Pierre Coulibeuf (b.1949)

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Balkan Baroque 1999

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Experimental fiction. The autobiography, both real and imaginary, of Marina Abramovic, Body Art artist. The film composes the life aesthetic of a woman in her era, with a personal history strongly marked by the Yugoslavia of Tito, everyday violence, the experience of physical and psychic limits... The voluntary evocation of the past makes something more secret, more intimate crop up: an unknown evolution that is embodied in fictions felt like authentic fragments of truth. Balkan Baroque jumps from one identity to another, from a true story to an imagination, from a dream to a ritual... - the language of the body often taking over from the word, interrupting it or, on the contrary, stimulating it.

(All the images in the film are original, whether inspired by performances or purely imaginary).


Here and now

In the film Balkan Baroque, one has the impression that the character invents the past as she speaks, here and now. This past seems to have no reality outside the moment it is evoked with the force that is characteristic of film work. Here, in Balkan Baroque, it has become the present, the present of the film unwinding before the viewer's eyes.

What we see on the screen is in the process of happening-it is the very gesture that is given to us and not a report on it. The universe of the film is given in a perpetual present. In other words, this biography of Marina Abramovic, which implies a number of past things, is in process of unfolding before our eyes, here and now, as we watch Balkan Baroque. 'Elsewhere' and 'formerly' do not exist. There is no longer a true reality, inherent and external to the film, so there is no longer anything but the sole reality of the projected images. The film, the universe that it reveals, suffices by itself, at every instant, erasing itself as it goes along, within a loop that is literally never-ending.

We are therefore dealing with a subjective, mental unwinding. The work Balkan Baroque is not account of an exterior reality; it is its own reality. The only time to be considered for this biography is the projection time (63'). Balkan Baroque is pure fiction, an imaginary production in which Marina Abramovic plays different roles, including the role of the artist doing performances.


Balkan Baroque is guided by several principles: discontinuity (black and white as structuring elements); ritualisation and frontality; fiction (and not the documentary). The black of memory, from which arise the white images of the past (the artistic rituals). The images from memory are combined with fancies, fantasies and dreamlike waking images, as well as rituals of life (the kitchen, the dining room, the gymnasium...). The discontinuity of memory, which blends images from the past with imaginations, life rituals with artistic rituals. Depending on its visual component, the film becomes the equivalent of an 'involuntary memory', with its breaks, its oversights, its absence of chronology. Thus, one can consider the film of the image and the film of the chronological, narrative voice. (Thanks to the form of statement, the narrative voice gives rise to other images in the spectator's mind.) The visual and sound components are autonomous and constitute the audio-visual image. But the visual image and the sound image communicate with each other in an underground manner, with numerous effects of resonance.
The performances are adapted - in other words, transformed by the cinematic point of view (the shot imposes its law; Marina Abramovic becomes an actress). In the film, they take on a mental appearance, like memory-images or insistent, shimmering images that suddenly force their way through, climb as far as awareness and dilate the present.

Balkan Baroque creates a character whose identity is multifaceted and continually inventing itself. In this sense, the film creates its own reality, standing 'on the borderline' between real and imaginary, without one's truly knowing what is real and what is ima-ginary. Thanks to this distance, this interval, Marina Abramovic appears behind multiple masks. The film scoffs at representation and scrambles the codes.


A film by Pierre Coulibeuf, adapted from the performance Biography by Marina Abramovic.
Actors: Marina Abramovic, Ulay, Paolo Canevari, Sean Kelly, Alexander Godschalk
Director of photography: Dominique Le Rigoleur (AFC) - Sound: Eddy De Cloe - Editor: Thierry Rouden - Producer: Chantal Delanoë.
Production: Regards Productions (France) / Wega-Film (Austria) / Scarabee Film Productions (The Netherlands) / INA (France) with the participation of WDR/ARTE (Germany), ORF (Austria), Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication-Délégation aux Arts Plastiques, Centre National de la Cinématographie, Dutch Filmfund, Programme MEDIA de l'Union européenne and the support of Fonds EURIMAGES du Conseil de l'Europe
Genre: experimental fiction - Format: 35 mm colour (frame: 1,66) - Sound: mono - Original Negative: Kodak 35 mm - Camera: ARRIFLEX 35 BL IV S - Lens set: Zeiss G.O. - Original version: English - Running time: 63 minutes - Year: 1999.
World Premiere: 28th International Film Festival Rotterdam, The Netherlands (Jan. 1999)
Cinema release in the Netherlands: 1 April 1999
Cinema release in France : 15 November 2000

Biography of Pierre Coulibeuf

Born in Elbeuf (France) in 1949. Lives in Paris. Filmmaker and visual artist.

