The work of Belgian artist Johan Grimonprez (°1962) dances on the borders of art and cinema, documentary and fiction, and practice and theory, causing the viewer to double-take. Informed by an archaeology of present-day media, his work seeks out the tension between the intimate and the bigger picture of globalisation. It questions our contemporary sublime, one framed by a fear industry that has infected political and social dialogue. By suggesting new narratives through which to tell a story, his work emphasises a multiplicity of histories and realities. The films of Grimonprez search for those moments where representation and reality seem to coexist. They ‘speak to the need to see history at a distance, but at the same time to speak from inside of it’. He gained international acclaim in the visual arts, and has collected numerous prizes and selections, including at the Berlinale and the Sundance Film Festival.
WeTube-O-Theque, is a vlog or video blog. In it, the artist collects clips taken from the Internet and various archives on a range of issues in ecology and sustainability. What unites these multifarious fragments is the idea of radical ecology as a reflection on new and responsible ways of common life. The idea of tender gardening draws from Voltaire’s famous advice given at the end of Candide, ou l’optimisme: ‘il faut cultiver notre jardin’.
In his new installation every day words disappear, Johan Grimonprez enters into a dialogue with thinkers and scientists in the search for new ideas of the common. The questions asked in the conversations and, as always in the work of the artist, in a montage of images, pertain to the dominant role of negative factors in social organisation such as fear, competition and self-interest.