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Gunkanjima

©Frac Centre

Gunkanjima, 2010

Louidgi Beltrame
  • Artist (1971)

Through his videos and installations, the artist Louidgi Beltrame questions the vestiges of modernist architecture. Imbued with science-fiction, his work strives to reveal the unconscious part and the phenomena of deliquescence in places marked by catastrophe, as well as in ideal cities built during the 20th century. In imagining architecture as a narrative object, he has developed a system of analogies between film and architectural modernism, “machines for dreaming and controlling” in the artist’s own words, which contributed to the edification of the collective unconscious in the 20th century. If his videos—which involve documentary and fiction works alike—can be seen as narratives and their projection systems as circuits, they nevertheless sidestep the linear and all-encompassing readings which are traditionally proposed by cinema and architecture. In Les Dormeurs (2006), the artist filmed sleeping figures in the basement of a bank in Hiroshima, a building which miraculously survived the nuclear explosion, and has today been restored. These shots are followed by those showing a rundown American military hospital on the island of Yahushima. For Brasilia/Chandigarh (2008), he makes use of fiction to structure the film and display these two new historic cities. The figures—be they actors or passers-by—seem to be all alone in the midst of the various monumental forms, which are empty and ghostlike. In CineLandia (2012), Beltrame accompanies views of the house of the architect Oscar Niemeyer, today abandoned and invaded by plants, with a reading of Tecnicamente Dolce, a script written by the film-maker Michelangelo Antonioni. Through the juxtaposition of planes, places and languages, the artist thus tends to encourage semantic shifts and associations of ideas, while at the same time offering an exploded and mazelike representation which plunges the visitor into the chaos of a “future which has reached its end”.

Louidgi Beltrame, who lives and works in Paris, is a graduate of the Villa Arson, the Marseille Advanced National School of Fine Arts, and Le Fresnoy—National Studio of Contemporary Arts. His work has been shown in solo exhibitions (Jeu de Paume, 2006; Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, Strasbourg, 2008; Les Eglises, Chelles, 2010; Galerie Jousse, Paris, 2012) and group exhibitions (Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2003 and 2006; Fondation Ricard, Paris, 2007; Muzeumarchitektury, Wraclaw, 2010; and Le Plateau, Paris, 2010). In 2006 he enjoyed a Villa Médicis extramural residency.

Gilles Rion