artist cyril duval’s explosive inauguration day video

In his new film, Cyril Duval lights on fire unlicensed images of Mickey Mouse, a large order of McDonald’s fries, a Shell oil logo, as well as the man of the hour, our newly inaugurated President Donald Trump. The artist has kidnapped these loaded images, materialized here as peppy piñatas, and dragged them to the edge of the California desert.

Fluent in the visual language of corporate identity and advertising, the artist—one-third of the stylish art-and-fashion collective Shanzhai Biennial—has collaborated with many brands, instantly recognizable to an attuned audience: Paris boutique colette, Commes des Garçons, and DIS magazine. Duval also designed Bernhard Willhelm’s Tokyo boutique.

For his first film, NUII, the French artist reveals his catharsis in destroying the products, and debris, of a capitalist system. The camera follows a pair of unnamed figures, dressed in black under the blazing midday sun with a menacing soundscape of Bill Clinton speeches and ambient music. The two travel over train tracks into Rice, an abandoned ghost town near the border of Nevada, and East Jesus, at the very end of the drying Salton Sea, taking the hostage ornaments to meet their fate: an enraged baseball bat and, eventually, a flame.

Tonight’s screening is hosted by the 501(c)3 Foundation, at the Bethlehem Baptist Church in South Central L.A.—a white 1944 Modernist design by conceptual Austrian architect Rudolph Schindler, known for designing spaces to accommodate communal living and idealized social relations. The question for the audience in the pews is not what to do with the confetti erupting from the tokens on-screen, but what to do with their ashes.

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