Pierre Bismuth / Nicolas Firket
The Grass Is Always Greener On The Other Side – New Vindobona is the title given by the artist Pierre Bismuth to the site-specific sculpture that he has developed in collaboration with the architect Nicolas Firket for Kunsthalle Wien Karlsplatz. This 5 x 10 m sculpture, reminiscent of a construction site sign, continues the calculated collision between fiction and reality that is often applied in Bismuth’s work. Taking real artefacts in the media, politics and entertainment as his point of departure, he develops surreal sequences of images, film works and installations that can be read as a direct commentary on modern society and that define the question of the political in art as an issue of appropriate representation.
Bismuth’s main approach is often that of a collage or a superimposition of logics of meaning, the fault lines and incompatibility of which usually first strike one at a second viewing. Here, the motif of the calculated misunderstanding or the deceptive first impression not only highlights the way that interpretative processes generate their own creative input, but also maps out the pattern of existing possibilities of thought.
The public-space sculpture is accompanied by a series of discursive events on the theme of urban development and urban branding.
Pierre Bismuth lives and works in Brussels and London. He is a visual artist, screenplay author and cameraman. Bismuth studied at the École nationale supérieure des arts décoratifs de Paris (ENSAD). He works in a highly diverse range of media – often with a reflexive view on how they function and their specific ways of creating meaning.
As a painter he has created picture series with titles such as From Red to Nothing and From Green to Something Else, Something Less, Something More (2002 to 2006) and Replaced by the Same (2003). Some of this paintings are exhibited in the Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean in Luxembourg.
One work of significance for Bismuth’s interest in the productivity of translation processes, especially when they go wrong, is his video/graphic installation The Jungle Book Project (2002), in which he has each character in the famous Disney cartoon film (1967) speak in a different language.
In addition Pierre Bismuth, in collaboration with Michel Gondry and Charlie Kaufman, wrote the screenplay for the feature film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and was awarded the Oscar for the best original screenplay in 2005.
NFA (Nicolas Firket Architects) is a Brussels-based agency that focuses on Architecture and Urbanism as cultural disciplines of fundamentally prospective natures. NFA investigates the organisation of space in aiming at unprecedented yet evident formal synthesis, with built reality as manifesto. Established in 2006, the office’s long term aspiration lays in the valorisation of a Brussels-based European identity committed to international collaborations, such as with Rem Koolhaas, Michel Desvigne, l’AUC, …
In an era of mediated architecture, NFA aims to restore the act of construction as medium. After 7 years of existence and numerous projects, this decade sees the achievement of its efforts at several scales, with amongst others Villa ARRA (2010), House in La Hulpe (2010), and Jakup House, currently under construction.
Over the same period of 4 years, NFA has also been involved in most of the recent Urban projects in Brussels. In 2009, “A New Skyline for Brussels” (700.000m2) aimed at a symbolic, citizen and sustainable re-gathering of the EU commission’s compounds in the EU district’s Rue de la Loi. In 2010, the competition for the Heysel plateau (950.000m2) was the opportunity to propose a vision for the former EXPO 58 park, to redevelop as Brussels’ new pole of activities. Later in 2012, NFA is invited to propose a scheme for the redevelopment of Charleroi’s west district. 2013 marks the winning of the international contest for the Midi District Masterplan in association with l’AUC Paris and Bureau Bas Smets, a redevelopment of the international station area in the centre of Brussels.
Nicolas Firket, is appointed curator of the first Belgian Architecture Week, Brussels, 2013.
Besides Pierre Bismuth’s artistic intervention on Karlsplatz, artists Ron Terada and Ken Lum developed site specific billboards playing with the subtexts of advertising campaigns and construction signs.