Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris
Chang Yung Ho, Wang Jian Wei, Yang Fudong
STEVE MCQUEEN                                           CAMERA

Speaking in Tongues

Following his contribution to the Life Live exhibition in 1995, this is Steve McQueen’s first one-person show in Paris. Since the early 1990s McQueen’s approach has centered mainly on the making of short films drawing on a range of media including super 8, 16mm, 35mm and video and designed to be shown in meticulously arranged installations. Often in black and white, his first films have an experimental character referring back to the early days of cinema. Here he presents four recent installations: radical formal propositions using such varied techniques as medium close-ups, masking and single frame editing. Specially created for the exhibition, Once Upon a Time explores the notion of knowledge. Prepared in association with William J. Clancey, NASA researcher and advisor to the SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) laboratory, and William J. Samarin, linguist and professor emeritus in the anthropology department at the University of Toronto, the work is based on images obtained by the 1977 space probe Voyager, launched by NASA as part of its search for extraterrestrial intelligence. The outcome is intended to sum up the current state of knowledge on the subject, against which the artists sets a theoretically unintelligible glossolalia*.
At the core of the other three installations are the themes of solitude and isolation:
- using an extremely pared-down monologue, 7th November recounts a tragic story involving two brothers.
- Girls Tricky shows composer-musician Tricky in a moment of intense concentration during a recording session.
- Illuminer uses the light emitted by a TV set to reveal the body of the artist.
  In a totally direct way the artist confronts man with the conscious and unconscious forces that drive him. Without seeking to freeze reality, he highlights - in the same way as jazz - those moments in which reality cuts free of consciousness while still continuing to produce meaning. For this artist reality is more inaccessible than the world of the imaginary: “Suspense is always with us,” he says. “The unpredictable is our world.”

  * A trance phenomenon, also called “speaking in tongues”: the subject utters a succession of incomprehensible sounds or words.

Chang Yung Ho / Wang Jian Wei / Yang Fudong

CAMERA is an exhibition born of the collaboration between architect Chang Yung Ho and two of China’s most important contemporary artists, video artist Yang Fudong and multimedia artist Wang Jian Wei. In its exploration of the relationship between architecture and video, CAMERA invites the viewer to test out new approaches to the spatial presentation of the image.

  Playing on the two meanings of camera - “room” in the original Latin and the camera we know today - Chang Yung Ho has designed four architectural modules, projection rooms in which exhibition visitors both look and are looked at. Each of the four spaces is named after a brand of camera - Polaroid*, Leica*, Nikon* and Seagull* - in reference to four distinct geographical zones: the United States, Germany, Japan and China, in that order.

For each module the architect has had recourse to different materials: sheet metal for Leica, clear Plexiglas for Polaroid, wood, metal and mirrors for Nikon and rice paper for Seagull. The new video works by Yang Fudong and Wang Jian Wei have been specially created for the modules in which they are to be shown. Living respectively in Shanghai and Peking, these two artists draw their inspiration from contemporary Chinese society. Wang Jian Wei’s Square (DV, 13’) and Theater (DV, 20’) show recent social change as revealed by the collective anonymity of public spaces. In Liu Lan (35 mm, 10’) and Honey  (DV, 8’) Yang Fudong’s intimate narrative technique focuses on the changing definition of the contemporary identity.

* Polaroid, Leica, Nikon and Seagull are registered trademarks.