You can watch the last interview I gave here
ON CINEMATIC SORCERY AND PSYCHOGEOLOGICAL CONFLICTS
Vanessa Sinclair and Carl Abrahamsson have invited me to give a lecture at a conference to be held at Husets Biograf in Copenhagen, Denmark, from 14-16 October 2022. As I cannot travel, I will participate via video recording.
My talk is entitled: “On Cinematic Sorcery and Psychogeological Conflicts”.
I illustrate it with the help of images from two video installations I created with my partner Nadine Hilbert and with the help of musicians Stephen O’Malley, Kevin Muhlen and Angelo Mangini as well as dancer and writer Alkistis Dimech.
On the first two evenings there will be film-only screenings where I will present a video entitled “Satanic Earth”. This is a fifteen-minute variation of the material that formed the basis of our exhibition Metamorphic Earth and has never been shown in this form before. The music for the video is by Stephen O’Malley.
VISIONARY MEDIUM: Psychoanalysis and the Magic of Cinema
The Psychoanalysis, Art & the Occult series of events, curated by Dr. Vanessa Sinclair and Carl Abrahamsson, is dedicated to exploring the intersections and integration of psychoanalytic theory, the creative arts, occult practices and folk magic traditions. By inviting psychoanalysts, philosophers, artists, writers, filmmakers and magical practitioners from a variety of theoretical orientations and worldviews to discuss their work, personal experiences and areas of interest with one another, dialogue is opened up between practitioners in fields of study that traditionally rarely engage with one another, though often operate in similar and complementary ways.
With Alkistis Dimech
Music by Kevin Muhlen and Angelo Mangini
I will participate with a three-channel video installation in an exhibition titled “La Beauté du Diable”, co-curated by Benjamin Bianciotto and Sylvie Zavatta for the Frac Franche-Comté in Besançon, France, from 15 October to 12 March 2023.
The installation focuses on the work I did in collaboration with the writer and dancer Alkistis Dimech.
Phosphorus aims to explore what Alkistis Dimech calls “the dynamics of the occulted body” through a dance of darkness. And by darkness I mean the essence of chaos, which the alchemists call Satan. But “dance of darkness” is of course also the name that Tatsumi Hijikata gave to Ankoku Butoh, the transgressive art form that probably most influenced Alkistis in the elaboration of an intense choreography situated somewhere between sensual embodiments of inner landscapes and demonic transmutations. Through the expression of ambiguous beauty, the videos we present in the exhibition “La Beauté du Diable” merge satanic darkness with Luciferian light in a kind of alchemical wedding that gives birth to the Black Sun. The footage was recorded during two ritual dance performances that took place on the occasion of our exhibitions “Metamorphic Earth” and “Poison Oracle” and is set against the backdrop of images that we filmed during a total eclipse over the Arctic. The installation Phosphorus will premiere at Frac Franche-Comté.
– Gast Bouschet
Since the 1980s, Gast Bouschet, alone or in the company of Nadine Hilbert, has built up a body of work that deconstructs and dismantles power structures: those that govern socio-economic domination; those that, illusorily, grant a central place to man on Earth. While he favours immersive video installations, photography, painting and even intervention in the heart of the forest appear as expressive forms with similar stakes. Through a long, immense and elaborate alchemical and sorcerous work, the Luxembourg artist pursues a reflection on the mutations and metamorphoses of matter and images, on the creative destruction that defies finitude. In this sense, the notion of movement is central to his artistic vision. The video installation Phosphorus (2017-2022) was created in close collaboration with Alkistis Dimech, a ‘sabbatical dancer’, practising Ankoku Butoh with a clear awareness of its enigmatic, radical and magical scope. Faced with this invasion of light and darkness, of radiant reds, we take part in a transmutation played out on different levels: that of the “occulted” body, of the primordial Earth, of the interconnection of the two going as far as fusion. Reunited in an alchemical process, the bodies change without altering, the demonic interiority reaches its freedom, chaotic and luminous, the movement introduced by the dance revives the Luciferian thought and the deep rituals. The eclipse symbolically offers this essential passage, just as the multiplication of the dancer’s body makes explicit the physical, geological and psychological upheavals at work. We then witness the rise of Phosphorus, the “Morning Star”, which joins Venus to Lucifer.
