Galerie Barbara Wien presents its second exhibition with Eric Baudelaire, which coincides with his nomination for the Marcel Duchamp Prize 2019. Eric Baudelaire's hybrid practice has been exhibited within contemporary art channels and presented at film festivals and in cinemas. Unlike our first exhibition with the artist, where we decided to only exhibit the non-filmic facet of his work, Afterimage presents Baudelaire's latest feature-length film Also Known As Jihadi, which premiered in 2017 for his solo exhibition at Witte de With, Rotterdam and was the centrepiece of Baudelaire's exhibition Après at the Centre Pompidou in Paris the same year.
Also Known As Jihadi is the possible story of Abdel Aziz, a fictitious name given to a real young man born in Val-de-Marne (France),who joined the al-Nusra Front in 2012 in Aleppo, Syria. In a rather unsettling manner, Aziz does not appear on screen; instead, successive scenes frame the landscapes in which his story unfolds. Here Baudelaire quotes and loosely applies fukeiron (the landscape theory), as formulated by the Japanese filmmaker Masao Adachi in the film A.K.A. Serial Killer (1969) which consists of shots of places Norio Nagayama traversed in his short life, before his arrest and conviction for the murder of four people. Adachi and his fellow filmmakers perceived a political dimensionin these serial killings, and they imagined fukeiron as a way of questioning whether filming landscapes could reveal the structures of power that contributed to Nagayama's alienation and thus provide contextto the murders. Also Known as Jihadi is the third film in an on-going dialog between Baudelaire and Adachi: in Baudelaire's The Anabasis of May and Fusako Shigenobu, Masao Adachi and 27 Years without Images (2011) Adachi was subject and narrator, in The Ugly One (2013) he was scriptwriter, and with this third project, Baudelaire remakes Adachi's seminal film and brings it into a contemporary context.
Also Known As Jihadi traces Aziz's journey through the landscapes he traversed: the clinic where he was born in the Parisian suburb of Vitry, the neighborhoods he grew up in, his schools, university and workplaces. Then, his departure to Egypt, Turkey and the road to Aleppo.In a departure from Adachi's fukeiron, Baudelaire unfolds a second storyline made of extracts from judicial records: police interrogations, wiretaps, and surveillance reports. The documents, like pages from a script, are intertwined with images and sounds to compose a film that pertains less to a singular character, Aziz, than to the architectural, political, social and judicial landscapes in which his story unfolds. The film allows us space for interpretation, far from the usual din that surrounds stories about terrorism. The context is at the forefront while the subject remains invisible; it belongs to us to compose a character through our projections.
Afterimage also includes a series of silkscreen posters that resulted from a collaborative abecedarium Baudelaire developed together with participants from various fields as part of his exhibition Après at the Centre Pompidou. The posters were made every night with the help of stenographers and graphic designers as a record of the public program that took place daily over the course of fifteen sessions. Here, a selection of four posters, A for Architecture, F for Fukeiron, J for Justice, H for Hypnosis, give us some urbanistic, film-theoretical, legal and psychoanalytic food for thought on the relationship between art and current events.
With Que peut une image ? [What an image can?], Baudelaire proposes another form of montage where pictures are also set apart from words: a light box vitrine showcases an assemblage of found images and texts. In an attempt to define the elusive notion of terrorism, the textual parts develop, once again, an abecedary. These entries, however, are lacunary, cut, incomplete, patchy: they fail to caption the corpus of images around them and offer room for uncertainty and therefore for our own connections. Unlike Aziz's physicality in the film, in this piece, bodies are hard to avoid: stripped bare, posing, censored, erased, cut, injured, shot or even dead. Images of desire and images of violence, impelling forces whose representations raise timelessly elusive questions.
Eric Baudelaire was born in Salt-Lake City, USA in 1973. He lives and works in Paris. Baudelaire has had numerous international exhibitions including solo shows at the Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (2017); the Witte de With, Rotterdam, Netherlands (2017); the Ludwig Forum, Aachen, Germany; the Fridericianum, Kassel, Germany (2014); the Bergen Kunsthall, Norway (2014); the Beirut Art Centre, Lebanon (2013); and theHammer Museum, Los Angeles, USA (2010).
Baudelaire has also taken part in various international group exhibitions, for example at the Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art, USA (2018); the Whitney Biennial 2017, New York, USA; the Biennale de Montréal, Canada (2016); the Sharjah Biennial, UAE (2015); Yokohama Triennial, Japan (2014); 8th Taipei Biennial, Taiwan (2012); and at La Triennale, Paris, France (2012).
Several of his films and installations are part of international museums' collections such as The Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA; the Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, USA; the MACBA in Barcelona, Spain; and the Centre Pompidou in Paris, France.
He has been the recipient of numerous prizes both for his films and exhibition works including the Future of Europe Art Prize (Leipzig, 2017); Sharjah Biennial 12 prize (2015); the SeMA-HANA Award, Mediacity in Seoul, South Korea (2014); and the Special Jury Prize at DocLisboa Festival, Portugal (2012 and 2014).
Following Eric Baudelaire's nomination for the Marcel Duchamp Prize 2019, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, France will host a group exhibition with the four nominated artists, opening 8th October 2019.
Press release courtesy Barbara Wien.