David Claerbout: The Close

November 18, 2022–January 8, 2023
Baker/Rowland Galleries
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Exhibitions are included with Museum admission and are free for Members.

“We could say that [The Close] is a journey between the past, the present and the future of the filmic image.”
—David Claerbout

The Close, a new video the Belgium-based artist David Claerbout completed in 2022, will be presented at the Milwaukee Art Museum in November, marking the work’s premiere at a U.S. museum. It will be accompanied by six related drawings the artist created at the completion of production. Claerbout is known for his works using photography, video, digital technology, and sound. His large-scale, immersive installations consider questions of time, memory, and truth.

The Close is conceived as a journey traversing the past and future of the camera, bringing together a reconstruction of amateur footage made in about 1920 and a digital 3D rendering of that footage. The silent scene, which shows barefoot children in a brick-walled, one-way alley—known as a “close” in English—transitions from grainy footage of a child into a highly detailed, quasi-technical portrait, objectifying face, eyes, and body. As the video freezes and holds the small child enraptured, singing voices set in. A recording of 24 spatially distinct singers performing Arvo Pärt’s 2004 vocal composition Da Pacem Domine surrounds the isolated child, who has become the focus of the work, with an architecture of voices.

Upcoming Events

Member Mingle + Artist Talk: “David Claerbout: The Close”

Thu, December 8, 5:00–7:15 pm

Artist Talk: David Claerbout

Thu, December 8, 6:15–7:15 pm

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The Milwaukee Art Museum extends its sincere thanks to the 2022 Visionaries:Donna and Donald BaumgartnerMurph BurkeJoel and Caran QuadracciSue and Bud SeligJeff and Gail Yabuki and the Yabuki Family Foundation
  • David Claerbout, The Close (still), 2022. © David Claerbout. Courtesy the artist and Sean Kelly, New York