Alexis Destoop

October 26th, 2014 New York City

Destoop analyzed the making of his film project “Karios”, a science fiction narrative in which time itself is a disappearing commodity against the backdrop of Australia’s Arid Zone. The film initiated—and therefore became a chapter of—his current work: “Four Directions of Heaven”, a four-part exploration of extreme environments and their relationship to the more temperate environments within which cities have flourished, indeed swelled, to breaking points. Through residencies across various regions in the world, Alexis will continue exploring four archetypal yet “precarious” contemporary landscapes, which have undergone fundamental changes—geopolitically, economically, ecologically, and culturally—in recent history.

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Bio – Alexis Destoop (b. 1971, Kortrijk, Belgium)
Alexis Destoop forms an ongoing investigation into the workings of the image. His multilayered constructions in photography, installation and film examine the component elements of storytelling, the experience of time and the processes of identification and memory. Appropriating visual archetypes and genre conventions, his work questions, reconfigures and short-circuits the acquired meanings associated with them. His practice originates from photography and is influenced by his experience in the performing arts as well as his studies in philosophy. He often works collaboratively, involving writers, performers and musicians.

Referencing classical representations of the human figure, his earlier works focus on notions of duration and performativity, as exemplified by the 3-channel video installations With Usura (2001/2004) and Ecce (2003). Destoop’s first film works – I’m Happy Men (2005), and Pandora (2007) – investigate narrative construction and the status of fiction through formal experiments that strip the narrative of plot and obstruct identification with character. The 2-channel video-installation Dwelling (2006-2009) is a meditation on “place” that suggests the bare outlines of a story: an event haunts the desolate setting without ever being revealed. In recent years landscape has become his primary subject matter. With the ongoing research project 4 Directions of Heaven, he re-visits a series of archetypal yet “precarious” environments who have undergone fundamental changes in recent history.


Alexis Destoop, Still from Four Directions of Heaven, 4-channel video-installation. Courtesy of the artist