Virtual Visual Culture: Excavation/Collaboration 1 – Christine Rebet

The Center for Visual Culture is pleased to present a series of virtual screenings by contemporary artists that engage with topics germane to the traditions in art history and archaeology here at Bryn Mawr: Excavation and collaboration.

We begin this new experiment with screenings of work by three artists whose practices pursue historical and archaeological inquiry through the use of time based media. Each of the projects is collaborative in nature, developing out of the creative encounters between different approaches to historical research, analysis and representation.

In our first installment, we feature the work of Christine Rebet, an artist represented by Bureau, a contemporary art gallery approaching its ten-year anniversary this spring. The gallery was founded by Gabrielle Giattino, a graduate of Haverford College who majored in the History of Art here at Bryn Mawr. Given Gabrielle’s connection to the Bryn Mawr community and to the History of Art department, her participation in this inaugural episode is quite fitting and embodies the spirit of this experiment – to produce digital content that contributes to the enrichment of our shared mission beyond the confines of the physical campus.

Christine Rebet is an artist who works across a wide range of media that includes drawing, installation, performance and animation. Rebet is currently collaborating with Sebastien Rey, a curator and archaeologist at the British Museum, on a series of animated films and drawings that focus on the archeological excavation of a Sumerian temple. Commissioned by the Sumerian ruler Gudea, the temple was dedicated to the god Ningirsu and his avatar, the Thunderbird. In the video that introduces the work, Rebet and Rey are joined by Giattino for an informal discussion about their collaboration on the animated film Thunderbird, which takes as its subject one of the key elements in the founding myth of the temple, the dream of Gudea.

To access the video introduction please click on the following link:

To access the animation please click on the link and enter the password:

Password: Thunderbird

In Thunderbird Rebet focuses on the story of a temple commissioned by the Sumerian ruler Gudea, dedicated to the god Ningirsu and his avatar the Thunderbird. It was believed that the gods sent a divine vision to Gudea, a dream that inspired the building of the temple. Rebet animates this sacred myth, which was found written into ancient terracotta cylinders, unlocking the narrative and spiritual potential within the clay. Thunderbird imagines a dialogue between King Gudea and Nanshe, Sumerian goddess of prophecy, whom Gudea summons to help interpret a dream. The animation comprises 2,500 hand-inked drawings, opening with thunder and rain clouds which blossom forth with flowering plants; the wet earth then churning with molten energy as the red sun rises over the landscape. Eventually we see hands mixing mud to make the bricks for building the sacred temple.


Exhibition/Screening History:
Collective Mythologies, Art Basel Film, Basel, 2019
Time Levitation, Parasol unit, London, 2020
Collective Mythologies, Art Basel Film, Basel, 2019
Despar Teatro Italia, Venice, 2019
Nanterre-Amandiers, Nanterre, 2019
Tunderbird, Bureau, New York, 2018
Sursock Museum, Beirut, 2018
Cinematheque Robert-Lynen, Paris, 2018
Christine Rebet: Screening, Silencio, Paris, 2018

Studio International Interview: