BIO PORTFOLIO

After two years spent at the Faculty of Theology of Geneva, Romain Kronenberg studies musical theory, Jazz and electro-acoustic composition at the Conservatoire Supérieur de musique de Genève. Between 2001 and 2005 at IRCAM where he works as a composer and sound designer, he collaborates with visual artists such as Ugo Rondinone, Pierre Huyghe, Melik Ohanian and Thierry Kuntzel who open him to video art. Since 2005, he gradually extends his practice to other disciplines : performance sculpture, photography, cinema and writing. Firstly contemplative, his work progressively gets narrative, through sounds then words. Since 2015, narrations are at the heart of his projects.

In 2008, Romain is an artist in residency at Palais de Tokyo then in 2009 at Villa Kujoyama (Kyoto). He shows his work at Centre Pompidou, Palais de Tokyo, Fondation Galeries Lafayette, Fondation Fiminco, Centquatre, Onomichi Museum, Hiroshima Art Document, Kyoto Art Center, Mardin Biennial, Institute for contemporary arts of Singapore etc… His films are screened at Festival Côté Court (Pantin), Rencontres Internationales Paris-Berlin, International Film Festival of Rotterdam, Loop Barcelona, Mk2 Beaubourg, Gaité Lyrique, etc… In 2017, he directs Rien ne s’oppose au jour produced by Delphine Schmit. The film receives the Award for the best original music (Sacem) at the Festival Côté Court. 

In 2019, Romain creates the project Tout est vrai (All is true) where narration is carried by a network of artworks and mediums (performance, novel, photography, sculpture, reading and film), appearing in different places (the space of the shooting of the film, festivals, cinemas) during an exhibition at the Galerie Sator (Paris). His next project, Boaz, will follow the same dynamic.

CV (english)

PORTFOLIO (english)

TOUT EST VRAI

TOUT EST VRAI (2018-2019) – film 52 min, sculpture, photographs, novel, performance, reading.

DOSSIER DE PRESENTATION EN FRANCAIS (30p)

PRESENTATION FILE IN ENGLISH (30p)

“Last June, the video artist and composer Romain Kronenberg created one of the most beautiful thing that was seen lately”. Emmanuelle Lequeux, excerpt from “The most beautiful artworks of 2019”, in Beaux-Arts N°426, December 2019.

A FRAGILE TENSION

A FRAGILE TENSION – installation for two screens. Original languages : French & Kurdish. Version with English subtitles available.

VIDÉO – A fragile tension is the completion of a process made of several steps, that first consisted in the making of two invididual artworks : Nothing but earth, drier and drier and The shape of its body with the excess of dust. Conceived as a diptych, this work puts side by side two situations and two territories as the countershot of each other : a man who left aboard a cargo ship in search of a new world, two men who stayed behind waiting for the scout to show the way ; a cargo ship on the high seas, an arid land ; two kurdish speaking men, a french speaking man ; but the same radio transmitter that allows for contact that slowly gets lost, and most of all a shared stake, universal : the necessity to believe.

CREDITS – with Mehmet Korkut, Mazlum Adıgüzel, Adrien Dantou & Baver Doğanay. Kurdish translation by Kawa Nemir.

Myths of Romain Kronenberg (excerpt) – Jean-Luc Nancy, 2017

Against the backdrop of a marine or rocky vastness. Against the backdrop of an empty cité or of cargo no less deserted. The backdrop is precisely what takes place without a place: enormous and far-off heaps, transfers on site, deep thrusts—as well as drifts, departures, wanderings asserting their rather precise disposition.

We listen. We observe. One and the same gesture films and speaks. One same image emerging from the backdrop and then sinking within it.

Within it ? What, exactly ? the backdrop ? the faces ? the images ? the words ? the thoughts ? even to the bottom of this name, which seems crafted by way of myths, legends, and memorial fables: Romain Kronenberg, the empire of the crowned mountains. Much like a word obstinately whispered and mumbled by a lost voyager.

RIEN NE S’OPPOSE AU JOUR

RIEN NE S’OPPOSE AU JOUR – film / installation. Original language : French. Version with English subtitles available.

FILM – A symbiotic love unites TWO with ONE, two women living a contemporary house plunged into an infinite night. Day after day, terrifying and cosmic dreams disturb TWO’s sleep. As a result, the whole house gets shaken. First, ONE tries to reassure TWO. But she soon understands that the drawings she secretly produces and that prepare a radical action she’s about to commit are behind the dreams devastating TWO. Despite her love, ONE achieves her project. Under the gaze of her beloved passing away, ONE gives birth to the daylight, and dies in her turn, irreconcilable with the world she just let emerge and that announces humanity.

