Johan Grimonprez. Blue Orchids

27 Jan 2017 – 11 Mar 2017

Regular hours

11:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00

Sean Kelly Gallery

New York
New York, United States


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Sean Kelly is delighted to present Blue Orchids (2017), a new film directed by artist Johan Grimonprez.


This will be the first presentation of Blue Orchids in the US and will be Grimonprez’s first exhibition of new work at the gallery since 2009. The opening reception will take place on Thursday, January 26 from 6-8 pm. The artist will be present.

“We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office” – Aesop

In Blue Orchids, Grimonprez creates a portrait diptych of two experts on opposite sides of the same issue––the global arms trade. The stories of Chris Hedges, the former war correspondent of The New York Times, and Riccardo Privitera, a former arms and equipment dealer of Talisman Europe Ltd (now dissolved), provide an unusual and disturbing context for shocking revelations about the industry of war. In the process of interviewing individuals for Grimonprez’s recently released feature length film, Shadow World, it became clear that these two men were describing the same anguish but from paradoxical perspectives. One has dedicated his life to unmasking lies and the other has built his life on lies. Making use of both their personal and political histories, Grimonprez gradually reveals the depths of trauma and duplicity, situating the arms trade as a symptom of a profound illness: greed.

Grimonprez's work is included in numerous international collections such as the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France; the Kanazawa Art Museum, Japan; the National Gallery, Berlin, Germany; and the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark. His curatorial projects have been hosted at major museums worldwide such as the Whitney Museum in New York; The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in California; The Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich, Germany; and the Tate Modern in London, England. Grimonprez achieved international acclaim with his film essay dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y at Documenta X in Kassel, Germany, in 1997, which eerily foreshadowed the tragic events of September 11th in New York. His films have been included in prestigious film festivals around the globe, including New York, Edinburgh, Telluride, Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo and Berlin. In 2016, Grimonprez’s film Shadow World won Best Documentary Feature Film at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland and at the 61st International Film Festival of Valladolid, Spain. Grimonprez divides his time between Belgium and New York and is a faculty member at the School of Visual Arts (New York).

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Exhibiting artists

Johan Grimonprez


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