Froebel Suite, Aurélien Froment's first solo exhibition in a UK public space, continues the artist's ongoing reflection on the function and semantic power of images.
Having previously worked as a projectionist, Aurélien Froment remains interested in cinematography and in how the production of knowledge varies according to the way images are sequenced. This is evident in works like Instruction manual for a 35mm projector (2007) and Théâtre de Poche (Pocket Theatre) (2007).
Instruction manual for a 35mm projector is a series of photographs documenting the gestures and actions required to operate the projector. The work shows the artist's interest in the process of assembling images and how these become steps within a process of self-learning. In the film Théâtre de Poche (Pocket Theatre), a magician produces images from his pockets which he places in front of the camera to reveal a sequence. He then shuffles them before rearranging them to propose new visual combinations. By introducing this element of illusion, the film adds a layer of doubt to the question of visual communication and its authority.
At Gasworks, Froment presents new works that turn images and objects into the subjects of scrutiny. In these works, a brick, a maritime knot and the image of the boat on the hill taken from Werner Herzog's film Fitzcarraldo (1982) are presented out of their own contexts and dissected in a series of sequential photographs or, as it is the case with the latter work, through a conversation between the artist and Herzog.
Another piece within the installation is Cinemeccanica, a free-standing wall with a glass window from which one can see the gallery from the perspective of a projectionist. This piece gives the exhibition a new reading and highlights each works' function within a wider narrative.
These works illustrate the idea of “education through self-activity”, championed by the German 19th century educationalist Friedrich Froebel, best known for developing the kindergarten model. Froebel, who lends his name to the title of the exhibition, believed that the acquisition of knowledge is achieved through a series of steps, each requiring a level of interaction. It is this process of active learning that gives viewers of the exhibition the opportunity to create different narratives and forms of engagement with the surrounding space.
A further element of the exhibition is Like the cow jumped over the moon, a booklet edited by Aurélien Froment, designed by Åbäke and co-published by Gasworks and Dent-De-Leone. Based on an interview between Aurélien Froment and Werner Herzog, the publication focuses on the image of the ship on the hill, which symbolises Fitzcarraldo's plot and the myth that has surrounded the film and its production. The booklet is available for sale at £3 in the gallery.
Froment lives and works in Dublin. Recent solo exhibitions include: La ligne dure, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2008); Calling the Elephant, Project Arts Centre, Dublin (2007); A Hole in the Life, Store, London (2006). Recent group exhibitions include: The Way in which it Landed, Tate Britain, London (2008); Word Event, Kunsthalle Basel (2008); P2P, Casino Luxembourg, (2008); The Great Transformation, Frankfurter Kunstverein, (2008). Aurélien Froment is represented by Motive Gallery, Amsterdam and Store, London.
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