David Claerbout

David Claerbout

Kunsthalle Mainz

David Claerbout, Oil workers (of the Shell company of Nigeria) returning home from work, caught in torrential rain, 2013. Video still. HD colour animation, silent, duration endless. © VG-Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2013. Courtesy the artist and galleries Micheline Szwajcer, Yvon Lambert, Hauser & Wirth.

March 22, 2013

David Claerbout
March 22–June 16, 2013

Kunsthalle Mainz
Am Zollhafen 3-5
55118 Mainz, Germany
Hours: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 10am–5pm
Wednesday 10am–9pm, Saturday, Sunday 11am–5pm

T +49 6131/12 69 36
F +49 6131/12 69 37
mail [​at​] kunsthalle-mainz.de


Time and its perception are central to David Claerbout’s oeuvre. The Belgian artist has been exploring the boundaries between the stationary and the moving picture since 1996. Claerbout’s films stretch narrative and action to create a more intensive sense of duration. The typical scarcity of motion in his images and the merging of past, present and future together result in a pictorial experience of great density and reflexivity as well as the utmost sustainability. The concentration on a phenomenology of the image becomes manifest with the aid of these two methods both resulting in deceleration. At times, Claerbout’s films are slowed down to such a degree that episodes of everyday life become frozen in aesthetical still lifes. In other cases, photos are serialized by means of digital multiple exposures in such a way that—through the choice of almost identical subjects—the recording of a single instant is melting away to a moving condition. Both methods are borne by a search for silence and concentration of mood. The atmospheric intensity and the pictorial subsequence of the visual experience are characteristic of Claerbout.

The Kunsthalle Mainz is staging a solo exhibition of the Belgian artist’s work, featuring selected films of the past years. Amongst them there will be Arena (2007), the two-channel-projection Riverside (2009), and The Quiet Shore (2011). Images of a section of coastline in Brittany have been rendered here in a richly tonal black and white. It is summer; the tide is out. People are watching a group of children in the shallow water. The gloomy photos are reminiscent of favourite impressionist motifs. At the same time, however, they line up in rhythmic progression, their perspectives and vantage points changing as if to develop a sense of time and narrative.

The Kunsthalle Mainz will also present a work never before shown to the public: the video portrays workers leaving a factory in Nigeria at the end of their shift. In the title and subject, Claerbout makes reference to the first film by the Lumière brothers. He shares the Lumières’ fascination with the experience of time and movement. Yet unlike those pioneers of the film medium he is concerned not with the depiction of human beings in movement, but above all with the play of light, reflections in oil and water, and the labour situation in Nigeria.

David Claerbout (b. 1969) lives and works in Antwerp, Belgium. He has participated in a large number of group exhibitions, and solo exhibitions of his work have been presented, amongst others, at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Wiels in Brussels, Secession in Vienna, Munich Pinakothek der Moderne, MIT List Visual Arts Center in Cambridge (Massachusetts), Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, Musées royaux des Beaux-Art in Brussels, Berlin Akademie der Künste, Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, Kunstverein Hannover, and Dia Center for the Arts in New York.

Events and lectures

Wednesday, April 10, 7pm
“A Story of Images that Want to Stand Still”
Lecture by Philippe Pirotte (UC Berkeley Art Museum)

Wednesday, May 8, 7pm
“In the Meanwhile. Remarks on David Claerbout”
Lecture by Fabienne Liptay (Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich)

Wednesday, May 22, 7pm
Lecture by Verena Kuni (Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main)

Friday, June 7, 7pm
Artist Talk
David Claerbout in conversation with Thomas D. Trummer (Director, Kunsthalle Mainz)

Wednesdays, 7pm 
April 3 / April 24 / May 15 / June 5
“Fade into You – Series of Video Art”
View, Drink and Talk

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March 22, 2013

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