Crédac, 25 Sep 2021 00:00:00 +0200Lire les dernières actualités du CrédacDead Souls Whisper (1986–1993), 25 Sep 2021 00:00:00 +0200

Language, conveying primal rage, is central to this show. It is expressed and assaults us in his Queer paintings series (1992), not hung but truly “installed” in the Crédac art space. Words are part of the paintings Spread the Plague, Tragedy, Aids Blood and Virus, where their quavering lines ruin the surface. This series is a process, as are the Super 8 films projected opposite the paintings. This show brings out Jarman’s interest in alchemy, assemblage and his collection of objects found washed up on the Dungeness beach.

Accompanying the exhibition is a showing of his films at the Ivry cinema, Le Luxy, and a publication in a co-edition with the fanzine Pleased to meet you.

From October to December, a series of talks also punctuates the exhibition:

  • “Eden and Gethsemane: Derek Jarman’s garden”, Sunday, October 10 at 4 pm
    With Marco Martella (writer, gardener, and member of the European Institute of Gardens and Landscapes) and Claire Le Restif

  • “Derek Jarman, the alchemist (painting, film, plants, words)”, Sunday, November 7 at 4 pm
    With Elisabeth Lebovici (doctor of aesthetics and art critic) and Claire Le Restif

  • “Sebastiane or Saint Jarman, queer filmmaker and martyr”, Sunday November 21 at 4pm
    Visit of the exhibition with Claire Le Restif, then stroll to the cinema of Ivry - the Luxy for a discussion with Didier Roth-Bettoni (journalist, author, historian of LGBTQI+ cinema). This meeting will be followed by the screening of the feature film “Sebastiane”.

  • Theodora Domenech (doctor of philosophy) and Benoît Piéron (artist) will speak during December, dates and times to be confirmed.
Pleased to meet you — Derek Jarman, 25 Sep 2021 00:00:00 +0200

The eleventh issue of the series Pleased to Meet You is devoted to Derek Jarman (1942-1994), a major figure in British cinema during the 1970s and 80s as well as a highly versatile artist, painter, draughtsman, costume and set designer, author and gardener. Before his premature death in 1994 of an AIDS-related illness, Jarman had developed a body of work in which an exuberant aesthetic is combined with a radical vision of British society. Relatively unknown in France, in the UK he is considered as a figurehead of the British underground.

In this edition of Pleased to Meet You, which is also the first publication entirely devoted to Derek Jarman’s visual art outside cinema, we find an essay by Claire Le Restif, curator and director of the Crédac in Ivry-sur-Seine, which is the co-publisher of this issue and hosts a solo exhibition devoted to Jarman in the fall of 2021, alongside an interview with the artist, portraits and photographs on location, of his studios, the garden of Prospect Cottage etc. It also features a dense portfolio bringing together drawings, paintings and sculptures, delivering a close-up and unprecedented vision of the artist’s work, over a period of thirty-five years.

Cima Cima, 27 Apr 2021 00:00:00 +0200

Cima Cima thus raises the question of deliberately concealed actions allowing for survival. It addresses the history of forms of resistance, and the practice of creative unruliness as a way of ensuring freedom. It is precisely the cultivation of plants and their role as witnesses of human history that interests the artist here, as well as their sometimes ambivalent function: the plant that nourishes, the plant that heals, but also the plant that kills either indirectly or deliberately as poison.

In the main exhibition room of Crédac, Kapwani Kiwanga proposes Matières premières [Raw materials] (2020), a forest of raw paper, made from sugarcane fibre. The floor-to-ceiling sheets of paper prevent one’s understanding of the space at first glance and invite the public to a constrained route. Fragments of reforged sugarcane knife blades are occasionally grafted onto the paper, which, coupled to the hindered movement, evoke oppressive sensations.

In the second exhibition room, Kiwanga invites, Noémie Sauve — an artist supporting Clinamen’s Agricultural Contemporary Art Fund (an organisation accompanying farming practices through the dissemination of artworks), presents three pencil drawings from the series motif vivant [living pattern] (2018 – 2020 – 2020), containing saved tomato seeds.
Partially concealed and facing the picture window, a field of Oryza glaberrima rice is installed within the space. According to oral (hi)stories, African rice travelled to the Americas concealed within the hair of West African people, who were forced into the state of slavery. This history of Oryza glaberrima has survived orally. The plant is grown in the North of South America thanks to these people’s know-how.
Léonard Nguyen Van Thé, a landscape architect and gardener, assists Kapwani Kiwanga throughout the exhibition to cultivate the rice at Crédac.
In the same exhibition room, a recent work of the artist produced for the Renaissance Society in Chicago is presented: a tapestry wherein glass replicas of the grains of Oryza glaberrima rice are sewn into the fabric, recalling the transoceanic journeys.
The series Lazarus, four white silkscreen prints on paper, is also in this second room. These works by Kiwanga take 19th and 20th century illustrations depicting “Lazarus taxa” — animal species that were thought to be extinct and that reappeared in nature after many decades.

The third room presents the work The Marias, recently shown at the Kunstinstituut Melly (Formerly known as Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art). This piece consists of two colored paper reproductions of a Caesalpinia pulcherrima, also known as a peacock flower. This plant, native to the Americas and the Caribbean, is shown as a budding branch on a first plinth, and a flowering branch on a second base.
Widely cultivated as an ornamental plant today, this plant was used for its abortifacient properties, notably by women in conditions of slavery, brought by force to the territories where the peacock flower is endemic. Refusing to procreate in a system created in such a way that these women no longer legally possess their own bodies is a political act and a way of reclaiming this fundamental right.
The work also refers to the history of privileged women in Victorian era Europe. For these women, society did not expect them to work, but rather to occupy themselves with hobbies such as making of ornamental paper flowers, exceptional replicas of the natural flowers from which they draw inspiration. This work thus questions different experiences of conditions of womanhood between the 17th and 19th centuries.
Finally, The Marias focuses on the personal story of Anna Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717), a naturalist and painter known for her botanical illustrations and metamorphoses of caterpillars into butterflies in Suriname. Her legacy in the natural sciences is undisputed, but her research journey reminds us of the ambivalent status of these scientific operations whose discoveries are made at the price of a domination of the flora and fauna.

Finally, the video Vumbi (2012) is screened in the Crédakino — the artist is seen cleaning the leaves of a plant wall covered with a layer of red dust in rural Tanzania, thereby revealing the initial green foliage. A print repeating this action in an other location is also exhibited.

Kapwani Kiwanga (born in 1978 in Hamilton) is a Franco-Canadian artist-researcher. Her work focuses on narratives that outline asymmetries of power, highlighting the sometimes unexpected witnesses of these histories. Her visual arts practice seeks to give shape to dormant or unknown archives.

Together Until__ _ What?, 15 Mar 2021 00:00:00 +0100

By building itself around regular times of research and creations in various contexts, it is dedicated to the experimentation of devices and the production of knowledge on the performative arts. It questions more precisely what makes sense in performance today and is interested in its political, social and sensorial stakes. Moreover, starting from a reflection on the economy of the exhibition and the live performance, the project works on a questioning of the culturally constructed systems of domination and perception. Faced with the urgency of rethinking our modes of existence more radically, it is also a question of calling upon performative strategies in order to experiment with new cooperative methods of work and to imagine a para-institutional and porous framework where they could take effect.

Together Until_ What? is hosted for the first time at the Crédac where it takes the form of a “Plateau-Forum”, a term that refers to the theatrical setting and “forum theater” described by the Brazilian writer, theatre-maker and politician Augusto Boal. Deployed in the Crédakino space, this “Plateau-Forum” is located at the crossroads of the stage, the work space, the discussion space and the production studio. It is the place for the progressive elaboration of a prospective scenario of per- formance, thought out in particular according to interviews carried out in a parallel way with researchers, artists and exhibition curators. Rehearsals and filmed actions are held daily; they will lead to a filmed-mounted performance session, then to the making of a film. By playing with our bodily perceptions, the project is interested in both the notion of social choreography and that of the “quasi object”.

The device set up with the Crédac differs from the traditional residency. Together Until_ What? is an interdependent project that proposes a friendly occupation of the art center, by also taking over the art center’s Instagram, every Tuesday.

A restitution of this residency is proposed to the passers-by in the window Art, Fleur et Nature (the disused store of a former florist, invested by the artist Corentin Canesson at this same time) on April 8, 2021 in the shopping center Jeanne Hachette, 21 promenée Marat.

Filmed-edited performance with: Cyprien Chevillard, Kenza Belghiti, Charlotte Lecuit, Aurore Serra
Captation : Victor Villafagne
Image, graphic design, website : Marine Leleu
Interviews with : Pierre Bal-Blanc, Virginie Bobin, Lenio Kaklea, Sasha Pevak and Nora Sternfeld

Website :

Art, Fleur et Nature / You can have it All, 08 Feb 2021 00:00:00 +0100

This support to a young artist, who has exhibited at Crédac in 2017 (Retrospective My Eye), allows a follow-up and development of his work with access to a room acting as a studio and the possibility to experiment with new artistic devices in collaboration with other artists.

