Cyprien Gaillard. Cities of Gold and Mirrors

Cities of Gold and Mirrors, 2009
16 mm film, color, with sound,  8:52 min
© CYPRIEN GAILLARD, Courtesy Sprüth Magers Berlin London and Laura Bartlett Gallery, London

Rediscovered during one of my daily internet routines, I forgot how I love that video: each time I view it I find it as powerful as the first time. Of course, watching the work online is a very different experience to witnessing it in the gallery. However, CYPRIEN GAILLARD’s 16mm film Cities of Gold and Mirrors (2009) which has been shot in Cancun, is haunting: the video juxtaposes views of isolated ruins, golf courses and post-modern hotel resorts with images of the drinking rituals of young men, over an atmospheric background music taken from the soundtrack of  a 1980 Japanese-French cartoon series, The Mysterious Cities of Gold, a docu-fiction about the discovery of America.

There’s always the possibility of an architectural hangover, something we regret that we built. That’s entropy — the impossibility of getting a site back to the state it was. One could be nostalgic, but I think of all these layers as one great, expanded archaeological site. There’s no nostalgia in my work. It’s always about now. – CYPRIEN GAILLARD for the NY Times, April 2013

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