Searching for Utopia | Verve Magazine
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October 03, 2014

Searching for Utopia

Text by Wyanet Vaz, Photo courtesy: Camille Henrot

Through Grosse Fatigue, Camille Henrot sets herself the challenge of narrating the story of the universe. Gucci Museo showcases this perceptive unraveling of knowledge

In the beginning there was no earth, no water – nothing. There was a single hill called Nunne Chaha.
In the beginning everything was dead.
In the beginning there was nothing; nothing at all. No light, no life, no movement no breath.
In the beginning there was an immense unit of energy.
In the beginning there was nothing but shadow and only darkness and water and the great god Bumba.
In the beginning were quantum fluctuations.

(Excerpt from Grosse Fatigue)

Moving on from its exhibitions dedicated to historic works by Lee Lozano, Alina Szapocznicow and Evelyne Axell, Gucci Museo now focuses on Grosse Fatigue, an intriguing 13 minute film by French artist Camille Henrot.

The film involves an original music score by composer Joakim, and the voice of slam-poet Akwetey Orraca-Tetteh who reads a long poem delivered in the style of the spoken word. The artist carries the heavy baggage (which is what Grosse Fatigue means) of deciphering the universe. But the dark and heavy burden is transformed into light, beautiful deliveries with each passing frame.

This piece of art is a culmination of a series of shots unveiling hidden treasures from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. The images have been reworked with pictures found on the Internet and scenes filmed in locations as they appear like pop-ups on the screen. Using various artistic forms, we spot an ambition to create an infinite mix of scientific history with tales from mythology, art, anthropology…linked to Genesis and the evolution of the world.

Camille Henrot continues to pique our curiosity and elicit discussions. And, despite having probed through the artist’s ideas of creation, we are left with the question that will always torment our minds – which one came first…the chicken or the egg?

Gucci Museo (Piazza della Signoria, Florence) will be hosting an exhibition of Grosse Fatigue from 3rd October 2014 to 8th February 2015.

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