On this occasion, Corentin Canesson wished to invite the painter Damien Le Dévédec to intervene at his side on a daily basis for the realization of drawings and paintings with four hands.
This regular production transforms the studio space into a moving exhibition space. Their plastic practice is echoed by their involvement in the music group The Night He Came Home (TNHCH), for which Corentin Canesson invited the young American artist Hilary Galbreaith to make a video as a music clip. The room and the window occupied by the artists become, for the duration of the shooting, a performance hall open to a shopping mall.
The originality of the space - place of production and display - with the installation of a stage facing the shop window allows to experiment new devices for each of the artists.
Following their meeting during the exhibition La vie des tables at Crédac, Corentin Canesson and the artist Flora Bouteille (in temporary residence at Crédac) imagined a performance time for the passerbys in front of the window. Corentin Canesson produced paintings as artistic documentation of this performance.

The whole of the productions carried out during the month of June is presented to the public invited to penetrate in this room on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 June. The exchange and the meeting between the artists and the public ends this period of creation opened on the city.

Curator : Maëla Bescond.
With the collaboration of Mathieu Pitkevicht, Sébastien Martins, Ana Mendoza Aldana

Le Palais Hermétique de la Mémoire, 05 Feb 2021 00:00:00 +0100

Flora Bouteille and Victor Villafagne collaborate on a series of sound pieces entitled Le Palais Hermétique de la Mémoire (The Hermetic Palace of Memory). These Interior films offer the listener fictitious, intriguing and disturbing immaterial architectures that are sketched out as they are listened to. These projection spaces that welcome our memories, our imagination, are as many individual experiences to be lived. The spectator, the spectator, is invited to enter Le Palais Hermétique de la Mémoire, to move, to inhabit it, to appropriate it.

Tiphaine Calmettes, 21 Jan 2021 00:00:00 +0100

Tiphaine Calmettes (born 1988) lives and works in Paris. Through her practice of sculpture, installation, and performative forms in the form of meals, she is interested in the relationship we have with our environment, including non-human life forms, particularly through food, an essential need that generates interdependence between life forms.

By surrounding herself with researchers, particularly in anthropology and history, she is interested in the way in which our ways of being in the world can be rethought by reviving forgotten practices and know-how. In particular, she calls upon ancestral narratives, mythologies and collective practices.

For her residency, she wishes to form a research group around personalities such as Emanuele Coccia (EHESS) or Léo Mariani (National Museum of Natural History), to develop a round table in the form of performative meals.

A second phase focused on the local population will highlight the role of object production in social relations and the capacity of objects to be moderators with other species in food and with the invisible in rituals, and how they can feed our imaginations and reveal relations to the environment.

Crédakino program, 07 Jan 2021 00:00:00 +0100

Louidgi Beltrame, Lägerstatte, 2010
Super-8 HD transfer film, silent; 9 min 30 s

Lagerstätte is at the crossroads of experimental archaeology and tourism film. Filmed over a period of one week during the summer of 2009 in Burgundy in an abandoned quarry, Lagerstätte shows Louidgi Beltrame and Elfi Turpin searching for and extracting ammonites, an extinct subclass of molluscs known only as fossils.

Jean-Charles Hue, Les lumières d’Atlas, 2020
Color video, sound; 1 min 38 s

“The Atlas editing table is the memory of the first images and films made. Although it’s an extremely bulky object, I wanted to take it with me wherever I lived. For this video, I put back on the editing table the 16mm images of one of my first films (La flor al culo) projected during my first personal exhibition in 2001. These images were shot in Barcelona. It is in this city that everything started for me. Bringing these images to the surface today and giving them a new meaning with the help of my two sons was quite a magical and moving experience.”

Maria Laet, Notas sobre o limite do mar, 2012
Color video; 11 min 42 s

Sewing: a harmless and domestic act. Sewing the sand: a senseless gesture of tensioning the impossible and the vain. Sewing on the imperceptible line left by the foam of a wave at low tide on the shore: a gesture that tries to materialize the immaterial, to make visible a limit between two universes that tirelessly join and disjoin. Thus in the video Notas sobre o limite do mar, we follow the artist’s hand hemming the sand with a needle and a cotton thread. Effort stretched and resumed, then abandoned… The act, the crumbly stitches of sewing erased by the flow and the rise of the wave. There is a living abstraction in Maria Laet’s work. The sewing of sand is an instant of the visible of the impalpable and a desire for the imaginary, an instant of “dialogue” and balance between the industrious human world and a nature as powerful as it is moving. But it can also be a failure of the human line in its capture of the mineral line, silently marking the uselessness of our will to master. A kind of failure at the frontier, which takes us back in time to the effacement, the disappearance, the passenger, and the fragility of the visible. The video becoming the image and the archive.

Marjorie Micucci

Entretiens croisés, 11 Dec 2020 00:00:00 +0100

Sarah Tritz and Corentin Canesson propose two Entretiens croisés in their respective studios, during which they question each other on the issues that drive their practice.

This podcast is also available on, iTunes, et Spotify.
Tiphaine Calmettes, Louise Hervé and Clovis Maillet propose a third Entretien croisé in the form of a filmed perfomed discussion.

Geta Brătescu, 14 Oct 2020 00:00:00 +0200

Geta Brătescu is one of the pioneers of conceptual art in ancient Romania. During the communist regime, which became much more repressive in the 1970s, she worked as an illustrator and graphic designer for the cultural newspaper Secolul 20. Towards the end of the 1970s, in order to develop her artistic practice, she rented a studio that would become the stage for her temporary installations, performances and film productions. In the famous Atelierul (1978), Ion Grigorescu, another major figure of Romanian conceptual art, films the performance of the artist who intervenes with her body in the room, interacts with its decor, considering it as a living space, endowed with anthropomorphic qualities, with which she is in daily contact.
She thus draws objects, which she measures with her body. Her research in visual performative art gave rise to the series Towards White (1975), Self-Portrait, Towards White (1975) and From Black to White (1976), in which she occupies the position of lead actress in various theatrical sequences.

Natasa Petrešin‐Bachelez

Courtesy of The Estate of Geta Bratescu, Hauser & Wirth and Ivan Gallery Bucharest

La table des invité·e·s, 20 Sep 2020 00:00:00 +0200

Find all the proposals of the guests in the section RELATED of the exhibition La vie des tables, and below.

Situated halfway through the exhibition, table 26 is a fragment of the studio workbench, the place where the works are produced and where Crédac’s Board of Directors meets. A workbench on which the art centre’s artistic and financial project is discussed, a table for negotiations with our partners. Through its many martyrs, an archaeology of work is revealed.

Throughout the exhibition, it welcomes in turn the proposals of personalities close to Crédac. Whether they are members, administrators or regular enthusiasts, they are all accomplices and faithful supporters of the artistic project. The adult patients of the Municipal Medical and Psychological Centre (CMP) of Ivry-sur-Seine joined the project at the beginning of 2021. Their participation in the life of this table is a natural continuation of the writing workshops designed by Sarah Tritz in parallel with her exhibition J’aime le rose pâle et les femmes ingrates (I love pale pink and ungrateful women) in 2019. Patient visits to subsequent exhibitions have strengthened the relationship between the art centre and the CMP.

La vie des tables, 20 Sep 2020 00:00:00 +0200

Ideas often spring up from a walk, from a swim in the crystal-clear water of a lake, from eating a slice of bread and jam, during a sleepless night, while playing a Memory game, or reading inspiring texts in which new, solidly built ideas emerge. When they arise, one has to pinch them hard enough to carry them all the way to the work table. Whether it’s a kitchen table, a workbench or a desk — tables embody the place where intuitions take shape.

The desire to invite artists to exhibit works imagined for such surfaces sprung up a while ago. It expands my reading of Lucy R. Lippard ’s texts [^Lucy Lippard, Get the Message?: A Decade of Art for Social Change, NY, Ed.Dutton, 1984.], wherein the American activist and feminist writer and Art Historian points out that women artists all too rarely enjoy the physical space that is required to create, and end up having to work in domestic spaces — mainly on their kitchen table.
This idea was also nurtured by an artwork by Hugues Reip, entitled 0,25 (1990-91) [^Presented during Hugues Reip’ solo show, L’Évasion, at the Centre d’art contemporain d’Ivry — le Crédac in 2018.], which consists in a series of 25 tiny sculptures made spontaneously using the inside of bread, rubber, paper clips, nails, and which were presented to the public on formica top kitchen tables, the domestic symbol of the 1950s.

This exhibition seems necessary to us after this spring deprived of social interactions, exchanges and proximity, It has the value of a project of resistance and attention to domestic and private artistic practices. This lockdown period has forced creators to return to modest and DIY artistic practices, while for others this is a regular practice. Focusing on the relationship that artists have with their “work tables” - refuge, playground or passage - we are inviting artists to submit their pieces as one sends a letter. They may have been conceived during the recent period of confinement or in response to this invitation, they may be spontaneous, modest, constructed or sophisticated.

La vie des tables (The Life of Tables) therefore adjusts itself to reality. It adapts to the constraints connected to distancing and it updates, both playfully and out of necessity, Mail Art, which emerged in 1962 with the creation by Ray Johnson of the New York Correspondence School of Art. As the name suggests, Mail Art circulated mainly by post and in a spontaneous manner. This “movement” launched the notion of attitude as an object — a founding concept of contemporary art in the 1970s, which still remains relevant today.

The pieces proposed by the artists will be exhibited at le Crédac on a myriad of tables: kitchen tables, work tables ; Formica, wooden, or plywood tables ; tables that are painted or in the rough ; coffee or dining tables ; square, rectangular or round-shaped ones, all constituting a landscape that is evocative of the work of thinking and of intimacy, that of the model, the sketch or the completed form.

