Pierrick Sorin (Nantes, France, 1960) explores, through video and cinematographic language, matters relating to the act of looking, public role and attitudes, the concept of spectacle and the figure of the artist as a social actor. At the same time he questions emphatically and humorously the art world and its institutions.
In this exhibition, Sorin presents three of his latest video installations in which digital techniques allow him to create modern Frankensteins, as in It's really nice (1998). With these creatures Sorin wants to look and become the undisputed protagonist of his work as shown in Un spectacle de qualité (1996) and in La bataille des tartes (1994). Based on the possibility of self-filming that video offers and with a continual reference to the figure of Narcissus, he ridicules the myth of the romantic artist until shaping it into even the role of a failure.
In It's really nice (1998) he creates a digital collage of thirty-three sides with factions and oversized organs made out of dozens of fragments of faces of different ages, sexes and races. The characters are displayed in one of the rooms, each on a monitor in such a way that the terms are reversed and the public feels observed. Upon closer observation of the screens, we see that Sorin is also present in these almost monstrous face constructions, displaying his eyes, mouth and hair within these onlookers. In this way "the search for the other has brought Sorin once again before his own image," states Patrice Allain, a specialist in contemporary art.
The idea of the suffering artist is developed in La bataille des tartes (1994), in which Sorin appears topless and gets pied with strawberry shortcakes by three smartly dressed men. This work suggests a review of the comic pie throwing scenes common in silent films. The funny gesture becomes a violent act as Sorin is presented as helpless and the laughter is paradoxically revealed as something tragic.
Patrice Allain notes that the use of simple technical devices such as loop mounting, slow or fast motion and repetition games, dominated by Sorin in video, allow him to "readapt the contemporary scene’s perfectly identifiable mythical stories, but renewing and disrupting at the same time the classic comedy of repetition." This is the case for Un spectacle de qualité, where the viewer's face is captured and projected onto a scene. In it, he is displayed in the short performances that represent a tiny Sorin, a character that exits from the television screen. They are interspersed with comedy acts, magic shows, fashion catwalks, etc. and with artistic performances or contemporary dance shows, to analyse and question the concept of spectacle.
In all cases, and seen through a fun lens, his works deal with the consumption of images, criticism of the art system, official culture and the urgency of seeking to define the new spectator.
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