In conjunction with No Wrong Holes: 30 Years of Nayland Blake and based on a recommendation by the artist, ICA LA screens Marquis—an allegorical film loosely based on the philosophical writings of Marquis de Sade. De Sade has been a subject and a reference by Blake in such works as The Philosopher’s Suite (1994) or Sade Burnt Tea Set (1988, on view in the exhibition).
About Marquis de Sade
Marquis de Sade, a French aristocrat, politician, philosopher, and writer, was born in Paris in 1740. His explicit erotic writings depicting sexual perversion and violence inspired the term “sadism.” During the French Revolution he was an elected delegate to the National Convention. His works include novels, short stories, plays, dialogues, and political tracts.
A Brief Synopsis of the film Marquis from Rotten Tomatoes:
Ribald, violent, surreal and satirical, Marquis offers a unique take on the events leading up to the French revolution as seen from the perspective of the notorious Marquis de Sade. Presented in metaphorical terms, each of the actors’ faces are covered by an animal mask that more or less represents their character. Their voices were dubbed in later. The tale opens while the dog-faced Marquis de Sade serves jail time. When not working on his writing, he engages in long conversations with Colin his penis, a meter-long member endowed with a human face. When Colin is not whining about his need for stimulation and his particular interest in the rat-like bisexual jailer Ambert and espousing his impulsive philosophies, he is criticizing the Marquis’ work, some of which is illustrated via claymation. The Marquis is in trouble for allegedly raping and impregnating the cow-faced Justine, who was really victimized by the king, something the camel-headed priest Don Pompero, and the cocky Gaetan De Preaubois, try to keep secret. Meanwhile, the revolutionaries prepare to stage a coup and depose the king. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi
French with English Subtitles
Good pick if you’re interested in animation, claymation, puppetry, Art House cinema, interpretations of classic literature, strange foreign films, artist Roland Topor
Directed by Henri Xhonneux
Written by Henri Xhonneux and Roland Topor
Released: April 26, 1989
TRT: 88 minutes
Special thanks to Eric Van Beuren, YC Aligator Film
Nayland Blake Flick Pick: Marquis is presented in conjunction with No Wrong Holes: Thirty Years of Nayland Blake, on view from September 29, 2019 to January 26, 2020, at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.
The exhibition and related programs are made possible thanks to lead support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Generous support is provided by the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, Beth Rudin DeWoody, Marieluise Hessel, Linda Janger, Matthew Marks Gallery, and Friends of Nayland Blake.
ICA LA is supported by its Curator’s Council, Fieldwork, and 1717 Collective.