La vie des tables, 20 Sep 2020 00:00:00 +0200

Poster published on the occasion of the group show La vie des tables, from 20 September to 24 January 2021 at the Centre d’art contemporain d’Ivry - le Crédac.

Available free of charge at Crédac, or when ordering with shipping costs through the shopping cart.

Jardin d’hiver, 24 Jan 2020 00:00:00 +0100

The show at Le Crédac called Jardin d’hiver (Winter Garden) followed on Sudden Spring and Predicted Autumn[^At the Bildmuseet, University of Umeå, Sweden (2018), and the Musée d’art contemporain de la Haute-Vienne, Château de Rochechouart (2018).], a program that the artist pursued in time with the seasons. Lempert designed an installation of vitrines like botanical cases but holding photo compositions that play out a vegetal motif as the prints of a nature hanging on the promise of renewal. An Ipomoea tricolor (morning glory), a detail from Botticelli’s Spring, and the floral print of a cotton shirt are elements that form a visual narrative through the play of free conceptual or formal associations fashioned by the artist.

Silver prints, invariably in black and white on matt baryta paper, are selected from a large corpus of photographs taken daily from life and revealed in his own laboratory. The format of each photograph is determined in relation to its environment: its context of appearance, a display case or an exhibition wall, and the set of images in which it is inscribed.

Schmelzdahin, 24 Jan 2020 00:00:00 +0100

Schmelzdahin (Jochen Lempert, Jochen Müller, Jürgen Reble) is an experimental film collective made up of Jochen Lempert, Jochen Müller and Jörgen Reble that was active between 1979 and 1989. Together they explored the possibilities that processes using chemical treatments and the celluloid film as an art material in itself offered artists. Working with sequences they found or shot themselves, they created films that are highly plastic in the sense of the plastic arts, thanks to chromatic changes, exposure and erasure, corrosion, and bacterial cultures. Featured in the exhibition context, these two films emphasize an explosion of color verging on psychedelia.

— From 23 January to 23 February —
Weltenempfänger, 1984 (World Receiver). Digitized Super 8 film; color, sound; 5 minutes 08 seconds ; in loop.
— From 26 February to 28 March —
15 Tage Fieber, 1989 (15-Day Fever). Digitized Super 8 film; color, sound; 14 minutes 15 seconds ; in loop.

Simon Boudvin, 31 Dec 2019 00:00:00 +0100

Artist Simon Boudvin participates in the first research residency at the Manufacture des Œillets for a period of 10 months. From his studio, the artist has undertaken a photographic work on the city, crossing his interest in architecture and urban ecology, in the spirit of the one carried out since 2011 in Bagnolet and Montreuil with the mapping of the development of a population of ailantes. Beginning in November 2019, his residency will take the form of a photographic survey in the housing estates of the Ivry Public Housing Office (OPH), their spaces for meetings, conviviality and associations, between domestic cells and public space. The artist’s work is based on encounters with the actors of the territory and explorations, on the spot and in the plans, to unearth and represent these spaces. From the time of exploration in the districts of Ivry to the time of the workshop devoted to image editing, reflection and public meetings, this residency is an opportunity to share Simon Boudvin’s view of the city.

Carte Blanche to Frédéric Bonnet, 30 Oct 2019 00:00:00 +0100

The action is not insignificant: in such a macho country, two women artists take over a television set in order to - first transgression - produce a participatory and collective performance and – second transgression – to try to make a man understand, physically and mentally, what the experience of a pregnant woman can be like.

Founded in 1983 by Maris Bustamante (b. 1949) and Mónica Mayer (b. 1954), Polvo de Gallina Negra [Black Hen Powder, in fact a concoction with magical powers supposed to protect against the evil eye] was the first feminist art collective in Mexico, active until 1993. Its claimed project was, among other things, to analyze the image of women in the media and to alter the reality, visual as well as lived, of a femininity cast in a patriarchal order; with motherhood in particular in the line of fire.

A long-term project that has taken the form of participation in events as well as texts, conferences, performances or exhibitions, ¡ Madres ! led the artists to transgress with humor the biological and social stereotypes associated with motherhood, making themselves very active in the public space or through mail art, a way of approaching a wider public.

One of their most striking actions, Madre por un Día [Mother for a Day], took place on August 27, 1987, when they appeared live on the talk show Nuestro Mundo, which had 200 million viewers and was broadcast on one of the channels of Televisa, the most powerful television group in Mexico. The journalist Guillermo Ochoa, with a sense of humor, is drawn into the experience of being the first man to become a “Mother for a Day”, while at the same time being crowned “Queen of the Household”, as every mother is in a highly codified system.
Or when TV could sometimes be used to awaken consciences, not to say bring a touch of resistance.

Frédéric Bonnet

Petrichor Amor, 21 Sep 2019 00:00:00 +0200

“What if our desires and our bodies drew us to the bottom of a cave or the foot of a tree rather than under the lights of the city? Through a utopian, phantasmagorical proposal of a world that turns its back on anthropocentrism, we will attempt symbiosis, a great mineral and erotic parade, cries and songs of love.
Petrichor sounds like a pagan myth, a Danish metal band, the name of a synth program or a simple play on words, and it’s all at once. But the smell of stone blood we all know, it’s the aroma of warm asphalt after the rain, a shower on the pebbles, a drizzle on the August moor.”

An additional performance was organized on Saturday 19 October 2019 at the auditorium of the Petit Palais (Paris), as part of the Parades for FIAC festival, in collaboration with d.c.a., the French association for the development of art centers.

Carte Blanche to François Aubart, 13 Sep 2019 00:00:00 +0200

Ellen Cantor, Club Vanessa (The London Tape), 1996

In the 1990s, Ellen Cantor (1961-2013), looking to transcribe the feelings generated by one’s emotional life, faced a question: How can one express sentiments without tipping over into the cliché?
She found an answer by reworking stereotyped images produced by the entertainment industries. In Within Heaven and Hell (1996), for example, Cantor relates in voice over her love affair with a man, the ecstasy of their meeting and the violence of their rows. The story is accompanied by scenes from the musical The Sound of Music (1965) and the horror film The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974). To tell us about the way a relationship is lived, Cantor uses images that were created to spark joy or fear in viewers.
To make Madame Bovary’s Revenge (The Lovers) (1995), she employed scenes from Les Amants (distributed in English as The Lovers, 1958). Louis Malle’s film, which tells the story of a woman who escapes the boredom of a life divided between her husband and her lover when she meets a third man, discreetly elides the sex. Cantor completes those scenes with excerpts from the pornographic film Behind the Green Door (1972). The artist thus reappropriates the tropes of pornography to tell a love story.
Driven by the same feminist-inspired reflection on the way of showing the act of making love by seeking an alternative to the violent and degrading stereotypical depictions of pornography, Cantor realized Club Vanessa (The London Tape) (1996). In this video, she explains that she dreams of a future world in which anyone will be able to have several partners without the situation sparking jealousy. She goes on to tell several personal stories, about a female partner who invited along a man for one assignation, and her friend Vanessa who would love to have a boyfriend and to whom Cantor responds that she is a boy. These remarks, told as she looks straight into the camera, are accompanied by other scenes that show Cantor making love with a woman and then a man. While realist on the face of it, her personal stories and experiences are mixed with images borrowed from various films and are occasionally shown being broadcast on a television, thus confusing the distinction between real life and representation. Cantor thus finds a way to express her thoughts on love as much as the feelings produced by her encounters and the act of making love.

François Aubart

J'aime le rose pâle et les femmes ingrates, 13 Sep 2019 00:00:00 +0200

“You know that this is what happens all the time: they judge it to be ugly - that’s how I’ve been judged for twenty years. And they’re absolutely right, because it’s ugly. I, for one, think it’s much more interesting when it looks ugly, because you see the element of struggle in it. ” [^Gertrude Stein, “How the written word is written” in Readings in America (1935), Paris, Christian Bourgois, Coll. Titles, 2011, p. 211.]

Sarah Tritz has dreamed up a personal art show in which her new pieces are exhibited in dialogue with works by 29 other guest artists, a display whose connecting thread is the body as a container, like a box whose idiom is one of its main tools. The show links what are normally viewed as two distinct forms of pleasure, allied and inseparable. There is erotic pleasure (glamour) as well as a cognitive one (grammar). Tritz brings together artists whose works openly and shamelessly call to us with an obvious physicality, like Liz Craft’s sculpture Me Princess, or the double self-portrait Gehirnstroeme (Brainwaves) by Maria Lassnig, an artist who has repeatedly taken herself as her subject yet has avoided complacency of any sort. Many of these artists dare to embody neurotic thinking and show a reciprocity between the attitude of the artist at work and what their works illustrate.

For her show, Tritz has selected a number of outsider artworks borrowed from the collections of LaM (the Lille Métropole musée d’art moderne, d’art contemporain et d’art brut), which bring to light the construction of a line of thought. They are drawings and have a cathartic value, characteristically featuring writing, symmetry, and a clarity in the distinct outlines of the drawn shapes. These motifs are treated as given conceptual elements that attest to the power of language, however ungraspable it proves to be. 

Beyond the generations and backgrounds of the artists, both outsider and contemporary, Tritz has been putting together an eclectic corpus of work that looks like a network of esthetic complicities that reveal no divisions.

