Paddy Johnson at Time Out Magazine: Michel Gondry, Be Kind Rewind

by Art Fag City on March 13, 2008 Reviews

One of Michel Gondry’s sets at Deitch Projects

My latest review on Michel Gondry at Deitch Projects can be found in this weeks print edition of Time Out NY. Obviously the thing to do is go out and buy the magazine, but if you happen only to be interested in this piece, I’ve pasted it below for you.

“It is the spectators who make the pictures ” Marcel Duchamp once said, words now literalized by filmmaker Michel Gondry latest exhibition for Deitch Projects, Be Kind Rewind. Titled after his film of the same name, Gondry creates a sprawling art fair — like floor plan, with the gallery divided into 14 different sets with props, costume and planning rooms, all freely available to anyone who wants to come in and shoot their own films. The idea is that in doing so, they echo the characters in Gondry’s movie, who are forced remake VHS tapes from a run-down video store after they are accidentally erased.

Neither Gondry nor the gallery apparently think of this project as a wholly fine-art endeavor. The artist says nothing to that effect in his statement about the piece, while the gallery only vaguely connects it to the tradition of conceptual or performance art. In doing so, Deitch Projects timidly alludes to such recent practitioners of relational art as Rirkrit Tiravanija, Thomas Hirschorn and Tino Seghal, all of whom create their work by using human relations and social context as point of departure. Comparing Gondry to them is a bit of a stretch.

The fact that this show is framed by commercial filmmaking makes any discussion of art feel like an afterthought, while Gondry himself seems to be taking naive steps in a well-trod direction. But maybe someone will make a decent movie here, in which case a film critic can review it.

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