Produced by Delphine Schmit (Perspective Films), a film by Romain Kronenberg with Audrey Bonnet & Nathalie Richard. DOP : Julia Mingo. Music : Romain Kronenberg. Stage assistant : Tünde Deak. Electrician : Thomas Coulomb. Sound engineer : Alix Clément. Thanks to Julien Campus & Yannis Motte (BO.A Architecture) & Joël Davesne.

SACEM prize for the best original music, Festival Côté Court de Pantin 2018.

LA FORME DE SON CORPS AVEC L’EXCES DE SABLE

LA FORME DE SON CORPS AVEC L’EXCÈS DE SABLE – film / installation. Original language : French. Version with English subtitles available.

FILM – (english title : The shape of his body with the excess of dust) A young man is traveling on a cargo ship, crossing the oceans. Thanks to a radio, he keeps the contact with some men that he met on the road, soon after he went into exile. He tells them the decline of his motherland, that was set to fire in the hope of freeing inhabitants from the Myth become devitalised. Soon, any radio transmission is lost ; the distance is getting too long. From now on disconnected and lonely, the main character embarks upon a long monologue taking the shape of a poem where he evokes torpor and hope, past and future, the map and the compass symbolised by the ocean that the movement of the cargo ship splits in a trail of froth.

CREDITS – With Adrien Dantou, Florian Desbiendras & Julia Mingo.

JUSQU’AUX REGIONS QUI GISENT AU-DELA DE LA MER

JUSQU’AUX RÉGIONS QUI GISENT AU-DELÀ DE LA MER – film / installation. Version with English subtitles available.

FILM – (English title : To the regions lying beyond the seas) In a disused factory, between metallic tanks, pipes weaving along the walls, gangways and countless windows overlooking the sky, a man and a woman welcome their son back home. They wash, eat and don’t speak much except at night when, to help him get to sleep, they tell the creation of the world, the birth of gods, the birth of the son, and men, and the tie between these entities whose balance they disrupt, out of love and until abandon.

CREDITS – With Lucie Boujenah, Adrien Dantou & Léo Pochat. DOP Julia Mingo.

” Toute la mélancolie de la génération Y au milieu des machines dans une troublante vidéo “ (Emmanuelle Lequeux – Le Monde 27.02.2017)

RIEN QUE DE LA TERRE, ET DE PLUS EN PLUS SECHE

RIEN QUE DE LA TERRE, ET DE PLUS EN PLUS SÈCHEfilm (18min) / installation. Original language : Kurdish. English subtitles available.

FILM – (english title : Nothing but earth, drier and drier) Two men are settled in an inhospitable land waiting for a scout to come back. He has gone in search of a new land where life would again be possible. The two teams keep in contact thanks to radio transmitters. The scout regularly gives news, telling his journey and the infinite desert that more and more surrounds him. All day long, the two men stayed behind are waiting for the scout to give news. Unfortunately, the quality of the signal in the radio transmitter is getting bad. Interferences appear until the voice completely disappears. The two men have lost contact with the scout and now face their own responsibility. Divergences appear.

CREDITS – with Mehmet Korkut, Mazlum Adıgüzel & Baver Doğanay. Kurdish translation by Kawa Nemir. Produced by Romain Kronenberg.

SO LONG AFTER SUNSET AND SO FAR FROM DAWN

SO LONG AFTER SUNSET AND SO FAR FROM DAWN – 2014-15 – film (7min) / installation. Original language : Kurdish. Version with English subtitles available.

FILM – Oscillating between the birth and decline of light, night plunges the ruins of Ani (ancient Armenian capital) and some under construction buildings of Mardin (at the Syrian border) into the blueish glows of their own destinies, between past and future, in a uncertain present. Subtitles accompany the film where a dialog builds up between titans and gods, two mythological opposite entities symbolising mechanical and organic, order and desire, and reveal their tragic irreconciability.

INSTALLATION – The installation So long after sunset and so far from dawn is made of a screen and two photographs displayed side by side, all of the same height and constituting a fresco. In the film, a Kurdish and subtitled voice, treated as music and accompanied by other musical elements, unfolds an imaginary dialog between a Titan and a God.

CREDITS film, music, texts and photographs by Romain Kronenberg / Kurdish translation by Kawa Nemir / with Mehmet Korkut and Mazlum Adıgüzel.

CATALOGUE DU 61ème SALON DE MONTROUGE – Guillaume Désanges

Romain Kronenberg (a musician and film-maker) develops a work in sparseness and precision, a way of sublimating a complexity of affects and thoughts in the simplicity of the object (material and cinematographic).

He designs hybrid installations, kind of total artworks, somewhere between sculpture, music, photography and film, forming landscapes arising from the spatial explosion of a film, and organised around recurrent objects, at once sculpture sculptures in space and props, or even fully-fledged characters.

