Andrea Meislin Gallery is pleased to present Stardust, the first exhibition of work by Jean-Christian Bourcart at the gallery and Bourcart's first solo exhibition in New York since 2002. The exhibition, which will consist of twenty-one photographs and a video installation, opens January 18 and runs through March 3, 2007. A reception for the artist will be held on Thursday, January 18 from 6-8 pm.
For years Jean-Christian Bourcart has been invading personal and private spaces with his camera. He took pictures in brothels (Infertile Madonnas, 1992), in swingers clubs (Forbidden City, 1998-2001), and photographed unknowing people stuck in traffic jams through the reflections of the windshields (Traffic, 1999-2003). In Collateral (2005) he projected photographs of Iraqi victims on houses, churches and supermarkets in Upstate New York. In Stardust, Bourcart again plays with layers of meaning, and continues his exploration of what constitutes an image: a significant surface that provides space for interpretation. Going to the cinema early in the morning and looking for empty theaters, Bourcart photographed the small window that separates the projection room from the public space. The resulting images produced by the beam of light partially stopped by the glass vary in form and clarity, but none resemble the crisp, colossal movie stars that appear on the big screen. Although they depict scenes from contemporary Hollywood hits such as "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" and "Casino Royale," all one can decipher from the Stardust pictures is the actor's silhouette or maybe a bit of human interaction. Instead, what is seen in true detail are scratches, dust particles, or fingerprints on the glass, and occasionally the metal projector from which the image is born. With a background and experience in film as well as photography, Bourcart, here, addresses the central issue of the relationship of form and surface. As the artist puts it, "maybe this is close to a newborn's image of his parents bending over the crib. This image is captured so close to its source that it exists as a quasi-image, something primordial, like a sonogram of the film; histories are dissolved, stars become shadows or stains of light. Abstraction wins over Hollywood. Vacuity steals the show and all is to be imagined anew." A short video made in collaboration with Marina Berio emphasizes Bourcart's performative gesture of looking towards the origin of the spectacle rather than towards its completion, suggesting that all representation is an illusion.
Jean-Christian Bourcart was born in Colmar, France and has spent much of his career working in Paris. In December 2006, he was awarded the first Les Prix Photo du Jeu de Paume and will have his work exhibited at the Musee du Jeu de Paume site Hotel Sully in April 2007. Bourcart's work has been exhibited internationally, and is included in the collections of the Musee d'Art Moderne et Contemporain, Geneve; the Maison Europeene de la Photographie, Paris; and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. He currently lives and works in New York City.