Bertrand Flanet

At the center of Bertrand Flanet’s multimedia installations are animated films in which the viewer is drawn into complex dream worlds of figures, symbols, and metaphors. The artist creates ambiguous narratives that cast a spell over the audience through skillfully deployed cinematic devices but resist any clear interpretation.

The emotional control of the viewer occupies a central position in Bertrand Flanet’s works. The focal point of the Frankfurter Kunstverein installation is a digitally generated film with a point-of-view perspective. The subjective camera suggests to the viewer that they are adopting the point of view of a being that is moving through a vast landscape of hills and valleys. An acoustic layer reinforces this subjective perspective. The camera repeatedly encounters a creature lying on the ground whose limbs are stretched out, motionless. However, the latent expectation—that the monster will respond to some communication from the first-person perspective, jump up, and bring a dramatic twist to the story—is not fulfilled. The film opens up possible scenarios and explanatory models that are not clearly answered.

Bertrand Flanet weaves stories that reveal how narrative conventions in film establish storylines and give rise to characters to whom a viewer attributes an individual emotional world. For his digital animations, the artist uses a video game engine that has primarily been used for the production of first-person shooters since the late 1990s. The popular spread of video games and animated films has made the technical framework of the software a generally understandable visual vocabulary that anyone can identify with.

Bertrand Flanet’s visual worlds are inhabited by figures that have been abstracted due to the familiar aesthetics of comics and animation. It is common knowledge that these visual languages are intended to evoke an emotional and empathic response in the human gaze.

Additionally, twelve panels with printed text hang along the walls of the space that tell the story of a boy who kills old and harmless monsters in a fantasy world. The narrative genre of the heroic tale is reduced here to minimal layouts and disrupted through the story’s melancholy. The form of the narration becomes the setting for a metaphorical analysis of our present.

(Text: Franziska Nori, Dennis Brzek)