It May Be That Beauty Has Strengthened Our Resolve
Philippe Grandrieux, Lü Yue, Masao Adachi, Patrizio di Massimo and Mladen StilinoviŠ
9 March–28 April 2013 Opening: 8 March 2013, 19–21h rs
Para Site proudly presents It May Be That Beauty Has Strengthened Our Resolve, a group exhibition featuring works by Philippe Grandrieux, Lü Yue, Masao Adachi, Patrizio di Massimo and Mladen StilinoviŠ. It brings together art pieces, films and biographies in which the artists' individual gestures, positions, statements, counter-manifestos, silences and escapisms share a certain tension about art's uncertain intersection with the present.
In Lü Yue's feature film The Obscure, a group of prominent Chinese writers of the same post-cultural revolution generation gather in a provincial hotel to discuss at length (defying both the fast-paced temporality of our time and every convention on the viewer's attention span in mainstream cinema) their views on the place of poetics in contemporary China. The intellectuals take their time to visit various issues connected to China's massive transformation over the last decades, with all its implications for history and the individual, for society and for art, from the most obvious to the most obscure. But what could have been a self-serving illustration of an exercise in artistic withdrawal is unsettled by the unexpected introduction of fiction and the personal in the detached, documentary style of the piece. In a different manner, Philippe Grandrieux's portrait of Japanese film maker and revolutionary Masao Adachi (the source of the exhibition's name) is centered around the exploration of Adachi's inner self and avoids thus to be an exercise of melancholy on the ruins of the international left. Active in Japan’s avant-garde film scene of the 1960s and a member of the Japanese Red Army, Masao Adachi provides a deeply moving introspection of a life lived mostly outside mainstream society (he was exiled in Lebanon for more than two decades) and with firm beliefs on art's possibilities. The decision to not enter the production logics of the art system is to be read in Mladen StilinoviŠ's 1993 manifesto "The Praise of Laziness". His 'laziness' (augmented by the images of him sleeping in the 1978 piece "Artist at work") is in fact an active process of critical statements about art and the self-perpetuating bureaucracy around it, both under the socialist and the capitalist systems.
Patrizio di Massimo's series of portraits of various characters, ranging in style from a fantastical realist painting to lush abstract velvet curtains bring to the foreground of the exhibition artistic subjectivity as a dominant specter in the crafting of artistic vocabularies. Desire (inconspicuous in the prudish panorama of today's art) insinuates itself at every fold in the piece and completes the exhibition's narrative. It May Be That Beauty Has Strengthened Our Resolve is curated by Cosmin Costinas.
Artist talks will take place on 9 March, from 15hrs at Para Site.
Philippe Grandrieux (b.1954, Saint-Étienne, France) is a French director and trained in Film at Institut National Supérieur des Arts du Spectacle, Brussels. Grandrieux’s work covers several areas of kinetic visual arts: feature film, experimental television, video art, documentary museum and gallery installation. Grandrieux teaches at La Fémis (Fondation Européenne pour les Métiers de l’Image et du Son, Paris); at l'Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts, Paris and currently the Visiting Lecturer of Visual and Environmental Studies in Harvard University, Cambridge. Past works include WHITE EPILEPSY (2012), A Lake (2008) and Retour à Sarajevo (1996). Grandrieux has also participated in screenings at the Lincoln Center (Film Comment Selects) New York, Harvard Film Archive in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA and the Festival de Las Palmas in Spain, Cineteca of Mexico, at the Guadalajara Festival, INDIE Festival Brazil and CPH:DOX Festival Copenhagen etc.
Lü Yue (b. 1957, Tianjin, China) is a cinematographer and film director based in Beijing, China. He received his BA degree on Cinematography from the Beijing Film Academy and MFA degree on Arts Plastiques, The 8th University of Paris in 1982 and 1989 respectively. Lu was awarded the Premio A.I.C. award for the best cinematography, at Festival Internazionale del Film di Roma (2012); Special Jury Prize, at 19th Tokyo International Film Festival, Japan (2006) and Leopard Award, at the 51st Locarno International Film Festival, Switzerland (1996). Lü was also nominated for Best Cinematography for his work in Shanghai Triad at the 68th Academy Awards, Los Angeles (1996). As a director, Lü’s repetoire include Thirteen Princess Trees (2006), The Obscure (1999 – 2006) and The Foliage (2003). He was also the responsible for the cinematography in Back to 1942 (2012); Aftershock (2010); and The Red Cliff (2008).
Masao Adachi (b. 1939, Kita Kyushu, Japan) is a Japanese screenwriter and director. Best known for his writing collaborations with Koji Wakamatsu and Nagisa Oshima, Adachi emerged from the Nihon University Film Study Club, better known as Nichidai Eiken as one of the leading figures in the underground experimental scene of the 60s. Having moved to Beirut in 1974, he joined the Japanese Red Army in lending its assistance to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and their quest to fight for the liberation of the Israeli-occupied territories. Adachi did not return to Japan until 2000 when he was extradited from Lebanon for his association with the Japanese Red Army. Past work as a screenwriter include Caterpillar (2010); Prisoner/Terrorist (2007); Sex Jack (1970) and Go Go Second Time Virgin (1969). As a director, his work include Prisoner/Terrorist (2007); Red Army/PFP: Declaration of World War (1971) and Sei chitai (1968).
Patrizio di Massimo (b. 1983, Jesi, Italy) lives and works in London. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera, Milan, and received his MA from the Slade School of Fine Art, London. Previous exhibitions include I want to live like this, T293, Rome (2012); One caption hides another, Bétonsalon, Paris (2011); Il Bel Paese dell’arte, Gamec, Bergamo (2011); Tous cannibales, Maison Rouge, Paris (2011) ; See reason, Stedelijk Bureau museum of amsterdam (2011); Let us compare with mythologies, Witte de with, Rotterdam (2010) and Patrizio Di Massimo, Zilkha Auditorium, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (2009). In 2010, he co-curated More pricks than kicks with Vincent Honoré at the David Roberts Art Foundation, London.
Mladen StilinoviŠ (b.1947, Belgrade, Serbia) is a mixed media artist based Zagreb, Croatia. He was a member of the Group of Six Artists (1975 – 1979) and ran the PM Gallery in Zagreb (1982 – 1991). Past exhibitions includes Zero for Conduct, Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb (2012-13); Mladen StilinoviŠ, GB Agency, Paris (2012); Doing what you Want, Tensta konsthall, Stockholm and How Much Fascism?, BAK, Utrecht (2012) and Ostalgia, New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (2011). StilinoviŠ also participated in 11th Istanbul Biennale (2009) ; Documenta 12, Kassel (2007); 15th Sydney Biennale (2006) and 50th Biennale di Venezia (2003).