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Seattle Art Museum Surveys the Work of Nicolas Provost

The Seattle Art Museum is the first U.S. museum to survey the work of Belgian filmmaker Nicolas Provost. This installation comprises five video works, showing the range of approaches Provost has brought to his filmmaking since 2003. Provost has what could be seen as a 21st-century “do-it-yourself” approach to making video, often appropriating found footage and editing it extensively with commercial editing software to make radically new and exciting imagery. While the end product is often grandiose, sweeping and emotionally charged, there is a low-budget ethos behind the work that gives hope to aspiring filmmakers.

Nicolas Provost
“Plot Point”, 2007. Video projection with sound, 15 minutes. Nicolas Provost, Belgian, born 1969. Courtesy Tim van Laere Gallery, Antwerp © Nicolas Provost, Courtesy Tim Van Laere Gallery, Antwerp

Nicolas Provost is a visual artist and recently moved back to Belgium after a 10 years stay in Oslo, Norway. Now he lives and works in Brussels, Belgium. His work is to be seen worldwide on both film- and visual arts platforms. His films have earned a long list of awards and screenings at prestigious festivals as among others The Sundance Film Festival, The San Francisco International Filmfestival, Cinevegas, The International Film Festival Rotterdam, The Viennale, The Locarno Film Festival, The Ann Arbor Film Festival, Clermont-Ferrand, Impakt Film Festival, The Asian International Film Festival (Seoul),

The works of Nicolas Provost can be seen as cinematic experiences as much as they are poetic audiovisual paintings. They intend to walk on the fine line between dualities and balance between the grotesque and the moving, beauty and cruelty, the emotional and the intellectual, between cinema and fine arts. Time and again his phantasmagorias provoke both recognition and alienation and succeed in catching our expectations into an unravelling game of mystery and abstraction forcing the viewer to reflect on the fenomenon of the audiovisual.

With manipulations of time, codes and form, cinematographic and narrative language is analysed, accents are shifted and new stories are told. Apart from the use of film and visual language, sound is also a constant factor in Provost’s body of work, as a rhythmical spine or an emotional guideline.

In his found footage work, filmic memory and perception are stimulated by the use of film historical fragments, but Provost is as likely to write and direct contemporary cinema. Provost wrote, produced and directed the midlength fiction film EXOTICORE, which tells the tale of an immigrant ‘s integration nightmare in Norway.

His acclaimed art film ‘Papillon d’amour’ received numerous awards and a Special Mention at The Sundance Film Festival in 2004 where he was in competition again in 2006 with EXOTICORE and in 2007 with INDUCTION, a cinematic deconstruction.

Nicolas Provost: Selected Works is curated by Michael Darling, Jon & Mary Shirley Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art.

On view through 31 March, 2010.