– Benjamin Bianciotto
La Beauté du Diable
“You gave me the mud and I turned it into gold”
Following on from the exhibition L’homme gris, presented at Casino Luxembourg by Benjamin Bianciotto, La Beauté du Diable proposes to explore the presence of Satan in contemporary art from the angle of his figuration and his metamorphoses. Beyond the representations explicitly referring to the Devil or his symbolism, the exhibition aims to question the aestheticization of Evil through works that transmute the “repulsive” into aesthetic pleasure. By questioning our certainties and confronting them with the structural resistance of Western societies, these works have an undeniable political dimension. They turn taste on its head: a transgressive alchemy of sorts. Taking their cue from Lucifer’s “non serviam” in a veritable song of revolt, the artists in turn refuse to allow themselves to be controlled by an authority considered unjust or arbitrary and to submit to fate. Lucifer is confused with Prometheus, and the ‘light-bearing’ angel bringing illumination and freedom to creators in a post-romantic and symbolist heritage. Through the double movement of unveiling the horrible (in the image of the Apocalypse, which means Revelation) and its revival in seductive garb, they seem to affirm their refusal of the pain and ugliness of the world. But the exhibition also questions the role and place of art in our current societies. Recent creation is perfectly aware that danger lurks beneath the attractive varnish; it too knows how to play on this ambiguity, disguising reality in order to better charm us, adorning itself with the trappings of capitalist and advertising perdition. Finally, The Devil’s Beauty will not evade the religious dimension, from the demonisation of contemporary art to its capacity to revive debate within secularised cultures. Ambivalent, polysemic and cathartic, the exhibition highlights the oxymoron contained in its very title, and assumes and defends this fascination with Faustian overtones.
– Curatorial statement by Benjamin Bianciotto and Sylvie Zavatta
Our five-channel video installation is part of the exhibition ASSOCIATIONS – AS IF, AS IF…., curated by Dorota Grubba Thiede and Marek Rogulski.
The English translation does not do justice to the original Polish text but it gives you an idea of what the curators have to say about our work.
“Gast Bouschet & Nadine Hilbert are among the most significant contemporary video artists and philosophers currently active in the international art discourse. They combine the pursuit of pictorial perfection with a penetrating thinking based on a keen eye for world history, revealing the connections and collisions of vital as well as destructive forces. Their art leads the viewer to a deeper understanding of contemporary yet ancient events, of “social metabolism”, and of individual and civilisational transformations. In Collision Zone (2009), Bouschet and Hilbert juxtapose the introverted portrait of a human being with the struggle for survival of a worm that escapes from a cave and jumps into the deep sea. They had previously presented the work both at the Venice Biennale and in Poland in a prefigurative, problematic exhibition “Hostipitality – Welcoming Strangers” in 2010 at the Museum of Art in Łódź, whose curators: Jarosław Lubiak and Kamil Kuskowski, referred to Jacques Derrida’s famous lecture “Hostipitality”, given in Istanbul in May 1976.
An integral part of Collison Zone are the soundscapes by Yannick Franck & Xavier Dubois.
Bouschet & Hilbert have described the “Mediterranean border zone” as a “carefully guarded barrier against the influx of unwanted immigrants from Africa”. The context seems to refer to Giorgio Agamben’s problematic of homo sacer, which designs a sacred man and at the same time a man of worms who stands outside the laws. Gast Bouschet pointed out in 2022: “When we presented Collision Zone in the Luxembourg Pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennale, many found the walk through the noisy black rooms disturbing. Our work reflects the dark side of European identity, the typical suspicious look at intruders, the spectre of fear that haunts the minds of those who hold the treasure. Collision Zone did not make it easy for visitors to the Biennale to relate to themselves. We often find it difficult to come to terms with what does not conform to our values and norms. It’s important to reclaim controversy”.
ASSOCIATIONS – AS IF, AS IF….
EXHIBITION OPENING: FRIDAY, 15 JULY 2022
VENUE: INSTITUTE OF CYBERNETICS OF ART AND GALLERY SPIŻ 7
IN GDANSK OSOWA, KOMANDORSKA STREET 26, BUILDING A
Curator, concept: Dr. Marek Rogulski
Curatorial collaboration: Dr Dorota Grubba-Thiede, Dr Krzysztof Jurecki
Collaboration/partnerships: ASP Gdańsk, CCA Łaźnia, Academy of Humanities and Sciences in Łódź / University of Łódź
-Academy of Humanities and Economics in Łódź / AHE Łódź,
Patronage: Centre for Contemporary Art “Łaźnia”, Polish Institute of World Art Studies, “Sztuka i Krytyka”.
The exhibition was co-financed by the City of Gdańsk