Vincent Grenier
<< Previous Next >>
Photo is full size.
HomeFilms / Videos / Installations Film & Video DistributionShort Bio •  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VIDEO

ARMOIRE / PROLOGUE
(Prologue to ARMOIRE IN 4 PARTS)

Video (Orig Mini DV) 3:00 min. stereo, 2007

The aviary in the mirror, in-flight hide-and-seek, mischief on the wing. - Rotterdam Film Festival

It was all started by a Red Robin who one day in the spring, obsessively went after his double in the large mirror at the end of our garden. Just having fun with the surrounding consequences regarding storage, openings, motion and nature among others. (VG)

"The secret might have been the unassuming wonder of Vincent Grenier’s Armoire, a film in which a small bird expands the edges of the frame by hopping and fluttering about. As the frame responds to his light, unpredictable movements, it is at times rushing sideways or holding still, shrinking and stretched in every imaginable permutation. And yet the frame doesn’t always manage to capture or contain the bird, who in the end darts out of sight. It is as if he is the true filmmaker, directing the scene and, with his own star exit, deciding when to cut." -- Genevieve Yue in SENSES OF CINEMA, Observation in Progress, Views from the Avant Garde, 45th New York Film Festival.

" Perhaps gentler at first glance but possibly harboring a wicked passive-aggressive streak, the recent video works by Vincent Grenier have consistently been highlights of the Views line-up, and this year was no exception. Grenier has been making witty, elegant experimental films and videos for over 30 years, and his approach has always been defined by its eclecticism. His earlier film works partake of the orthodoxies of experimental film history but refuse to be defined by it." ...

"Reminiscent of Scott Stark's video SLOW from 2001, Grenier's piece is less complicated, more straightforward, resulting not in ambiguous space but in a confounding metonymy of images, splashing us with a puddle then driving on. This year's Grenier video, Armoire, is one of his briefest (three minutes), and its humor is so deadpan I actually didn't immediately recognize it as such - a true "way homer." In it, Grenier has "trapped" a bird in a reflection on the water and essentially chases it around the screen with increasingly narrow frames-within-frames, pinning it down, making it sing for the artist's own supper. Its sense of eventual claustrophobia recalls the glass box sculptures of Joseph Cornell, tight spaces where imaginary living things went to gain immobility / immortality. But here, we're so used to equating the very image of a bird in a tree with absolute freedom that Grenier's comic aggression is a slow-burn, provoking a tense grimace of discomfort by minute three, and a chuckling nod of assent by the second viewing. Even those of us fiercely devoted to the field of experimental cinema know all too well that it can be rather humor-impaired. No surprise, then, that a stealth anarchist like Grenier is like a breath of fresh air." -- Michael Sicinski, Green Cine Daily, NYFF Views 3 Also see more below, from Sicinski 's Academic Hack web site.

Curated screenings:
• New York Film Festival, Views From the Avant-Garde, Oct 2007
• 37th International Film Festival Rotterdam, "Films That Can't Be Told", January 2008
• Media City 14 / Art City, Windsor, On. Canada, March 2008
• San Francisco International Film Festival April 27, Cinema Kabuki & April 29, PFA, 2008;
• 20 th Onion City Experimental Film & Video Festival, Chicago Filmmakers, June 2008, Chicago Il.
• 12TH JIHLAVA International Documentary Film Festival. Prague,Czech Republic, Oct 10 2008
• 27th Festival Int du Films sur l"Art (FIFA), Cinématheque Québecoise, Salle Claude Jutras, Montréal, March 21, 2009
• Séquence Centre d'Art Contemporain, Chicoutimi, QC, Fréquences, Window screen continuous projection starting after dark until midnight every evenings, Curated by Nicole Gingras, Sept 22 to Sept 25, 2009

Distributed by VG & CFMDC
Available on DVD, and Betacam SP


Armoire (Vincent Grenier) [v/s]
Grenier's latest video is a modest, delicate work which paradoxically is about the imposition of sturdiness on fleeting, transitory images. In its brief three minutes, Armoire invites us to gaze as a bird perched on a barren winter branch, its negative space ambiguously anchored by a shimmering pool of water. It's unclear whether we're watching a reflection, or looking directly at an event whose spatial parameters are uncertain. But the flicker of organic motion is one component of Grenier's dialectic. The image is contained within a series of moving rectangular frames which cut the image out as a thin slice, surrounded by a field of blackened video-void. At first it seems as though this mobile letterboxing (which actually tends to be more vertical than horizontal -- "windowboxing"?) is a somewhat random graphic intervention, setting the bird's twitchiness against the smooth, regular flotation of the inner frames of reference. But actually the motion of these frames is largely dictated by that of the bird. When it flies or jerks up, the rectangle drifts or expands upward. When its movement butts up against a corner, the frame readjusts. So, what Grenier has done is to provide a subtle motion study; the bird's activity is contained visually by the boundaries of the image, but kinetically these framings are at the mercy of the unwitting subject. The title, then, calls to mind the wood and glass shadowboxes and display case sculptures of Joseph Cornell, an artist who took the random, free-floating detritus of the world (often printed images of birds, actually -- discarded rubbish on the wind that mocked the dream of true flight) and ceased its motion, embalmed it in time. Grenier, on the other hand, alludes to this arrestation of time while at the same time insisting that the natural world, with its unpredictability, will always undermine attempts at containment. By the end of its three minutes, Armoire's small, sketchlike quality belies the fact that the film poses vital questions about our relationship to time, and the image as a space between life and a sort of death. The weight of the thing sneaks up on you. -- MIchael Sicinski 2007 New York Film Festival 's VIEWS FROM THE AVANT-GARDE "sidebar", The Academic Hack 2007

 

 


 
 
This page was updated on 11/20/11