Pierre Bismuth: Where Is Rocky II? at Team Gallery

at 83 Grand Street

29 March – 26 April 2015

opening reception: 29 March, 6 – 8pm

“Team (gallery, inc.) is pleased to announce a solo show by Brussels-based, French artist Pierre Bismuth. Entitled Where is Rocky II?, the exhibition will run from 29 March through 26 April 2015. Team is located at 83 Grand Street, between Wooster and Greene. Concurrently, our 47 Wooster Street space will host a program of works by Alex Bag, Marc Hundley and Santiago Sierra.

For this exhibition, the gallery will screen a “coming attraction” for Bismuth’s debut feature-length film Where is Rocky II?. Bismuth’s quasi-documentary chronicles his hunt for an enigmatic Ed Ruscha sculpture – an artificial boulder, fabricated and hidden in Death Valley during the 1970s, where it has since remained undetected. Bismuth first heard about Rocky II ten years ago from a VHS tape of a BBC news segment from the 80’s, and has since been fascinated by its evasiveness. In early 2014, Bismuth hired a private detective and commenced his full-fledged manhunt for an artwork that, prior to this investigation, was little known or discussed. The film is an exploration of art objects en masse 

and how our own projections define them.

Rocky II‘s absence is crucial to its meaning – so what happens if Bismuth unearths it? How is it essentially altered? Is it even the same artwork? The subject of the investigation is twofold – the hunt for the sculpture also serves as an interrogation of the source of an art object’s power. Rocky II is the perfect receptacle for fantasy and mystery – the elusive existence of the artificial boulder acts as a synecdochic surrogate for the roles aura and unattainability play in our conception of Fine Art.

Bismuth often takes film as subject and Where is Rocky II? is no exception: the artist playfully utilizes, challenges and actively undermines techniques from narrative cinema to tell this story. The movie employs tropes from Film Noir: a private investigator – formerly an LAPD homicide detective – hunts for a counterfeit, a subject that has lived in convincing disguise for decades. Members of the art world – museum directors, curators, collectors – play the roles of informants; Bismuth and his detective treat their insights as potential evidence for their investigation. The trailer, too, recalls that for a thriller, providing suspense without resolution and triggering our desire to know more, to find resolution from an object or an idea that offers none. While the film proper will see a wide release at a later date, the trailer on view exists separately as an editioned artwork, further complicating the nebulous, multifaceted and deeply self-reflexive nature of Bismuth’s practice.

Bismuth has frequently found unlikely and often unwitting collaborators for his artistic practice. His Following the Right Hand of… series traces the hands of primarily female actors throughout sections of famous pieces of cinema, giving them an agency in this creative act. With Where is Rocky II?, the act of collaboration is explicit: Bismuth worked with a highly regarded private detective as well as three prominent screenwriters, whom he granted full creative license to develop a short fictionalized film about the sculpture. The artist’s particular mode of making allows for an engagement with the audience, which here participates in the forensic collection of on-screen information and evidence.

Pierre Bismuth (b. 1963) has been exhibiting his work internationally for over twenty years. Prominent monographic exhibitions have been held at the Kunsthalle in Basel, Nice’s Villa Arson, Rotterdam’s Witte de With, MAMCO in Geneva, and most recently the Kunsthalle in Vienna. His work was included in the 2001 Venice Biennale, in Manifesta 4 and in the 11th Biennale de Lyon, 2011. In 2002, Bismuth won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, alongside Michel Gondry and Charlie Kaufman, for the film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10am to 6pm and Sunday, Noon to 6pm. For further information and/or photographs, please call 212 279 9219.”


Be first to comment