City Gallery

Past exhibition

Camille Henrot: Grosse Fatigue

21 November 2015–13 March 2016

For Grosse Fatigue (13min, 2013), French artist Camille Henrot set herself a big challenge: to tell the story of everything. This encyclopedic video is based on months of research at the prestigious Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC. The poetic soundtrack scrambles scientific histories and creation stories drawn from diverse traditions. The visuals include treasures hidden in the Smithsonian’s vaults, images found on the Internet, and scenes filmed in diverse locations (including a pet store.) These images appear as a sequence of overlapping pop-up windows, as if on a computer screen, implying that some vast database underpins the work. Grosse Fatigue interweaves the rational and the mythic, conflating modern computers and ancient mindsets. Henrot describes the work as an ‘intuitive unfolding of knowledge’, but its title suggests, instead, the burden of knowledge—the strain of knowing ‘too much’. Henrot was awarded the Silver Lion for Grosse Fatigue, when it debuted at the Venice Biennale in 2013.