Recognized as one of France's foremost video artists, Robert Cahen has since 1972 produced a distinguished body of work for cinema and television. In Cahen's uniquely nuanced world, fiction and reality alike are presented as metaphoric voyages of the imagination, exquisite reveries that describe passages of time, place, memory and perception.
From the formal elegance of Cartes postales video (Video Postcards) (1984-86) to the intricate musical and visual transitions of Boulez-Répons (1985), Cahen's work is characterized by a sophisticated application of electronic techniques that manipulate sound and image, space and temporality, resulting in subtle transmutations of the illusory and the real. Resonating with wit and charm, executed with technical precision, his works allude to both formal and thematic motifs of travel, movement, and transition. Cahen's dreamlike journeys depict fleeting glimpses of a transitory reality, transformed in time within the pictorial frame.
Robert Cahen born in 1945. lives in Mulhouse,France. He graduated from the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique de Paris, and was member of the Groupe de Recherche Musicales de l'ORTF from 1971-74. From 1973-76, he was director of Experimental video for ORTF/INA. Many of his film and video works have been produced in conjunction with Institut National Audiovisuel (INA) His videotapes have been broadcast and exhibited internationally, at institutions and festivals including the Paris Biennale; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; American Film Institute National Video Festival, Los Angeles; World Wide Video Festival, The Hague; International Center of Photography, New York; Documenta 7, Kassel, Germany; FestRio, Brazil; Tokyo Festival; and the Festival of Locarno, Italy.
In 1992, he won the prize of the Villa Medicis Hors les Murs and in 1995, he created a permanent video installation for EURALILLE Public Space in Lille, France. in 2010, a complete retrospective of his films and his video works took place in the Museum of the Jeu de Paume in Paris. He was, during the year 2009-2010, associated professor at the National School and Studio for Contemporary Arts, Le Fresnoy. France.
Robert Cahen | select exhibitions
Cité de la Musique Paris | installation vidéo | Le Maître du temps Pierre Boulez dirige Mémoriale
La Virreina Barcelone | Spain | video exhibition | curator Eugeni Bonet.
Exhibition at the Museum of modern and contemporary art, MAMC Strasbourg, France
Palais de Glace, Buenos Aires, Argentine | Rétrospective
Tongyeong, International Music Festival | South Korea | Mémoriale - Pierre Boulez, Video installation
MAM Museum of Art Macau , China | Solo Video art exhibition
Musée du Temps Besançon. France |Temps contre Temps
Rétrospective | Musée du Jeu de Paume , Paris
Passaggi. Fondazione Ragghianti Lucca Italy
Robert Cahen | select works
HONG KONG SONG |1989 | 21:00 | single channel video
Hong Kong Song is an exploration of "the sonic identity of Hong Kong, its space and architecture. Modern China merges with ancient China; the reality of this city sounds and resounds from image to image, revealing a multi-faceted vision". Produced within the context of "Urbasonic 88", an artistic and scientific project of the French research studio Espaces Nouveaux, this work manifests Hong Kong's frenetic urban rhythms, its people, and its natural environment through a synergy of time and space, aural and visual textures.
SANAA, PASSAGES EN NOIR | 2007 |7’07”| projection video
The video was filmed in Sana'a, the capital of Yemen, where black-veiled women pass through a narrow alley. The fleeting but repetitive side of the reworked image gives the video a hypnotic character reinforced by the choice of music: an excerpt from The Passion according to St John by Johann Sebastian Bach. Beyond the work on the notion of passage, the artist stages an unexpected exchange between two cultures.
L’étreinte | 2003 | 9:00 | Vidéo, couleur
In Robert Cahen's L'étreinte almost unrecognizable footage has been processed into a hard grayscale mutation with some of the most sumptuous blacks I have seen in electronic media. The work is emotional, it speaks to a sexual embrace that is also a bereavement, an illness, a shattering. It moves in strange leaps, little flutters, pourings and staccato judders in a shallow space beyond which, backward in time, there lies a truth that we can no longer ascertain.
SEPT VISIONS FUGITIVES | 1993 |35 minutes
C'est dans l'idée du passage où, pour moi, quelque chose de l'essentiel se noue, que s'écriront en images, sept courts poèmes, visions fugitives d'une Chine entr’aperçue, entre vue, entre entendue, toujours en mouvement.