Pierrick SORIN : C’est Mignon tout ça” (“Isn’t that cute! “ )
Aeroplastics contemporary presents the first large-scale exhibition in Belgium of a major figure in video art, the Frenchman PIERRICK SORIN.
His first productions were little Super-8 films demonstrating a taste for abrasive humour and a good dose of self-mockery. For Réveils (1988), Pierrick Sorin filmed himself each morning for a month when only just waking up, realizes that he’s even more tired than the day before and, taking the viewer along as witness, vows to henceforth get to sleep earlier, to then wake up ever more tired again... From here, the artist develops the concept of autofilmage, filming himself in fictional settings where he incarnates various protagonists, like in the hilarious series Pierrick et Jean-Loup (1994): “Two brothers, Pierrick and Jean-Loup [both played by the artist], prey to a certain boredom, engage in activities at once stupid and creative.”... This concept of boredom, this life that one has to busy oneself with and the worries of the everyday, is a founding principle in Pierrick Sorin’s oeuvre. Une vie bien remplie (1994), exposes, on some twenty screens, “the artist’s anxiety when faced with the stupid and repetitive acts that overrun one’s existence.”
The exhibition’s title, “C’est mignon tout ça ! “ (Isn’t that cute!), is that of a videowork whose scenario (“By grace of a basic video device, a man partially dressed in women’s clothes, gets aroused by the sight of his own backside...”) sums up the major characteristics of Pierrick Sorin’s oeuvre: simple technical means, self-filming... and a lot of humour.
But as for the artist’s trademark, it must be the little “théâtres optiques” (optical theaters) that he’s developed since the middle of the Nineties. Based on the principle of the hologram, these installations vidéos de chambre (the whole contained in a piece of furniture, just needing to be hooked up to a power supply...) portray the artist in the guise of a small ectoplasm, running on a turntable, floating in a (real) aquarium, or pedalling a bike that appears to produce current for a little lamp via a dynamo...
These set scenes can become quite complex, like in the series “Quelques inventions remarquables”, seven holographic devices conceived to be integrated within a public space to mark Lille 2004. From L’opérateur personnel de chirurgie faciale to Téléportateur d’objets vivants, and through to Visualiseur d’images mentales, Pierrick Sorin imagines a future governed by zany technology, for the better and especially for the worse. The artist incarnates the different protagonists and produces, through scenes peppered with DIY special-effects, a manner of homage to the cinema of Georges Méliès. This taste for illusions, at once simple and effective, is again seen with in situ installations like La cheminée aux livres, where works of contemporary art history are half-devoured by holographic flames.
This ironic gaze cast upon the world of art is a constant in the oeuvre of Pierrick Sorin: his Hommage à Daniel Buren uses digital technology to deconstruct the fine rigour of the famous vertical stripes. Another example is Nantes : projets d’artistes, a “true-false reportage” that presents seven projects from European artists impassioned by the new technologies – all the protagonists being interpreted by Pierrick Sorin.
For last several years, the artist has been developing projects for theatre and film: we cite his collaboration with the company Royal de Luxe, or with the production 22h13 (ce titre est susceptible d’être modifié d’une minute à l’autre), recently mounted at the Théâtre du Rond-point in Paris – a piece that examines the doubts and dilemmas of the artist alone in his studio, where the actor puts himself in the skin of a certain... Pierrick Sorin. As for Grand aquarium aux danseuses, it was a commission for the latest film by Anne Fontaine, Mon pire cauchemar, with Isabelle Huppert and Benoît Poelevoorde.
With exhibitions at the Fondation Cartier, the Centre Georges Pompidou, London’s Tate Gallery, the Guggenheim in New York and Tokyo’s Metropolitan Museum of Photography, the artist now finally comes to Belgium for this wide-ranging exhibit, after his retrospective in Nantes at The Lieu Unique this past summer: an absolute must-see.