Stéphan Crasneanscki: Godard’s Boxes


Film Mutations and the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, in collaboration with the literature festival vRIsak, invite you to GODARD’S BOXES – an exhibition of photographs of found archivalia, a sound composition, and the presentation of the photo-book What We Leave Behind | From the Archives of Jean-Luc Godard by a multidisciplinary artist Stéphan Crasneanscki, inspired by Godard’s personal archive. The event will open on September 10, 2023 at 18:30 at the Jaslice Hall of MMSU in Rijeka. Stéphan Crasneanscki appropriates and artistically reactivates Godard’s personal museum of the film century as a case study of radical cinematic self-archiving by repeating some of the infinite jump cuts and reframings.

The title of the book and sound composition What we leave behind | From the Archives of Jean-Luc Godard follows the traces of the rhizomatic interstices of the artistic-curatorial research of Stéphane Crasneansky and his experimental Soundwalk Collective after being introduced in 2014 by Godard’s sound engineer François Musy to the vast repository of Godard’s film century, located in Cantal, France. Endless series of cardboard boxes were classified and packed by Godard himself, with no names and no numbers. The boxes were unfolded by Crasneanscki for a photographically remedialized kino-eye of Godardian pedagogy that theorizes and terrorizes with the vertigo of spacing, interstices and superimpositions, transparencies and the shimmering shadows of text, layered dissolves and multiple exposures, cutting and tearing of found images. It is the sphinx of still photography, as Serge Daney wrote about Godard’s still images.

We are standing in front of 13 frames of Godard’s sphinxes behind museum glass in photographs by Stéphan Crasneanscki. Some undecidably reflect 2 or 3 cinematic or erotic questions. But most retain the viewer’s look holding on desire to blow-up the shadows of torn images. We are witnessing the practices of slow motion, condensation, simultaneity of leafing through a false continuities to the embryos of images. Godard’s sphinxes juxtapose transparencies of Goya’s The Nude Maja (La maja desnuda), the doubled ecstasy of Guido Cagnacci’s The Death of Lucretia (La morte di Lucrezia), the interventional frame of Hope (L’Esperance) by Pierre Puvis de Charannes, the disembodied The Penitent Magdalen (La Madeleine pénitente) by Georges de la Tour, the re-cut mise-en-scène of Botticelli’s reconstruction of The Calumny of Appelles (Calunnia), and the lower segment of Munch’s drawing Death and Woman (Jenta og dødsfallet). Beneath the glass text, the photographic mise-en-abîme awaits to be blown-up by the viewer’s eyes.

Boxes do not protect in space but postpone in time, as Roland Barthes wrote in his Empire of Signs about the Japanese art of packaging. One of Godard’s transparencies in Stéphan Crasneanscki’s photo-book, next to page 115, is a torn out black-and-yellow newspaper photogram from Oshima’s Empire of the Senses. In the depth of the frame, the text is mirrored, with the French title L’Empire des sens and the handwritten inscription Harmonica at the top, and a pinched cut floating at the bottom and on the right side of the paper. Stéphan Crasneansky’s living archive for Godard’s boxes of the postponed times.

Tanja Vrvilo

The artist’s photo-book What We Leave Behind | From the Archives of Jean-Luc Godard (Libraryman, 2021) unfolds four precisely structured series of photographs: BOXES-COLLAGES-STILL LIFES-NOTES. Stéphan Crasneanscki and Abel Ferrara talk between BOXES and COLLAGES, and between COLLAGES and STILL LIFES we read Antoine de Baecque’s essay Godard Inventory: How He organizes His Library. The book opens with the poetic prologue The Reluctant Master by Patti Smith.


Curators: Tanja Vrvilo, Branka Benčić


Production: Film-protufilm (Zagreb), Muzej moderne i suvremene umjetnosti (Rijeka)

In partnership with: vRIsak – 16. riječki sajam knjiga i festival autora, Studio Naegeli (Gstaad)


Curatorial support: Anna Högl (Studio Naegeli)

In collaboration with: Simone Merli, Douglas Pisterman – Soundwalk Collective, Christian Högl – Studio Naegeli, Tony Cederteg – Libraryman, DB Indoš, Drago Glamuzina, Ivan Šarar – vRIsak – V.B.Z.

Editor of programme booklet: Tanja Vrvilo

Texts, notes, translations: Stéphan Crasneanscki, Patti Smith, Antoine de Baecque, Marina Schumann, Tanja Vrvilo

Design of poster and booklet: Damir Gamulin

Web page: Gaetano Liberti

Technical support and exhibition setup: Vanja Pužar, Anton Samaržija (MMSU, Rijeka)

Transportation: Tomislav Crnković (Panda Wheels), Vadium

The programme is taking place as part of FILM MUTATIONS – SERIES OF INVISIBLE CINEMA, a long-term project of art organisation Film-protufilm on the politics of film curatorship and modes of migration of the cinematic dispositive in digital era, curated by Tanja Vrvilo.

Supported by: Hrvatski audiovizualni centar, Ministarstvo kulture i medija Republike Hrvatske, Grad Zagreb – Gradski ured za kulturu i civilno društvo, Grad Rijeka, Language Barrier Productions.

Photographs, sound composition and book courtesy of: Stéphan Crasneansckog, Soundwalk Collective, Libraryman, Studio Naegeli.


Stéphan Crasneanscki is a multidisciplinary artist, born in Odessa. In 2000, he founded the audio-visual platform Soundwalk Collective in New York, joined by the producer and sound artist Simone Merli and a wide group of artists and musicians on long-term projects that are related to specific places and develop conceptual, transnational, performative, and discursive art practices in different media – from art installations, dance, music, photography and film to books, analog and digital albums. The approach to composition combines anthropology, ethnography, non-linear narrative, psycho-geography, landscape politics and explorations in recordings and synthesis. Their collaborations include: Patti Smith, Abel Ferrara, Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Luc Nancy, Sasha Waltz, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Jesse Paris Smith, Mulatu Astatke, Nan Goldin, H.E. Hussain Al Jassmi, Willem Dafoe, Zhou Dongyu, Nina Kraviz, Wim Wenders, Jean Nouvel, Isabelle Adjani, Elodie Bouchez, Laetitia Casta, Catherine Deneuve, Isabelle Huppert, Isild Le Besco, Anna Mouglalis, Charlotte Rampling. They have exhibited and performed at the Opéra de Lyon, CTM Festival, KW Institute of Contemporary Art, Barbican Centre, Berghain, Centre Georges Pompidou, Florence Gould Hall, Mobile Art by Zaha Hadid Hong Kong, MUDAM, MuCEM, Museo Madre, National Museum Singapore, New Museum, Palazzo Reale Milan, La Triennale, Radialsystem V, documenta14 in Athens and Kassel, Funkhaus Berlin, Manifesta12 Palermo, and elsewhere.

Opening: 10/9 at 6:30 pm