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1974

Portrait vidéo d'un collectionneur

In a parody of the conventional genre and pictorial tradition of the portrait, Fred Forest proposes a "video-portrait" produced in real time.

Sociological  Communication  Criticism and Ethics 

Paris (FR)

Typology: Mail art

Medium and media: Vidéo

1974

Vidéo portrait d'un collectionneur

1974

Portrait d'un collectionneur - Fred Forest exposé au Centre Nam June Paik de Séoul

1974

Vidéo portrait d'un collectionneur

Vidéo portrait d'un collectionneur
1974
Vidéo portrait d'un collectionneur
Portrait d'un collectionneur - Fred Forest exposé au Centre Nam June Paik de Séoul
1974
Portrait d'un collectionneur - Fred Forest exposé au Centre Nam June Paik de Séoul
Vidéo portrait d'un collectionneur
1974
Vidéo portrait d'un collectionneur

Espace Pierre Cardin Paris, vente Maître Binoche - Juin 1974

In a parody of the conventional genre and pictorial tradition of the portrait, Fred Forest proposes a "video-portrait" produced in real time. As part of an auction of contemporary works of art under the gavel of Maître Jean-Claude Binoche, the work offered is listed in the catalogue as a "video portrait of a collector", a blank 1/2-inch Sony tape, accompanied by a contract that the bidder must agree to respect. The contract stipulates that the video portrait will be made up of images filmed at the time of the sale and images recorded afterwards during five meals during which the collector-buyer will be filmed in a fixed shot.
At the moment of the sale, when the number in the catalogue is called, the artist leaps up, video camera in hand, alongside the auctioneer. After blowing up the plastic protection that secures the new tapes and showing it to the public in the room, Fred Forest, with slow, studied movements, places the videotape in the slot of the portable video recorder that he is carrying on his shoulder.

At this point, spotlights shine brightly on the audience, waiting for the auction to start. The artist, standing on his slightly spread legs, points his lens towards the room. The bid for the work being sold was announced aloud by Maître Binoche as "zero francs". At the time of the announcement, no image had yet been recorded, and the work existed only in the future...

As soon as the first amateur raises his hand, Fred Forest pulls the trigger on his camera. The video portrait begins. This first bidder acquires the status of collector through his gesture. The electronic portrait takes place in real time. As soon as a new bidder raises his arm, for a higher amount, Fred Forest's camera leaves the first bidder, who loses his status and moves on to the second... In the course of the auction, the video-portrait passes from one person to the next, each time called into question by the next higher bid. Forest's camera now pans back and forth between a number of candidates vying fiercely for the portrait.

Rodolphe Stadler, a renowned gallery owner and collector, finally got the better of his most determined rivals, winning the video-portrait in a hard-fought battle for definitive status. An electronic portrait that cost him the princely sum of 2,600 francs... and five meals, in accordance with the contract quoted in the catalogue. Forest's action is a parody of the tradition of the portrait, which has been established in painting for centuries. Its purpose is to highlight (what the artist also wanted to demonstrate...) the concomitant economic relationship between the work and the financial investment that ultimately gives it existence. After the portrait of the painter and that of the photographers, Fred Forest introduces that of the video artists.

Not without a hint of mischief, Fred Forest, with the contract he imposes on the purchaser, is careful to emphasise the relationship between the collector's status as a man of taste and culture, and his baser physiological needs. It is clear that the acquisition of a work is also about the social status it confers, and that in this case what Rodolphe Stadler bought was also an event of which he found himself at the centre!
Over and above the socio-economic considerations that have always marked the preoccupations of sociological artists, this action not only provokes reflection on the nature of the work of art, its relationship with the ego of each individual, and its social function, but also, in this case, on the ambiguity of our relationship with time, from the moment when, in the game set up by the artist, there is quasi-simultaneity between its creation, its acquisition and its consumption...

  • Catalogue vente, étude de Maître Binoche, Paris 1974
  • " Portrait-Vidéo ", couverture de la revue Artitude, Paris Juin 1974
  • " Vidéo-portrait d’un collectionneur ", Didier Romand, Valeurs actuelles N°1963, Paris, 15 juillet 1974

LONG BIOGRAPHY OF FRED FOREST

Fred Forest has a special place in contemporary art. Both by his personality and by his pioneering practices which mark his work. He is mainly known today for having used one by one most of the communication media that have appeared over the last fifty years. He is co-founder of three artistic movements: those of sociological art, the aesthetics of communication and ethics in art.

He represented France at the 12th São Paulo Biennale (Communication Prize) in 1973, at the 37th Venice Biennale in 1976 and at Documenta 6 in Kassel in 1977.

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