Nicolas Provost (°Ronse, 1969) studied at The Royal Academy of Fine Arts Ghent. After graduating in 1994, he spent the next ten years in Norway, where he experimented with video, graphic design and film directing. After returning to Belgium in 2003, he succeeded in positioning himself within the visual arts landscape as one of Belgium’s top video artists. For the past few years he has been living and working in New York. His work has won a long list of prizes and has been shown at prestigious festivals like The Sundance Film Festival, The Berlinale, The San Sebastian Film Festival and The Locarno Film Festival. He is a Belgian filmmaker and visual artist, in the broadest sense of the word.
His first feature film, The Invader, is an accessible and moving drama, with probably the most sensual opening scene in the history of Flemish film: a memorable beach scene featuring top model Hannelore Knuts, who is also his girlfriend. The Invader won critical acclaim and also launched the international career of its star Issaka Sawadogo. The film had its worldwide premiere in competition at the Venice Film Festival in 2011 and was an overwhelming success. Provost was awarded several highly acclaimed awards following this success.
Although he made his feature film debut in 2011, Provost’s name has been on people’s lips all over the world for years, thanks to the way his work bridges the fields of the visual arts, cinema and video. In the visual arts world, he has a relatively unusual style. Nicolas Provost’s work is about the grammar of cinematic language, the human condition in our collective cinematic memory, and the relationship between the visual arts and storytelling. His films (and stills) engender both recognition and astonishment, and manage to engage the viewer in a game of mystery, abstraction and emotion. Thus, the themes of lust, love and suffering also feature regularly in his oeuvre. Moreover, he does not hesitate to make use of images from our collective visual memory.
The Perfect Wave is Nicolas Provost’s first comprehensive exhibition in Belgium, and more specifically at Be-Part (Waregem), Platform for contemporary arts, an initiative by the Province of West Flanders. The exhibition includes recent videos and stills and boasts a number of new works that have never previously been exhibited. One of the five videos that will be shown is the title work itself, ‘The Perfect Wave’. A new video in which a surfer carves out a path for himself through an endless, giant wave. Art and film connoisseurs will also be eagerly awaiting the showing of ‘Tokyo Giants’, the final part of his striking ‘Plot Point Trilogy’. Using a hidden camera, Provost explores the boundary between fiction and reality in a series of three films, set in New York, Las Vegas and Tokyo respectively. He does this by using meticulous montage to transform random passers-by on the street into real film characters, thus taking the viewer with him in a spiral of suspense. A nice detail is that this transnational trilogy will be screened on 23 April 2014 at the highly prestigious Film Society of Lincoln Center (New York). In addition, ‘Stardust’, the second part of the ‘Plot Point Trilogy’ will be shown as part of the exhibition Cinema Remake – art & film at EYE film, Amsterdam from 23 March to 1 June 2014. This exhibition shows the work of filmmakers and artists, including Provost, who use existing films as a starting point from which to create something radically new. For the first time in Belgium, the much-discussed opening scene of The Invader with Hannelore Knuts will be exhibited as a video installation, entitled ‘The Invader and The Origin of The World’.