Philippe Parreno has talked about his new video installation, now on display at the Fondation Beyeler in Basel, Switzerland.
“Why did you choose to make a film about Marilyn?
Philippe Parreno: It started with a little book that a friend sent me of fragments from her notebooks—and what I liked was her handwriting.
So you were attracted by her words and her writing, and not her face or her image.
The book was published because this year people are celebrating her death, and in my work I am interested in celebration. I was interested in the idea of celebrating a dead person, of trying to portray a ghost. Why are ghosts interesting? Because they are unfinished, heterogenous. Marilyn Monroe represents the first time that the unconscious killed the person—her image killed her. So we had to use an image to bring her back. The film is the portrait of a phantom incarnated in an image. Or, to use a neologism, an attempt to produce a “carnated” image.
The film is almost the opposite of your Zidane film, in which one person is scrutinised for 90 minutes. Marilyn is shot from her point of view, but you never see her: you see her writing and hear her voice, but these are generated by machines.
Yes, there is an uncanniness to the whole mise-en-scène…the camera becomes her eyes looking around the room.
Your fictitious evocation of Marilyn’s room at the Waldorf Astoria is also very cinematic.
The idea of cinema as exhibition is another aspect. The room at the Astoria that I have recreated is basically an exhibition space, so when you enter the room at the Beyeler, you will have the feeling that you are entering two exhibition spaces, one containing the other.”
The artist Philippe Pareno – best known for his 2006 video, Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait – has recreated a new work about Marilyn, inspired by the book Fragments, and to be unveiled in Switzerland this summer, reports The Art Newspaper:
“The ghost of the American icon Marilyn Monroe haunts a new video by the artist Philippe Parreno, which is due to be shown at the Fondation Beyeler in Basel this summer (10 June-30 September). In the work, we see the world through Monroe’s eyes as she looks around her Waldorf Astoria hotel suite and sits at her desk to write. Parreno has recreated the room in detail, down to the wallpaper.”