Cyprien Gaillard Artist’s Talk
To French artist Cyprien Gaillard, the Modernist tower blocks of St. Petersburg are like medieval structures, and the hordes of young men whose fight clubs savagely pummel one another among them resemble 18th-century battlefield paintings. In his etchings and the video Desniansky Raion, all presented as part of You Are Here: Architecture and Experience at the Heinz Architectural Center of Carnegie Museum of Art, the 30-year-old artist attempts to use “anachronism as an answer to nostalgia.”
Besides the portrayal of young Russians in housing-project battles, the video—featuring the music of African composer Koudlam—captures the demolition of a Paris tower block complete with a light show, and presents a Ukrainian housing complex as a Stonehenge-like megalithic structure.
Like Hubert Robert and Joseph Michael Gandy’s paintings Imaginary View of the Grande Gallery of the Louvre in Ruins and Bank of England as a Ruin, which took the late-18th-century fetish for ancient ruins to its logical extreme, Gaillard imagines Modernist public housing in light of Vladimir Nabokov’s observation that “the future is but the obsolete in reverse.” These built environments aren’t our failures, but our legacy—our cultural fingerprints on the cities we’ve created and the landscapes we inhabit.
Cyprien Gaillard’s powerful work joins that of renowned German photographer Candida Höfer in You Are Here: Architecture and Experience. Gaillard talks with curator Tracy Myers at the opening of You Are Here this Friday night—a rare opportunity to encounter one of Europe’s most exciting and talked-about young artists.
Cyprien Gaillard artist’s talk and discussion, 6:30–7:30 p.m. Friday, March 4. Reception with cash bar follows until 9 p.m. Galleries open until 9 p.m.
This riveting 2009 video produced by the Tate in London features interviews with Gaillard and provides a glimpse of this work: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqTGtLZeoCY.