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Julien Bismuth

Willie Billy

Galerie Vallois, Paris

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Artist
Julien Bismuth
Title
Willie Billy
Year
2013
Duration
23 min 45 s
Format & Technical

Single channel, HD video, colour, no sound, loop
Edition of 3 + 1 AP

  • Produced By: La Ferme du Buisson
  • Photography: Arthur Perret
  • Cast: Alain Fairbaim, Christophe Marand
  • Commissioned by: La Ferme du Buisson
  • Special Thanks: Galerie GP & N Vallois

This mute video consists of two clowns manipulating and painting one another’s faces in an expressive and melancholic pantomime.

Willie Billy is one of the first important video works by Julien Bismuth, both in terms of duration and production. It was created and produced for the show Le Signe Singe at la Ferme du Buisson, Noisiel, in 2013. Julien Bismuth has always been fascinated by the figure of the clown, its codes and archetypes. This mute video consists of two clowns manipulating and painting one another’s faces in an expressive and melancholic pantomime. While both disguises were inspired by the historical clowns Billy Hayden and Emmet Kelley known as “Weary Willie”, the story itself evokes the art of the clown, which combines pantomime and caricature, smile and grimace, comedy and melancholia. Though the script and props are minimal, the work is a meandering journey through the history of the visual and performing arts, from pantomime to painting, from Bosch to Messerschmidt.

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