found, and to war zones and areas devoid of international status: Somaliland and Somalia’s capital Mogadishu. His adaptation of Kurosawa’s film, as presented at the Palais de Tokyo as part of Sur la route de Wakaliga, is the first part of a trilogy in which the artist investigates our relationship with reality and violence and with the idea that there is no absolute truth and that reality is merely the perception thereof. Sur la route de Wakaliga represents imagined violence pushed to the brink of caricature and references the violence seen in Hollywood blockbusters and Asian action movies alike.

Par la fenêtre brisée (Through the broken window), the second chapter of the trilogy, is anchored in the reality of war and depicts the specific and palpable violence of the daily lives of those that suffer from it It brings together a set of unseen works comprising films, photographs and postcards.
One of the videos was born of the artist’s desire to visit one of the most beautiful beaches in the world in one of the world’s most dangerous countries. The Mogadishu region with its deserted paradise beaches of fine white sand is an economic paradox in the eyes of our leisure-based societies and a hell-on-earth for its inhabitants. Somalia is a crucible of human violence and testing ground of permanent war, ravaged for the past thirty years by civil war and more recently by the terrorist depredations of Al-Shabab. The French foreign ministry formally warns French citizens against travel to Somalia owing to the “extremely high risk of terrorist attacks, kidnapping, and homicide.”

The second film, entitled L’Allemand, is a tribute to Werner Herzog that portrays alienation and obsession linked to creativity. The third, entitled Résistance, juxtaposes on two parallel screens two commemoration sites of religious significance, and in so doing places two separate realities side by side: one is a place of Catholic pilgrimage in the North of Lithuania (Kryžių Kalnas or the Hill of Crosses), a symbol of peaceful resistance, and the other is the jihad-focused Hezbollah Resistance Museum some 50 kilometers north of the border between Lebanon and Israel. Both locations, just like any number of other remarkable places, have also been captured in a series of postcards produced by Louis-Cyprien Rials in conjunction with Ivan Đapić and Born And Die. An earlier selection of the same equally incongruous postcards — ironic parodies of the cards people send each other from happy travels in idyllic countries as tokens of friendship or to incite envy — featured in an exhibition Galerie Eric Mouchet at SaloApproachhe in 2018, giving rise to some quite lively discussion.

06 St Germain Zoom in 06 St Germain Zoom out

45, rue Jacob

75006 Paris

T. 01 42 96 26 11



Opening hours

Every day except Sunday, 11 AM – 1 PM / 2 PM – 7 PM
Other times by appointment et sur RDV

The artist

  • Louis Cyprien Rials