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Nightlife

  • 2015
  • Cyprien Gaillard
  • 3D motion picture
  • 14 min. 56 s.

Interweaving several stories, Nightlfe takes place over four scenes - in Cleveland, Los Angeles and Berlin - and opens with a travelling shot of Rodin's sculpture The Thinker in front of the Cleveland Museum of Art.


This is followed by an ecstatic dance of “Hollywood” juniper bushes, which the artist has filmed with their long branches moving, as if in a trance. The third tableau reveals a triumphant firework display, the Pyronale, at Berlin's Olympic stadium, before returning to Cleveland to the oak tree bestowed on the African-American athlete Jesse Owens by the Nazi organisers of the Olympic Games, in honour of his achievements in the stadium in 1936. The soundtrack uses a nine-second loop from Alton Ellis’ rocksteady classic, in which the lyrics “I was born a loser” are replaced by “I was born a winner”. Music and film, past and present, analogue and digital are blended in this immersive work.

© Cyprien Gaillard. Photo Courtesy the artist and Sprüth Magers © Cyprien Gaillard. Photo Courtesy the artist and Sprüth Magers © Cyprien Gaillard. Photo Courtesy the artist and Sprüth Magers

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Cyprien Gaillard

After spending his childhood in the United States, Cyprien Gaillard studied at the Ecole Cantonale des Arts in Lausanne.

Winner of the Marcel Duchamp Prize in 2010, he is currently one of the most prominent young French artists. Reinterpreting the Land Art by filming fire extinguishers pooring dry ice in rural landscapes, or recording destruction processes, his work compresses time and can be understood as an archaeology of the future in which the present is projected towards its entropy. His work, which reflects a trend described by the artist himself as “vandalism", takes the form of sculptures, videos, engravings, photographs and interventions in public spaces. It brings out contemporary socio-political realities and the innate beauty of their brutality.

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