Fleurs (1987)

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This first video by Philippe Parreno, made while he was a student at the École supérieure d’art in Grenoble, is a continuous shot of a bouquet of flowers. With the camera positioned on a tripod, the only motion within the sequence is generated by controlling the zoom and focus of the lens. Parreno sent the video to television stations across France, allowing them to broadcast it in whatever form they wished, free of copyright restrictions. In 1988 the television channel Canal+ added a logo and music, and used a few seconds of the film as the background to the weather forecast sponsored by Interflora. In making the film and presenting it on television rather than in a gallery, Parreno was inspired by artist group General Idea, French artist Gerry Schum, and Jean-Luc Godard’s 1970s television projects. Philippe was also influenced by the pop-culture of the time, including the audio-visual saturation of television ads and music videos. Parreno’s use of the language of commercial television in Fleurs is indicative of his fascination with media as a manifestation of leisure in postmodern society.


Colour, silent