5 April 2013

Grimonprez gained notoriety from his 1997 cult film Dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y, which eerily foreshadowed the events of September 11. Utilising news footage from aeroplane hijackings from the sixties and seventies, he presents a stylised documentary on the history of these hijackings, picking up on the style and flair of the hijackers in the stories of, at the time, a seemingly outdated and retro crime. See Frieze Magazine’s review of this work.

Grimonprez is interested in the paradox of the risk-taking, dangerous artist. In comparison with terrorist activity, he suggests that art is not particularly high-impact or persuasive. He suggests that the very concept of art, is in fact the exact opposite and that news is the new art.

The style of Grimonprez’s work refers to the power of television and moving image to exert political influence. His work Double Take focuses on the legacy of Alfred Hitchcock, specifically on the film The Birds, juxtaposed with the fear of double identity and the space race of the Cold War period, all highlighting the relationship of fear with development of television as a driving force for broadcast. Through a bizarre narration delivered by a Hitchcock impersonator, we are taken on a complex story in which Alfred Hitchcock meets his own double from the future and decides to kill him. This is a complex but powerful work, as all the narrative strands and various allusions come together for the viewer, who must make the key conclusions for themselves.

Hear Grimonprez talk about this complex and powerful work and read Laura McLean-Ferris's review in the Independent

For more information about Johan Grimonprez, view his profile on Sean Kelly Gallery  and see some of his beautiful still photography at kamel mennour.

His short film I may have forever lost my umbrella is screened on Channel 4 tonight at 00.45am.