VOX — Centre de l’image contemporaine

Bryony Dunne, _Surrender Your Horns_, 2022, film, 1h. Courtesy of the artist and Vidéographe.

Vidéographe x VOX
Bryony Dunne
Anna Grigorian

2023.10.24 - 10.28


Vidéographe and VOX are proud to be copresenting video installations by Bryony Dunne and Anna Grigorian.

This exhibition seeks to shed light on the colonial and patriarchal structures of oppression that govern our relationships with one another. By combining documentary content with more theatrical approaches to video, the artists propose a surprisingly sensitive and political reflection on violence. Whether aimed at endangered species, as in Dunne’s Surrender Your Horns (2021), or manifesting the persistent and widespread sexism of Armenian culture, as revealed in Grigorian’s Room | Սենյակ (2021), violence is observed from an empathetic approach as a means of resolving its consequences.

Under the guise of surrealism or a whimsical transcription of the world, these works challenge our perceptions and thus depict the profound challenges marginalized groups and endangered species face.



Bryony Dunne, Surrender Your Horns (2022)

The human imagination can conjure wonderful shapes, sights and sounds. It can also express itself in a darker light. Surrender Your Horns (2022), the debut feature film by Bryony Dunne, examines the potential consequences of that destructive side of our imagination. It is an episodic narrative that places blame for the extinction of the rhinoceros on the human imagination. To illustrate the dysfunctional complexity of our relationship to nature, Dunne has chosen a being with a rhino’s head as her main character, which serves as the catalyst for conversations between the narrator and various people responsible for the disappearance of this majestic mammal.

Straddling the documentary and science fiction / fantasy genres, this project employs a fairy-tale frame to question our anthropocentric worldview. In interviews with scientists, poachers and veterinarians, Dunne explores humans’ fascination with the symbolism of the horn, both in utopian and mercantile terms. When associated with the unicorn, the horn represents fantasies of power and wealth, while in its modern transcription, illustrated by the rhino, it signifies the gratification of carnal desires. This is sadly justified by the protagonists: each has their reasons for exploiting the horned beast.

Surrender Your Horns is a theatrical portrayal, an epic tale that tragically illustrates human beings’ fundamental inability to communicate. As such, it resonates as an appeal to reconsider our very presence in and coexistence with the world around us.

Anna Grigorian, Room | Սենյակ (2021)

In an age characterized by daily overexposure to violent imagery, Anna Grigorian’s film Room (2021) pursues an unexpected tangent, deconstructing the conventions of portrayals of violence. In performing her sense of powerlessness toward the oppression of women in Armenia, the filmmaker takes a surreal approach to her subjects, evincing the disconcerting trivialization of uncommonly brutal acts.

In an Absurdist theatre setting, she films the spectral forms of two black-clad characters, translucent against a black backdrop. Their white-gloved hands mime the film’s narrative schema: the murders of women. The soundtrack uses medical and legal language strategically excerpted from police reports, creating an emotional disconnect that the artist felt was necessary to deal with such a subject. By using these techniques, Grigorian flattens out the emotional intensity of her message, putting up a lexical and visual barrier between these women’s dreadful stories and the viewer. The situations are depicted in a way that makes us think about rather than feel them, resulting in a work that is both cold and excruciating.

The hands guide us through the cacophonic maze of the narrator’s words, the protagonists’ methodical movements distancing us from the inhumanity of the subject while still enabling its intrinsic tragedy to be expressed. Grigorian divests violence of all artifice, thereby revealing the raw brutality of its consequences, and in turn the harrowing reality of every case of abuse.