Central to the work of French artist Pierre Bismuth (1963) are perception and how perception relates to our choices and commitments.

Memory and interpretations – and hence subjectivity – play a major role here. The compressed, mediated and channeled information we use in order to communicate is the basic material of Bismuths intricate installations. He compels the beholder to concentrate on the various components of a work simultaneously. He does so by, for instance, deliberately dissociating the installations image (video projection) and sound (headphones).

An example is Thinking about me watching them (1997), consisting of a video projection with soundtrack of a street scene with a bar. Through the window of the bar we see two people talking. Headphones enable us to overhear what they are saying, but at the same time block out the street noises. It is up to the visitor to mentally join image and sound.

Bismuth utilizes characteristics and structures of media like video, digital images and sound to activate the flow of thoughts and capture the spectators moment of consciousness. Whether we witness an apparently simple action in which the artist requires himself or someone else to make revelations about our verbal and non-verbal communication, or watch a series of projected digital photographs, the moment we realize that we are involved in simply ascertaining a primary events existence the work evokes our ability to take in and transform what we experienced.

—Supported by

AFAA – Association Française d’Action Artistique, Ministère des Affaires Etrangères, Paris.