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The Paradigm Case

The Cinema of Hitchcock and the Contemporary Visual Arts

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Bernard McCarron

With the migration of cinema into the art gallery, artists have been turning, with remarkable regularity and ingenuity, to Alfred Hitchcock-related images, sequences and iconography. The world of Hitchcock’s cinema – a classical cinema of formal unities and narrative coherence – represents more than the spectre of a supposedly dead art form: it transcends its own filmic and institutional contexts, becoming an important audio-visual lexicon of desire, loss, mystery and suspense.
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.
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Exhibitions

Extract



Group Exhibitions

Cinéma Cinéma: The Cinematic Experience in Contemporary Art, Stedelijk Van Abbesmuseum, Eindhoven, 13 February – 24 May 1999.

The Cinema Effect: Illusion, Reality and the Moving Image, The Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. ‘Part 1: Dreams’, curated by Kerry Brougher & Kelly Gordon, February 14 – May 11, 2008; ‘Part 2: Realisms’, curated by Anne Ellegood & Kristen Hileman, 19 June– 7 September 2008.

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