We're all monsters
A contemporary art exhibition where the common thread is the work of Alfred Hitchcock.
Under Hitchcock is also a show on image attraction. Attraction between contemporary art and cinema. On Alfred Hitchcock's films there isn't a precise time but a throbbing vortex. They are suspense films, that is, they are suspended in time. Dreams have no time.
His silhouette is familiar, it moves discreetly, through the scenes of his films.
He can look at us through the camera. Alfred is real within his dreams. That's why Spellbound, made with Salvador Dali, is one of the films that best deconstructs his analytical, surreal and perverse vision of reality;
His women do not exist: they're heroes with an allure that is the essence of a women's sex in tweed. His heros come to life in a hat and in his films, dreams the reality of a never existent America.
They are suspense films, that is, they are suspended of time.
In this exhibition, artists are inspired by the films, by frames, sounds and scenes taken from films or creating a parallel universe that transport us into Hitchcock's work without using the films as raw material.
Exactly like Alfred Hitchcock's films live within the throbbing of their characters, so this exhibition lives from the relationship between the works and the throbbing they might stir up in our visitors.
Red and milk sink all the space on Mathias Müller's Alpsee (1994), film that opens this exhibition like a leitmotiv. It's the opening to the images desire.
Portrait à l'Écume, by Laurent Fievet brings the energy of foam by revisiting The Birth of Venus incarnated on Vertigo's main character (1958), that we'll never be seen on this exhibition but that lives in Solar, like Rebecca's (1940) ghost.
Curiously, the first work by the great images iconoclast, Aby Warburg1 (1866 –1929), who defended the artistic potential of moving image, used Venus, a goddess (or nymph) as the main theme, Venus that rises from the foam in the same way as for philosopher Peter Sloterdijk2, foam symbolises the future of society that abandoned public and private spheres to live in this ethereal, fragile and sensitive architecture, from this cell structure,that allows freedom to coexiste not only in the social sphere but of all artistic forms.
Under Hitchcock includes two classic series, Burden of Proof and Rutlland from The Phoenix Tapes (1999) by Mathias Müller and Christoph Girardet, other than that all the works presented in the exhibition are original or made during the last five years.
A film's heartbeat is not determined by its music but by the noises that create its organic density: these almost subliminal sounds that are released regardless of Herrmann's soundtracks are captured by Jean Breschand for his sound installation. It provides the exhibition with a soundtrack.
Portrait À L'Hélice has fans that imperceptibly move the image of the storm in Melanie's face (Eva Marie Saint) and Zoo by Salla Thikka gives us an explosion of the jungle's vital and exuberant force. Portrait À L' Ecume is the final work of Laurent Fiévet's trilogy, which is site specific.
Back to the corridor, a door inside the installation Don't They Ever Stop Migrating? leads outside where we have the chance of creating a film again with Carlos Lobo Imaginary Film Set 02, after "Psycho", by Hitchcock.
On Looking for Alfred by Johan Grimonprez Hitchcock caracter is deconstructed by look-alikes, on a double's game where the capture of the hunter by his grab is played.
Hitchcock over and over again...
Simultaneously, excerpts from Hitchcock's films can be seen in Solar's hall where 17 screens show frames from 17 of his films.
Art, cinema and memory
Alfred Hitchcock, belonging to the same generation of Buñuel and Koulechov, means for cinema what Pop Art means for the visual arts: the democratisation to the access to masterpieces.
Hitchcock used modern techniques and new media like television, developed Hitchcock Presents series, during the 1960's.
His films are still sold in street markets for 5 euros a piece.
For several generations, his films are engraved in the subconscious being reinterpretated by european artists or from other continents through their own cultural heritage.
For my generation and for this exhibition artists' generation, between 30 and 40 years old, Hitchcock entered our private world through TV, with the familiarity of an uncle. It was the beginning of a small screen cinematic culture that contributed to the development of video art.
This exhibition does not aim to be a compendium of Hitchcock's body of work nor of its relationship with art. It aims to promote a meeting point that creates a new fiction, generated by images and their material body and the renewal of the discovery by new audiences.
As Michael Tarantino3 stated, on Hitchcock's films we live a never-ending déjà-vu, and every time we see them again we find new things that were already there but seemed to be hidden by the fog of our dreams, like the black gloves worn by Cary Grant in Notorious.
We live the experience of an endless remake and it's that recreation that seduced countless artists since the 1970's: Douglas Gordon, Gus Van Sant, Mathias Müller and Christoph Girardet, Pierre Huyghe, Atom Egoyan, etc.
In the surreal reality of Frenzy, Psycho and North by Northwest murderers and criminals are monsters in the sense used by José Gil4: They are excessively real –and I could add - they structure our reality in the world of desire and dreams.
"My love for cinema is stronger than any moral"5