Further into the show, the artist exhibits face to face a series of new pieces envisioned as an interior, both mental and domestic. Inspired by the preciosity and fantasy of Art deco furniture, the artist has designed – drawing on the artisanal know-how of several fields – a buffet with all sorts of anthropomorphic embellishments, whose doors with their stylized expressions, and vulva-shaped handles, open onto an inner theater done in bronze. The artist has molded a box-garden like the model of a projection space, an inner garden.

Theatricality – long present in Tritz’s work – is expressed by a family of headless hand-sewn marionettes, for example, or a mini peepshow, or Theater Computer, simple jury-rigged computers boasting keyboards with unintelligible alphabets and equipped with two-sided screens. On their “windows”, the artist represents the demons and desires of characters guided by their needs, primitive, sexual and greedy.

Traversées collectives, 01 Sep 2019 00:00:00 +0200

With the support of the “Région Île-de-France”, the Centre d’art contemporain d’Ivry - le Crédac has partnered with the Fernand Léger high school of Ivry-sur-Seine and invited the artist Nour Awada for an in-school residency program. In echo to the research she is conducting within the Laboratoire des Arts de la Performance (LAP) and in a logic of co-creation, Nour Awada has imagined a series of workshops around the theme of the transition from childhood to adulthood and the rites of passage. Initially oriented to the production of performative forms, the Covid-19 situation transformed these workshops into the production of an edition and the realization of a video.

During the 2019-2020 school year, Nour Awada and the students developed a documentation process through writing and photography that resulted in a publication in 2021. The final edition, itself conceived as an object of transmission for the stories the students entrusted to Nour Awada, is distributed to each student and kept in the high school library and at the Crédac for consultation.

The following year, Nour Awada offered the students of the UPE2A class to establish definitions of what the passage to adulthood means for them and in relation to their personal stories. A large part of the work sessions was devoted to body research, in order to be able to put the students’ words into movement and to conceive performance scenarios in groups. The final project took the form of a video compiling the gestures as symbols of transitional narratives, of which the students are the authors and producers.

This time of residency also made it possible to combine various aspects of the artistic and cultural pathway; the meeting with an artist and his practice, the discovery of art and heritage sites and a transdisciplinary approach to art related to the various disciplines taught in the high schools.

24 heures à Hanoï, 19 Apr 2019 00:00:00 +0200

This cycle leads to a succession of revelations to which Hoa Mi responds mutely: the silence of contemplation, and that of the outsider. Innocent and kind, she is a sort of lost Candide, except for what she’s doing: retracing a family history long kept buried. Hoa Mi the lock picker. The past is sometimes unable to intercede in the present. But on the contrary, in Hanoi, time’s circle seems to have been distorted into an imperfect curve, like the country’s sinuous and humid geography. Past and present confront each other in a ceaseless, futile tug of war. No future emerges on the horizon. Dreaming or awake? These twenty-four hours are a theater of apparitions, souls who will revisit our present existence, turtles who will recite poems while we remain prisoners of the discord of a country now transfixed by the paradoxes of its past.
This dead end, closed off centuries before to the history of Vietnam at the moment when it lost its original language—can the enchanted eyes of an outsider finally find a way out?”

Excerpt from the narration of the film 24 hours in Hanoï.

From one south-east to another south-east, 19 Apr 2019 00:00:00 +0200

As part of her solo exhibition 24 hours in Hanoi, the artist Thu Van Tran was invited to design a specific program. She invited 4 Vietnamese video artists and a Greek artist to a program entitled D’un sud-est vers un autre sud-est (From one south-east to another south-east.)

des attentions, 18 Jan 2019 00:00:00 +0100

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

Dans le clair obscur du langage, 01 Jan 2019 00:00:00 +0100

Thu Van Tran’s work incorporates a wide range of practices: sculpture, writing, film and installations. From her migrant perspective, she explores the pitfalls of globalization, embracing language and matter in a common creative process. The Centre d’art contemporain d’Ivry - le Crédac is devoting a solo exhibition (24 heures à Hanoï) to Thu Van Tran for the first time, after having collaborated with her twice in group exhibitions Expériences Insulaires in 2006, and L’Homme de Vitruve in 2012.

As a sculptor, Thu Van Tran has created monumental works (a boat perched on top of a postmodern building made by Ricardo Bofill in Noisy-le-Grand, a flying buttress at the Red House in Paris) with modest materials: wood, paper, wax, etc. But the raw material of his works is one of the most evanescent, fiction. The stories to which Thu Van Tran gives tangible form are of postcolonial inspiration and her works are linked to the intertwined history of Vietnam and France.

Pour une esthétique de l’émancipation, 01 Jan 2019 00:00:00 +0100

Far from rereading art history by anachronistically applying to it the term “queer”, used positively in militant circles since the end of the 1980s, Pour une esthétique de l’émancipation seeks to show how the writing of art history has diminished the importance of artists’ political and affective commitments and rendered the social significance of their works inoperative. By imagining new friendships between artists of the past, Isabelle Alfonsi brings out a feminist and queer lineage for contemporary art. Twentieth-century artistic practices are thus placed in the context of activism in defence of homosexual rights and the formation of a radical feminist and anti-capitalist critique. Claude Cahun and Michel Journiac cross-reference the history of American minimalism, as seen through Lynda Benglis, Lucy Lippard and Yvonne Rainer. The wars of representation waged during the AIDS crisis are read through the prism of the works of Felix Gonzalez-Torres, José E. Muñoz’s concept of disidentification and the cultural activism of the Boy/ Girl with Arms Akimbo group in San Francisco in the 1980s.

The text is accompanied by numerous illustrations, including reproductions of works by Michel Journiac, Claude Cahun, Marcel Moore, Lynda Benglis, Lucy Lippard, Robert Morris, Felix Gonzalez-Torres and Akimbo. So many images whose circulation has sometimes been compromised by the predominance of a patriarchal and heterogeneous vision of art history.

Reflexologies, 01 Jan 2019 00:00:00 +0100

Material and its intrinsic qualities are at the heart of Nina Canell’s (born 1979, Sweden) sculptural lexicon. The artist points out the plasticity of the transfers — of energy, matter, data, thoughts — that surround and connect us, using the exhibition space as a field of correspondences. Her works result from the presence of concrete materials and immaterial forces that allow the emergence of fluctuating and unexpected relationships.

Le cercle des launeddas, 08 Dec 2018 00:00:00 +0100

Michel Aubry and Aurélien Froment’s films function in the same way as Sardinian music is passed down through generations. Each of the two artists has travelled to Sardinia at different times, with different challenges and means. Aurélien Froment proposes at Crédakino “a session without interruption, in complete Sardinian immersion, in order to travel through time by following the three pieces of reed that make up the instruments, and thus to continue Michel Aubry’s film in [his] own”.

The launeddas are one of the oldest known musical instruments on the European continent. The instruments of this family consist of three reed tubes, five notes in the right hand and five notes in the left hand, the left hand being coupled to a drone. The blower uses the technique of continuous circular breathing, playing all three tubes simultaneously to bring dancing to the villages or to accompany religious processions.
Traditionally, the training of a musician was done by sharing the days of a master, from agricultural and domestic work in the morning to music lessons in the afternoon, with no discontinuity between art and life. The master passed on to his pupil the basics of each sonata from which the pupil would later assert his personality as a piper. It is a relational music, which passes from one breath to another without any material support, neither score nor recording. At the end of the 1980s, Michel Aubry, an artist and bagpipe maker, travelled to Sardinia to meet the launedda blowers. With Dante Olianas, an activist of the Sardinian nationalist party, and Franco Melis, a young musician of his generation, they met all the professional musicians of the island and collected testimonies and music. Aurelio Porcu, Franco Melis’ teacher, tells them about the titanic project undertaken by the young Danish anthropologist Andreas Fridolin Weis Bentzon (1936-1971) at the end of the 1950s, to make an inventory of the repertoire of this music which was then played in the villages of the island, and which was secretly transmitted from master to disciple.

In Allegro Largo Triste (2017), Aurélien Froment films the polyphonic music of Franco Melis, the last in a long line of musicians who lived in the village of Villaputzu in southern Sardinia. The film attempts to bring Melis’ music to the screen by following its lines. Each piece of music filmed gives its duration to the shots, without cuts or interruptions. The film’s shots follow each other like the musical phrases of a sonata and never repeat themselves. The locations chosen to bring the music to the screen inscribe the sound in the different fields of the reality of the contemporary launedda player, reflecting as much the changes in social paradigms as the permanence of a gesture, far from folkloric simplification: at the Museum of Archaeology in Cagliari, where a bronze statuette representing a bellringer is preserved 1000 years before our era on a hill opposite Tuili, the village of Franco, the probable site of a nurraghe (primitive stone constructions found on every highest point of a landscape, no doubt to defend a territory and communicate from a distance); at the edge of a stream - where reeds grow naturally; at the workshop where the first sounds are born from the patient transformation of the material; in the courtyard of a house, where music makes people dance; at the church, where pagan and Christian traditions meet; and finally at the local museum where Franco teaches and where we watch the decomposition of a sonata. (Based on research by Aurélien Froment)

Pour les pieuvres, les singes et les Hommes, 14 Sep 2018 00:00:00 +0200

John Cage’s thinking has profoundly influenced and moved a whole generation of artists and has participated in defining conceptual art. In the exhibition tout le monde in 2015, we presented a work by William Anastasi entitled Sink (1963-2010). This work, a square steel plate of 50 cm wide and 2 cm thick, was given by Anastasi to John Cage for his birthday, with the protocol of putting water on its surface every day until his death. Gradually, rust would alter and erode the steel plate.

