13.06.08 AT 7PM

14.06.08 – 12.07.08


On the occasion of the showing of the full-length film ‘Yves’ in Arenberg Cinema at the end of June – beginning of July, Olivier Zabat brings film works to Etablissement d’en face for the second time. Under the title ‘Adversaires’ (Adversaries) Zabat presents two short films, working fragments of a full-length film in the making. Both short films have Thai boxing as their common thread.

‘Ne me touche pas’ (Don’t touch me) (2006) shows, in two time spans, two French boys who practice Thai boxing and demonstrate their reflexes in the remoteness of a car park. The one prominently acts as the teacher of the other. The short film ‘Thai Store” (2008) shows Thai boxing as spectacle and entertainment, set in a Bangkok café. While ‘Ne me touche pas’ concentrates on the unapproachability, the friendly ways and the tension these boys possess, ‘Thai Store’ takes a more filmic course inclusive of a small plot. Ultimately, the commercial exploitation of boxing seen here is wholly contrary to that in ‘Ne me touche pas’.

Having graduated as a photographer at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Grenoble, Zabat switched to the medium of video at the end of the 1990s. With the help of a digital camera he mainly sketches portraits. These are recordings of actions and people who speak in front of a neutral background. The camera movements are reduced to a minimum and the editing is tight and simple. The attention is fully on those portrayed. This hereby strengthens the absence of the actual subject.

Since winning the prize for best documentary at the Marseille festival for his film ‘1/3 des yeux’ (1/3 eyes), his films circulate in the commercial world in addition to the visual art milieu. At Etablissement d’en face we want to reveal the individuality of this work. Is this an artistic film, or rather a documentary, or neither? For sure Zabat has developed a new cinematographic language in which essential questions around the mutual relationships between people are central.