The cycle The Artist Presents has added a new format by asking artists to provide their view of another artist’s work in video format. For this initial screening, the Bourse de Commerce – Pinault Collection presents Monuments aux vivants, a short film by Anton Bialas and Ferdinand Gouzon on the work of Daniel Pommereulle. French journalist and film critic Philippe Azoury introduces the session and then invites the audience to discover the artist’s work.
Anton Bialas and Ferdinand Gouzon spent two days in the studio filming some twenty pieces by French visual artist Daniel Pommereulle (1937-2003). The inherent motion of film brings viewers closer to the artist’s Objects, allowing them to follow the curves and cuts of the hooks, spikes, and daggers, to discover their rug-gedness, and to admire the purity and brilliance of the glass. The even, diffuse light heightens the fascinating power of the work, which lies at the intersection of desire and danger. Works are filmed statically or in travelling shots, and these scenes are combined with excerpts of films in which the artist acted or directed in the sixties and seventies, especially Vite (1969) [“Quickly”], filmed in the Saharan desert, with its images of the moon and of Saturn, which recalled that the artist was burning and piercing the sky in his drawings. This sound and film footage mean that Monuments aux vivants was also made with Daniel Pommereulle.
Daniel Pommereulle (1937-2003)
Daniel Pommereulle was a 20th century French painter, sculptor, direc-tor, performer, and poet, born in Sceaux in 1937 and died in Paris in 2003. In the early 1960s, after his initial forays into painting, he began to make assemblages of objects. In 1965, art critic Alain Jouffroy (1928-2015) commented on his work in the exhibition Les Objecteurs alongside other avant-garde artists: among Arman’s arrangements of wooden clothespins and Spoerri’s meals glued to the wall was Pommereulle’s roll of barbed wire, painted sky-blue. The following year, in 1966, he exhibited his Objets de tentation [“Objects of temptation”] in the basement of Galerie Mathias Fels: LSD, opium, heroin, syringes splayed out on marble tablets, all at the visitors’ disposal. In 1967, in Eric Rohmer’s film La Collectionneuse, he played Daniel, an artist showing an art critic one of his actual works, a can of yellow paint wrapped with 39 razor blades that rendered the work impossible to grasp, in all senses. Over time, Daniel Pommereulle formed an aesthetics of violence and cruelty, marked both by his own traumatic experiences during the Algerian War and by the legacy of surrealism and the thought of Antonin Artaud. He began working on the series Objets de prémonition [“Objects of Premonition”] in the 1970s: large, overturned paint cans covered with sheets of lead and pierced by dagger blades. In the 1980s, he began to make sculptures using new materials, such as steel, stone, and glass. He exploited their sharpness, their opacity, and their transparency in monumental pieces that were infused with both lyricism and cruelty.
Anton Bialas was born in Paris in 1990 to a Swedish mother and a German father. He studied film at the Sorbonne University of Paris III. His first film Derrière Nos Yeux (2018) [“Behind Our Eyes”] was selected for the Marseilles Documentary Film Festival, where it won the prix Georges de Beauregard, the prix des Lycéens, and a special mention by the French Institute of Criticism. The film was then shown at several international festivals, including Visions du Réel, Doclisboa, and Côté Court, where it won the Art-Video Grand Prize. His 2020 film À l’entrée de la nuit [“At the Entrance of the Night”] was selected for official competition at the Berlin Film Festival. His most recent film Groupe Merle Noir (2020) [“The Blackbird Group”] has been selected for official competition at the Visions du réel festival in Switzerland and the Rencontres du moyen-métrage in Brive-la-Gaillarde, France. In addition to his film work, Anton Bialas published a book of photographs in collaboration with Kamilya Kuspanova titled Début de Siècle [“Turn of the Century”], published by Possession Immediate in 2019.
Ferdinand Gouzon was born in Paris in 1974. A writer and art critic, he has published in a number of journals, including Evidenz, Mir, Purple, Edwarda, and Possession immédiate (of which he is an editor). In 2016, his book Daniel Pommereulle, Huitièmement qu’est-ce que la cruauté? [“Daniel Pommereulle, for the eighth time, what is cruelty”?] was published by Multiple. He has since published numerous pamphlets on the artists Odilon Redon, Gustave Moreau, Frédéric Pardo, Eric Pougeau, and even Lorenzo Monaco with the publishers Littérature mineure and Derrière la salle de bains. A box of his writings, titled Les Silences de l’art [“The Silences of Art”], was published in December 2020 by Littérature mineure. In 2020, he acted in Anton Bialas’ film Groupe Merle Noir.
With thanks to Galerie Christophe Gaillard, which represents the estate of Daniel Pommereulle.