by Cyprien Gaillard, USA 2015, 14'
SCREENPLAY: Cyprien Gaillard   MUSIC:  Alton N. Ellis
PHOTOGRAPHY: Cyprien Gaillard   PRODUCER: Sprueth Magers, Simone Manwarring
EDITING: Cyprien Gaillard   ORIGINAL SIZE: 3D

Schermo dell'Arte - Archivio Film
Presented at Lo schermo dell'arte Film Festival 2016
Nightlife is a nocturnal dance. High-definition imagery, slow-motion footage and 3D projections: Cyprien Gaillard’s film is a work of refined aesthetics, in which the narration loops in four interconnected parts: Rodin’s Thinker in front of the Cleveland Museum of Art; juniper bushes, a typical feature of the Californian landscape; fireworks over the Berlin stadium where the 1936 Olympiad was held, and the trunk of an oak tree. These apparently unrelated elements are linked by a series of reciprocal references, both visual and historico-political. Rodin’s sculpture shows damage wrought by a Weather Underground bombing in 1970. The sculpture’s resistence to the explosion is contrasted to a Hollywood juniper which grows beside a wall and a metal fence in an anonymous area of Los Angeles. The plant’s animated fronds move like the whorls of smoke from fireworks shot over Berlin’s Olympiastadion in the third part, magnificently filmed by drone. Here, in 1936, Afro-American Jesse Owens, at the height of the Nazi regime, won four gold medals, which were presented to him along with an oak tree seedling, later planted - fourth part - in front of the Cleveland school where he began his athletic career. The tree’s still there. The circle of references -from Rodin’s Cleveland to Owens’ Cleveland- is underlined by a hypnotic loop of the chorus in two versions of Alton Ellis’ famous rocksteady number, Black Man’s Pride: “I was born a loser” in the first version becomes “I was born a winner” in the second.
Cyprien Gaillard
Born in 1980 in Paris, he lives and works in Berlin and New York. Among his personal exhibitions: Rubble and Revelation, at Fondazione Nicola Trussardi, Milan (2012); The Crystal World at PS1 in New York (2013); Where Nature Runs Riot, the Sprüth Magers Gallery in Berlin, where Nightlife had its premiere in the installation version (2015), and the recent, Cyprien Gaillard: Nightlife at Kunstsammlung Nordrhein Westfalen in Düsseldorf. Among his group shows: Manifesta 10, State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg (2014), La Biennale de Lyon (2015), The Infinite Mix: Sound and Image in Contemporary Video, Hayward Gallery, London (2016). Won several awards, including in 2010 the Marcel Duchamp Prize, the National Gallery Prize for Young Art in Berlin in 2011 and in 2016 the Art Prize Arken, Ishøj.

Selected Filmography
2016 Nightlife 2009 Cities of Gold and Mirrors

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