Introducing living things into art is a way of anchoring creation in the real world, which is “not an object”. Shimabuku’s work began in the 1990s and followed the work of Joseph Beuys or Jannis Kounellis, who in Europe introduced live animals in art in the 1960s and 1970s, or Ágnes Dénes, on the American continent, who placed the protection of the environment at the centre of her actions, or Robert Smithson concerned about the idea of entropy and growing disorder.

“To discover the meaning that circulates among things, between what composes them and what they compose, in us, outside us, with or without us […].” [^Tristan Garcia, Forme et Objet. Un traité des choses, PUF, Paris, 2010.] This is the promise of Shimabuku’s work, who, by choosing the unpredictable as to the final form that his work will take, defines the process as a priority over the formal result. Meticulously produced and documented, his sculptural works, writings and photographs, videos and performances, articulated together or separately, reveal the modalities of their design and the important part left to chance. The works produced by Shimabuku are based on a profound attention to his environment, to Japan where he lives and works, but also to the different contexts in which he is invited to exhibit.

Shimabuku’s actions are positive. These are gestures of care, offering, and sometimes even reconstruction, which are not without evoking kintsugi, a traditional Japanese technique known since the 15th century, which consists in restoring ceramics or porcelains with gold or silver. These scars thus sublimate the accidents that have punctuated the life of objects. In the larger room, through an action he carried out on the Japanese coast, Shimabuku straightens up the landscape after it has been devastated. He creates a conversation between the film of this action, Erect and fragments of two houses destroyed in July in the Gagarin social housing estate in Ivry-sur-Seine. Where Robert Smithson’s Upside Down Tree (1969) was a transcendental gesture (which consisted in replanting a tree in the ground with the roots towards the sky), Shimabuku sets up the possibility of a second life.

Concern about climate change and the need to become aware of our natural environment remind us of the fragility of ecosystems. Also the question of the living world and of animism is central today and regularly finds its place at the heart of the Crédac project. Mathieu Mercier had made in 2012 Untitled (couple of axolotls), a kind of diorama, at the crossroads of the vivarium and aquarium, which raised the question of the evolution of species; in 2015 we invited Michel Blazy to showcase his collection of avocado trees (started in 1997) in the collective exhibition tout le monde. In 2017, Nina Canell introduced slugs into the heart of one of her installations made of “disarmed” electrical cabinets, for her solo show.

Since the 1990s, Shimabuku has been one of the most recognized among this generation of artists interested by the living and animism. For him as for Pierre Huyghe, Tomás Saraceno or Nina Canell, the exhibition space has been transformed into a refuge for a new ecosystem of organisms.

Claire Le Restif

Carte blanche to Jany Lauga, 13 Sep 2018 00:00:00 +0200

Cynthia Lefebvre invents a progressive circulation in the peripheral spaces of the Crédac: a subtle shift - in body, in images, in words, in gestures - between exterior and interior, visible and imperceptible.

djordjevic deconstructs the codes of the concert while abandoning himself to the adolescent pleasure of the groupie. Characterized by the artist Gwendal Coulon, a musician with an ambience, he presents a wild show of playback hits and hijacked covers. The whole thing is pimped with gadgets under strobe lights. Grotesque naivety, forgeries, jokes up to the point of foolishness are as many provocations to the expectations of the public.

L’Évasion, 20 Apr 2018 00:00:00 +0200

Sculptor, draftsman, musician, video filmmaker, photographer, Hugues Reip (born in 1964) freely draws his inspiration from works in the tradition of alternative-world fiction, so-called social science fiction, from the early 20th century, as well as the beginnings of animated cinema and the history of scientific illustration. His art is fueled as much by a certain 1990s underground rock as it is by the infinite variety of land and sea fauna and flora.

Viewers of Reip’s work travel through a landscape in which perception and illusion are two major experiences. In his pieces, each tree, each object seems to conceal a fantastic divinity in some form of surrealist syncretism.

Hugues Reip is a gardener of the supernatural. In his show called L’Évasion (The Escape), which combines past masterpieces and new works, we get to watch the dream of a butterfly, for example, that flits among clouds of dust. Black Sheeps (2014) is a group of five spinning mechanisms. They are sorts of dust planets and make their revolution in Crédac’s large main gallery. Further along we witness the creation of a fantasy island that is planted with a tree from which immortal flowers and other plants dangle. The Eyeland (2018) is a colorful island that is overlooked by a watchful eye, suggesting Odilon Redon, or putting us in mind of the guardian balloon from the mythic TV series The Prisoner (1967), where no escape is possible. Playing as always with artifice, Reip places in his unserious worlds rocks that are sometimes miniscule and sometimes oversized, and creatures from the deep that exist right beside simple matchsticks. And in Windowblow (2018), he superimposes reality on illusion through a trompe-l’oeil image of the city landscape outside the window.

The series Noirs desseins (Dark Designs – 2012-2016) shows the artist’s fondness for the history of scientific illustration and the work of Lucien Rudaux (astronomer, 1874-1947) and Ernst Haeckel (biologist, 1834-1919), along with the film special effects of Ray Harryhausen (1920-2013); while Mushbook (2008) displays his reading of the hallucinatory work of the Beat Generation. Nova Express (1964; first French edition, Christian Bourgois, 1970) is the title of the book that is central to the piece and is incidentally the name of Reip’s first rock band.

He shows off his references, both to Joseph Cornell (1903-1972) through a diorama in which he plays with surrealist techniques, juxtaposing fantastic and dreamlike elements; and to Öyvind Fahlström (1928-1976) for assemblage and collage in a form of poetic invention. Considered his first work of art, 0,25 (1990-1991) is made up of tiny sculptures that could almost be spontaneous drawings. His entire vocabulary is already in place, the vocabulary over which floats the esthetic of the artist H. C. Westermann (1922-1981), which combines Surrealism, the spirit of Dada and Folk Art. Seen through the prism of the macro- and the microscopic, his worlds harbor the patient reality of work, the compulsive collections of small found or jury-rigged objects, and the mysteries of the art studio.

Hugues et les vagues, 19 Apr 2018 00:00:00 +0200

Ariane Michel, Hugues et les vagues, 2018

This video is one of the forms resulting from the project The Rhetoric of the Tides, which Ariane Michel initiated in 2015. She invited twenty artists to work on a wild shore of the Audierne coast, in Finistère, France. For this “coastal exhibition”, which was also a filming location for her, the idea was to subject the artistic gesture to contact with the elements, and in particular the sea. This film is the result of the collaboration with Hugues Reip, who played the game to the full, his installation Wavers, 2015-18, a garden proliferating in a puddle between the rocks, having been swept away by the first tide. Looking for the point of view of everything that lives there - rocks, limpets, algae and waves - Ariane Michel observes the work’s future in the midst of the elements. Following the flowers to the bottom of the waves, she chooses to be part of the landscape to better make us feel its presence.

The Iguana - Acte II : Nothing is Said, 20 Feb 2018 00:00:00 +0100

A Reconstruction and an Underground Area, 2011, 19 min.
In the underground reserves of a museum, two women speakers on a break excitedly talk about the inventiveness of archeological museography. An archeologist on a dig somewhere, standing before the trenches and the idle excavators, describes artifacts, using these simple objects to imagine an entire civilization rising from the ground up. Much further
on a young woman confined in an underground area of some sort gives free rein to her terror-stricken fantasies. The limit between what belongs to the past and to the future is beginning to fade away.

What we know…, 2007, 44 min.
In an undetermined future the family of Jakub Schorman is peacefully living in an apartment-bunker that is supplied
from a distance by various sprawling companies. The family fears an invasion by extraterrestrials.

The Iguana - Acte I : The Unnamed Room, 21 Jan 2018 00:00:00 +0100

A Waterway, 2014, 23 min.
Certain sea creatures like the lobster may be immortal. In the future will humans be able to transform themselves rather than grow old? Hypotheses: off a seaside resort amateur archeologists dive to old shipwrecks and attempt to preserve their underwater discoveries from the ravages of time. In a more or less similar coastal city, a health-care institute offers their clients the chance to take advantage of the benefits of the sea to rejuvenate their aging bodies, while at the old
bathhouse a mysterious group of retirees form a club whose main objective is to achieve eternal life.

An Important project, 2009, 38 min.
In an unspecified future, the ChoSE corporation has specialized in implanting virtual memories in the human cortex.
The demand for memories focuses mostly on sports, which have become the main – maybe the only – sphere of interest. M. Caille, one of their clients, insists on going to the Moon, a tourist destination that is quite disreputable ever since the Lunar Tennis Club set itself up as an autocratic autonomous territory. Both the employees of ChoSE and the inhabitants of the Moon wield disinformation, brain surgery and rumors of epidemics in the service of the bitter competition between the directors of the various sports clubs.

L’Iguane, 20 Jan 2018 00:00:00 +0100

« Time passes so slowly for me I think I shall last forever. » [^« Le Nid de l’Iguane », episode 10, in Louise Hervé et Clovis Maillet (published as Chloé Maillet), Attraction Étrange, 2013.]

