The Exhibition of a Film

Mathieu Copeland

Australian Premiere

Can a cinema screen host an exhibition?

That's the puzzle at the heart of this unorthodox work by London-based curator Mathieu Copeland. Calling on the talents of dozens of major artists who each possess a specific link to cinema, be they choreographers, performers, musicians, writers or visual artists, Copeland has pieced together an exhibition that can be screened.

More than a suite of short films or a structuralist epic, the many fragments of the film create a field in which the intrinsic logics of both film and exhibition begin to unravel. The result is a film in which sound and image go into battle with our basic ideas of art and its presentation, stretching the constraints of multiple forms to breaking point.

Artists were commissioned to make moving-image and surround-sound works that fit within the cinema environment. The result is a film in which audio-visual elements come together to challenge our ideas of art and its presentation.

Copeland worked closely with experimental theatre director and writer Tim Etchells (Forced Entertainment), who was engaged to oversee the ‘dramaturgy’ of the film. Audiences are invited to contemplate a sequence of film works and sound pieces that sometimes overlap.

Composer, artist and noise rock legend, Susan Stenger (Band of Susans) was commissioned to develop a soundtrack for the film, which frames and binds all of the individual contributions. Stenger produced a series of songs that explode into the cinema space, in collaboration with proto-punk front man Alan Vega (Suicide), master of indie power ballads Nick Cave, avant-garde mistress Cosey Fanni Tutti (ex Throbbing Gristle), folk singer Sam Gleaves and avant-pop songstress Lætitia Sadier (Stereolab).

Moving-image works include the witty behavioral experiments of Michael Portnoy, the haunting audio-visual operas of Meredith Monk, the socio-political constructs of Fia Backström, the highly disciplined choreographic gestures of Jonathan Burrows, the synesthetic textures of Alexandre Estrela, and the obliquely conceptual language-based art of Lawrence Weiner, along side many other innovative contemporary practitioners.

Artists: Mac Adams, Fia Backström, Robert Barry, Erica Baum, Stuart Brisley, Jonathan Burrows, Nick Cave, David Cunningham, Philippe Decrauzat, Peter Downsbrough, Maria Eichhorn, F.M. Einheit, Tim Etchells, Alexandre Estrela, John Giorno, Sam Gleaves, Kenneth Goldsmith, Myriam Gourfink, Karl Holmqvist, Marie-Caroline Hominal, Myriam Lefkowitz, Franck Leibovici, Benoît Maire, Charles De Meaux, Karen Mirza & Brad Butler, Ieva Miseviciuteė, Meredith Monk, Charlotte Moth, Phill Niblock, Deborah Pearson, Vanessa Place, Michael Portnoy, Lee Ranaldo, Lætitia Sadier, Laurent Schmid, Leah Singer, Mieko Shiomi, Susan Stenger, Sofia Diaz + Vítor Roriz, Kasper T. Toeplitz, Daniel Turner, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Alan Vega, and Lawrence Weiner. An exhibition by Mathieu Copeland. 

Curator Talk


Curator Mathieu Copeland in conversation with Kelli Alred.  


Mathieu Copland is a London-based curator whose work demonstrates an affinity with creative practitioners from across the fields of visual art, dance, music, film and writing. His projects have been presented at a range of international institutions including: Centre Pompidou (Paris), Tate Modern (London), Centre d’Art Contemporain (Geneva), Musee d’Art Contemporain (Lyon) and Jeu De Paume (Paris).

Kelli Alred is an independent curator currently based in Melbourne, whose practice focuses on the presentation of time-based, spatial and performative forms. She has delivered projects for a range of international institutions including: Tate Modern (London), Netherlands Media Arts Institute (Amsterdam), National Art Museum of China (Beijing), Arts Centre Melbourne (Melbourne) and Vrystaat Arts Festival (South Africa).

Presented with ACMI
Tim Etchells
Pascale Alibert
Original score enacted by
Nada Gambier
Wendy Houstoun
Jerry Killick
Lucy McCormick
Jennifer Pick
Sound Design
Philippe Ciompi
Director of Photography
Tom Wright

A Production Of the Head—Genève, with The Support Of The Fonds Stratégique De La Hes-So.

PHOTO | Lili, courtesy de Charles de Meaux, in The Exhibition of a Film, 2014.