Christoph Girardet works primarily with found footage, mostly from the 1950s and 60s. It serves as source material for his visual research, in the course of which he initially dissembles and deconstructs scenes, before reassembling them in a way such that the actual structures and internal mechanisms of their content are rendered visible. Analysis of found footage thus engenders its own visual world, one that is revealed also in the series of small-format film stills on show in this exhibition.
Girardet’s prints derive from footage that was accidentally found, or specifically researched, and subsequently isolated as freezeframes. On the basis of the formal details in these individual motifs, he compiles series that engender a new, cinematic narrative, or sometimes even go beyond. The series ‘TV – Red, Yellow, Blue’ (2009) consists of three separate monitors showing graphic parasitic images in red, yellow and blue, all of which were created for the original [sourced] film with the aid of simple masks. Girardet’s title refers to Barnett Newman’s legendary painting ‘Who's Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue?’ which likewise plays with the effect of combining monochrome surfaces with stripes in primary colours.
Other series are the result of time-consuming research. ‘Seven Strokes’ (2008) presents excerpts from seven films: seven almost identical images of artificial lightning. The repetition of this recycled motif highlights the serial nature of a film industry that sometimes draws on its own archives to generate images.
In the ‘Seascapes’ (2012; work in progress), images of seemingly unidentifiable, empty maritime horizons of unknown location are assigned data coordinates that provide a clue to the images’ cinematic origins. These speculative location determination marks fictionalised historical events, as well as the fictitious ones featured in the respective film plots.
In addition, the exhibition presents several early works by Girardet, which revolve around the viewer’s perceptions and expectations. In ‘Talking to Delilah’ (1998), for example, two LED-texts display a dialogue between Samson and Delilah – from the eponymous film from 1949 – the content of which has been broken down into individual characters, transcribed here in alphabetical order. The difficulty the viewer faces in deciphering the encoded speech is analogous to the protagonist’s predicament: ‘Delilah! Delilah! Though my eyes could see, I was blind!’
Christoph Girardet (*1966 in Langenhagen), studied film at the Braunschweig University of Art (HBK), until 1994. He has been producing video, video installations and films since 1989, occasionally, since 1993, in cooperation with Volker Schreiner and regularly, since 1999, in cooperation with Matthias Müller. Girardet received a stipend for the International Studio and Curatorial Program in New York, in 2000, and one for the Villa Massimo Program in Rome, in 2004. The artist has shown his work worldwide in exhibitions and at film festivals and has received numerous awards and distinctions. He lives and works in Hanover.
Most recent solo exhibitions: Sprengel Museum Hannover; Kunstverein Hildesheim; Bê Cúbico, Recife (with Matthias Müller); Distrito 4, Madrid (with Matthias Müller).
Most recent group exhibitions: National Centre for Contemporary Arts, Moscow; Eye Film Institute Netherlands, Amsterdam; CaixaForum, Barcelona; Coreana Museum of Art, Seoul.
Girardet is presently participating in the following group exhibitions in Germany:
bis hier... 50 Jahre Kunstverein Bochum, Kunstmuseum Bochum (until 20 January, 2013);
Points of View, Roemer- und Pelizaeus Museum Hildesheim (until 27 January 2013);
Big Picture III (Szenen, Figuren), K21 Ständehaus, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf (until 27 March 2013)
Girardet’s ‘The Eternal Lesson’ (2012) will feature in the film programme at the Transmediale (30 January – 03 February 2013) at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin.