Micheline Szwajcer presents "The Pure Necessity" by David Claerbout

On the occasion of Antwerp Art Weekend, Micheline Szwajcer is presenting The Pure Necessity, David Claerbout’s take on The Jungle Book

Rather than telling the story of a little boy abandoned in the middle of a jungle, far from civilization, David Claerbout’s take on the animated movie classic, is a loop that culminates anew (every hour on the hour) in the final scene of the original film: the moment when a young girl comes to the edge of the jungle to fetch water. Devoid of narrative, comic antics, and anthropomorphic animals, Claerbout focuses on the wildlife as they move through the jungle accompanied by the sounds of their natural habitat.

The exact one-hour loop turns the sentimental and comical story about dancing, singing, and trumpet-playing jungle animals (originally made in 1967) into a film that has dispenses with all ‘humanization’ of the animals, and even with its human protagonist Mowgli. The animals behave instead in a manner befitting their species.  Baloo, Bagheera and Kaa, whose songs and slapstick acts have been delighting children and adults alike for decades, are now back to being pure bear, panther and python. For The Pure Necessity, the artist and a team of professional artists painstakingly redrew the frames of Wolfgang Reitherman’s prototype by hand, one by one, and then assembled them to create an entirely new film. Now devoid of all narrative, the animals move amidst the jungle as if the story were of their own making.


David Claerbout
The Pure Necessity
25 May — 30 June 2018
Micheline Szwajcer
Verlatstraat 14,
2000 Antwerp



David Claerbout

Based in Antwerp, Claerbout is recognized as one of the most innovative artists working today in the realms of film, photography, and digital media. Claerbout’s work is included in major public collections worldwide, including: Centre Georges Pompidou Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris, France; Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, Germany; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis and many others. He has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions internationally, including: Schaulager, Basel; MNAC, Barcelona (2017); Städel Museum, Frankfurt; KINDL, Berlin (2016); De Pont museum of contemporary art, Tilburg, The Netherlands (2009) and (2016); Kunsthalle Mainz, Mainz, Germany (2013); Seces- sion, Vienna, Austria (2012); Tel Aviv Museum, Tel Aviv, Israel (2012); SFMOMA, San Francisco (2011); WIELS, Brussels, Belgium (2011); Pompidou Center, Paris, France (2007); Kunstmuseum, St. Gallen, Switzerland (2008); and Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands (2005); Claerbout studied at the Nationaal Hoger Instituut voor Schone Kunsten in Antwerp from 1992 to 1995 and participated in the DAAD: Berlin Artists-in-Residence program from 2002 to 2003.


Press release

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Micha Pycke

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