Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster

Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster
Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Plages, 2001 collection Frac Franche-Comté, © 2023, ProLitteris, Zurich

Beaches, 2001

Panavision short, 35 mm, color, Dolby SR sound transcoded to DVD, video projection, color, stereo sound, 15'.

Work presented as part of the exhibition Echos d'une collection - Works by Frac Franche-Comté

Beaches recounts the night of December 31, 2000 in Copacabana, Brazil. The images are taken from above, like a bird flying overhead. It's the feast of the sea goddess, Iemanja. Men and women dressed in white come from all parts of Rio de Janeiro to make offerings to her on frail skiffs tossed by the waves.

The soundtrack delivers the sounds of the beach only in muted tones. We hear voices - men in this crowd, or watching the same images as us - talking about memories, an imaginary meeting on the same ocean shore one day at dawn, and Roberto Burle Marx, who in 1970 drew the undulating mosaics we see on the ground, as a reminder of the movement of the waves over kilometers - "the largest drawing in the world".

The voices also evoke a utopia, that of the architect Sérgio Bernardes, who wanted to build huge spiral towers to halt Rio's sprawl and the destruction of the landscape. And then a man, as the rain follows the fireworks, declares that Copacabana doesn't exist.

Plages is a portrait of a place in the artist's adopted city, a recognition of the signs that characterize it, and of those who dreamt it.

Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster

Born in 1965 in Strasbourg

Lives and works in Paris and Rio

Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, often referred to as DGF, studied in Grenoble - at the Beaux-arts and the École du Magasin - then in Paris - at the Institut des Hautes Études en arts plastiques.

His artistic work seems to free itself from the boundaries of space and time. Wasn't her major exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in 2015-2016 set between 1887 (the year Marcel Duchamp was born, but also the year the Palacio de Cristal was built in Madrid's Retiro Gardens) and 2058 (an allusion to the dystopian shelter DGF designed for Tate Modern's Turbine Hall in 2008)? In this way, she broadened the references in her work. As Stendhal and the victims of the syndrom that bears his name enter the paintings, the public passed through "rooms" and other "interiors" and "gardens", as DGF has scripted them since the end of the twentieth century. The artist thus defended an art of sensation rather than an art of the object.

In her installations, as in the films she has made up to 2015 (she is part of the team at the independent production company Anna Sanders Films), she crosses and takes us through historical and future eras and lands.

In recent years, DGF has also transformed herself into existing or fictional figures, from Scarlett O'Hara to Edgar Allan Poe, from Marilyn Monroe to Bob Dylan, whom she calls "apparitions". Her art is imbued with cultural references, but above all with literature, notably Viriginia Woolf, Ray Bradbury and Roberto Bolaño.

Music also plays an important role. The artist returned to cinema to co-sign with Ange Leccia Christophe... définitivement (2022), a portrait of the singer who died in 2020, with whom they had collaborated several times. Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster has also collaborated several times with musicians (Jay Jay Johanson, Arto Lindsay). The latest project, Expodrome, with Frenchman Perez, was inspired by Blade Runner. It led to an albun(Replicante) and a series of concert-performances.

DGF's latest works include panoramas created at the Vienna Secession, London's Serpentine Galleries, on the roof of Turin's Lingotto (Pinacoteca Agnelli), and in his Berlin gallery, Esther Schipper. These vast collages allow him to gather a host of references around the public: personalities, works, graffiti...

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