Conversation with David Claerbout
Led by Christoph Wiesner, Artistic director of Paris Photo
Wednesday 10 January 2018, at 7 pm

Practical Information

The Algiers’ Sections of a Happy Moment, major work of the exhibition Ways of Seeing, interprets an ephemeral moment in a long slide show which slowly unfolds on a musical background. Belgian artist David Claerbout revisits the process behind this piece and his conception of photography during a conversation led by Christoph Wiesner, Artistic director of Paris Photo.


The Algiers’ Sections of a Happy Moment, 2008
The work is set in a small soccer field on a roof of the casbah of Algier, with a view over the labyrinth of houses facing the Mediterranean Sea.

Young Maghrebians surrounded by a group of elderly pause their soccer game as one of the players feeds a group of eager seagulls.

The succession of images of this ‘happy’ moment reflects a lifelong project to open up what Claerbout terms as ‘the suspicious gaze’; this work investigates a recent fixation against a particular group of people. At the core of his artistic practice is the passage of time as a tool for relaxation of that suspicious gaze, and in general an attempt to reconsider what we see.

For this piece more than 50,000 photographs have been captured and after a lengthy selection process, 600 projected photos were carefully composed to create this continuous moment in time.


David Claerbout (born 1969, Kortrijk, Belgium) is one of the most innovative and acclaimed artists working in the realm of moving images today, his oeuvre exists at the intersection of photography, film and digital technology.

He trained as a painter, but became more and more interested in time through investigations in the nature of photography and film. Fusing together the past, present and future into stunning moments of temporal elasticity, his works present profound and moving philosophical contemplations on our perception of time and reality, memory and experience, truth and fiction.

Using pixel constellations, image sequences, light, speed, speech, music and ambient sound, installation environment and the technologies used to convey these, his strikingly sensual compositions elicit new modes of perceptual absorption, expectations, comprehension and memory.

He has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions internationally, including: Schaulager, Basel; MNAC, Barcelona (2017); Städel Museum, Frankfurt; KINDL, Berlin (2016), Marabouparken Konsthall, Sundbybert, Sweden (2015); Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam (2014); Kunsthalle Mainz, Mainz, Germany (2013); Secession, Vienna, Austria; Tel Aviv Museum, Tel Aviv, Israel (2012); SFMOMA, San Francisco; WIELS, Brussels, Belgium (2011); The De Pont museum of contemporary art, Tilburg, The Netherlands (2009) and (2016); Pompidou Center, Paris, France (2007); The Kunstmuseum, St. Gallen, Switzerland (2008); and The Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands (2005).

His work is represented in major public collections worldwide.

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David Claerbout
at Arts Centre Dublin 2015 (photo Ros Kavanagh)

David Claerbout, The Algiers’ Sections of a Happy Moment, 2008
Single channel video projection, black & white, stereo audio, 37 min loop
Courtesy Studio David Claerbout