New cinematic works by Julian Rosefeldt, Christoph Girardet & Matthias Muller, Reynold Reynolds, Clement Page and Marion Tampon-Lajarriette. Plus new sculptures by Mattia Biagi

For video documentation click here

There are few subjects in the study of cinema that are quite as salient as fear & desire. Freud, Lacan, Lyotard and dozens more have written about the desiring, or libidinal, function of the cinematic, while semioticians such as Christian Metz have described how such voyeuristic mechanisms such as distance, displacement and lack are part and parcel of the filmic experience as well. “What distinguishes the cinema,” writes Metz, “is an extra reduplication, a supplementary and specific turn of the screw bolting desire to lack… which is partly why the cinema is so very well-suited to handling erotic scenes, which depend so heavily on direct, non-sublimated voyeurism.”

Co-curated by Clement Page, the exhibition Fear & Desire at Young Projects will feature 7 films by some of Europe’s most respected artists. Each medium-to-short work explores the theme of fear & desire, both as a topic and as a formal concern, and yet no two approaches are alike.

Rosefeldt, who’s 5-channel film, “American Night (2010)” was one of the highlights of Young Projects’ program in 2012, will be presenting his latest film, “Deep Gold (2014)” (The first time shown in the US). Shot in Black & White, the 18-minute film was designed as an “insert” into Luis Bunuel’s notorious film, “L’Age d’Or”, which caused near riots when it was released in 1930. For “Deep Gold” Rosefeldt not only recreates the hyper-decadent world of Berlin circa 1925, but employs liberal excerpts from feminist art manifestos from the 20th century to underscore the political nature of lust, desire and fetishism alike.

Other works in the exhibition include Christoph Girardet & Matthias Muller’s film “Cut” (2013), which uses found footage culled from a wide range of lesser-known films. Each shot or sequence depicts a wounded or injured character (entirely without histrionics), to create an utterly lyrical, yet disturbing, meditation on the idea of the “wound” as a physical, yet mythical subject, one that Jung often explored as ‘the wound the never heals’. “Maybe Siam” (2013) from the same artists, uses a similar approach, where various scenes featuring “blind” characters are woven together to create an equally compelling, purely self-reflexive, work.

Darkness is also central Clement Page’s “Light That Obscures” (2014), a film that also marks its US debut. Here a young Berlin artist develops an extreme fear of light, or heliophobia, which destroys her ability to take pleasure in all things visual. Instead she can only live in complete darkness (and thus disappears from screen). Similarly, the artist’s “Hold Your Breath” (2010) explores Sigmund Freud's case study of childhood neurosis, “The Wolf-Man”, by following a young boy as he develops an intense fear of animals.

The French artist, Marion Tampon-Lajarriette offers a silent work, “La Passerelle,” on two projection screens. Here the artist pulls two scenes from two well-known theatrical films, each of which deal with inculcation (and seduction) of young protagonists into radical politics: “Before the Revolution (1964)” by Bernardo Bertolucci and “Regular Lovers (2005)” by Philippe Garrel. Each scene features a female figure, seen in close-up, during a flirtation and/or seduction scene. Yet her suitor is never seen nor heard, and thus the subject of displacement, voyeurism and lack are both spatialized and realized.

The art-historical is referenced once again in Reynold Reynolds latest 2-channel work, “One Part Seven” (2014), which uses stop motion photography, stills, murals and multiple screens to animate an Albrecht Durer drawing from 1525. Here Durer’s tenant that the female nude can be “analyzed in the manner of science” by using a perspective device is actualized by the artist, and yet at the same time, the idea of the gaze, which is so deeply associated with cinema, is shifted to a pre-cinematic era.

Fear & desire are central preoccupations for Italian artist Mattia Biagi, whose sculpture work is often focused on the hypocrisy and absurdity of traditional belief systems. His “Nothing Lasts Forever” (2014) offers a very physical (and intense) physical manifestation of the eponymous theme.

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Julian Rosefeldt has been the subject of dozens of solo shows worldwide and his work can be found in dozens of major collections including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Saatchi Gallery, London; The Goetz Collection, Munich; Kunstmuseum, Bonn; Burger Collection, Hong Kong; Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Castilla y Leon and many more.

Girardet and Muller’s work has received hundreds of awards from around the world and have been exhibited in major institutions including the Tate Modern, London; MoMA, New York; the Walker Art Center, MN; the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Lille; and many more. Their work (including the films being shown) are held in such collections as the Centre Pompidou, MACBA, the Tate Modern, the Netherlands Film Museum, the Sammlung Goetz Collection and more.

Reynold Reynolds’ films have been exhibited at institutions worldwide and are held in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Lyon Museum of Contemporary Art, Lyon; Stoschek Collection, Dusseldorf; the Sammlug Hoffman Collection, Berlin; the Centro de Arte Caja, Burgow and many more.

Clement Page’s work has been exhibited at a number of institutions worldwide including Haus der Kunst, Munich ('Open End' Films and Video's from Sammlung Goetz); Kunstverein Neuhausen, Neuhausen/Fildern Kunstpalais, Stadt Erlangen; Centre d'Art Bastille, Grenoble; Freud’s Dream Museum, St Petersberg; 'Video in the city' curated by Art Brussels exhibition panel, Brussels, and more.

Tampon-Lajarriette work has been shown at the Swiss Institute, New York; the Palais de Tokyo, Paris; the Museum Les Abbattoirs, Toulouse; Fabrica del Arte, Havana; Bourses Contemporary Art Center, Geneva; Collection François Pinault Foundation, Moscow and more

Mattia Biagi’s work has been exhibited at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris; the New Museum of Modern Art, Charlotte; the Officine dell’Immagine, Milan; Foundation Franz Paludetto, Rome; Castello di Rivara, Turin and more.

The opening reception is September 17th, from 6 pm to 9 pm and the exhibition will continue through November 1st

All films inhabit their own space and play on continuous loops throughout the run of the show

Fear and Desire

Opening Thursday September 18 (5:30pm - 9pm)

Runs through December 20th, 2014