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Paris’ Pompidou Centre to host an exhibition on contemporary Catalan film-maker Albert Serra

The President of the Parisian centre, Alain Seban, compared Albert Serra’s work to that of Salvador Dalí, who he said was “another brilliant Catalan”. The Pompidou Centre will show Serra’s films, including his most recent one: ‘The three little pigs’ (2012), which is an experiment on Goethe, Hitler and Fassbinder and lasts 101 hours. ‘Honor de cavalleria’ (‘Knighthood honour’ in English, from 2006) and ‘El cant dels ocells’ (‘Song of the birds’, from 2008) will also be shown. The exhibition will run in the French capital from the 17th of April to the 12th of May. In addition, the Parisian museum will organise debates, such as the one on bullfighting with Serra and the painter Miquel Barceló.

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05 April 2013 01:23 AM

by

ACN / Mar Rocabert

Barcelona (ACN).- Following the huge success of the retrospective exhibition on the Catalan painter Salvador Dalí, the prestigious Pompidou Centre will host a temporary exhibition on the Catalan film-maker Albert Serra. The President of the Parisian centre, Alain Seban, compared Serra\u2019s work to that of Salvador Dalí, who he said was \u201Canother brilliant Catalan\u201D. Both artists were born near the Costa Brava, but in very different times. Dalí was born in Figueres in 1904 and Serra was born in Banyoles in 1975. However, both of them have used their very own language to depict their personal universe. The Pompidou Centre will show Serra\u2019s films, including his most recent one: \u2018The three little pigs\u2019 (2012), which is an experiment about Goethe, Hitler and Fassbinder that lasts 101 hours. In addition, \u2018Honor de cavalleria\u2019 (\u2018Knighthood honour\u2019 in English, from 2006) \u2013 which is a reflection on Don Quixote \u2013 and \u2018El cant dels ocells\u2019 (\u2018Song of the birds\u2019, from 2008) will also be shown. The exhibition will run in the French capital from the 17th of April to the 12th of May. The exhibition will display correspondence between Serra and the Argentinean film-maker Lisandro Alonso as well as the films that had a great impact on Serra\u2019s life. In addition, the Parisian museum will organise debates. The first one, on bullfighting, will be held with Serra himself and the world-famous Majorcan painter Miquel Barceló. Additionally, Serra will also talk about Dalí after the summer, on the 26th of October.


A few days after the Pompidou Centre closed its exhibition on Dalí \u2013 which has been its second most successful temporary exhibition ever and opened during the night due to the massive attendance, the Parisian museum has devoted another exhibition to another Catalan artist. Serra is also a confessed admirer of Dalí, as he will prove with the debate he will hold in October with Hans Ulrich Obrist, Exhibition Co-Director of London\u2019s Serpentine Gallery. In fact, while presenting the exhibition, Alain Seban, President of the Pompidou Centre, recognised that in a certain way Serra reminds him of \u201CDalí\u2019s proteiform exuberance, this other brilliant Catalan who shaped his time and from whom the film-maker admires beauty and a taste for mockery\u201D. In this vein, Seban defined Serra \u201Cabove all as an artist from the 21st century\u201D who is \u201Cunclassifiable\u201D.

However Albert Serra considers it \u201Cimpossible to be an heir of Dalí\u201D because, \u201Cas all the great artists\u201D who he respects, \u201Che was unique and cannot have pupils, but only admirers\u201D, he stated. In an interview for the presentation of the exhibition, Serra also defended the \u201Cauthor cinema\u201D. He stated that \u201Ccinema is the literature of images and video-art, its language\u201D.

The Catalan film-maker will also talk about one of the most risky ventures in cinematography in the last few years, his film \u2018The three little pigs\u2019, which he recorded during the last \u2018documenta\u2019, the modern and contemporary art exhibition of Kassel (Germany). As he normally does, Serra used non-professional actors, in an experiment with texts of Goethe, Hitler and Fassbinder. The result is a 101-hour long film, which will be projected in sequences of 10 hours per day at the Pompidou.

About this monumental work, the Catalan director explained that it was \u201Cvery difficult\u201D to represent Goethe, Fassbinder and also Hitler. About the German dictator, Serra explained that the process was complex as he wanted to run away from \u201Cthe cliché\u201D because he thinks \u201Conly his caricature is known\u201D.

Besides the Catalan film-maker\u2019s work, the exhibition also includes a selection of the films that have had the greatest impact on his life. They include: \u2018Samson and Delilah\u2019 (1949), by Cesil B. De Mille; the unpublished movie \u2018Le Poème de la mer\u2019 (1958), by Alexandre Dovjenko and Youlia Solntséva; another unpublished film \u2018Beyond the law\u2019, by Norman Mailer; \u2018Viva la muerte\u2019 (1971), by Fernando Arrabal; and \u2018Cutter\u2019s way\u2019 (1981), by Ivan Passer.

Furthermore, an unpublished work by Serra will be shown on the opening day of the exhibition, the 17th of April. The short-movie \u2018Cuba Libre\u2019 (2013) will be shown, which Serra recorded with Xavi Gratacós playing the main role and the appearance of Lluís Carbó and Lluís Serrat. After the projection, the artist Jordi Valls will give a performance under the name Vagina Dentata Organ and with the band Molforts, who are the authors of the music from \u2018The three little pigs\u2019.

During the exhibition\u2019s four-week run, Serra will be present on several days. On one of the days he will be talking about bullfighting, one of his passions. Since he was a child he has been fascinated about bullfighting and he was shocked by the cruelty suffered by the animals: \u201COnce again, it is about imposing our old civilisation, our aesthetics, our morals, but at the price of gratuitous cruelty\u201D. In fact, \u201Ccruelty seems a metaphor for nature\u2019s suffering\u201D, he added.

As Serra told ACN, this exhibition is based on the project \u2018Totes les cartes. Correspondències fílmiques\u2019 (\u2018All the letters. Film Correspondences\u2019 in English), which was displayed in Barcelona\u2019s CCCB in early 2012. The project gathered an exchange of filmed letters between six film-maker couples, to go deeper into their way of communicating. One of the pairs was Albert Serra and Lisandro Alonso, and their experience will be shown on the 10th of June at the Pompidou Centre.

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  • Albert Serra (centre) with his Catalan Cinema Academy's 'Gaudí' Award for 'El cant dels ocells' in 2009 (by ACN)

  • Albert Serra (centre) with his Catalan Cinema Academy's 'Gaudí' Award for 'El cant dels ocells' in 2009 (by ACN)