(Doctoral studies in Modern Literature-thesis on Pierre Klossowski and Leopold von Sacher-Masoch).

Pierre Coulibeuf uses contemporary creation as material for his artistic work.

In a cross-disciplinary relation to film genres (fiction, experimental...), as well as to modes of presenting the image in motion (35mm projection, installation, video, photography), his works invent a place and a language on the borderline of the other arts, critiquing established forms and questioning representations of reality.

Since 1987, he has made short and feature-length films based on the universes of Pierre Klossowski, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Marina Abramovic, Michel Butor, Jean-Marc Bustamante, Jan Fabre, Meg Stuart...

His films have been selected in many international film festivals (fiction, experimental, video art). Pierre Coulibeuf makes installations with his films and photographs in galleries and museums. He has been artist invited in the International Pavillion of the Bienniale of Contemporary Art of Mercosul, Porto Alegre, Brazil, in 2005. His works are part of main public collections.

  • 1993- Leonardo da Vinci Grant from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a residency in Italy (Cinema)
  • 1995-96- Artist in residency at the Center of Contemporary Art of the Domaine de Kerguéhennec, Brittany, France
  • 2001- Knight of the Arts and Literature's Order


Short and medium films:
1987-88 Klossowski, peintre-exorciste
1989 Le gai savoir de Valerio Adami
Divertissement à la maison de Balzac
1990 La chambre des muses
Alechinsky sur Rhône
1991 PAB l'enchanteur
1992 Samout et Moutnefret
L'oeil du poète
1995 Le démon du passage
1998 Cartographie
2000 Michel Butor Mobile
2002 Lost Paradise
2005 Amour neutre
2006 Pavillon Noir

Long feature films:
1991-93 C'est de l'art
1995-97 Le grand récit
1993-98 L'homme noir
1999 Balkan Baroque
2002 Les guerriers de la beauté
2004 Somewhere in between

Videos from 35mm :
1995 Rubato
2002-2003 Lost Paradise 2 & 3
2006 Who's who ?
(Who's Marina Abramovic ?, Who's Michelangelo Pistoletto ?, Who's Meg Stuart?)
Delectatio morosa


Collection cinématographique of National museum of modern art/Centre Pompidou, Paris (France)
Fonds Régional d'Art Contemporain (FRAC) de Bretagne (France)
Fonds National d'Art Contemporain (FNAC), Puteaux (France)
Collection Claudine et Jean-Marc Salomon, Annecy (France)
Fonds Départemental d'Art Contemporain de l'Essonne (France)
Sammlung Goetz, München (Germany)
GAM/Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Torino (Italy)
NBK/Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin (Germany)

1991: PIERRE COULIBEUF FILMMAKER. National museum of modern art/Centre Pompidou, Paris.
2004 -2005-2006: PIERRE COULIBEUF - THE DEMON OF PASSAGE (7 films in 35 mm): Rencontres internationales de la Photographie, Arles (France); Cinémathèque de Bergen (Norway); Otago Museum, Dundin (New-Zealand) ; Roma Film Festival (Italy) ; Image Forum Festival-Experimental Film & Video, Tokyo (Japan) ; Musée des Arts Visuels, Montevideo (Uruguay) ; International Biennial of contemporary art of Mercosul, Porto Alegre (Brazil) ; Itau Cultural, Sao Paulo, Brazil ; Museo de Arte Contemporaneo (MARCO), Monterrey (Mexique) ; Komunitas Utan Kayu, Jakarta (Indonesia) ; Estudio Abierto, Buenos Aires (Argentina) ; Teatro Miela, Trieste (Italy) ; CinéMac-Musée d'art contemporain de Marseille (France) ; Museo Nacional de Bellas Arte/MNBA, Buenos Aires (Argentina) ; PULSAR Caracas 2006 (Vénézuela)...
Retrospective in Germany: Kino Arsenal, Berlin ; Abaton-Kino, Hamburg ; Filmmuseum München ; die naTo-Cinémathèque Leipzig ; Black Box, Düsseldorf ; Filmhaus im Künstlerhaus, Nüremberg ; Kommunales Kino, Hannover ; Kommunales Kino, Freiburg.


