“Memories of Utopia: Jean-Luc Godard’s Collages de France Models”

Art, Contemporary art
4 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

In 2005, legendary cinéaste Jean-Luc Godard conceived an exhibition to accompany his upcoming film retrospective at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. He envisioned nine themed rooms—walk-in installations incorporating film, video, blown-up movie stills, artworks, photographs, books, printed quotations and objects—leading visitors through the history of cinema and, by extension, the 20th century. Plans went as far as the construction of detailed maquettes, but Godard’s epic proposal ultimately collided with budgetary constraints and bureaucratic cold feet. The resulting 2006 show occupied a paltry three rooms, the last of which featured the models stacked haphazardly atop one another.

Displayed here on a variety of informal supports—cardboard boxes, shipping pallets and an old trunk—the restored maquettes seem less like the relics of a failed project than they do intellectually and visually compelling artworks translating Godard’s ideas and methodologies into three dimensions. Myth, for example, includes a picture of Mickey Mouse in cowboy drag. The Camera features two spinning disks, a pile of nuts and bolts and an iPod playing an excerpt from a pornographic film. Murder, with repeated images of knives and scissors, alludes to the editing process while The Bastards juxtaposes images from John Ford’s film The Searchers, set during the Texas–Indian wars, with real-life pictures of wartime atrocities. Walking through the show is a bit like being inside Godard’s head, observing his fierce intelligence at work.


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