Kenyon College

Johan Grimonprez (Belgian, b. 1962)


Johan Grimonprez’s critically acclaimed work dances on the borders of practice and theory, art and cinema, documentary and fiction, demanding a double take on the part of the viewer. Informed by an archeology of present-day media, his work seeks out the tension between the intimate and the bigger picture of globalization. It questions our contemporary sublime, one framed by a fear industry that has infected political and social dialogue. By suggesting new narratives through which to tell a story, his work emphasizes a multiplicity of histories and realities.

Grimonprez’s curatorial projects have been exhibited at museums worldwide, including the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; the Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich; and MoMA. His works are in the collections of Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa; and Tate Modern, London. His feature films include dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y (1997) and Double Take (2009). Traveling the main festival circuit from the Berlinale to Sundance, they garnered several Best Director awards, the 2005 ZKM International Media Award, a Spirit Award and the 2009Black Pearl Award at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, and were also acquired by NBC Universal, ARTE, and BBC/FILM 4.

In 2011 Hatje Cantz Verlag published a reader on his work titled Johan Grimonprez: It’s a Poor Sort of Memory that Only Works Backwards, with contributions by Jodi Dean, Thomas Elsaesser, Tom McCarthy, Hans Ulrich Obrist, and Slavoj Žižek. Grimonprez currently divides his time between Brussels and New York, where he participated in the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. His current film project (with investigative journalist Andrew Feinstein), Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade, was awarded a production grant from the Sundance Institute and premiered in at the 2016 Tribeca International Film festival in New York. It went on to win the Best Documentary Feature Award at the 2015 Edinburgh International Film Festival.

His distributors are Soda Pictures and Kino Lorber International, and his artwork is represented by the Sean Kelly Gallery (New York), and the gallerie kamel mennour (Paris).

Bio courtesy of the artist.

Image credit: Photo by Jean-Pierre Stoop provided courtesy of artist.