Bruce Conner @ 14th Biennale de Lyon

Floating worlds

20 September 2017 to 07 January 2018
By Emma Lavigne, Guest curator

Since its creation in 1991, Thierry Raspail, Artistic Director of the Biennale de Lyon, has asked each guest curator to think about a keyword, assigned for three editions. The 2017 Biennale de Lyon is the second volume of a trilogy around the word "modernity", and it was with this word that Thierry Raspail invited Emma Lavigne, director of the Centre Pompidou-Metz, to imagine this 14th edition, at the Sucrière and macLYON from 20 September 2017 to 07 January 2018.

CROSSROADS_5 copy.jpg

Videopjection, film 35mm transcoded, 37’
Original score: Patrick Gleeson, Terry Riley
Restored by UCLA Film & Television Archive
Collection Pinault
In CROSSROADS, named after a series of nuclear tests conducted by the US army off Bikini Atoll in 1946, Bruce Conner compiles 23 sequences of atomic explosions. The tests were filmed by more than 500 military cameras. The artist transforms none of the footage, which was previously classified and unavailable to American viewers. The soundtrack of Conner’s piece is drawn from two sources: a collage by Patrick Gleason and a synthesiser composition by Terry Riley. The grandiose and brutal spectacle of this succession of gigantic water-and-steam mushrooms unfurls like a mantra, by turns fascinating and terrifying. Bruce Conner’s last film, EASTER MORNING, is also shown at the macLYON.

8mm/Digital video, color/sound, 10’
Music: «In C» by Terry Riley performed by the Shanghai Film Orchestra
Copyright Conner Family Trust
The soundtrack of EASTER MORNING, Bruce Conner’s latest film, uses a composition by Terry Riley. For this work, Conner re-used 8 footage from one of his previous films, EASTER MORNING RAGGA, 1966, with digitally enlarged images. The luminous vibration of the picture flow is in perfect harmony with the trance-like rhythm of the music. The artist sees this intense and contemplative film as a “metaphysical quest for renewal, beyond the natural, ephemeral world”.