Crédac’s regular visitors will recall Louise Hervé & Clovis Maillet from L’Homme de Vitruve (Vitruvian Man), the 2012 group show that also included the work of this artist duo. It was our first time working with the two and they exhibited a selection of objects that had once belonged to Maurice Thorez (leader of the French Communist Party from 1930 to 1964 and member of France’s National Assembly from Ivry). The collection is normally conserved in Ivry’s Municipal Archive. The man who entitled his autobiography Fils du Peuple (Son of the People) and claimed that the book was a tool for emancipation became the starting point of both a science fiction story, L’un de nous doit disparaître (One of Us Must Disappear) and a performance piece, which was produced by Crédac for the occasion.

Our interest in their work has not waned since and we have closely followed the direction their research has taken. The current invitation is premised on putting together an anthology-like exhibition to underscore the breadth and depth of the two artists’ creative process. Hervé and Maillet are presenting part of their latest undertaking while also revisiting a selection of their earlier pieces, which they have reconceived in new displays to show them in a different light. The duo wanted to articulate the show in two acts, La Salle sans nom (The Nameless Gallery) and Rien n’est dit (Nothing Is Said), comprising a retrospective program of medium-length films (part of Crédakino) and performances, which are scheduled for the exhibition’s entire run.

L’Iguane (The Iguana) is the display of a method. Is it because one of the artists is a graduate of the art school of Cergy and the other holds a doctorate in historical anthropology from EHESS that they go about imagining their work in a singular way? They explore episodes taken from history such as Pythagorean instruction, the holidays and fraternal songs of the Saint-Simonians, or the practice of jiu-jitsu by suffragettes, drawing from them points for thinking about the engines of social revolution and the ways knowledge is transmitted. These elements lend themselves well to being reenacted or reconstructed, and the artists combine them with fictional and historical narratives. Throughout there appears as well a genealogy of their own practice, along with a questioning of the present age.

The overall design of the display they have created recalls their “reasonable interest in the diorama” [^« Un intérêt raisonnable pour le diorama », épisode] and illusionistic devices that are animated by projected and synchronized images. The display elements they deploy suggest both the theater, in a concept in which actor and viewer share the same space, and mystery, through references to magic and esoteric initiations. And yet the two artists also leave the back of the decor on view for all to see and reserve certain concealed zones that open onto the landscape.

In a museum-like space, Louise Hervé & Clovis Maillet feature an imaginary collection of works that run from the early 20th century to today, which Fleury-Joseph Crépin, Madge Gill, Alexandro Garcia, and Augustin Lesage supposedly created under the influence of spirits and extraterrestrial entities that they maintained had lavished visions and technical advice on them. Hervé and Maillet also tried their hand at the same experience, producing facsimiles while guided by the kindly “spirits” of their entourage. This is in fact their latest project, developed in Northern France and Belgium. They have created links between Fourierist architecture, the spiritualist’s art, and a strange encounter with an iguana, the reptile that gives its name – an enigmatic title to say the least – to both the show and a film being shot at the time of the show, an initial threeminute excerpt of which is included in the exhibition.

An open window in the space affords us a glimpse of an unnamed room, a parallel area whose hidden door can only be entered by the public during performances. Isn’t this also a kind of staging that blurs the borders between the space of the illusion and what lies behind the scenes, scientific reconstruction and entertainment, knowledge and the marvelous?

For several years now Louise Hervé & Clovis Maillet have been conjuring up the iguana, whose relationship to time differs from ours. Through its eyes, retrospection can be anchored in the present as much as it can constitute a view that looks to the future. This antediluvian animal, almost stonelike with its usually slight, practically imperceptible movements, mirrors the artists’ interest in the living as a vestige of a time that is not altogether past.

« In a café near the port of Dunkirk lives an iguana. We met it a few years ago. We were staying in the youth hostel between the beach and the port, which was then hosting the annual illusion congress; dozens of magicians were rehearsing their acts, sporting amulets around their necks. We were the only people incapable of doing magic tricks. That evening we were eating at the café with a sailor. The iguana stared at us for a long time. It moved only a little, so precisely and slowly that our human gestures appeared disordered. The iguana moves in another dimension, we thought, where time is slowed down and perceptions are modified. Perhaps it is always living in the future. »[^ in Louise Hervé & Clovis Maillet, Attraction Etrange, 2013]

Claire Le Restif & Sébastien Martins

Royal Garden X, 01 Jan 2018 00:00:00 +0100

rgx it is the tenth Royal Garden, it precedes and survives the group show des attentions (2019), which makes it a kind of independent, thoughtful and talkative matrix. doing gymnastics in the garden side means experimenting some other reading exercises, inspired as much by the book wheels of the Renaissance as by the mechanical analysis of digitized content: reading all senses, in all of their senses. walking garden side is meeting the possible ghosts and avatars of the works displayed in the exhibition des attentions, and transposed here in the mode of stepped evocations.

available at any time of the day or night, rgx unbewitches and reveals hidden associations, fomented by an editorial team masked in pink-gradiva ten: laurence cathala (artist), brice domingues & catherine guiral (officeabc, graphic designers), vincent maillard (developer), hélène meisel (curator).

ABC B.A, 01 Jan 2018 00:00:00 +0100

This monograph consists of a collection of texts and critical essays in the form of an alphabet primer. Using key words, twelve art critics, curators and writers have written a text commenting on the work of Boris Achour. The book also includes an iconographic set providing an overview of the artist’s work.

INDEX 1987–2017, 01 Jan 2018 00:00:00 +0100

In 2017, the Centre d’art contemporain d’Ivry - le Crédac celebrates its 30th anniversary alongside the artists, critics, administrators and audiences who have been at the heart of its action in favour of creation. In this context, the production of a book appeared necessary, making it possible to convene the memory of everyone, works, exhibitions, conferences and projects conducted by artists in schools. It is also about documenting a rich past of contemporary creation that has left a lasting imprint on the French and international artistic scene.

This book aims to present itself as a resource tool, offering an exhaustive set of archives concerning the history of the Crédac. The book, intended for an audience of amateurs, students and professionals, consists of an iconographic walk that retraces 30 years of creation, and a corpus of texts. Faithful to the history of Crédac, which has been written through the projects and people who have contributed at different levels to the development of its activity, the book brings together among its authors: artists, institutions, art critics, exhibition curators, representatives of trustees, administrators

INDEX 1987–2017, 01 Jan 2018 00:00:00 +0100

In 2017, the Centre d’art contemporain d’Ivry - le Crédac celebrates its 30th anniversary alongside the artists, critics, administrators and audiences who have been at the heart of its action in favour of creation. In this context, the production of a book appeared necessary, making it possible to convene the memory of everyone, works, exhibitions, conferences and projects conducted by artists in schools. It is also about documenting a rich past of contemporary creation that has left a lasting imprint on the French and international artistic scene.

This book aims to present itself as a resource tool, offering an exhaustive set of archives concerning the history of the Crédac. The book, intended for an audience of amateurs, students and professionals, consists of an iconographic walk that retraces 30 years of creation, and a corpus of texts. Faithful to the history of Crédac, which has been written through the projects and people who have contributed at different levels to the development of its activity, the book brings together among its authors: artists, institutions, art critics, exhibition curators, representatives of trustees, administrators

INDEX 1987–2017, 01 Jan 2018 00:00:00 +0100

In 2017, the Centre d’art contemporain d’Ivry - le Crédac celebrates its 30th anniversary alongside the artists, critics, administrators and audiences who have been at the heart of its action in favour of creation. In this context, the production of a book appeared necessary, making it possible to convene the memory of everyone, works, exhibitions, conferences and projects conducted by artists in schools. It is also about documenting a rich past of contemporary creation that has left a lasting imprint on the French and international artistic scene.

This book aims to present itself as a resource tool, offering an exhaustive set of archives concerning the history of the Crédac. The book, intended for an audience of amateurs, students and professionals, consists of an iconographic walk that retraces 30 years of creation, and a corpus of texts. Faithful to the history of Crédac, which has been written through the projects and people who have contributed at different levels to the development of its activity, the book brings together among its authors: artists, institutions, art critics, exhibition curators, representatives of trustees, administrators

INDEX 1987–2017, 01 Jan 2018 00:00:00 +0100

In 2017, the Centre d’art contemporain d’Ivry - le Crédac celebrates its 30th anniversary alongside the artists, critics, administrators and audiences who have been at the heart of its action in favour of creation. In this context, the production of a book appeared necessary, making it possible to convene the memory of everyone, works, exhibitions, conferences and projects conducted by artists in schools. It is also about documenting a rich past of contemporary creation that has left a lasting imprint on the French and international artistic scene.

This book aims to present itself as a resource tool, offering an exhaustive set of archives concerning the history of the Crédac. The book, intended for an audience of amateurs, students and professionals, consists of an iconographic walk that retraces 30 years of creation, and a corpus of texts. Faithful to the history of Crédac, which has been written through the projects and people who have contributed at different levels to the development of its activity, the book brings together among its authors: artists, institutions, art critics, exhibition curators, representatives of trustees, administrators

INDEX 1987–2017, 01 Jan 2018 00:00:00 +0100

In 2017, the Centre d’art contemporain d’Ivry - le Crédac celebrates its 30th anniversary alongside the artists, critics, administrators and audiences who have been at the heart of its action in favour of creation. In this context, the production of a book appeared necessary, making it possible to convene the memory of everyone, works, exhibitions, conferences and projects conducted by artists in schools. It is also about documenting a rich past of contemporary creation that has left a lasting imprint on the French and international artistic scene.

