Vexations is a series of installations that present – both independently and in association with one another – the recording of Erik Satie’s Vexations in their entirety (interpreted by Nicolas Horvath in two non-stop solo versions each lasting 35 hours), mechanically reproduced by a Disklavier piano, and a video piece directly inspired by the performance projected beside the instrument.

The video consists of a series of variations on some thirty brief shots from Robert Bresson’s Pickpocket which have been altered and re-edited to faithfully coincide with the music’s modulations. Both video and music dwell on a single gesture or a series of gestures made by one or several characters in the film, which the video reworks through backward and forward motion, disarticulation, and repetition. Be they isolated or combined together, these effects always act differently upon the film, offering a wide variety of visual propositions recalling the spirit of Return to Marienbad.

While quite clearly raising questions concerning the statuses of author and interpreter – and in a broader sense, even those of the creative process itself and of its reappropriation – the piece lends itself to a broad array of interpretations. Readily playing on the invisible and on certain processes by which patterns emerge, it denounces the manipulations that govern our ways of thinking and perceiving. But beyond these accusations, the piece also contains a hope that forms of resistance and wonder that soften the critical vision we may have of ourselves will break through the psychological and social inhibitions that confine us to better alleviate our own vexations.

Vexations 2.3

Vexations 2.2

Vexations 2.1

Vexations 2.0

Copyright © 2016 Laurent Fiévet