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Video art plays with the senses

ODILE Burluraux, the woman responsible for the audiovisual collection at the Musee d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, brings to Shanghai "Entre-Temps - The Artist as a Narrator." The exhibition, currently running at Minsheng Art Museum, presents video works from 20 contemporary French artists that give an overall picture of French contemporary video art.

Burluraux is the curator of the prestigious museum in France which is reputed for its pioneer work in promoting video art and new trends in contemporary art. She has organized numerous monographic and collective exhibitions in Paris and abroad. Solo shows include exhibitions by famous artists such as Bernard Frize, Bertrand Lavier and Dan Flavin Annette Messager. She has also curated group exhibitions including the recent "Deadline," which received widespread praise.

Burluraux talks to Shanghai Daily about the Shanghai exhibit, visual artwork and contemporary art in China.

Q: What's your view of China's video art scene?

A: We are well informed by the various contacts we have and the art fairs we attend. Also we met with several galleries in Shanghai and other places in China send us documentation about artists. My opinion is like for any other country: it is always important to travel by yourself, to meet with people, to see the country situation in order to better understand the context.

Q: What initiated this large-scale video exhibit on loan from Musee d'Art Moderne de la ville de Paris to Shanghai?

A: This exhibition was first conceived for Brazil, then in Russia and now in China in Shanghai. We wanted to show how important each video is in the contemporary art scene.

Q: How many video artworks does the museum own? Starting from when?

A: The collection contains 120 video artworks, and the oldest purchase was made in the 1980s but mostly we started to buy at the end of the 1990s.

Q: What was the criteria for selecting 18 artists' works in this exhibition?

A: It is a selection of French artists or artists who live in France and who have mostly been working during the last 10 to 15 years. We want to highlight a generation of artists who have clearly been important over the past decades, including Douglas Gordon, Pierre Huyghe and Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster.

Q: Video art, as a new art form in China, may not be so easy for ordinary people to understand. Is it the same in France?

A: Video art is in a way familiar because television has become so common to watch at home or in any public space, and at the same time, probably people are not anymore so used to sitting down in front of a screen and taking time to concentrate and let oneself being taken in another context. Time and space are totally different in a video exhibition.

Q: Different from other art forms, what's the advantage of video art?

A: Video is very much playing on capturing people's attention. It plays with the images or the music or sound that attracts at first our senses once we enter the video space. It is a matter also of atmosphere.

Q: What kind of message do you want to send to local visitors?

A: Chinese visitors will have the opportunity to look at works that have been made understandable for them since everything is subtitled. The videos contain a lot of different aspects of contemporary creations such as the relationship between time and space.

Q: Is this your first trip to Shanghai? How do you feel about this city?

A: I was here last November to visit the museum. I think this city is very fascinating.


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