Grand Opening on Wednesday 22th January,
from 6pm to 9pm
Exhibition curator: Xavier Franceschi
The frac île-de-france presents the first exhibition in France dedicated to the American artist Ben Russell. As an artist, filmmaker, and curator, Ben Russell’s work exists primarily at the site of projection, resulting in an embodied and hallucinatory experience of the documentary image.
La montagne invisible is a multi-screen installation conceived as a journey into the infinite: an immersive multi-channel AV installation that transforms the material of a Finnish wanderer’s secular pilgrimage towards a utopian summit into an infinite video labyrinth of beginnings, endings and disjunctive in-betweens.
Conceived as one chapter of a larger multi-form project entitled THE INVISIBLE MOUNTAIN*, Ben Russell’s work at Le Plateau joins the ranks of Alejandro Jodorowsky, Philippe Parreno, Patti Smith and John Zorn in drawing inspiration from the novella Mount Analogue (1952) by French author René Daumal. Loosely based on the fictional text in which a group of explorers embark on an impossible quest to find a utopian mountain floating in the ocean, THE INVISIBLE MOUNTAIN is centered around a modern day spirit quest that chart a path from Finland to Greece to the Great Beyond.
As an installation, La Montagne invisible will transform the topography of Le Plateau into a network of carefully orchestrated movements in which the journey – the road trip / concert tour / pilgrimage / altered state – is the essential subject. The dynamic and hypnagogic soundscape is marked by a sculptural approach to audio (realized in collaboration with the sound artist Nicolas Becker); the moving image is edited to produce surprising and occasionally stroboscopic sync-points across an array of screens. The installation aims to conceptually place the viewer at the dizzying peak of the hypothetical Mount Analogue – at a vantage from which all approaches can be seen, felt and heard simultaneously.
Through an emphasis on projection-as-object and a material reality that includes canted screens, vibrating color fields, mirrored glyphs, and structural illusions, this installation will provide its viewer with a visceral and transformative experience of a world at the edge of radical dissolution. Dematerialization awaits!
*La Montagne invisible belongs to an ambitious 4-part project entitled THE INVISIBLE MOUNTAIN – a series of multi-media works (a sound sculpture, a multi-channel video installation, a feature-length non-fiction film, and an immersive performance piece ) led by Ben Russell (USA) in collaboration with sound artist Nicolas Becker (FR), performer / composer Sophia Brous (AUS) and artist / filmmaker Ben Rivers (UK) – and featuring appearances by musicians Greg Fox (USA), Taraka / Prince Rama (USA) and Olimpia Splendid (Finland). The first part of the project, the monumental sound installation LA MONTAÑA INVISIBLE, made in collaboration with Nicolas Becker, was presented at MUCA UNAM in Mexico City in September 2019.
Ben Russell (b. 1976) is an American artist, filmmaker and curator living in Los Angeles. Through his films and installations, he challenges conventions of documentary representation from within to produce intense, and hypnotic experiences. He examines the cinematic apparatus itself and its potential for immersion and mimetic identification – oftentimes via the very subjects and subject matter of his films: collective experience, altered states of consciousness and secular practices of ritual and trance. With over 30 works in his filmography, his approach to both feature-length and short-form work is informed by a methodology he refers to as “psychedelic ethnography.”
He worked with the phenomenological experience of noise music for his series Trypps (2005–10). He has also been involved in various curatorial projects, such as Magic Lantern (series of screenings in Providence, Rhodes Island). As a featured artist in documenta 14, he presents a new film project that examines the social and global scale of the politics of mineral extraction. It is a comparative film study about the communities of workers in an illegal, small-scale gold mine in Suriname and in a state-owned copper mine in Serbia. In addition, he has organized a four-day film and performance festival in Athens, titled HALLUCINATION(S), inviting independent filmmakers, musicians, visual artists, and film researchers to collectively unravel cinema’s hallucinatory potential.
His films are the subject of numerous solo exhibitions and screenings, notably at the Centre Pompidou, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, or the MoMA, and have received numerous prizes, such as the prize organized by the Rotterdam Festival in 2015, or the Nouvelle Vague prize awarded by the La Roche-sur-Yon Festival. His works also include the collections of the Cnap (Paris), FMAP (Geneva) and the Austrian Film Museum (Vienna).
Performance with Olimpia Splendid
(Heta Bilaletdin, Jonna Karanka & Katri Sipiläinen – Finland) Wednesday 22.01.20
at Le Plateau, for the opening of the exhibition
& off-site programming linked to the exhibition:
screening at the cinema Le Luminor (Paris 04)
experimental films from the Lightcone collection
curated by Ben Russell
Concert + performance at Les Instants Chavirés (Montreuil) with Olimpia Splendid + Samuli Tanner (Finland)
+ Ben Russell (USA)
with Ben Russell
and Filipa Ramos writer and curator
Filipa Ramos :
Lisbon-born Filipa Ramos is a writer based in London. She is Film Curator for Art Basel and co-curator of Vdrome, an online artists’ cinema. Ramos is a Lecturer in the MRes Arts at Central Saint Martins in London and at the Master Programme of the Arts Institute of Basel. She was Editor in Chief of art-agenda, Associate Editor of Manifesta Journal and contributed for Documenta 13 (2012) and 14 (2017). Her research on interspecies relationships has been published worldwide. She edited Animals (MIT Press, 2016). She curated “Animalesque,” a large group exhibition on becoming animal (Bildmuseet Umeå, Summer 2019 and BALTIC, Gateshead, Winter 2020). She co-curates with Lucia Pietroiusti the symposia series The Shape of a Circle in the Mind of a Fish for the Serpentine Galleries, London.
7pm – 9pm
Opening, up until 9pm,
every 1st Wednesdays of the month,
with a guided tour at 7.30 pm
Meeting-place at the reception