- PAB L'ENCHANTEUR. Musée-Bibliothèque P.A. Benoit (collection "Les Cahiers de Rochebelle"), Alès, 1991.
- C'EST DE L'ART. La Différence (collection Mobile Matière) Paris, 1993.
- LE BUREAU DE L'HOMME NOIR. Artist book. 100 copies, 1994.
- LE GRAND RÉCIT. Texts by P. Coulibeuf et Denys Zacharopoulos. Center for contemporary art, Domaine de Kerguéhennec, Bignan, France, 1997.
- LES GUERRIERS DE LA BEAUTÉ. Texts by Bruno Di Marino et Laurent Goumarre. Yellow Now (collection Côté Cinéma), 2003.
- LE DÉMON DU PASSAGE. Under the direction of Laurent Le Bon, Curator at the National Museum of Modern Art/Pompidou Center. Co-edition Yellow Now / Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2004 (French/English/Spanish).
- PISTOLETTO / L'HOMME NOIR. Texts by Pierre Coulibeuf, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Bruno Di Marino. Actes Sud, 2004.
- ...WIE EIN SCHATTEN IN DER FERNE /...COMME UNE OMBRE LOINTAINE. Co-edition Fine Arts Unternehmen Books, Switzerland / French Embassy in Germany - Bureau du Cinéma - Bureau des Arts Plastiques - AFAA, 2006.
- MICHEL BUTOR MOBILE. Texts by Jean-Luc Nancy, Bruno Di Marino, Pierre Coulibeuf. Yellow Now, 2006.
- PAVILLON NOIR. Interview Angelin Preljocaj, Rudy Ricciotti. Photos by Pierre Coulibeuf. Éditions Xavier Barral, 2006.


Centre d'art contemporain, Domaine de Kerguéhennec, France
Centre d'art contemporain, Vassivière en Limousin, France

Centre d'art contemporain, Domaine de Kerguéhennec, France

28th International Film Festival Rotterdam, The Netherlands
35th Mostra Internazionale del Nuovo Cinema de Pesaro, Italy
23th Mostra Internacional de Cinema de Sao Paulo, Brazil
Image Forum Festival-Experimental Film & Video, Tokyo, Osaka, Yokohama, Fukuoka, Japan
28th International Festival New Media & New Cinema, Montreal, Canada

Centre Pompidou / BPI, Paris
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain
9th BIM/Bienniale of Moving Image, Centre pour l'image contemporaine, Genève, Switzerland

55th Locarno International Film Festival, Locarno, Switzerland
29th Flanders International Film Festival, Gand, Belgium

32th International Film Festival Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
26th Göteborg Film Festival, Sweden
Image Forum Festival-Experimental Film/Video, Tokyo, Kyoto, Yokohama, Fukuoka, Japan
4th Seoul Net & Film Festival, Seoul, Korea
Museum fur Angewandte Kunst, Köln, Germany
ZKM / Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie, Karlsruhe, Germany
Argos Festival, Argos Galerie, Bruxelles, Belgium
10th BIM/Bienniale of Moving Image, Centre pour l'image contemporaine, Genève, Switzerland

3ème Tiburon International Film Festival, California, USA
57th Locarno International Film Festival, Locarno, Switzerland
Théâtre des Salins-Scène Nationale, Martigues, France
Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie, Arles, France
Ultima Festival, Oslo, Norway
Festival Images'04, Vevey, Switzerland

26th FilmFestival Max Ophüls Preis, Sarrebrücken, Germany
Image Forum Festival-Experimental Film & Video : Tokyo (Park Tower Hall) ; Kyoto (Goethe Institut) ; Fukuoka (City Public Library) ; Nagoya (Aichi Arts Center) ; Kanazawa (21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art) ; Yokohama (Yokohama Museum of Art, Japan
Centre d'art du Domaine départemental de Chamarande, France
Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie, Arles, France
58th Locarno International Film Festival, Locarno, Switzerland
Art Star 2 Video Art Biennial, Saw Gallery, Ottawa, Canada
Printemps de Septembre, Toulouse, France
Saw Gallery*, Ottawa, Canada
5th International Bienniale of contemporary Art of Mercosul, Porto Alegre, Brazil
Museo Nacional de Artes Visuales, Montevideo, Uruguay
Museo de Arte Leopoldo Gotuzzo (MALG), Pelotas, Brazil
11th Bienniale of Moving Image, Centre pour l'image contemporaine, Genève, Switzerland
Centre d'art du Domaine départemental de Chamarande, France

