ARTIST ROOMS: Johan Grimonprez

Who is this man? Who is the real Alfred Hitchcock? I shall begin by correcting several misconceptions about myself, which have grown up over the years. It is high time I set the record straight...                                                              -          Alfred Hitchcock

Who is this man? Who is the real Alfred Hitchcock? I shall begin by correcting several misconceptions about myself, which have grown up over the years. It is high time I set the record straight...                                                              -          Alfred Hitchcock

This exhibition ran within Caithness Horizons Museum from 11th March until 4th June 2017

In 2003, the Belgian multimedia artist Johan Grimonprez began working on Looking for Alfred. Originally conceived as a homage to Alfred Hitchcock, Grimonprez’s work weaves a narrative around the legendary director’s cameo appearances in his own films to reflect on the nature of doubling and repetition. Looking for Alfred (2005) features Ron Burrage, who led a double life as a Hitchcock impersonator, amongst a long, diverse line of Hitchcock doubles who auditioned for the film. 

From his fascination with the phenomenon of the lookalike, Grimonprez has developed a huge body of work, including films, audio, text, drawings and storyboards. This exhibition brings together works by Grimonprez inspired by Alfred Hitchcock, drawn from the ARTIST ROOMS collection of international modern and contemporary art, alongside works lent from the artist’s own collection. 

The exhibition displayed three pieces by Grimonprez over the three month period.  Film piece 'Looking for Alfred.' (2005) The casting material for Looking for Alfred, rather than being thought of as out-takes, extends the artist’s search for the perfect double in Hitchcock’s Castings, London, June (2005).  Both of these were film pieces and 'Hitchcock didn’t have a bellybutton' (2009)  which explored the mystery of this internet rumour. Intrigued by the idea that there may have been no genuine Hitchcock after all, but instead many doubles, Grimonprez pursued the story, resulting in the recorded transcript of Karen Black, Hitchcock’s famous female protagonist who featured in the director’s final film, Family Plot (1976).

Follow the links below to read about the Education programme that ran alongside the exhibition. 

About the artist

Johan Grimonprez (b. 1962) is interested in ideas of identity in filmmaking, blending documentary and fictional accounts of events. He came to prominence in 1997 with his work dial H-I-S-T-0-R-Y, a montage of archival news broadcasts, movie clips and amateur film footage, which is also part of the ARTIST ROOMS collection. He often uses juxtaposition, offbeat humour, and archive material in his work, inviting us to look again at what we first thought was true.

About ARTIST ROOMS

The ARTIST ROOMS collection is shared with museums and galleries across the UK. 40 million people have visited ARTIST ROOMS exhibitions and 600,000 young people have taken part in creative learning projects in their hometowns.

The collection is jointly owned by the National Galleries of Scotland and Tate and was established in 2008 through The d’Offay Donation with the assistance of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, Art Fund, and the Scottish and British Governments. The current programme of ARTIST ROOMS across the UK is a partnership until spring 2019 with Ferens Art Gallery, supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, Art Fund and the National Lottery through Creative Scotland.

This is the second time Caithness Horizons has shown work from the ARTIST ROOMS collection and also the second time that Alfred Hitchcock’s presence has been felt at the museum following the 2014 ARTIST ROOMS: Douglas Gordon exhibition, which explored similar themes.

Image:  Johan Grimonprez Looking for Alfred 2005 (film still). ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Lent by Anthony d'Offay 2010. Courtesy Zapomatik and Film & Video Umbrella. Quote from Alfred Hitchcock’s after-dinner speech at the Screen Producers Guild Dinner, March 7, 1965 in Hitchcock on Hitchcock: Selected Writings and Interviews by Edward Allardice, ed. Sidney Gottlieb; University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1995