S.M.A.K. Ghent

S.M.A.K. Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst | Jan Hoetplein 1
B-9000 Ghent

plan route show map

artist / participant

press release

The exhibition It’s a Poor Sort of Memory that Only Works Backwards explores the artist's practice as it dances on the borders between art and cinema, documentary and fiction, practice and theory. Inspired by an archaeology of contemporary media, it confronts Grimonprez's major works—most notably dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y (1997) and Double Take (2009)—with his very own WeTube-o-Theque: Set in dialogue with artists and filmmakers Roy Villevoye and Jan Dietvorst, as well as with his vlog comprising a selection of youtubers, scholars and television-makers such as Adam Curtis, Brian Springer, The Yes Men, Dr. John Mack, and the Adbusters, the exhibition runs like a hypertext, offering insights into the ways the artist broaches new themes. The show will also premiere his most recent film …because superglue is forever.

In a world abundant with images that has incorporated the plurality of histories, what Grimonprez seeks are new narratives that continue to tell personal stories, emphasizing a multiplicity of histories and realities. Through a collection of disparate clips plucked from archives, television news and advertising, podcasts, the artist's own home videos, as well as excerpts from Hollywood films, Grimonprez delves into our fears and desires. He questions our contemporary sublime and why it is framed by a fear industry that has infected all political and social dialogue.

Grimonprez is trying, in own way, to make sense of the wreckage wrought by History. As such, his WeTube-O-Theque can be best described as a platform for temporary disobedience that refuses the avid consumption of fear offered by mainstream media. Envisioned both as the joyful affirmation of a global disengagement and the catalyst of effervescent criticism, his work seeks to elicit a double-take within the viewer, to invite him or her to take a pause, and to realize that past and future are mirrors of one another. Trapped within our hall of mirrors, the exhibition It's a Poor Sort of Memory that Only Works Backwards asks whether the time has not come to step through the looking-glass

Johan Grimonprez
It's a Poor Sort of Memory that Only Works Backwards:
On Zapping, Close Encounters and the Commercial Break
Kurator: Rom Bohez