Based on a dense network of references, intentional as much as intuitive (and whose outlines, let us wager, depends as much on the spectator as on the artist), the work proceeds on a game of non-control or theoretical “letting-go”, giving pride of place to the imagination. Relying on the emergence of chance within an established programme, there is a sort of poetic relay of the discourse which determines its forms. Among the motifs hidden in the folds of the narrative, we find the issues of life force and stagnation, progress and decline, never in a Manichaean way (or even dialectically), but in a logic of identity-related tension, like the two sides of one and the same reality. This unity of opposites is very present in Romain Kronenberg’s film writing, just as the figure of a time curled up or folded beneath the form of a tight arc, between power and fragility. Based on the resurgence of the fantastic and myth in contemporary reality, it is the eye which the work casts on a current state of the world which is the most disturbing, shedding indirect light on the marks of a change of civilisation, somewhere between resistance, resignation, hope and destruction.

PUTTING TIME BACK INTO THE CITY: IMPRESSIONS FROM THE 3RD MARDIN BIENNIAL (excerpts) – Gökcan Demirkazık

What happens when references are too far removed from one another, when myths, the mythologized and facts collide and collapse onto one another? So long after sunset and so far from dawn (2014), Paris-based artist Romain Kronenberg’s arresting video, juxtaposes new high-rises being built in outer Mardin with the stoic yet somber remnants of the Armenian medieval city of Ani (located in present-day Kars). The apartment blocks rise seemingly in the middle of nowhere, encircled by the vast emptiness of Mardin plains, as the story of the fall of the Titans is narrated through subtitles. Minimal modulations of the two-tone electronic ambient sound occasionally mix with something akin to a whistle; the camera cuts from one view to another, switching between the abandoned and the not-yet-occupied.

In the video, the cranes over construction sites become “the great columns that support the sky,” whose guardian, Atlas, not only has to bear the weight of the heavens, but also that of loneliness. The absence of human activity, which will soon materialize anyways in the newly built environment, allows one to see more clearly how the ruins of Ani constitute memento mori for the expanding city. Kronenberg extends the “temporal relief” in Aktaş’s work, the suggested locus of all mythology, into a Bergsonian time spiral, and overlays it with elements like love and faith that immediately recall cycles of life. The simultaneously (homo)erotic and messianic addresses of the unidentified narrator to Atlas subvert a monolithic understanding of myth-making (in the Greco-Roman tradition) limited to patriarchal struggles among gods and demi-gods, and Zeus’ violation of beautiful women.

ETE PERPETUEL

ETE PERPETUEL2015-16 – Film (43min) / installation. Original language : French. English subtitles available.

FILM – (English title : Perpetual summer) Jeanne, 40 years old, is isolated in the garden of a summer house where she settled with Louis several years before, after the slaughter. Since then, her beloved has drowned swimming in the pool. Now lonely, she revives Louis’s memory practicing a dialectic game where she lends her voice and intelligence to let the confrontation of their contradictory natures reappear. Indeed Louis was an enthusiastic man willing to fight who opposed her skeptical character. As the game unfolds, the memory of Louis becomes so real that he appears under Jeanne’s eyes. Shaken, she leaves the game and lets herself drop into the pool where she experiments both the accident of her beloved and her own abandonment. After leaving the water, she sings a poem where she mourns for him going through the diversity of emotions she experimented since he passed away. During the poem, time slowly stretches until it stops. And starts again twenty years before, a few days before the accident.

INSTALLATION – The exhibition of Été perpétuel preceded the shooting of the film. Objects contributing its making were gathered : rehearsals texts sculptures photographs, and the public invited to move in the possibility of this film to come.

CREDITS – With Audrey Bonnet, Lucie Boujenah & Louis Berthélemy. Sculptures by Benjamin Graindorge. Film, music & dialogues by Romain Kronenberg. With the support of the Fondation Galeries Lafayette / Villa Bernasconi, City of Lancy, Geneva.

Film previews (2015)

Fondation Galeries Lafayette – Paris (2015)

Centre Pompidou – Paris, Nouveau Festival (2015)

Villa Bernasconi – Genève (2015)

HELIOPOLIS

HELIOPOLIS – 2015-16 – film (30min) / installation. Original languages : Turkish & Kurdish. Version with English subtitles available.

FILM – Mardin, Turkey, 2015. In a future where all is still to be built, between concrete and workers of a construction site, between Turkish and Kurdish, four young men read the story of an imaginary city : “in Heliopolis, two communities have gathered in response to the call of the Myth of climate disorders : the myth says that any life outside of the former abandoned City-state turned into shelter has become impossible. At first, life is organised in an organic dynamic, soon endangered by apathy where two archaic political systems resurface. A coup d’état is coming”. The text of Heliopolis – that I addressed to the people living in the area of Mardin as the consequence of political troubles I experienced there in 2014 – as much as the portrait of the four young men facing their own condition through the reading, are revealed by the film – and all the potential of relationships to be made between reality and fiction.

CREDITS – With Mazlum Adıgüzel, Baver Doğanay, Mehmet Korkut & Hayrettin Yavuz.