‘Tahrir’, 2012, video, 8 mins, edition of 5 + 2 AP, edition 3/5
Dominik Mersch Gallery is hosting an exhibition of works by internationally-acclaimed artist and filmmaker Clément Cogitore in collaboration with the French Embassy in Australia. Cogitore developed his practice at the meeting point between cinema and contemporary art, producing powerful works that pick at the seams of our social and political tribes.
At the heart of his first solo show in Australia, Cogitore’s ‘LES INDES GALANTES’ adapts an extract of Jean Philippe Rameau’s opera-ballet of the same name in collaboration with Krump dancers. The intensely physical and political bodies of these dancers re-shape the original tribal dance of Rameau’s Baroque libretto performed in Paris in 1723, re-staging this scene on the verge of a volcano with raw, contemporary energy.
We will also be exhibiting Cogitore’s film ‘Braguino’, which unravels a cruel tale of feuding families in the depths of the Siberian boreal forest. In the middle of the river stands an island where the children of the two families are meeting and forging a community on their own. Stemming from the fear of the other, that of wild beasts, and the joy procured by the immensity of the forest, the film explores how tensions and fear give shape to the geography of an ancestral conflict. Accompanying this film is a suite of velvety dark photographs taken when Cogitore spent time with the families, evoking the permanent twilight of the season when he visited as well as the families’ failed dreams of an isolated utopia.⠀
Alongside these cinematic works, Cogitore’s ‘Digital desert’ photographs toy with the pixellated pattern of American soldier uniforms designed to elude drone sensors. Vittoria Ramondelli describes how these works “[play] on a certain ambiguity between reality and its staging … confusing the material of the landscape and the clothes on its surface.” More often than not, Cogitore’s works are presented as a question of rituals and how communities co-exist with their own images and representations.
Cogitore’s work has notably been screened and exhibited at the Palais de Tokyo, Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), ICA (London), Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin), MACRO (Rome), Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), MoMA (New York), MNBA (Québec), SeMA Bunker (Seoul), Red Brick Art Museum (Beijing), and Kunsthaus (Basel). His cinematographic pieces have also been selected and awarded prizes in numerous international festivals (Cannes, Locarno, Telluride, Los Angeles, San Sebastian). In 2018, Clément Cogitore was awarded the prestigious Marcel Duchamp Prize for Contemporary Art.
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