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Pierre Bismuth

Pierre Bismuth, Coming soon 2006  

Pierre Bismuth
Coming soon 2006
Single channel video: 7:09 mins, colour, stereo, exhibited on DVD
Courtesy: The artist

Pierre Bismuth

20 March – 22 June 2008
Gallery 2.1, GoMA

French artist Pierre Bismuth is popularly known for his role as co-author of the screenplay for the film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, for which he earned an Academy Award in 2005. He has exhibited widely across Europe and the United States since the early 1990s and will have his first exhibition in Australia at GoMA. Renowned for his deft and often mischievous manipulation of cultural products such as cinema and the print media, Bismuth’s show at GoMA will focus on a group of video works that humorously deconstruct the conventions of feature film. Complementing the exhibition in the Media Gallery will be screenings of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind  and The Passenger at the Australian Cinémathèque.

Film Screenings

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind 2004 M 15+
French artist Pierre Bismuth is renowned for work that questions memory, perception and interpretation. In discussion with filmmaker Michel Gondry, Bismuth proposed a scenario for a film that would later become the basis of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind:  ‘what if you received a card in the mail stating that you had been erased from someone’s memory, and that you should no longer attempt to contact them?’ With screenwriter Charlie Kaufman, Gondry transformed Bismuth’s concept into a wildly inventive love story in which Clementine Kruczynski (Kate Winslet) employs the company Lacuna to erase all memories of her boyfriend Joel Barish (Jim Carey) who reciprocates by undergoing the procedure himself. Critically acclaimed for its performances and direction, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was also awarded the 2005 Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.
Sun 23 Mar 3.00pm and Wed 26 Mar 4.00pm / Cinema A

The Passenger 1975 M 15+
Identity is a recurring subject in Bismuth’s art practice and a central theme in Michelangelo Antonioni’s film The Passenger 1975 from which Bismuth’s Postscript / The Passenger 1996 is derived. In Antonioni’s film, David Locke, played by Jack Nicholson, is a television reporter on location in Africa's Sahara Desert. Returning to his hotel after getting lost in the desert, Locke discovers that the man in the room next to his, Mr. Robertson, has died. Disenchanted with his own life and noticing his likeness to the dead man, Locke fakes his own death and adopts Robertson’s identity along with the complex set of circumstances that this brings. In Postscript / The Passenger, Bismuth plays the audio of Antonioni’s film to a typist who is asked to describe the atmosphere and events that came to mind, as well as transcribe as much of the dialogue as possible. Faced with the problem of simultaneously listening, interpreting, memorising and typing, the typist produced a new version of the film – one that says as much about the film itself as it does about perception and interpretation.

Wed 14 May 6.00pm and Sun 18 May 3.00pm / Cinema A

Exhibition programs

Lecture: Walt Disney and Utopian Visions

2:00pm Saturday 17 May
Cinema B GoMA

Presented by Associate Professor Angela Ndalianis, Head of Screen Studies, School of Culture and Communication, University of Melbourne

Pierre Bismuth’s desire to disturb expected reactions to works of art – as witnessed in The Jungle Book Project (2002) – becomes a starting point through which to explore Walt Disney’s own approach to his art. With the opening of Disneyland in 1955, Disney transformed his animated worlds and characters into 3-dimensional spaces that individuals could walk into and interact with. In doing so, he created what he and many urban planners considered to be a utopian space. Disney’s obsession with urban planning would culminate in his later vision of a utopian community – Project X – which remained unrealised due to his death but which was revised into the theme park EPCOT (Experimental Prototype City of Tomorrow) and the town Celebration. This talk will explore Disney’s work and his filmic understanding of urban planning, which came to influence contemporary architects such as Jon Jerde and the design of cities including Las Vegas.