Paranormal phenomena and UFOs at the CaixaForum

Tony Oursler, in his exhibition.

Tony Oursler, in his exhibition.

Multimedia actor and friend of David Bowie, Tony Oursler (New York, 1957) explores supernatural phenomena and UFOs through L7-L5 and Imponderable, two works written more than 30 years apart. Deeply influenced by his father and elder’s fondness for charm and appearances, the comedian explained that this work was the blueprint of his life and that he created it at a very different time in his career. where “he was doing immersive projects”. “.

L7-L5, Oursler’s first video installation (1984), and the film Imponderable (2015-2016), will be exhibited on the second floor of the CaixaForum in Barcelona until September 3. In the plays, the comedian wonders about the role of the supernatural in Western societies: “Between 40% and 50% of Americans believe in ghosts and UFOs. It is an efficiency that is there, that must be dismantled, and which had a “fundamental role in Donald Trump’s alternative to the presidency”, ironically the comedian.

The director of the Contemporary Art Collection of the La Caixa Foundation, Nimfa Bisbe, explains that “it is a source of pride” to be able to obtain the L7-L5 exhibition and to be able to complete it with the feature film Imponderable, juxtaposed with d Other images and documents of the comedian included in one are exhibited in another room. “We are in the presence of one of the most important contemporary artists of our time”, he adds.

The central camera (L7-L5) integrated into the LOO festival is an installation combining moving images projected on pieces of glass, ambient sounds and sculptures. Its main data is a looping video in Pepper’s Ghost, a technique used for spell casting. It shows the hands of a woman drawing supposedly “intimate” encounters with extraterrestrials on a sheet of paper.

“In the 1980s, I placed an ad in The Village Voice, an American pamphlet, offering a financial reward to anyone who reported UFO sightings to me. That’s how I contacted Victoria, the woman who claimed to have had relations with extraterrestrials”, says the comedian. .

Through advertising in the brochure, Oursler collected hundreds of photos of alleged UFO sightings. “I did it as a hobby with no intention of showing it in the future. Because of the confusion, while my son was sleeping, I took the opportunity to study the pictures,” he said.

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His research was eventually published in a tome called Imponderable, which bears the same name as the film. “The unpredictable is the X in every riddle or theory that scientists like Einstein have faced and been unable to decipher,” added Oursler, who collaborated with David Bowie on the 2013 music video Where are we now.

A small selection of the comedian’s personal archive, made up of more than 2,500 images, publications, apparitions, UFOs and satanic cults, is on display in another room of the CaixaForum filled with paranormal objects, photographs of the Oursler tribe and the magician Harry Houdini, among other documents.

In a third room, the feature film Imponderable is projected, a film which, in an hour and a half, summarizes his obsession with paranormal phenomena with characters such as Houdini, Sherlock Holmes and its creator, the writer Arthur Conan Doyle, by illusion of optics. . techniques

In fact, Oursel explained how his old man, who had always been interested in ghost photography, asked Conan Doyle to review fake ghost images. “He laid a trap for him. The writer told him they were real, and my old man sent him a letter explaining how he forged them. Although they get along perfectly and there were no disagreements,” he says.

He also pointed to the friendship he formed with Houdini, with whom he spent years “disqualifying paranormal phenomena from the media.”

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