Based in Antwerp, Claerbout is recognized as one of the most innovative artists working today in the realms of film, photography, and digital media. This is the artist’s second exhibition with Sean Kelly and marks the US premiere of this video, which had its debut this June at Unlimited—Art Basel.
For The pure necessity, Claerbout and a team of professional artists redrew the frames of the 1967 classic animated film The Jungle Book to create an entirely new, hour-long video. Devoid of narrative, comic antics, and anthropomorphic animals, Claerbout focuses on the wildlife as they move through the jungle accompanied by the sounds of their natural habitat.
As Claerbout notes, something that at first glance might seem familiar has been “transformed into a different reality, a different being.” Continuing his investigation into the cinematic nexus where issues of labor and temporality often collide, The pure necessity serves as a moving meditation on the gulf between sentimental fantasy and mundane reality.
Claerbout’s work is included in major public collections worldwide, including: Centre Georges Pompidou Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris, France; Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, Germany; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis and many others. He has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions internationally, including: Schaulager, Basel; MNAC, Barcelona (2017); Städel Museum, Frankfurt; KINDL, Berlin (2016); De Pont museum of contemporary art, Tilburg, The Netherlands (2009) and (2016); Kunsthalle Mainz, Mainz, Germany (2013); Secession, Vienna, Austria (2012); Tel Aviv Museum, Tel Aviv, Israel (2012); SFMOMA, San Francisco (2011); WIELS, Brussels, Belgium (2011); Pompidou Center, Paris, France (2007); Kunstmuseum, St. Gallen, Switzerland (2008); and Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands (2005); Claerbout studied at the Nationaal Hoger Instituut voor Schone Kunsten in Antwerp from 1992 to 1995 and participated in the DAAD: Berlin Artists-in-Residence program from 2002 to 2003.