He often uses digital tools to manipulate still and moving imagery to suggest an otherworldly level of existence. Something that might refer to a specific place or event, but of which the timeline is not clear, oscillating between past and present.
The motive of his latest work the “confetti” piece is a single moment in time taken from an event that looks like a local election celebration in the United States. Thousands of confetti are falling from the sky, as guests are starting to clap their hands.
Set in a neo-classical building, the falling confetti pulls all gazes upwards. The particles, tumbling down gently like transparent flower petals seem to be an index of lightness.
By means of this material, Claerbout searches for remnants of tactility within the digital realm and unites irreconcilable aspects in the physical world: weightlessness and heaviness. The core of the work is a detail in the scene: the panic reflex of a young boy. Like gravitational force, his silenced scream pulls the objects in the picture back down. Both aspects of lightness and weight co-exist in their enduring opposition, producing a new, third aspect that really only produces itself over time. For Claerbout, digital materiality will not remain content as a virtual reality but will attempt to penetrate in as many as possible aspects of life, altering optical and material habits. Lens-based images are therefore already part of the past, to be replaced by dark optics.
Additional to the presentation in our main space, works on paper will be on view in The Bakery. For Claerbout, drawings are often the starting point of his computer animated works. It not only helps him define the idea, but they also function as a point of reference during the production process.
Since the opening of the new subway line last summer, one of Claerbout’s works is also on view at the Amsterdam Central Station. Claerbout realized a large moving panorama video on which a typically Dutch scenery is shown; a canal, a dike, grass and trees and a man walking around in it. Besides a work of art this video also changes based on tomorrow’s weather forecast.
David Claerbout (1969, Kortrijk, Belgium) has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions internationally, including: Kunsthaus Bregenz (2018); Schaulager, Basel; MNAC, Barcelona (2017); Städel Museum, Frankfurt; KINDL, Berlin (2016), Marabouparken Konsthall, Sundbybert, Sweden (2015); Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam (2014); Kunsthalle Mainz, Mainz, Germany (2013); Secession, Vienna, Austria; Tel Aviv Museum, Tel Aviv, Israel (2012); SFMOMA, San Francisco, USA; WIELS, Brussels, Belgium (2011); De Pont museum of contemporary art, Tilburg, The Netherlands (2009) and (2016); Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (2007); Kunstmuseum, St. Gallen, Switzerland (2008); and Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands (2005).
His work is represented in major public and private collections worldwide.
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