With L’Année Prochaine, Singaporean Artist Ming Wong revisits an icon of the Nouvelle Vague : L’Année dernière à Marienbad (1961) by Alain Resnais, written by Alain Robbe-Grillet. This film is still famous for the ambiguity of its narrative structure and its innovative cinematic language. The camera reflects the pace of the mind through repetition, reversal, freeze frame, and captures reality, memory, and illusion while inventing a sequential order different even from the internal logic of the montage.
L’Année Prochaine is no remake of the original movie, but a variation on the unequivocal shift desired by Resnais. Ming Wong emphasizes and confirms the loss of temporal and spatial markers by engaging in a dialectical and iconographic collage.
The Brest project is the second version of the piece initially produced for Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing in 2015. In this first version shor in the French Concession district in Shanghai, the artist performs both male and female characters. Notions of identity and gender fade as much as assert themselves in a strange and complex atmosphere. For Passerelle Centre d’art contemporain – Brest, a new editing combines the existing new scenes with new shots at Nymphenburg and Schleissheim Castles in Bavaria – where the film was originally shot in 1961 –, excerpts from the original film and from Hiroshima, mon amour (1959, by Resnais as well, written by Marguerite Duras) shot in Japan and in the streets of French city Nevers.
Between the meanders of time and forgetfulness advocated by L’Année dernière à Marienbad and passionate love inhabited by Atomic anxiety in Hiroshima, mon amour, this referential collage ignores the sacrosanct rule of unity of time, action and space.
Representation and narrative levels meet there, overlap and blur. The result is a floating, dreamlike and pointedly artificial universe in a pure Dadaist logic that overcomes the notion of authorship and affiliation of the work.
The space of L’Année Prochaine is not real but mental. It’s colluding different realities and fictions to produce what Max Ernst called the “spark of poetry that arises from the approximation of the realities.”