Deichtorhallen-Haus der Photographie*, Hamburg, Germany
Galerie der HGB-Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst*, Leipzig, Germany
PLAY_Gallery for still and motion pictures*, Berlin, Germany
Galerie Traversée*, Munich, Germany
Institut français*, Munich, Germany
Institut français*, Düsseldorf, Germany
Neues Museum Weserburg, Bremen, Germany
Kulturni centar Beograda, Belgrade, Serbia
DIVA Fair, New York, USA
LOOP Video Art*, Barcelone, Spain
Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris, France
59th Locarno International Film Festival, Locarno, Switzerland
ART FRANCE BERLIN / PLAY_Gallery for still and motion pictures*, Berlin, Germany
PULSAR Caracas 2006*, Periférico Caracas (G/O), Venezuela
Taïpei Poetry Festival/tpf*, Taïpei, Taiwan
Musée-Château, Annecy, France

(* : solo exhibitions)

ARTICLES (selection) :
- Pierre-Yves Walder, "Le Who's who de Pierre Coulibeuf", Pardo News, 9 August 2006
- Lewis Segal, "Critic's choice: Highlights of Dance Camera West 2006", LOS ANGELES TIMES, 28 May 2006
- Michael Stadler, "Schöner Schwarzer Mann", Abendszeitung, München, Allemagne, 16 May 2006
- Cornelia Gockel, "Wahn und Wirklichkeit", Süddeutsche Zeitung, Allemagne, 11 May 2006
- Zorana Djakovic, "Pariz/Beograd, srodnost po izboru", Danas, Belgrade, Serbie, 15-16 April 2006
- Jean-Luc Douin, "Somewhere in between", Le Monde, 5 April 2006
- Jacques Morice, "Somewhere in between" Télérama n° 2934, 5 April 2006
- Fabienne Arvers, "Somewhere in between", Les Inrockuptibles n° 540, 4 April 2006
- Hendrik Pupat, "Zwischen den Bildern - Pierre Coulibeuf in der Galerie der Leipziger Hochscule für Grafik und Buchkunst, Leipziger Volkszeitung, Allemagne, 3 April 2006 (et 22/3/2006 : "Schaffensprozesse")
- Katrin Bettina Müller, "In viele Häute schlüpfen", Tazplan Berlin, 18 March 2006
- Birgit Kohler, "Somewhere in between - Pierre Coulibeufs Filme", Arsenal Programme, Berlin, March 2006
- Simone Regina, "C'è il demone di Coulibeuf", Il Piccolo, Italie, 17 November 2005
- Vidya Vencatesan, "Creating accidents of destiny", DNA Mumbai, Inde, 15 October 2005
- Zehra Jumabhoy, "The Demon of Passage", TIME OUT MUMBAI, Inde, 7-20 October 2005
- Anna Ängström, "Med Kroppen som blickfang", Svenska Dagbladet, Suède, 11 October 2005
- Äsa Ekelund, "Dansfilm rymmer nagot för alla", Stockholms Fria Tidning, Suède, 7 October 2005
- Camila Molina, "Começa a 5.a Bienal do Mercosul", Arte e Lazer, 30 September 2005
- Roberto Ribeiro, "Cultura: Bienal em Pelotas em forma de videos", DIARIO POPULAR, Pelotas, Brésil, 10 November 2005
- Thomas Hahn, "Somewhere entre-deux", Ballettanz - Das Jahrbuch 2005, Berlin, Allemagne, August 2005
- Joanne Giger, "Image fixe, image-mouvement", Pardo News, Suisse, 3-4 August 2005 - Nelson Di Maggio, "ARTE - Mercosur y Lyon, bienales a la vista", in La Republica-
Uruguay, 17 July 2005
- Frédéric Maire, "Les derniers feux d'Irène", l'Express, Suisse, July 2005
- Towheed Feroze, "Festival of documentaries - Post modernist visions coated with lust" in NEW AGE Time Out (Dhaka, Bangladesh), 25 November 2004
- Marit Stommen, "The Body Laughs Last", Ballettanz, November 2004
