Tag Archives: 2012

Parreno’s Marilyn in Melbourne

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Multimedia artist Philippe Parreno’s 2012 video installation, Marilyn – based on her own writings as collected in the 2010 book, Fragments, and originally exhibited in Switzerland –  is featured in a new retrospective of his work in film, Philippe Parreno: Thenabouts, on display at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) in Melbourne until March 13, as Christopher Allen reports for The Australian.

“The most successful and memorable work in the exhibition was devoted to Marilyn Monroe, a figure who for half a century has been a kind of cultural palimpsest: the original actress, talented, intelligent, tragic, is overlaid with ­Warhol’s adoption of her as emblematic of the way that the modern mass media turns celebrities into two-dimensional patterns akin to brands or logos.

Parreno has recreated the hotel room at the Waldorf Astoria that Monroe occupied in New York in 1955. The camera pans around the room while the actress’s voice describes its design and furnishings: wall coverings, sofas, desks, coffee-table, ornaments. And then the camera switches to a close shot of a fountain pen writing on hotel stationery: we seem to be watching Monroe’s own pen forming her own words in her own handwriting.

But the voice is disembodied and we do not see the hand holding the pen, for all is done through computerised robotic movements. The speech is synthesised from recordings of the star’s voice, and the handwriting robot has been programmed to reproduce samples of her script. As both voice and handwriting routines are repeated, we realise that something mechanical is going on, and this is confirmed as gradually the camera takes a longer view, progressively revealing parts of the illusion.

First we see bits of scaffolding, then gradually we are shown the mechanism holding and moving the pen. And then the camera pans out to reveal that the whole room had really been a set built in a studio. Marilyn Monroe, as it turned out, had not only been reduced to a brand in her own day, but could now be synthetically reproduced, mechanically cloned as it were; a reflection, perhaps, on the further reduction of the actor, in the mass media world, to a consumer product.

The ending was interesting from another point of view too, because it was almost cliched in its use of the trope of illusion revealed. But it was also significant in being one of the few clear endings in a body of films mostly with little sense of starting or finishing.

Watching Parreno’s lengthy and not always gripping body of work, I couldn’t help reflecting that Aristotle was on to something with his conception of plot as the basic structuring device for stories.

At least the Marilyn Monroe film conformed perfectly to his definition of an ending: an action that implies something before it but nothing after it.”

‘Precognition’: Pareno’s Marilyn in Paris

Philippe Parreno - Marilyn

Artist Philippe Pareno‘s 2012 video installation,, set in Marilyn’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel suite is now on display as part of an exhibition, ‘Anywhere, Anywhere Out of the World’, at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, reports The Guardian‘s Adrian Searle:

“Why the tears? My own moment came when watching Parreno’s 2012 film Marilyn. Monroe’s voice, recreated by computer, takes us on a tour of the hotel suite where she lived in the late 1950s. What Marilyn sees, the camera sees. We watch through her eyes. Sunlight falls into the room. Rain beats at the window. Sometimes the camera swerves along with Marilyn’s frantic glances, her growing sense of hysteria and entrapment. Her eyes snag on the corners of things, the light glancing cruelly on polished surfaces. The studied normality of the room becomes a prison. The cushions, too perfectly arranged at either end of a sofa, look like a dumb rebuke. Her solitude seems terrible. The telephone rings but goes unanswered.

Towards the end, the camera retreats from the window, gliding between the occasional tables, the slipper chairs, the lilies in the vase. The camera’s tracks appear, then some bulky electronic equipment, as we back off, revealing the room as a movie set with no one in it. As the film ends, lights go up on the other side of the screen where the film has been projected, to reveal a huge snowdrift beyond. The temperature plummets. The sound of the rain we heard in the film is unabated.

This moment is somehow intensely moving. We are in a set too, just as Marilyn was. What is this subterranean drift of real snow in the Palais de Tokyo’s basement? Ice in the soul? Death? Are we in Marilyn’s mind or is she in ours? I begin to notice other piles of snow around the auditorium, like the shovelled-up slush you see on winter New York sidewalks.

When you buy a ticket for the show you get given a DVD of Marilyn. It can only be played once, because the dvd erases itself as you watch it, leaving you with a memory of something seen that can’t be recaptured. The DVD is called Precognition.”

Calendars and Diaries For 2012

 Graphique De France wall calendar

Graphique de France mini calendar

Brown Trout/Faces wall calendar

Brown Trout/Faces mini calendar

Sam Shaw calendar

Dream wall calendar (with fridge magnet)

TeNeues wall calendar (incl. photoshopped artwork)

TeNeues/Heiner Meyer Glamour wall calendar (incl. 3 images of Marilyn)

TeNeues Deluxe Diary (incl. 18 images)

Culturenik Journal (undated)

TeNeues/Heiner Meyer Glamour Diary 2012 (MM cover only)