This book aims to present itself as a resource tool, offering an exhaustive set of archives concerning the history of the Crédac. The book, intended for an audience of amateurs, students and professionals, consists of an iconographic walk that retraces 30 years of creation, and a corpus of texts. Faithful to the history of Crédac, which has been written through the projects and people who have contributed at different levels to the development of its activity, the book brings together among its authors: artists, institutions, art critics, exhibition curators, representatives of trustees, administrators

INDEX 1987–2017, 01 Jan 2018 00:00:00 +0100

In 2017, the Centre d’art contemporain d’Ivry - le Crédac celebrates its 30th anniversary alongside the artists, critics, administrators and audiences who have been at the heart of its action in favour of creation. In this context, the production of a book appeared necessary, making it possible to convene the memory of everyone, works, exhibitions, conferences and projects conducted by artists in schools. It is also about documenting a rich past of contemporary creation that has left a lasting imprint on the French and international artistic scene.

This book aims to present itself as a resource tool, offering an exhaustive set of archives concerning the history of the Crédac. The book, intended for an audience of amateurs, students and professionals, consists of an iconographic walk that retraces 30 years of creation, and a corpus of texts. Faithful to the history of Crédac, which has been written through the projects and people who have contributed at different levels to the development of its activity, the book brings together among its authors: artists, institutions, art critics, exhibition curators, representatives of trustees, administrators

INDEX 1987–2017, 01 Jan 2018 00:00:00 +0100

In 2017, the Centre d’art contemporain d’Ivry - le Crédac celebrates its 30th anniversary alongside the artists, critics, administrators and audiences who have been at the heart of its action in favour of creation. In this context, the production of a book appeared necessary, making it possible to convene the memory of everyone, works, exhibitions, conferences and projects conducted by artists in schools. It is also about documenting a rich past of contemporary creation that has left a lasting imprint on the French and international artistic scene.

This book aims to present itself as a resource tool, offering an exhaustive set of archives concerning the history of the Crédac. The book, intended for an audience of amateurs, students and professionals, consists of an iconographic walk that retraces 30 years of creation, and a corpus of texts. Faithful to the history of Crédac, which has been written through the projects and people who have contributed at different levels to the development of its activity, the book brings together among its authors: artists, institutions, art critics, exhibition curators, representatives of trustees, administrators

INDEX 1987–2017, 01 Jan 2018 00:00:00 +0100

In 2017, the Centre d’art contemporain d’Ivry - le Crédac celebrates its 30th anniversary alongside the artists, critics, administrators and audiences who have been at the heart of its action in favour of creation. In this context, the production of a book appeared necessary, making it possible to convene the memory of everyone, works, exhibitions, conferences and projects conducted by artists in schools. It is also about documenting a rich past of contemporary creation that has left a lasting imprint on the French and international artistic scene.

This book aims to present itself as a resource tool, offering an exhaustive set of archives concerning the history of the Crédac. The book, intended for an audience of amateurs, students and professionals, consists of an iconographic walk that retraces 30 years of creation, and a corpus of texts. Faithful to the history of Crédac, which has been written through the projects and people who have contributed at different levels to the development of its activity, the book brings together among its authors: artists, institutions, art critics, exhibition curators, representatives of trustees, administrators

Carte blanche to Stéphanie Cottin, 31 Oct 2017 00:00:00 +0100

This is the story of a harpoon, how it became a pencil, and with it, everything else. Arvo Leo has centred his film Fish Plane, Heart Clock (2014) on the Inuit artist Pudlo Pudlat (1916-1992), positioning Pudlat’s pencil as a fulcrum around which a much wider context accumulates.

Originally living as a hunter on Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic, an injury caused Pudlat to move to Kinngait, a colonial hamlet. In 1956, the Department of Northern Affairs and Natural Resources Canada established Kinngait Studios, which provided space, materials and instruction in drawing and printmaking for Inuit. The West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative was formed in 1959 to promote sales and exhibitions of Inuit art in southern Canada and abroad. Pudlat’s imagery reflects his ever-changing environment, combining animals or igloos with aeroplanes or helicopters, and often transforming one into the other.
Working prolifically in the Studio, Pudlat’s prints and sculptures have been widely distributed by the Cooperative. Yet in Fish Plane, Heart Clock, Leo focuses on Pudlat’s collection of over 4000 drawings and paintings, the most private part of an artistic output spanning four decades. The music played by Cape Dorset residents adds another layer, and is as present as the image.
Fish Plane, Heart Clock is more demonstrative and lyrical than documentary or neutral, as Leo interprets Pudlat’s artistic logic and his visionary form of graphic oration. Leo sees his film as an attempt not to talk ‘about’ Pudlat, but to talk ‘close to’ Pudlat. In other words, the proximity he offers is a seat at the centre of an orbit, from which an unprecedented collection of art and a constellation of cultural, economic and political relationships are highlighted.

Chris Fitzpatrick & Post Brothers

STRETCH, 08 Sep 2017 00:00:00 +0200

« Alexandra Bircken in conversation with Claire Le Restif, Kathleen Rahn and Susanne Titz » (excerpt) in Alexandra Bircken, STRETCH. Catalogue of the exhibitions at Kunstverein Hannover, Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach, Le Crédac, Ivry-sur-Seine, published by Walther König, Cologne, 2017.

In 2010 the Kunstverein of Nuremberg and Crédac, working with the curator Kathleen Rahn, jointly mounted the show Mental Archaeology (Matti Braun, Thea Djordjadze and Jean-Luc Moulène). Along the same lines, we are now featuring the work of Alexandra Bircken, the inspiration behind our latest joint exhibition. Crédac is the most recent address for a show that has traveled to Hanover’s Kunstverein and the Abteiberg Museum of Mönchengladbach in Germany. And importantly, it is the first solo show devoted to Alexandra Bircken in France. Crédac has also contributed to the accompanying catalogue.

What grabs and holds viewers’ attention in Bircken’s sculptural work is its plastic force, topicality, and clear desire to adopt a gender neutrality that one might characterize as “androgynous.” All of which has surfaced again and again in Crédac’s program of exhibitions and events over the last few years.

There is a great deal to say about the artist’s career up to this point. She was interested in artmaking via fashion, studying in the 1990s at the prestigious Central St Martins College of Art and Design in London, and later created her own label with Alexander Faridi. Heavily influenced by these experiences, the work Bircken is now pursuing is very much bound up with current political affairs. “How can you be indifferent to the news coming at us every day,” she observes in her interview with Kathleen Rahn, Susanne Titz and me for the catalogue. Her art also conjures up the things that have long haunted her, throwing light on the workings of an object, its private reality, the way it is constructed or assembled, be it a piece of clothing, a motorcycle, or a firearm. Each of them has its particular instructions for use and characteristics, its own identity, just as the body has its own workings.

So when the artist makes an almost surgical cut in the process of creating some of her sculptures from existing objects, not only does Bircken deactivate them, she enhances them. While she views her treatment of the body or clothing as a leitmotif, her experiments with materials suggest an interest in the study of the body and skin as an organ, outfit, cellular structure, and an extremely vulnerable border between inside and outside. Dummies, clothing, damaged motorcycle suits are exhibited, with cuts and incisions like cutaway models. All of the spatial situations mounted by Bircken point up the interactions between humans and machines, a central, omnipresent subject that has been constantly evolving since the Industrial Revolution and which has come to include at least a century later the cyborg (from cybernetic organism), that human being who has been fitted out with mechanical grafts, and the replicant (first heard in the film Blade Runner), which is more akin to the human clone than the robot, unsettling the notion of the human condition and the question of gender.

The overall title of the three STRETCH exhibitions speaks for itself. We wear clothes and we build houses for our skin is too fragile to protect us completely. What touches us, what gets under our skin in Alexandra Bircken’s work is that it is our permeability and penetrability that make us humans.

Claire Le Restif

Phantasmata, 07 Sep 2017 00:00:00 +0200

Since the beginning of the 1990s, Hugues Reip has been developing a prolific body of work that is permeated by an “archa-modernist” imagination. His videos, sculptures, elementary installations and cut-outs form childlike, rock’n’roll dreamlike tableaux. Certain technical and formal processes inherited from the origins of cinema (Georges Méliès, Buster Keaton) and the artistic avant-garde of the 20th century (Fischinger, Kandinsky) mixed with bricolés artifices, give rise to his filmic experiments, often of very short duration.

The term of Greek origin phantasmata has several meanings: an apparition or spectre, a creation of the imagination, a hallucination, or a mental image of a real object. This title, chosen by Hugues Reip for the selection of films (1995-2009) shown in the Crédakino, precisely translates the artist’s world, at once fairy-like and disturbing, which stages another reality, between abstraction and magic, that could be described as relative reality.
“I remember the engravings that accompanied Jules Verne’s stories, which, by making the unreal real, evoked a world that would have a body, a time, a visible space different from ours… but in the same place,” explains Hugues Reip. Hallucinatory visions, games of scale, science fiction: the artist’s Parallel Worlds open their doors.

Dolphin Dandelion, 21 Apr 2017 00:00:00 +0200

Nina Canell’s exhibition Dolphin Dandelion, her first solo exhibition in France, presents her characteristic material left-overs and processual debris, carefully produced to meet the post-industrial context of Credac.