- PY W, "Quand le cinéma entre dans la danse", Pardo News, Suisse, 8 August 2004
- Stephan Urbaschek, "Pierre Coulibeuf", in catalogue Fast Forward-Media Art Sammlung Goetz, October 2003
- Gwénola Martel, "'Guerriers' d'emphase - une fiction expérimentale sur l'univers singulier du chorégraphe Jan Fabre", Libération, 17 July 2003
- Thierry Fourneau, "Les guerriers de la beauté", Zeuxis n°11, Summer 2003
- Isabelle Fajardo, "Les guerriers de la beauté", Télérama n° 2792, 19-25 July 2003
- Rosita Boisseau, "La chambre double de W. Forsythe - Le chorégraphe, acteur de cinéma, aveugle séparé du monde", Le Monde, 26 September 2002
- Daniel Kothenschulte, "Durch die Wüste - eine Reise vom Film zur Kunst und zurück auf dem Filmfestival in Locarno", Frankfurter Rundschau, 6 August 2002 (Francfort, Allemagne)
- Marc Mercier, "Vidéo, Croatie : sous le signe du quetzal", Bref n° 46, Autumn 2000
- Emmanuelle Lequeux, "Balkan Baroque", Le Monde-Aden, 15-21 November 2000
- Charles-Edouard Leroux, "Balkan baroque", Le Courrier de Mantes, 15 November 2000
- Myriam Boutoulle, "Marina Abramovic au cinéma - Balkan Baroque", Connaissance des Arts n° 577, November 2000
-, "Balkan Baroque", 22 November 2000
- Yann Gonzalez, "Balkan Baroque", Chronic'art, 22 November 2000
- Frédéric Bas, "Balkan Baroque", Les Cahiers du Cinéma n° 551, November 2000
- Nicolas Thély, "baroque'n' roll", Les Inrockuptibles n° 265, November. 2000
- Marine Landrot, "Balkan Baroque", Télérama n° 2653, 18-24 November 2000
- Gilles Bastogy, "Marina au 3ème degré", Cassandre n° 38, November -December 2000
- Nishijima Norio, "Imageforum Festival 1999", Image Forum-contemporary art and film journal, vol.1 n°1, Summer 1999 (Tokyo, Japon)
- Bruno Di Marino, "Il demone dell'arte", Segno Cinema n° 106, November -December 2000 (Roma, Italy)
- Bruno Di Marino, "Marina recita Abramovic", Ars n° 24, Decembre 1999 (Roma, Italy)
- Philippe Dagen, "C'est de l'art", Le Monde-Suppl. Radio-Télévision, 12 January 1998
- Denys Zacharopoulos, "Insomnie", Arti International n°29, May-June 1996, (Athènes, Grèce)
- Dominique Rabourdin, "C'est de l'art", L'Evénement du jeudi, 17-23 June 1993
- Florence Maillet, "Paroles d'artistes", Le Jour, 16 June 1993
- Michèle Lafabrie, "C'est de l'art", L'Oeil n° 452, June 1993

INTERVIEWS (selection) :
- Elfi Reiter, "La metamorfosi perpetua del guerriero della bellezza - intervista a Pierre Coulibeuf", art'O n° 20, Spring 2006
- "Image fixe, image-mouvement" in Pardo News, Festival international du Film de Locarno, Suisse, 3 et 4 August 2005
- "Entretien avec Pierre Coulibeuf" in Film De Culte ( coulibeuf1.php), interview by Julie Anterrieu, 19 July 2003
- "Le guerrier de la beauté", interview by Stéphane Delanoë in Double n° 4, Winter 2003
- "Close encounters of another kind : Pierre Coulibeuf et Jean-Marc Bustamante", interview and text in Janus n°11, Summer 2002 (Anvers, Belgique)
- "Rencontre avec Pierre Coulibeuf - à propos de Balkan Baroque", interview by Marceau Aidan and Lucien Logette in Jeune Cinéma n° 265, December 2000
- "A propos de Balkan Baroque et de quelques autres films", interview by Gisèle Breteau-Skira, in Zeuxis n°1, Autumn 2000