Born 1963, France; lives and works in Brussels
Promotional Occurrences, 2018
video, color, sound, 19:04 minutes, courtesy of the artist
* Where is Rocky II? , 2016
film, 93 minutes, courtesy of Mongrel International
It took Pierre Bismuth almost ten years to complete the project that is eventually both a full-length feature film (Where is Rocky II?) for cinema screening and a video installation for museums. This is a journey based on a detective assignment attempting to locate a rock-shaped sculpture placed by American artist Ed Ruscha somewhere in the Mojave Desert sometime in the 1970s and never seen since. The only testimony to the existence of the fiberglass sculpture, named Rocky II, is a 1979 BBC documentary in which Ruscha is seen placing it in the desert.
Bismuth is known for winning, together with Charlie Kauffman, the 2005 Best Original Screenplay Academy Award for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (director: Michel Gondry), a film with many twists following memories and their erasure. In the BBC documentary he recognized materials with a potential for similar confusion between reality and fiction, between art and life: an unknown work by a well-known artist that was lost in an area identified with Westerns and thrillers as the basis for dealing with forgeries, memories, forgetfulness, myths and fantasy.
During his searches for Ruscha’s sculpture, Bismuth hires screenwriters and a private investigator. In the resulting film, he combines feature film conventions and transgresses others: the film shifts between times, the plot bolts between real people and the actors who portray them and the filming takes place without a script. For the video installation Promotional Occurrences, Bismuth chose the lively trailer format: disrupted scenes, a soundtrack with unanswered questions, dramatic music and legal credits listing the production crew. Bismuth’s wild and unpredictable gaze, conscious and dissembling, lets him handle himself slyly between art and cinema and create, under the title of a Hollywood box office hit, a complex and unique project where artistic and cinematic myths and conventions are deconstructed.
* Screenings Where is Rocky II?:
Friday, 29 June 2018, 12 noon, Jeannette and Yehuda Assia Auditorium
Tuesday, 31 July 2018, 20:00, Jeannette and Yehuda Assia Auditorium
Friday, 21 September 2018, 12 noon, Kaufmann–Gitter Hall