Since his retrospective at the Musée d’art moderne de la Ville de Paris in 2007, Mathieu Mercier has been presenting a series of recent works at the Centre d’art contemporain d’Ivry - le Crédac, including several new productions.
An uncertain cross between the “avant-gardes” project of imbuing the artistic object with practical value, and the Duchampian gesture of lending symbolic value to the object of everyday use, Mercier’s work is endlessly redefining the production modalities of objects and their passage in the field of art.
A series of printed white pedestals associates objects having an everyday use with images of measuring tools that are slightly distorted and imprinted directly on these bases. Bananas, for instance, are displayed side by side with a curved color chart, while the image of an exploded chromatic circle is featured with a vase. Selected with great precision, these compositions suggest multiple associations of ideas. Both object and image, they simultaneously assert their materiality and their representational nature, and seem above all to summon the use of our eye and our attention to reality.
In another gallery, a bike, a bench made up of sections of water pipe and an updated, oversized light fixture from the 1950s conjure up an urban scene. Playing on the transformation of standards, this setting reformulates our relationship to the outside world and our way of understanding the forms all around us.
Elsewhere, in a darkened gallery, a diorama, that outmoded system of display, a kind of grand showcase inherited from natural history museums of old, harbors a pair of live axolotls. These animals seem frozen at an intermediary representation of evolution, between water and earth, and the elementary setting around them forces us to face our own archaisms in terms of representation.
Halfway between the natural and the artificial, sculpture and readymade, science and illusion, Mercier’s show at Crédac plays on our systems of representation, proposing to examine our connection with reality and in particular what happens in the in-between area of that relationship.
Film of the exhibition by Bruno Bellec © Le Crédac
Born in 1970 in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, France.
Lives and works in Paris, France. http://www.mathieumercier.com/
Media partners: Journal des Arts, Mousse, Slash, artnet.fr, 02