1 - 3 November 2024

Won ex equo the Prix K-Way Per4m Julien Bismuth and Christian Falsnaes

8 November 2015 Journal News

The Franco-American, New York-based artist Julien Bismuth comes to contemporary art via a somewhat unorthodox trajectory. Having originally studied comparative literature, his work deliberately takes place in and explores the gap between writing, language and visual art-related practices, such as sculpture or object making, video, drawing, collage and photography. And although Bismuth is working in a patently conceptual tradition, he does not passively accept the usual terms of that tradition, but critically renovates them. Non-analytically analytical, his practice is markedly invested in the plastic quality of production. ‘Much of the work I am doing now,’ he writes of his practice, ‘came from a desire to rethink the conventional structure of so-called conceptual practices, in which a text is seen as a vehicle for a work and an idea.’ Rather, the two interwoven poles his of practice – the visual and the linguistic – do not so much explicate as complicate one another, mutually enriching and problematising their respective statuses as such.

For Per4m, Bismuth will present the performance Untitled (Lull) (2015). Consisting of two parallel, interrelated movements, the performance starts with the artist extemporaneously writing a text on a blank screen, which looks like a page. What he writes is then translated by a translator at a speed much slower than that of writing. Given that writing is so much slower than speech, the process of translation, which is already an unnatural act, becomes even more unnatural, all but isolating each word as it is both written and, even more importantly, spoken. This procedure creates a gap at the very heart of language, which, emphasising and radically individuating the contours of each word, invests language with, if not a kind metaphorically palpable materiality, then a heightened presence.

Chris Sharp

Christian Falsnaes lives and works in Berlin. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, with Peter Kogler, Daniel Richter, and Constanze Ruhm. He started his involment in urban performances as a young graffiti artist. Falsnaes engages his audience by actively breaking the performer-spectator opposition with group actions such as chanting, shouting, hugging and mock demonstrations. The artist describes his performative strategies as breaking down the fourth wall and as analysing existing structures of daily life, as well as architecture and art market/field behaviours among others.


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