Les Avatars de Vénus
A Film by Jean-Jacques Lebel
Thu, May 08, 2008 7 pm CEST, Film Screening
The Venus of all epochs, all civilizations, and all categories in one film. Artist Jean-Jacques Lebel examines the art history of this mythological figure in his film “Les Avatars de Vénus”. They run by the viewer in a nearly 45-minute film. The one is dissolved into the other, the borders blur, and what remains memorable is a single, constantly changing goddess. This medial Venus is made possible by the technique of morphing, which many may already have seen in Michael Jackson’s video Black or White. Lebel’s interest in the figure of Venus stems from his work as a sculptor for the installation “Reliquaire pour un culte de Vénus,” which he has revisited again and again for the last ten years. It meanwhile consists of over 2,000 single parts: painting, collages, photographs, and texts. The project to be shown at ZKM arose from his continuing work on the Venus cult. In it, the art history, or the history of the gaze on the goddess, is showcased in various epochs and social contexts. Her avatars, as Lebel calls the various duplicates of Venus, continue to reproduce themselves; sometimes taking on unexpected forms. One nevertheless recognizes, at the same time, a constant recurrence of motifs. Summarized in twelve parts, the film shows which archetypes have emerged in the course of history, above and beyond the cultural and temporal borders. Jean-Jaques Lebel will present the film personally at ZKM.

Jean-Jacques Lebel

born 1936 in Paris; lives and works mainly in Paris. The artist and political activist was chief editor as early as 1955 for the Florence-based art, politics, and poetry magazine Front Unique. In 1960, he staged the first Happening in Europe with "L'Enterrement de la Chose" and published one of the first French essays on the genre of Happenings. He personally continues to create Happenings, performances, and actions on all continents and simultaneously remains active in the visual arts, as a poet, and politically.
In addition to his artistic work, in 1960 and 1961 he organized the international demonstration and group show "L'Anti-Procès" in opposition to the Algerian war and torture. In 1964 he was the creative mind behind the "Festival de la Libre Expression" and in 1979 the "Festival International POLYPHONIX," both of which involved discussions by poets, filmmakers, and musicians from widely diverse countries.
Jean-Jacques Lebel has worked together with, among others, Claes Oldenburg, Allan Kaprow, Tetsumi Kudo, Erró, Carolee Schneemann, Yoko Ono, Daniel Pommereulle, Nam June Paik, and Robert Filliou.
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