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David Claerbout

February 7, 2004 - March 21, 2004

AWE Gallery

Using photography, video, and digital technology, Belgian artist David Claerbout examines the relationship between photography and film. He creates tension in his new media installations by using what at first appears to be still photography that gradually changes over time.In Vietnam, 1967, near Duc Pho (Reconstruction after Hiromishi Mine), 1998, Claerbout uses a well-known black and white photographe of a crashing plane from the Vietnam war. He than filmed the same site, in colour, as it is today forty years later. Within the now lush Vietnamese landscape, he has re-inserted the descending plane suspended in mid-air. This subtle manipulation of images suggests how time and history can be organized in different ways. The original war photograph presents time as a captured movement of a larger event. In contrast, Claerbout’s re-interpretation presents time as a continuous flow, as in nature, interrupted by the plane as an historical fragment.

In contrast to the pumped up emotional excess of many new media productions, Claerbout uses personal images and memories to resensitize the viewer to the significance of individual gestures and their intimate poetry. Reflecting Sunset (2003) represents the sunset reflecting in the windows of an Italian building dating form the 1930s. The austere Fascist-period façade is in sharp contrast to the landscape reflected in its windows. Almost still, the only evidence of time passing is the gradual movement of the sun.

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