Blue Orchids

Johan Grimonprez

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Johan Grimonprez, Blue Orchids (still), 2017.

e-flux presents True Fake: Troubling the Real in Artists’ Films Blue Orchids
Johan Grimonprez

47 Minutes

March 22–April 5, 2021

Join us on e-flux Video & Film for an online screening of Johan Grimonprez’s Blue Orchids (2017), on view from Tuesday, March 22 through Monday, April 5, 2021.

We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.
— Aesop

In Blue Orchids, Grimonprez creates a double portrait of two experts situated on opposite ends of the same issue—the global arms trade. The stories of Chris Hedges, the former war correspondent of the New York Times, and Riccardo Privitera, a former arms and equipment dealer of the now-dissolved Talisman Europe Ltd, provide an unusual and disturbing context for shocking revelations about the industry of war. While interviewing Privitera and Hedges for his recently released feature Shadow World (2016), it became clear to Grimonprez’ that the two men were describing the same anguish and the same trauma, but from paradoxical perspectives. One has dedicated his life to unmasking lies while the other has built his life on lies. Both their personal and political histories gradually reveal the depths of suffering and duplicity, situating the arms trade as a symptom of a profound illness: greed.

Blue Orchids is presented here as one of four films in Part Four | Optics of Truth: Media and Alternative Facts, the fourth of five programs in the online series True Fake: Troubling the Real in Artists‘ Films programmed by Lukas Brasiskis for e-flux Video & Film.

True Fake: Troubling the Real in Artists‘ Films runs from February 9 through April 19, 2021. The films in each part will screen for two weeks. Subsequent parts will follow bi-weekly, with new films screened every other Tuesday.

For more information, contact program [​at​] e-flux.com.

War & Conflict, Film
Trauma, Historicity & Historiography, Experimental Film, Media Critique, Documentary
Return to Part Four | Optics of Truth: Media and Alternative Facts

Johan Grimonprez’s critically acclaimed works dance on the borders of practice and theory, art and cinema, documentary and fiction, demanding a double take on the part of the viewer. Informed by an archeology of present-day media, his works seek out the tension between the intimate and the bigger picture of globalization. Grimonprez questions our contemporary sublime framed by the industry of fear. By suggesting new narratives, his works emphasize a multiplicity of histories and realities. Using documentary material, found footage, historical items from archives, self-made home videos, news pictures, advertising, video clips, and excerpts from Hollywood films, Grimonprez tries to give some meaning to the havoc wreaked by history. The questioning of our consensus reality, which Grimonprez defines as “a reality that is entangled with the stories we tell ourselves in the worldview we agree on sharing” is among the themes he explores. Traveling the main festival circuit from the Berlinale to Sundance, his films have garnered many awards. Grimonprez’s curatorial projects have been exhibited at museums worldwide, such as the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; the Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich; MoMA, New York; The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh; Blaffer Museum, Houston; and Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (S.M.A.K.), Gent.


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