Histoire(s) de l’art: The Queer Curation of Vincent Dieutre
Abstract: Over the last twenty years, Vincent Dieutre has established himself as a unique voice in French experimental cinema. In this article, I examine the curatorial logic of Dieutre’s queer cinema through a close reading of Leçons de ténèbres (1999)—a multilayered essay film that simultaneously depicts the filmmaker’s protracted breakup with his ailing partner, a journey from the Netherlands through to Southern Italy, and an intersensory meditation on Caravaggist aesthetics. While Dieutre’s work is commonly characterised by long and languorous travelling shots, I argue that his interest lies not only in mapping vast stretches of space, but in excavating layers of time. In Leçons de ténèbres, processes of archival reconfiguration are achieved through modes of curation; the shifting relation between word and image subtly recalibrates the relation between the past and present. Drawing on Brian Glavey’s recent account of queer ekphrasis, as well as a broader context of verbal-visual relations in gay culture, I explore the ways in which Dieutre’s curatorial methods allows us to rethink relations between sexuality, temporality and aesthetics.