Pierre Bismuth

Pierre Bismuth

Kunsthalle Wien

Pierre Bismuth, Performance no. 18, “Every 2 hours, from the 4th of February until the 22nd of March, a middle aged business man will get a doner kebab on Mariahilfer Straße. At the same moment a woman working in a gift-shop on the same street will hear a client talking about the Pierre Bismuth exhibition at Kunsthalle Wien.”, 2015. Courtesy the artist.

January 20, 2015

Pierre Bismuth
Der Kurator, der Anwalt und der Psychoanalytiker
(The curator, the lawyer and the psychoanalyst)

4 February–22 March 2015

Opening: 3 February, 7pm

Kunsthalle Wien Museumsquartier
Museumsplatz 1
1070 Vienna
Hours: Friday–Wednesday 10am–7pm, 
Thursday 10am–9pm

Blog / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / #Bismuth

Der Kurator, der Anwalt und der Psychoanalytiker, an extensive solo exhibition by Pierre Bismuth, presents the artist’s complex oeuvre, which spans all media and which approaches conceptual techniques in a way that is both experimental and humorous. Featuring about 60 works created between 1988 and 2014, the exhibition also presents a new piece commissioned by Kunsthalle Wien especially for the show. 

Turning the act of selecting into a conceptual gesture, the works in the exhibition were not chosen by the artist himself, but by three people who each bring to his work a different professional perspective: a curator (Luca Lo Pinto), a psychoanalyst (Angel Enciso), and a lawyer (Laurent Caretto). Bismuth asked each participant to select a number of works and to write a short text explaining their choice. These texts function as captions for the works on display. With this novel approach, the artist aims to question the role of the artist and curator, as well as the framework the art exhibition provides and thus the convention of curating as such. 

Pierre Bismuth considers his artistic practice to be a tool for examining our way of looking at reality. Most of his works aim, in a way both serious and playful, to question pre-established rules of perception and make the viewer aware of hidden or unnoticed elements of reality. Bismuth is interested in altering sign systems and inserting uncertainty into situations that would seem to be defined. As he once said: “I’m not interested in the meaning of life but in how life creates meaning.” In this sense, his work disrupts daily routine and creates ideas out of boredom. Many of Bismuth’s works take images, objects or artefacts from popular culture as their point of departure, altering their data and presenting them in a way that does not allow for easy reading as their original information has been corrupted. Hence, they look familiar and yet at the same time distinct from the already known—accessible, yet complex in their meaning. Bismuth takes a similar approach to his Kunsthalle Wien exhibition.

Using the exhibition as a medium, Pierre Bismuth will extend his conceptual gesture to other elements related to the exhibition, including publicity and publications. For example, the poster campaign for the show consists of three new pieces from his ongoing text-based Performances series, which describe scenarios hard to distinguish from the ordinary activities of passersby in the streets of Vienna. 

The catalogue will work as a further extension of the exhibition. Loosely inspired by the idea of a catalogue raisonné, it contains images of every single work produced by Bismuth in his career so far. A booklet featuring an essay by Dessislava Dimova and the texts written by the curator, the lawyer and the psychoanalyst, accompanies it.

Curator: Luca Lo Pinto

Pierre Bismuth (b. 1963) lives and works in Brussels. His work has been shown extensively in galleries (Jan Mot, Brussels; Christine König, Vienna; Lisson Gallery, London; Team Gallery, New York; Mary Boone, New York; Yvon Lambert, Paris) and public institutions (Centre Pompidou, Paris; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; New Museum, New York; Castello di Rivoli; Casino Luxemburg; Villa Arson, Nice; ICA London; Kunsthalle Basel; Witte de With, Rotterdam and many others). In 2004, Bismuth won the Academy Award for best screenplay for Michel Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind. He is currently working on his first feature film called Where is Rocky II?

Katharina Murschetz: T +43 (0) 1 5 21 89 1221 / katharina.murschetz [​at​] kunsthallewien.at 
Stefanie Obermeir: T +43 (0) 1 5 21 89 1224 / presse [​at​] kunsthallewien.at

Pierre Bismuth at Kunsthalle Wien
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January 20, 2015

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