Artists: Fouad Bouchoucha, Laurence Cathala, Raymond Hains, Susan Hiller, Nicolás Lamas, Daria Martin, Antoni Muntadas, Daniel Steegmann Mangrané, Batia Suter, Suzanne Treister
Curatorship: Brice Domingues, Catherine Guiral & Hélène Meisel
Among the bustling crowds in some Renaissance paintings, peripheral figures point their index finger toward the scene’s pulsating heart, as if to intercept and guide our wayward gaze. First drawn in the margins of manuscripts and then adopted as a typographic convention, a small hand with an outstretched index finger (a manicule or digit) came to serve as a kind of annotation to signal a text’s key passages to hurried or distracted readers. Then, increasingly an instruction, this hand became pure signage: an arrow, blinking light and advertizing injunction. The little hand became legion, calling attention to a myriad of signals emitted by the press, radio, photography, movies and television.
Long before our media environment evolved into a digital cosmos, Walter Benjamin noted the generalization of “reception in distraction,” indicating “major perceptual shifts.” On the Web, we still have the icon of a little hand, now wearing a white glove, to highlight hovering hyperlinks that can be activated by a click, while our fingers on a touchscreen make searches that may turn out to be inspired or dead-ends. Multiple ruts, whether captive or emancipated, mark the pathways along which we move, driven by self-interest, curiosity, astonishment and associative delirium.
In the spirit of an “ecology of attention” defined by Yves Citton in 2014, the exhibition des attentions asks itself: “What do we let traverse us?” in our digital environment? The ten artists brought together for this show express a fluctuating, wandering attention, freed of both technological determinism and monetizable standardization. Instead of a permanent state of alert demanding instantaneous receptivity and proactivity, they sketch out a furtive, variable vigilance, simultaneously dreamy and rebellious, deaf to siren songs but attentive to context, the people around us and our environment. Far from the performance imperatives dictated by the logic of quantification, their work embraces an “emancipating distraction,” a floating attention that can focus by itself.
Brice Domingues, Catherine Guiral, Hélène Meisel
Exhibition Film, directed by Thomas James. © Le Crédac, 2019.
Hélène Meisel is an art historian and critic, and has written a thesis on «Subjective subsistence. Romantic problematics in conceptual art» (Sorbonne - Paris IV, 2016). She is in charge of research and exhibition at the Centre Pompidou-Metz, where she contributed to the exhibitions : Sublime. The tremors of the world (cur. Hélène Guenin, 2016) and Infinite Garden. From Giverny to the Amazon (cur. Emma Lavigne and Hélène Meisel, 2017). She contributes to various reviews (20/27, Les Cahiers du Musée d’art moderne, 02), as well as to books and exhibition catalogues (Chaosmose, INDEX 1987-2017 30 ans du Crédac…)
Since 2008, Catherine Guiral and Brice Domingues have been forming the officeabc graphic design studio, and since 2010, they have been contributing to the agency of doubt alongside Jérôme Dupeyrat (editions, performances, curatorships, talks). They have been invited to participate in the group show France Électronique, Printemps de Septembre, Toulouse, (cur. Jill Gasparina, 2018), and have recently been the curators of the exhibition Pierre Faucheux. Espaces de lecture, lecture d’espaces at Le Signe, Chaumont (2018). They also directed the monographic publication of artist Lisa Beck, The Middle of Everywhere (La Salle de bains, Galerie Samy Abraham, Centre d’art Circuit, 2015), the book Variations Claude Imbert (T&P Publishing, 2018) and the artist book Simple Gift with Florent Dubois (Tombolo Presses, 2017).
Catherine Guiral teaches graphic design at the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Lyon. In parallel, she is working on a doctoral thesis on the French typographer Pierre Faucheux (Royal College of Art, London).
Brice Domingues teaches graphic design at the École supérieure d’art et de design de Reims, and from 2014 to 2018 led the research and creation workshop in graphic design reading(s) of form, form(s) of reading at the École nationale supérieure d’art de design de Nancy.
The work Nightshift by Batia Suter is produced with the generous support of Mondriaan Fonds.
Media partnership: Zérodeux, revue d’art contemporain
Sponsoring for the opening : Grolsch, Les Nouveaux Robinson