The Paradigm Case
The Cinema of Hitchcock and the Contemporary Visual Arts
Through a detailed study of the Hitchcock-related work of artist-filmmakers Matthias Müller and Christoph Girardet, Johan Grimonprez, Pierre Huyghe, Douglas Gordon and Atom Egoyan, this book facilitates a dialogue between the creative appropriation of Hitchcock’s films and the cinematic practices that increasingly inform the wider field of the contemporary visual arts. Each chapter is structured around a consideration of how the artwork in question has reconfigured or ‘remade’ key Hitchcockian expressive elements and motifs – in particular, the relationship between mise en scène and the mechanics of suspense, time, memory, history and death. In a career that extended across silent and sound eras as well as the British, European and Hollywood industries, Hitchcock’s film œuvre can be seen as a history of the cinema itself. As the work of these contemporary artist-filmmakers shows, it was also a history of the future, a paradigm case par excellence.
Table Of Contents
- About the author
- About the book
- This eBook can be cited
- List of Figures
- Introduction: ‘Paradigm Cases’
- Chapter 1: Mapping the Field of Hitchcockian Appropriation
- Chapter 2: Found Footage in Flames: Matthias Müller and Christoph Girardet’s Phoenix Tapes
- Chapter 3: The Essay-Film (Expanded): Johan Grimonprez’s Double Take
- Chapter 4: Horror in Real-Time: Douglas Gordon’s 24 Hour Psycho
- Chapter 5: Participatory Remaking: Pierre Huyghe’s Remake
- Chapter 6: Screening Memory: Atom Egoyan’s Evidence / Felicia’s Journey
- Appendix: Visual Art and Filmic Review of Appropriations
- Series Index
CHAPTER 2. Found Footage in Flames: Mathias Müller and Christoph Girardet’s Phoenix Tapes
Figure 2.1: Still frame from Rutland (Matthias Müller and Christoph Girardet, 1999).
Figure 2.2: Still frame from Burden of Proof (Matthias Müller and Christoph Girardet, 1999).
Figure 2.3: Still frame from Derailed (Matthias Müller and Christoph Girardet, 1999).
Figure 2.4: Still frame from Why Don’t You Love Me? (Matthias Müller and Christoph Girardet, 1999).
Figure 2.5: Still frame from Bedroom (Matthias Müller and Christoph Girardet, 1999).
Figure 2.6: Still frame from Necrologue (Matthias Müller and Christoph Girardet, 1999).
CHAPTER 3. The Essay-Film (Expanded): Johan Grimonprez’s Double Take
Figure 3.1: Looking for Alfred (Johan Grimonprez, 2005) © the artist and Zapomatik. ← vii | viii →
Figure 3.2: Le Plaisir (Johan Grimonprez, C-Print 131 x 87 cm, 2004) © the artist and Zapomatik.
Figure 3.3: Dial H-I- S-T-O-R-Y (Johan Grimonprez, 1997) © the artist and Zapomatik.
Figure 3.4: Double Take (Johan Grimonprez, 2009) © the artist and Zapomatik.
Figure 3.5: Inflight Magazine (Johan Grimonprez, 2000) © the artist and Zapomatik.
CHAPTER 4. Horror in Real-Time: Douglas Gordon’s 24 Hour Psycho
Figure 4.1: 24 Hour Psycho (Douglas Gordon, 1993). Image originally appeared in Douglas Gordon: Kidnapping by Douglas Gordon, Jan Debbaut & Francis McKee (eds), Marente Bloemheuvel (Eindhoven: Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, 1998), and appears here courtesy of © Studio lost but found / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2015.
Figure 4.2: Above All Else (Douglas Gordon, 1991). Image originally appeared in Douglas Gordon by Katrina M. Brown (London: Tate Publishing, 2004) and appears here courtesy of © Studio lost but found / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2015.
Figure 4.3: Film Noirs (Douglas Gordon, 1995). Image originally appeared in Douglas Gordon: Kidnapping by Douglas Gordon, Jan Debbaut & Francis McKee (eds), Marente Bloemheuvel (Eindhoven: Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, 1998), and appears here courtesy of © Studio lost but found / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2015. ← viii | ix →
Figure 4.4: Dead Line in Space (Douglas Gordon, 1997). Image originally appeared in Douglas Gordon: Kidnapping by Douglas Gordon, Jan Debbaut & Francis McKee (eds), Marente Bloemheuvel (Eindhoven: Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, 1998), and appears here courtesy of © Studio lost but found / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2015.
Figure 4.5: Confessions of a Justified Sinner (Douglas Gordon, 1995–1996). Image originally appeared in Douglas Gordon: Kidnapping by Douglas Gordon, Jan Debbaut & Francis McKee (eds), Marente Bloemheuvel (Eindhoven: Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, 1998), and appears here courtesy of © Studio lost but found / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2015.
