Palazzo Strozzi

Sea Force One, 2009
Video 5'09''
Courtesy Galerie Kunstagenten, Berlin


Sea Force One, 2009
Video 5'09''
Courtesy Galerie Kunstagenten, Berlin


Christoph Brech
Installation view, Centro di Cultura Contemporanea Strozzina, Firenze
Photo: Valentina Muscedra

In Sea Force One, the artist focuses on a single, short and apparently insignificant episode: two men aboard a small boat are cleaning the black hull of a big yacht. The traces left by the foam of their soap and the waves of the sea reflecting on the black surface engender a sort of abstract pictorial composition, which comes and goes in the continuous loop of the video. The background soundtrack is Johann Sebastian Bach's Prelude in D Minor.
Brech filmed this episode in the Venice lagoon in one of the opening days of the 2009 Biennale. The yacht was anchored outside the new Punta della Dogana museum on the day of its inauguration, when only selected guests and VIPs had been invited, protected and concealed by an impenetrable security service. The large boat is a luxury yacht named after the American presidential plane Air Force One, created by the mysterious ship-owner Captain Magic. As seen from outside, this 54 metre-long Admiral is an impeccable black vessel with a powerful contour; yet inside, its rooms are halfway between an extravagant nightclub and an art gallery, featuring works by artists such as Kiki Smith and Fabrizio Plessi.
We do not know who was on board the yacht - possibly François Pinault himself, the famous French luxury goods entrepreneur and primary investor in the new Venetian exhibition area. Brech has turned his camera on a moment that would otherwise have gone unnoticed, deliberately choosing not to record the sumptuous affirmation of wealth of the yacht. It is the contrast between the size of the latter and that of the small boat, or between the black hull of the yacht and the evanescent white of the soap and of the reflections upon the water, that brings out the greatness of the vessel, the actual size of which we do not grasp. The artist succeeds in moving beyond the façade of power and wealth by stopping at its surface. He seems to be suggesting that the strategy for the construction of an image of power may lie in its antirepresentation: i.e., the "myth" of power is created by veiling or concealing the identity of those who hold it.

CHRISTOPH BRECH (Germany, 1964)
Sea Force One, 2009

The starting point of Christoph Brech's works is the observation of everyday situations or events, such as the movement of a curtain, a flock of birds, or the passing of a ship. What he offers is a reflection upon our way of perceiving aspects of everyday life by creating videos in which objects, light and sounds are combined to create poetic images in slowed viewing time.


Sea Force One, 2009
Video 5'09''
Courtesy Galerie Kunstagenten, Berlin

 
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