Springtime & Nightfall by Jeroen Eisinga at Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature
co-presented by Cinéma du réel
The museum will present in a double installation Jeroen Eisinga, Springtime (2010- 2011) et Nightfall (2018) during the festival.
“Death is the last real thing that defies the imaginary. When someone who is close to us dies, we say it feels unreal, but it is exactly the opposite: it feels intensely real.” –Jeroen Eisinga
35mm to HD, black and white, silent, 19 min, 5 sec, Cahir, Co Tipperary, Ireland)
Super 35 to 2K, B&W, Stereo, 56’24”, Kalajoki, Finland
Artists are often said to reveal the inscrutable order of things. Some go further and provocatively test the delicate equilibrium between humans and natural forces, and even life and death. Such an artist is Dutch daredevil Jeroen Eisinga. Following in the footsteps of his countryman Bas Jan Ader (who lost his life at sea during a performance), Eisinga consistently ventures into uncomfortable terrain, challenging not only his own limits, but also our very ways of seeing and making sense of the world.
In Springtime, Eisinga conducts a simultaneously grotesque, spellbinding, and potentially life-threatening performance, evoking both horror and awe as he withstands a swarming of nearly 200,000 bees. The unstable image flickers with both the grain of 35mm film and the growing, living shroud of buzzing insects, inviting powerfully visceral reactions while at the same time drawing to mind a host of rich and varied art-historical references, from medieval portraiture and nineteenth-century freak-show catalogues to Andy Warhol and Richard Avedon. Bee-bearding is a custom thought to have begun in Russia in the 1830s (though some claim that it derives from England in the eighteenth century), and continues to this day as a bizarre competitive hobby. Working in an unabashedly Romantic mode, Eisinga reclaims the practice from sensational grotesquerie and invokes the sublime, pitting human will against the power and terror of nature while challenging the limits of spectatorial endurance as he presents an image that will be unwatchable to some and monumental to many.
In his latest video installation, Nightfall, Eisinga restages a haunting teenage memory. While living with his parents next to the river Meuse in a small town, the artist witnessed a disturbing snow swept scene in the harsh of winter: a heard of sheep that had attempted to cross the half frozen river and were huddled around a hole in the ice. As sheep floated motionlessly in the water and one had cut itself on the sharp edges causing a large bloodstain to seep and spread into the snow, the gruesome and equally enthralling scene inevitably became etched in Eisinga’s memory. Dirty bulbs of wool mingled with the snow as the sheep froze in their tracks at the edge of the water, either unable to move because of the slippery thin ice or remaining loyal to those who had drowned. As the snowstorm worsened and raged, the sheep completely disappeared from view. Shot in gauzy black and white in Super 35mm in a desolate Finnish landscape, Nightfall recreates the ghostly scene, with whipping winds and ghastly realism, challenging voyeuristic tendencies and raising ethical quandaries while doing so.
– Andréa Picard
Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature
62 rue des Archives,
free entrance with the festival programme