Ed Atkins is an artist working with high definition or CGI video and text. His works are rooted in language as he works with the narration and writes scripts for his videos.
"The Trick Brain" consists of the footage of the interior of the Andre Breton's apartment originally shot by documentary film-maker Fabrice Maze, new footage and a spoken narrative by Ed Atkins.
Andre Breton lived in this apartment from 1922 until his death in 1966. He left behind the collection of artifacts — books, personal letters, artworks, primitive objects he owned during his life, that belong to his personal story as well as to the history of surrealism.
Breton's family maintained his apartment until 2003, when, unable to find support for permanent museum, the collection was sold at auction by piece with no chance to be brought together again.
The footage by Maze was part of the official cd-rom catalogue for that auction.
In his work Ed Atkins reflects on the loss of this collection, on the simultaneous absence of things, the symbolic death of the object and the idea that one could represent anything, the same way the whole story of the artist, overflown with objects, could be contained in a single file, "the digital performance of an imaginative act that being able to store so much more that we could possibly understand".
The vital part of the work is the script that reveals esoteric meditation on Andre Breton's surrealist ideas and practices as well as thinking of almost mystic ideas around capital.
The script can be found here
. "The Trick Brain"
was exhibited at the 55th
Venice Biennial entitled "Encyclopedic Palace" and curated by Massimilioano Gioni.