February 11, 2019 - Museum Tinguely - Cyprien Gaillard: Roots Canal
February 11, 2019

Museum Tinguely

[1] Cyprien Gaillard, Captain Blood’s Moorhen, 2013. [2] KOE (still), 2015. Film. [3] Sober City (Jackie Robinson & Pee Wee Reese), 2015 (detail). [4, 5] Nightlife (still), 2015. Film. © Cyprien Gaillard. Courtesy the artist, Sprüth Magers and Gladstone Gallery.

Cyprien Gaillard
Roots Canal
February 15–May 5, 2019

Opening & party: February 15, 6:30pm, with the DJs TOM oF ENGLAND (RUB N TUG) & Arthur (Hard Wax, Berlin)

Museum Tinguely
Paul Sacher-Anlage 1
CH-4002 Basel
Switzerland
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 11am–6pm

infos@tinguely.ch

www.tinguely.ch
Facebook / Instagram

Cyprien Gaillard
Roots Canal
February 15–May 5, 2019

Opening & party: February 15, 6:30pm, with the DJs TOM oF ENGLAND (RUB N TUG) & Arthur (Hard Wax, Berlin)

Museum Tinguely
Paul Sacher-Anlage 1
CH-4002 Basel
Switzerland
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 11am–6pm

infos@tinguely.ch

www.tinguely.ch
Facebook / Instagram

With his films, photographs, and sculptures, Cyprien Gaillard evokes the perpetual destruction, preservation, and reconstruction of urban spaces. The exhibition Roots Canal puts on display works capturing the incessant transformation of the urban landscape, as well as that of nature and humankind. Close to tipping point, his works evoke the imminence, or the coming, of a metamorphosis. They intercept the moment of falling or remain suspended in the instability of becoming. Installed at the heart of Museum Tinguely and presented for the first time in Europe, a series of excavator heads precisely embodies this moment of suspension. A metaphor for human voracity, in the museum context these tools commonly found on building sites become fossils from the future. They are contrasted with a flight of exotic birds over a mutating European city, Polaroids undergoing gradual erasure, and a hallucinatory immersion in a memory-filled urban night in 3D format. Out of these disparate and antagonistic fragments, Gaillard recomposes a universe where tool and work piece, the city and its inhabitants, machine and nature, cohabit in an equilibrium that is both perfect and fragile.

The work of Cyprien Gaillard sheds light on our ambivalent relationship with ruins and decay. As a traveller, he wanders the world, collecting found objects and using these artefacts to tell stories about the inexorable and unceasing transformation of the urban landscape and thus of nature and people.

Roots Canal centres on an installation of excavator shovels. These items of heavy equipment, familiar from construction sites, stand facing each other like a double row of soldiers. Brought to a standstill in a museum setting, the silent giants are transformed into mighty sculptures and take us on a journey back and forth between prehistory and the present.

In this installation, as in his oeuvre as a whole, Gaillard stresses that construction and destruction are not contradictory concepts. Instead, they are two sides of the same process, closely linked in time. The construction of the new always involves the destruction of what went before.

This train of thought is pursued and extended by Sober City (2015). This series mirror the continual (excavator-driven) metamorphosis of the city in its state of perpetual tension between the preservation of architectural heritage and the construction of new buildings. A city that cannot escape the phenomenon of entropy, the disorder of matter during unavoidable processes of decay. Gaillard sheds light on this slow transition from one state to another and the resulting tensions—physical, aesthetic, social, political—between renewal and destruction.

Nightlife (2015) invites visitors to immerse themselves in a hypnotic, trance-like atmosphere. The 3D-film, a mosaic of scenes with no apparent connection, transports the viewer to a brightly coloured urban night. The footage leads from Auguste Rodin’s sculpture The Thinker outside the Cleveland Museum of Art via a hallucinatory ballet of juniper trees in Los Angeles and a spectacular firework display above Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, back to Cleveland to an oak tree presented to multiple Olympic medal winner Jesse Owens by the Nazis in 1936. Rendered sculptural by the larger-than-life-size projection, these images offer the disturbing and beguiling experience of a heightened perception. As in the other works in the exhibition, Gaillard creates a new narrative out of disparate, even contrary fragments. In this new narrative, anecdotes mix with history, while city, nature and people coexist in a shared non-linear space-time structure.

Séverine Fromaigeat,
Curator of the exhibition

 

Cyprien Gaillard was born in Paris in 1980. He lives and works in New York and Berlin. He studied at the École cantonale d'art de Lausanne (ÉCAL), graduating in 2005. He was awarded the Prix Marcel Duchamp in 2010 and the Preis der Nationalgalerie für junge Kunst in 2011. Solo exhibitions include: K20 in Düsseldorf (2016), Julia Stoschek Collection in Düsseldorf (2015–2016), MoMA PS1 in New York (2013), Hammer Museum in Los Angeles (2013), Centre Pompidou in Paris (2011) and KW in Berlin (2011).

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Roots Canal
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