February 6 - March 24, 2001
Nietzsche's Paris is a new video work by Victor Burgin that draws on the correspondence between Friedrich Nietzsche, Lou Salomé and Paul Reé during eight months in 1882 when they formed a trio. It consists of projected images and sound from a digital video disc, together with a wall text.
Although Nietzsche never visited Paris it must have occupied a privileged place in his imagination. In April 1882 Nietzsche fell in love with Lou Salomé, who suggested an intellectual ménage à trois with him and Paul Rée. Nietzsche suggested they live together in Paris, and contacted friends to find suitable accommodation. The three were still discussing their plans for Paris when they met again in Leipzig in November 1882 - then Salomé and Rée left abruptly without any indication of their destination. The abandoned Nietzsche incorrectly assumed they were in Paris.
The relationship between Nietzsche and Salomé had reached a peak of intimacy during three idyllic weeks in August 1882 spent together debating philosophy in the forest of Tautenberg. The historically established association between forests, gardens and learning is exploited in the design for the Bibliothèque Nationale de France by Dominique Perrault. The architect's sunken forest garden has been appropriately described as 'an untouchable Eden from which researchers and members of the public are barred.' In memory of Nietzsche's Edenic period with the untouchable Salomé, Burgin includes images of this Parisian site in his new work.
Victor Burgin was born in England and now lives in San Francisco and Paris. He is Professor in the History of Consciousness Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz. In the the fall of 2001 he will take up the Millard Chair of Fine Art at Goldsmiths College, University of London. His books include Shadowed (Architectural Association, 2000), Venise (Black Dog, 1977), In/Different Spaces: place and memory in visual culture (California, 1996), Some Cities (Reaktion, 1996), The End of Art Theory: Criticism and Postmodernity (Macmillan, 1986), Between (Blackwell/ICA, 1986) and Thinking Photography (Macmillan, 1982). Burgin's photographic and video works have been exhibited worldwide and are represented in public collections including The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate Modern, London; The Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. His most recent video work; Watergate, is currently showing at the Cocoran Gallery of Art, Washington DC in the context of Media / Metaphor; the 46th Biennial exhibition. A major retrospective of Victor Burgin's work will open at the Antoni Tàpies Foundation in Barcelona on April 5th 2001.