CHAPTER 5. Participatory Remaking: Pierre Huyghe’s Remake
Figure 5.1: Rear Window / Remake: Jeff, Lisa and Stella and their Stand-ins (Alfred Hitchcock, 1954 / Pierre Huyghe, 1994–1999, film betacam SP, colour, sound, 100 minutes) © Pierre Huyghe and Marian Goodman Gallery.
Figure 5.2: Rear Window / Remake: Jeff and Lisa and their Stand-ins # 1 (Alfred Hitchcock, 1954 / Pierre Huyghe, 1994–1999, film betacam SP, colour, sound, 100 minutes) © Pierre Huyghe and Marian Goodman Gallery.
Figure 5.3: Rear Window / Remake: Jeff and Lisa and their Stand-ins #2 (Alfred Hitchcock, 1954 / Pierre Huyghe, 1994–1999, film betacam SP, colour, sound, 100 minutes) © Pierre Huyghe and Marian Goodman Gallery. ← ix | x →
CHAPTER 6. Screening Memory: Atom Egoyan’s Evidence / Felicia’s Journey
Figure 6.1: Evidence (Atom Egoyan, 1999) appears here courtesy of the artist and his studio © Ego Film Arts.
Figure 6.2: Evidence (Atom Egoyan, 1999) appears here courtesy of the artist and his studio © Ego Film Arts.
Figure 6.3: Felicia’s Journey (Atom Egoyan, 1999).
Figure 6.4: Felicia’s Journey (Atom Egoyan, 1999).
Figure 6.5: Frenzy – Guilty (Camera) Movements (Alfred Hitchcock, 1972).
Figure 6.6: Frenzy – The Noise of the Marketplace (Alfred Hitchcock, 1972).
I would like to extend a massive thanks to Matthias Müller, Christoph Girardet, Johan Grimonprez, Douglas Gordon, Pierre Huyghe and Atom Egoyan for granting permission for images and stills from their work to be used in this publication. I would also like to express further gratitude to Professor Roy Grundmann (Boston University), Sabine Groenewegen at Zapomatik, Marijike Haupt at VG Bild-Kunst, Martina Aschbacher and Frederick Pedersen at Lost But Found, Margo van de Wiel at the collection department of the Stedelijk Van Abbesmuseum, Catherine Belloy and Yun Sung Hong of the Marian Goodman Gallery, Mike Shilliam at Icon Film Distribition, Akshay Mehta at Exclusive Media and Marcy Gerstein at Ego Film Arts for facilitating my correspondence with the artists in the procurement of permissions. I am also hugely indebted to Laurel Plapp for guiding me through the publication process, ab ovo usque ad mala. I would also like to acknowledge the contribution of Jasmin Allousch for tending to the many publicity duties associated with the manuscript. ← xi | xii →
Introduction: ‘Paradigm Cases’
This study explores how contemporary visual artists have consistently revisited Hitchcock’s work to examine the links between fine art and cinema that have been the subject of intense experimentation in the gallery space since the nineteen nineties. It shows that Hitchcock’s œuvre reflects the vibrancy and creativity of cross-discipline practices in the wider arts by closely analysing the role that his cinema has come to play in contemporary art’s exploration of collective memory, cinema history and individual interpretation of these phenomena. It also shows that the combinations of fantasy and reality that Hitchcock weaves in his films are particularly useful for understanding the cinematic imaginary that has so often been the basis for new media and digital artworks. Hitchcock’s legacy of thrillers, which often point to the certainty of death and the uncertainty of life, provides a framework for understanding the richness of the cinema century that has passed and the possible implications it has for the emerging one. Hitchcock’s insistence on collaboration, motif circulation and experimentation across a great number of films has also attracted the attention of artists and enforced the notion that moving or projected image artwork provides a viable area for artistic activity. Hitchcock’s tendency to make mainstream films with a modernist self-reflexivity has divided critical responses to his work over the years, fostering new interpretations and confounding definitive analysis. The criticality of the Hitchcockian paradigm reflects the spirit of new media art in general that has lead to the dissolution of binaries that once separated art such as high/low and avant-garde/mainstream. Hitchcock’s films have therefore taken on a metaphysical status, representing the transgression of temporal, spatial, historical and artisanal limitations. The study demonstrates these aspects of Hitchcock’s films in five case studies based on forging links between Hitchcock’s practice as a filmmaker and various practices of a number of key artists within contemporary screen-based art. ← 1 | 2 →
The first case study examines how Matthias Müller and Christoph Girardet’s Phoenix Tapes fragments Hitchcock’s film images only to recombine them within an experimental context that serves to theatricalise the gallery space by undercutting dominant beliefs about human existence and social propriety. The case study also discusses how Müller and Girardet’s extensive reconfiguration of Hitchcock’s catalogue of films is useful for mounting a challenge towards accepted cultural notions such as cinematic voyeurism and the authority of patriarchal society. This chapter analyses the effectiveness of Hitchcock’s films for use within the found footage strategy of filmmaking to discover how passing time has revealed abstract concepts at the centre of the Hitchcock film such as death and the impossibility of memory. The chapter examines Müller and Girardet’s rearrangement of Hitchcock’s images and suggests the possibility of vicarious authorship and that the cinema of Hitchcock is an effective form of readymade screen-based art.
