May, 2011

Musee Toulouse Lautrec, Albi, France
Banque Populaire Occitane, MMA, SAFRA, S.A.M,Albi, MTL, Albi, France

Le Regard Clos, was a commissioned new video work and sculptural installation.  In addition brook & black  devised a series of five events curated to celebrate  La Nuit Européenne des Musées. a national, annual event to support audiences to visit historic collections and museums. 

A new video work, Le Regard Clos, considering Lautrec’s Self-Portrait (1882) was hung, framed, in the ‘Salon des Portraits’, and within the gallery nearby brook & black made a contemporary 'audio-zoetrope’ and sound work referencing Lautrec’s drawing; Woman Pulling Up her Stocking (1894). 

As part of a two year research period the artists were supported in visiting the Palais de la Berbie, Albi, home to the Lautrec collection, where they were able to look at drawings, lithographs and paintings.  Later they undertook a visit the Lautrec family Chateau Bosc in the Aveyron, France to talk to the last surviving family descendent living in the original Lautrec house, and then to Musee Montmartre, Paris to consider Lautrec’s adult life and times at the Folies Bergère  and in the surrounding streets and houses. 

During this time brook & black gathered sound and images that would inform the development of their work; a video collage acknowledging Lautrec, his life and their position as contemporary practitioners still questioning the implications of the male/female gaze.  brook & black  placed themselves in the work by singing period songs in a re-staging of Mademoiselle Dihau at the Piano (1890)  and in a ‘re-enactment’ of Woman Pulling Up her Stocking. In addition they worked with staff at the Alliance Francaise, Oxford, whose voices later became part of the sound work within the video.

This commission  formed part of  ‘La Nuit Européenne des Musées ’ in which over 2,000 people attended and took part in the work.  The engagement work is described here.


Acknowledgments: The artists thank Madame Daniele Devynck, Conservateur en Chef du Patrimoine et Directeur de L’Etablissement Public Musee Toulouse-Lautrec.  In addition, thanks go to the gang from Sheffield for  helping make the opening night such a success and to the ‘voices’ in the video, from the Alliance Francaise, Oxford..

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