A BONFIRE OF ART
It is unusual to be thrilled by a list, especially one as apparently standard as the oeuvre of an artist at the end of a book about him. But the pages Michael Witt has devoted to ‘Works by Godard’ at the end of his Jean-Luc Godard, Cinema Historian paint an unfamiliar portrait, completely changing our conception of a man usually thought of as the director of Breathless, Alphaville, Pierrot le fou and Weekend.  Michael Witt, Jean-Luc Godard, Cinema Historian, Indiana University Press: Bloomington 2013, $35, paperback 274 pp, 978 0 2530 0728 5 Witt’s list includes these, but also all the rest: scripts, videos, press catalogues, trailers, books, invented interviews and texts reflecting on his own practice. To see Godard foremost as a multimedia artist sheds an entirely new light on his work. The importance of his feature films is not diminished; they now appear as early stages in a much longer, ongoing journey motivated by a central concern: what are the possibilities for genuine communication? Over the years he has looked for the answers in different mediums, using a range of tools, from scissors and glue to photocopiers, found footage, photographs, tape recorders, digital cameras and now 3d. Witt tackles his subject, in what is his first sole-authored book, in such an unfussy manner and without the elliptical quality tainting much Godard commentary—artsy, complicated prose trying to compensate for a kernel of confusion—that the experience of reading Cinema Historian is like a door swinging open.
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- The Mage of Lake Geneva Emilie Bickerton on Antoine de Baecque, Godard, biographie. Life and work of Europe’s greatest living visual artist.
- Michael Witt: Shapeshifter Formal rigour, social interrogation, poetic intensity: Jean-Luc Godard stands in the premier rank of contemporary artists. In this striking reconceptualization of his work, the movies take their place among sound compositions, TV, texts, videotape and graphic art, as elements of an ongoing multimedia installation.