Cyprien Gaillard

b. 1980, France; lives and works in Berlin and Paris

At the 5th Ural Biennial Main Project Cyprien Gaillard presents a film Ocean II Ocean, 2019

Navigating through minimal aesthetics, a romantic sensibility, and an anarchic spirit, Cyprien Gaillard’s work examines the relationship between culture and nature, built environment and landscape, geographical sites and psychological states. He actively questions the foundations and the very viability of the notion of civilization.

Ocean II Ocean (2019) features footage shot in metro stations in Russia and other regions of the former Soviet Union, focusing on the fossilized organic matter imbedded in the marble walls and floors. Gaillard combines this footage with archival lm documentation of New York’s MTA subway cars being dumped in the ocean. The soundtrack of the film comes from a composition of shimmering steel drums, recycled from old oil barrels. The locations and historical context subtly hint at our fate — ideological and technological disintegration. The camera shifts from the prehistoric creatures preserved in the multicoloured marble: cephalopods, bivalves, snails, echinodermata and the fish and turtles swimming around the train wreck submerged in the Atlantic. The common perception of time is suspended here. The cycle of life and death, birth and decay, existence and inanimateness is communicated through a sense of awe at geological time. As the artist wittily describes it: “if we imagine deep time as being like our fingernails, the layer of human existence would be so thin that it could be easily led away with a nail file!” It is only this cyclic relationship that is permanent and immortal.