These are the programme notes printed in the TATE handout for the premiere of Olivier Bohler and Céline Gailleurd’s ‘Le Désordre Exposé’ (2012) and Jean-Luc Godard and Anne-Marie Mièville’s ‘Reportage Amateur (Maquette Expo)’ (2006).
Godard as Curator
– John Bloomfield
We don’t remember why Ferdinand and Marianne head to the south of France or why Odile decides to help Franz and Arthur. We forget why Bruno Forestier hesitates before killing Palivoda or why Nana leaves her husband. Instead, we remember Belmondo squaring up to Bogey, and Karina in tears before Dreyer’s Joan. We remember Fritz Lang quoting Brecht to Bardot, and a single still of Jane Fonda held for nearly an hour. Finally we remember a history of cinema told with Griffith, Hitchcock and Rossellini, but also shards of Hindemith and flashes of pornography. Then there are the quotes, references, allusions and pastiches that pass us by before we can take them in, as if we too are being raced breathlessly through the Louvre. What we remember in Godard’s films, is Godard remembering films. Each one is a just image…just not his image.
An auteurist super-curator, instrumentalising the work of poets, painters, historians, filmmakers, friends and foes alike… Or a bookish custodian, doggedly preserving a history of cinema. From the beginning, Godard’s work has been characterised by ‘a play of allusion within and between texts’. Is this simply a modernist tactic or is there a more conservative, classical imperative at its heart? In 2006, the curatorial tendency in Godard’s work manifested itself in a more traditional context. A much-anticipated exhibition at Le Centre Pompidou was prefaced with the following notice:-
‘The Pompidou Centre decided not to carry out the exhibition project entitled “Collage(s) de France. Archaeology of the Cinema”, because of artistic, technical and financial difficulties that it presented, and to replace it by another project entitled “Travel(s) in Utopia, JLG, 1946–2006, In Search of a Lost Theorem”.
Consisting of collages, sculptures and moving image installations drawing on films from People on Sunday to Black Hawk Down, Voyage(s) en Utopie blurred the lines between a filmmaking, artistic and curatorial practice, while also foregrounding the problems of collaborating with a huge and complex government funded organisation. Transposing the concerns of a film like Le Mépris to the medium of the exhibition, it announced itself as an act of institutional critique: an exhibition about a failed exhibition and the difficulties of exhibition making.
 Peter Wollen, ‘The Two Avant-gardes,’ in Readings and Writings (London: Verso, 1982), p. 102.
Godard As Curator: Le Désordre Exposé
7 December 2014, 15.00 -19.00
Tate Modern, Starr Auditorium
UK premiere screening of Jean-Luc Godard, Le Désordre Exposé 2012 & discussion
Olivier Bohler and Céline Gailleurd’s essay film Jean-Luc Godard, Le Désordre Exposé / Disorder Exposed 2012 retraces Jean-Luc Godard’s notorious exhibition at the Centre national d’art et de culture Georges Pompidou in Paris between 11 May – 14 August 2006. The film and following discussion will reflect on the exhibition Voyage(s) en Utopie, Jean-Luc Godard 1946-2006 in the context of Godard’s work, and reconsider his films in the framework and history of curatorial practice.
Reportage Amateur (Maquette Expo) / Home Movie (Exhibition Maquette)
Jean-Luc Godard & Anne-Marie Mièville, France/ Switzerland 2006, colour, sound, 46 min
In the first room of Voyage(s) en Utopie, visitors were greeted with a maquette for an earlier, more ambitious exhibition concept, Collage(s) de France: Archaeology of the Cinema. In this intimate home movie, filmed some months before, Godard leads a tour of the maquette for the soon-to-be abandoned Collage(s) de France exhibition, giving a valuable insight into an exhibition that never was.
Jean-Luc Godard, Le Désordre Exposé / Jean-Luc Godard, Disorder Exposed Olivier Bohler and Céline Gailleurd, France / Switzerland 2012, colour and black & white, sound, 65 min
The film retraces Jean-Luc Godard’s notorious exhibition at the Centre national d’art et de culture Georges Pompidou in Paris between 11 May – 14 August 2006. The film and following discussion will reflect on the exhibition Voyage(s) en Utopie, Jean-Luc Godard 1946-2006 in the context of Godard’s work, and reconsider his films in the framework and history of curatorial practice. In the film we are led by André S. Labarthe, former Cahiers du Cinéma critic and actor in Godard’s Vivre Sa Vie 1962, who guides us through archival footage, television interviews and partial reconstructions of the Pompidou exhibition. Bohler and Gailleurd’s film proposes a new approach to Godard’s work as an attempt to curate a history of cinema through literature, art and politics.
Programme duration: 111 min
Olivier Bohler and Céline Gailleurd are both from the south of France. Bohler studied Greek and Latin, before teaching history of cinema and film analysis at Aix-en-Provence University. In 2000 he completed his PhD Thesis on the director Jean-Pierre Melville, and is also known as a specialist on Pier Paolo Pasolini. Gailleurd studied cinema and completed her PhD Thesis on early Italian cinema and its links with nineteenth century painting. She also was an assistant to Agnès Varda. In 2007, Bohler co-founded Nocturnes Productions with Raphaël Millet, which produces documentaries about the history of cinema and short films. In 2008 he directed the film Codename Melville. Since then, he has co-directed three documentaries with Céline Gailleurd: André S. Labarthe, Du Chat au Chapeau 2010, Jean-Luc Godard, Le Désordre Exposé 2012 and Edgar Morin, Chronique d’un Regard 2014. They have written numerous articles on cinema in books and magazines.
Michael Witt is Reader in Cinema Studies and Co-Director of the Centre for Research in Film and Audiovisual Cultures at the University of Roehampton. He is the author of Jean-Luc Godard, Cinema Historian (Indiana University Press, 2013), and the co-editor of For Ever Godard (Black Dog, 2004), The French Cinema Book (BFI, 2004), and Jean-Luc Godard: Documents (Centre Pompidou, 2006). He recently contributed an introductory essay to the first publication in English of the lectures on cinema history that Godard delivered in Montreal in 1978: Jean-Luc Godard, Introduction to a True History of Cinema and Television, ed. and trans. Timothy Barnard (Caboose, 2014).