City self, Country self


35mm film, 1000 original Epinal posters

Video: 3min. 58sec. (loop)

City Self/Country Self could be the title of a fable. Rodney Graham's video shows a dandy gleefully kicking the behind of another man who is endlessly putting his hat back on. The scene refers to an Épinal print telling the story of a peasant arriving in Paris.

Graham plays with Hollywood conventions here: the initially funny situation becomes an interminable nightmare. His work echoes Sigmund Freud's concept of “disturbing strangeness”, when intimacy emerges like a stranger to the point of being frightening. Graham plays both characters, depicting his inner struggle in a slapstick version of the myth of Sisyphus.

City Self/Country Self was presented for the first time by the Pinault Collection during the 2008 “Passage du Temps” (“Passage of Time”) show at the Tri Postal in Lille.