Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA) Presents salt 3: Cyprien Gaillard

. June 14, 2011 . 0 Comments

Salt Lake City, UT – The Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA) is pleased to present salt 3: Cyprien Gaillard, the third in the museum’s new series of exhibitions featuring innovative art from around the world. salt aims to reflect the international impact of contemporary art today, forging local connections to the global, and bringing new and diverse artwork to the city that shares the program’s name.

Organized by Jill Dawsey, UMFA acting chief curator and curator of modern and contemporary art, the third salt installation will be on view through August 21, 2011 in the Marcia and John Price Museum Building at the University of Utah. The exhibition will be located in a newly designed black box gallery on the UMFA’s first floor.

In the past few years French-born, Berlin-based Cyprien Gaillard (b. 1980) has emerged as a major voice in the international art scene. He works in a variety of media, including film, video, photography, and installation. The young artist’s work often examines architectural ruins of the recent past, working in the artistic traditions of Romanticism and Land Art to engage ideas of displacement, disenchantment, and decay.

salt 3: Cyprien Gaillard showcases a nine-minute,16mm film entitled Cities of Gold and Mirrors (2009). This non-narrative, five-segment film raises questions about the built environment, the appropriation of culture, and historical progress.

Shot in Cancun, Mexico, the film opens with scenes of young Americans engaged in spring break debauchery, set against a backdrop of a hotel resort designed to imitate an ancient Mayan pyramid. Viewers next encounter a seemingly tranquil scene of dolphin fins breaking the water, swimming in a hotel pool. A Bloods gang member is then shown performing a slow, ritual dance upon Las Ruinas del Rey, a site of Mayan ruins not far from the popular tourist resorts. The film shifts its focus to a large mirrored building that violently implodes in a scene reminiscent of action movies. The final segment shows viewers the ceiling of a disco in Cancun, with its spectacular blinking lights. The entire film is set to an eerie, synthesized soundtrack, a theme song borrowed from a French-Japanese produced cartoon of the 1980s called The Mysterious Cities of Gold, which told the story of an orphan boy who joins a group of Spanish conquistadors.

In Cities of Gold and Mirrors, Gaillard establishes parallels between the consumption of alcohol and architecture, linking the drinking rituals of spring breakers to the degradation of the modern ruin. It would seem that Gaillard believes we inherit yesterday’s architecture and urban planning in the form of a hangover—a hangover of the historical variety.

Gaillard’s work is featured in the UMFA’s current exhibition, The Smithson Effect, and Robert Smithson’s influence is also apparent in Cities of Gold and Mirrors. The film’s scenes of modern architectural ruins and spectacular demolition seem to fulfill Smithson’s paradoxical vision of buildings that would “rise into ruin,” becoming new kinds of monuments through acts of destruction.

Cyprien Gaillard was awarded the Prix Marcel Duchamp in 2010 and his work is featured in the 54th International Art Exhibition, Venice Biennale (2011). He has had solo exhibitions throughout Europe, Mexico, and the United States, including at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland; Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH; MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA; Proyectos Monclova, Mexico City; Museo de Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, Spain; L’Atelier du Jeu de Paume, Paris; and the Hayward Gallery, London. His work has also been included in numerous group exhibitions at the MoMA, New York (2010); the Eighth Gwanju Biennial (2010); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2010); Baibakov Art Projects, Moscow (2010); New Museum, New York (2009); and the 5th Berlin Biennial, Germany (2008).

The UMFA’s salt series affirms the Museum’s commitment to the art of today and tomorrow, demonstrating that contemporary art is vital, dynamic, and socially relevant.

Image: Cyprien Gaillard, Cities of Gold and Mirrors, 2009, 16 mm film still. Courtesy of Sprüth Magers Berlin/London and Laura Bartlett Gallery, London.

The Utah Museum of Fine Arts is located on the University of Utah campus in the Marcia and John Price Museum Building at 410 Campus Center Drive. The UMFA’s mission is to engage visitors in discovering meaningful connections with the artistic expressions of the world’s cultures. General admission is $7 adults, $5 youth and seniors, FREE for U of U students/staff/faculty, UMFA members, higher education students in Utah, and children under six years old. Free admission offered the first Wednesday and third Saturday of each month. Museum hours are Tuesday – Friday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Wednesdays 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Weekends, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.; closed Mondays and holidays. For more information call (801) 581-7332 or visit www.umfa.utah.edu

Category: Museum News

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