Beaubourg, Brancusi, Film and Photography
Autoportrait vers 1933 © Constantin Brancusi
Colonne sans fin (photogramme) © Constantin Brancusi
Leda, 1920 © Constantin Brancusi
Vue d'ensemble de l'atelier © Constantin Brancusi
Colonne de Voulangis, 1927 © Constantin Brancusi
La colonne sans fin de Voulangis (vue en pyramide décroissante vers le ciel) automne, 1927 © Constantin Brancusi
The exhibition “PhotoSculpture” featured in the Kunsthaus at Zürich through last May 15th (La Lettre de la Photographie, February 24, 2011) clearly showed the positive crossed influences between sculpture and photography, regardless of the opinions of the “dinosaurs” of sculpture. This process was well understood and exercised by Constantin Brancusi, performing what Quentin Bajac (Chief of the Photography department at Centre Pompidou) called the “processes of analog reproduction ”, which are photography and cinema. Through the prism of the analog recording and after a number of experimental essays, Constantin Brancusi metamorphosed his works throughout. He was “aware of the revolution that the analog reproduction processes cinema and photography would cause in the perception of the work of art.”
This is what the exhibition allows us to discover through September 12, 2011, in the museum gallery, level 4 of the Centre Pompidou, thanks to Quentin Bajac, Clément Chéroux and Philippe-Alain Michaud. In fact, the three curators have relied on the collection of the Musée d’Art Moderne, the atelier’s photographs –bequest Brancusi dated 1956- and recently acquired never before seen films. An ensemble that includes around 1,300 copies, 700 negatives, other documents and extracts of films from private collections or other artist’s films, like Man Ray. The photographs also come from film stills.
In the middle of the 1920’s, Constantin Brancusi began a dialogue between his sculpted production, photography and cinema. This dialogue has been the focus of the work of the curators through this exhibition. Gathered for the first time, these documents have allowed us to make this dialogue clearer between fixed images and moving images, that we are used to placing or reading in different universes. Brancusi tied them together with the objective of “seeking the truth on his works”. For the sculptor, this truth is not some technical perfection suggested by professional photographers of that time, answering to the myth of the “objective depiction of reality”. He seeks the “explosive play on light and on materials, on movements and on the frame, the innumerable essays on all the possible states of the same frame and of the same work, the unending back and forth between moving image and fixed image…” They contribute to the construction of a singular view on his sculpted productions.
Why write about my own sculptures? Why not simply show their pictures? he said one day. He knew the work by Edward Steichen, he asks advise to Man Ray and starts to take photographs of his sculptures and soon after, films them. Through an extraordinary ensemble of over a hundred photographs and never before seen films, the exhibition shows, for the first time, his photographic and cinematographic production, exploring the various aspects of this relationship.
Accompanying this exhibition, the Centre Pompidou publishing house has issued a DVD entitled “Brancusi films” (50 min) showing never before seen sequences filmed by Constantin Brancusi from 1923 through 1939, others also made through the 1920’s, in collaboration with Man Ray. Documents on the working artist and a long sequence made in 1936-1937, devoted to a trip to Romania and the building of the Tirgu Jiu endless column.
A book “Images sans fin. Brancusi, film, photographie” (Endless images. Brancusi, cinema, photography), co-edited with “Le Point du Jour” is also published on the occasion of the exhibition.
In four parts, the book features 130 photographs and 50 photograms. Three essays by the three curators and documentary annexes revealing the links between cinema, photography and sculpture by Brancusi.
Images sans fin
Brancusi, film et photographie
Through September 12
Galerie du Musée, Niveau 4
+33 (0)1 44 78 12 33
Images sans fin
Co – édition Le Point du Jour / Centre Pompidou
sous la direction de Quentin Bajac, Clément Chéroux et
Relié,180 illustrations, format 210 × 280mm
Éditions du Centre Pompidou