The third chapter examines the function of Hitchcock’s persona within Johan Grimonprez’s Double Take and contends that Hitchcock himself becomes an interesting figure for understanding the notion of obsolescence and the struggle for influence within the mass media. The chapter suggests how the personality of Hitchcock and the allusions to his status as master of suspense are helpful to Grimonprez for providing cultural resistance to the consuming ideals and ideologies at work within capitalism. The use of the Hitchcock figure in Grimonprez’s work draws attention to forms of mediation, and particularly the spectacularisation of fear within cultural production. This case study considers how Grimonprez uses footage from Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Hitchcock’s other television appearances to analyse the mechanics of image circulation since the arrival of television, and examines the obvious significance of Hitchcock’s battle with television as a metaphor for the challenges facing the contemporary artist. More importantly, it examines how appropriation of the Hitchcock brand allows Grimonprez to spin new artistic contexts out of cultural history. It finds Hitchcock and his associated iconography in Double Take to be the tissue that connects several of Grimonprez’s essay-films through notions of terrorism as a media spectacle, and also the means by which Grimonprez expands on collectively shared ideas in his gallery installations. ← 2 | 3 →
The fourth chapter in the study examines how Hitchcock’s Psycho features within a collection of gallery installations by Douglas Gordon. While establishing several key themes in Gordon’s work such as morality, death, traumatic memory and anxiety, the chapter explains how 24 Hour Psycho develops these ideas further by creating ambivalent modes of projection through stop/slow motion and the doubling of the image. The chapter analyses Psycho’s power to reflect the spectator’s gaze under these conditions, suggesting that the aesthetics of video and the end of classical cinema that Psycho symbolises function within 24 Hour Psycho to give the impression of surveillance and therefore an interminable state of suspense within a time-based context. The remainder of the chapter expands on the significance of slowing and doubling within Gordon’s œuvre to explore wider notions of suspense in relation to time-based change, identity and the different experiences of reality caused by madness and schizophrenia.
The fifth chapter further explores Hitchcock’s films as a critical paradigm within the visual arts, by considering how Pierre Huyghe challenges the spectator’s cultural expectations of the Hitchcock remake in his gallery film Remake. At this point, the study focuses on the spatialising routines that Hitchcock uses in Rear Window and his command of the spectator’s gaze gained through the use of the Kuleshov effect, before explaining how these formal strategies are subordinated to Huyghe’s overall aim of critical participation that he calls ‘celebration’. This chapter finds that Hitchcock’s fame as a filmmaker, at its height when Rear Window was released, contributes to a sense of collective familiarity with his films from this point onwards. It also analyses the function of this iconicity in Huyghe’s Remake, exploring a number of critical perspectives that illustrate how Jeff’s immobilisation – and the ensuing dramatic fantasy he witnesses – offers an allegory for cinematic spectatorship generally, before explaining how Huyghe’s film deviates from these critical perspectives using amateur actors to create an emotional distance between the spectator and the film they think they remember. While explaining the context of the film in relation to Hitchcock’s film, the chapter scrutinises Remake within the broader contexts of remaking, expansion and participation that pervade Huyghe’s other work. ← 3 | 4 →
The final case study explains the presence of Atom Egoyan’s installation, Evidence, within both the context of the exhibition Notorious: Alfred Hitchcock and Contemporary Visual Art and Egoyan’s feature film Felicia’s Journey. By treating Felicia’s Journey as a framing device for Evidence, the case study explores how Egoyan uses each text to test the limits of representation. The chapter explains Evidence/Felicia’s Journey in relation to Hitchcock’s films and how they relate to Egoyan’s other films and installations that contend with the mediating effects of technology, the impact of the exilic experience on individual identity and the troublesome and traumatic effects of memory. It examines Egoyan’s ironic use of the Hitchcockian thriller and the persona of Hitchcock in the character Joseph Hilditch as a postmodern perspective on contemporary culture while exploring the prospect of the unreliable narrator in Felicia’s Journey and how this abstracts the spectator’s overall interpretation of Evidence.
- XII, 318
- ISBN (PDF)
- ISBN (ePUB)
- ISBN (MOBI)
- ISBN (Softcover)
- Publication date
- 2015 (November)
- Alfred Hitchcock classical cinema mystery suspense art gallery Matthias Müller and Christoph Girardet Douglas Gordon Atom Egoyan artist-filmmakers Johan Grimonprez Pierre Huyghe
- Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2015. XII, 318 pp., 14 coloured ill., 11 b/w ill.