The production of space, or a visualization of imagined space, induces horizon—a vanishing line, a curve in passing—the search for an elusive or hypothetical element that artists call “landscape”, “space”, “territory”. Communicating involves subordinating forms to the content of the message in order to be understood. This is not the case with art, which is close to silence, the tangles of language, the codes by which artists sometimes lead us into the meanderings of meaning. To think and communicate from the space one produces, is not always limited to visual data. This space that comes from a variable set of metaphorical or concrete elements, which delimit a mental plane within which tensions are materialized, where perspectives and dead ends appear.

Nina Canell produces spaces. For instance, she considers her exhibition according to the orientation of the rooms of Crédac: South West, South East and East again. This detail underlines both the way the artist considers space as a central element as well as the meteorological dimension of her own work. Temperature, atmosphere and time are all important factors.


Nina Canell explores the interval, micro phenomena and the at times imperceptible relation between objects. Her work often involves several forms of radiation, sine waves, electricity: all symbolically “charged” with different associations of “affective” forms. Recently described as a kind of “anthropology of energy”, it points to the plasticity of transfers - of matter, data, thoughts - which surround us. She uses the exhibition space as a field of correspondences: the place of what happens, has happened, or could happen.

Nina Canell maintains a curious relationship with objects, close to animism. She says that she often observes at length how they behave and interact with each other, redefining then in the exhibition the event occurring only between objects.

Her work is strongly linked to moving and impalpable subjects, such as dislocation, fluidity, transmission and its corollary disconnection.

Claire Le Restif

Campagnes, 20 Apr 2017 00:00:00 +0200

Aujourd’hui, quatre jeunes professionnels attachés à nos deux institutions proposent un programme de projections, rencontres et performances, intitulé Campagnes, invitant à des réflexions sur les questions de paysage et de territoires. Ce programme s’inscrit dans un ensemble d’événement à l’occasion du trentième anniversaire du Crédac qui a émergé dans un contexte de décentralisation et entre en écho avec les campagnes présidentielles et législatives de 2017. 
Leur donner carte blanche nous a paru la forme la plus pertinente pour incarner notre fructueuse collaboration et donner une nouvelle fois l’occasion aux artistes de s’exprimer.

Claire Le Restif, Directrice du Crédac 
Laurence Maynier, Directrice de la Fondation Nationale des Arts Graphiques et Plastiques

La décentralisation entre dans sa première phase opérationnelle dans les années 1980 pour répondre aux profonds changements du territoire : la fin de l’exode rural et un fort développement urbain, la modernisation de l’agriculture et la restructuration industrielle, la construction de grands équipements et l’explosion des activités tertiaires et touristiques. L’enjeu d’une meilleure répartition territoriale se traduit d’une part, par un transfert de responsabilités du pouvoir sur le plan local, permettant une plus grande implication des citoyens dans l’État, et d’autre part, par un redéploiement des infrastructures économiques, sociales et culturelles, favorisant ainsi une plus grande diversité face à l’hégémonie de la capitale[^Joseph Voignac, « La décentralisation : un enjeu central, une préoccupation marginale », Revue des deux mondes, 10 décembre 2015.]. Dans le mouvement des politiques de déconcentration, les centres d’art ont progressivement constitué avec les Fonds régionaux d’art contemporain un maillage de structures dédiées à la création contemporaine distribuées sur l’ensemble du territoire, pour participer à sa redynamisation. 

C’est dans ce contexte que Bernard Latarjet et François Hers, sous la tutelle de la Délégation interministérielle à l’Aménagement du Territoire et à l’Attractivité Régionale (DATAR), invitent une trentaine de photographes à réaliser une campagne photographique, parmi lesquels on compte Christian Milovanoff, Robert Doisneau, Raymond Depardon, Gabriele Basilico… Le soin leur est confié de capter les indices des mutations en cours en représentant le paysage actuel, dont il était « de plus en plus difficile de fonder notre perception (…) sur une expérience physique directe »[^Bernard Latarjet, préface de Christian Milovanoff, Bureaux, Paris, Nouvelles éditions Scala, 2015.]. Dans leur majorité, les photographes ont privilégié le quotidien, les lieux communs et même les non lieux, dans un désir de « recréer une culture du paysage »[^Raphaële Bertho, « La mission photographique de la DATAR – Un Laboratoire du paysage contemporain », La documentation française, 2013.].

Face à ces bouleversements territoriaux apparaît de manière concomitante le néoruralisme, une forme de réalisation individuelle par un mode de vie et de travail rural qui tend à rompre avec les conditions sociales des villes poussant à une perte de signification, afin de reconstituer des liens avec le monde biologique[^Claude Mercier, Giovanni Simona, « Le néo-ruralisme : nouvelles approches pour un phénomène nouveau », Revue de géographie alpine, tome 71, n°3, 1983. p. 253-265.]. 

Trente ans après, ces problématiques trouvent une résonance particulière dans des questionnements contemporains sur notre contexte socio-économique et le rapport que nous entretenons avec notre environnement. À l’heure d’un renouvellement politique, Campagnes se veut pluriel ; le terme est entendu à contretemps selon ses différentes facettes : photographique, rurale, d’observation, archéologique, belliqueuse. 
En écho à la mission photographique de la DATAR, Campagnes se concentre sur le territoire envisagé de manière sensible et politique, à travers le regard des artistes Céline Ahond, Étienne de France, Lola Gonzàlez, Laurent Grasso, Christian Milovanoff, Armand Morin et Marie Voignier. 

Plus qu’un simple arrière-plan, le paysage recouvre plusieurs significations. Traditionnellement rural, poétique, il peut relever de l’espace intérieur, ouvrir sur des visions utopiques ou dystopiques, être un sujet de réflexion, un espace propice à l’émancipation de l’attention ou encore un écran où se révèlent nos interrogations politiques. Il nous permet de questionner la place de l’humain et les relations qu’il entretient avec le paysage, qu’il soit une zone de coopération ou de tensions, un terrain d’exploration ou de conquête, un espace de doute ou d’espoir. 

Lucie Baumann, Caroline Cournède, Sébastien Martins et Léna Patier

« Rappelle-toi de la couleur des fraises », 20 Jan 2017 00:00:00 +0100

Whether in her writing, production, or choosing to work collectively, Lola Gonzàlez creates works that display a propensity for authenticity, spontaneity, and fluidity, solid values that cement emotional ties. She mainly works in video art, repeatedly featuring a group of young people in natural settings with grand family residences to be seen somewhere in the picture. It is impossible to know who these people are or what holds them together, and yet their activities appear to be driven by a common dream that is infused with a certain idealism.
In Veridis Quo (2016), the group has come together in a house by the sea on the eve of some event for which they seem to be preparing with firearms training while wearing a blindfold. Their day ends with a silent dinner around a platter of shellfish punctuated by the crack, clack, and crunch of broken carcasses. In the morning, the group, now blind, is guided to the shore by their two observers, who alone have not lost their sight. They then wait, weapons in hand, their empty gaze fixed on the horizon, while the event is suspended for the time being.

With the show Rappelle-toi de la couleur des fraises (“Remember the Color of Strawberries”), visitors can discover the artist’s latest production, which was shot in December 2016 and conceived as a video installation in which two film spaces intermittently merge. The first video shows two lovers who have washed up at the foot of a house by the sea. They are taken in by three young men who see the world in black and white only. In the house the couple must confront different trials that will lead to a change in their perception of color. The emotional and chromatic vicissitudes experienced by the couple are punctuated by a soundtrack composed by Alexandre Bourit, one of the artist’s friends, which is heard issuing from the second space. This latter space seems to be a way of passing between two diegetic realities.

Gonzàlez has taken the opportunity of her solo show to create a shared moment with her network of art colleagues, friends and family, who provide support and have an influence on her output. She has invited several others to join her, including Nicolas Rabant (born in 1988), whose dyed nets conjure up the reflections of dawn and dusk on the surface of the sea; Accolade Accolade (Jenne Pineau and Paul Mignard, both born in 1989), a duo of painters who explore symbolist pictorial territories together; and Pascale Gadon-Gonzàlez (born in 1961), who has been studying and photographing for some twenty years various species of lichen, an organism resulting from the symbiosis of two biological entities which invites us to think of otherness as a complementarity. Through these invitations, Lola Gonzàlez lends visual form to the process of exchange and the preponderant role played by the community of affection and cooperation in her artistic practice.

Retrospective My Eye, 20 Jan 2017 00:00:00 +0100

As an artist and curator, Corentin Canesson has dedicated his time to painting, music and curating. His practice adheres to various protocols that he imposes on himself as playful obsessions. He sees painting as a spontaneous pleasurable act through which he can summon mixed references to the history of 20th- and 21st-century art. For the current exhibition, he has done a series of abstract acrylic and oil paintings in a given format (195 x 130 cm), pointing to the gestures of Eugène Leroy, Bram Van Velde and Philip Guston. Experiencing this uninhibited painting also involves a soundtrack, one created by his group, called The Night He Came Home. The album visitors hear was recorded for the show and each of the record sleeves is hand-painted by the artist himself; it plays in a loop in Crédac’s main gallery, which has been reimagined as a soundstage.

This “secondhand” painting—it should be read alongside the artist’s assimilation of painters he loves—doesn’t stop Canesson from engaging in true plastic experimentation and formal unity beyond the exercise of citing or reappropriating others’ work. The heritage in this case, designated and openly espoused, allows the artist to take over an area of painting that is already well established and clearly marked off while permitting the expression of a sincere and singular sensibility. In the teeming corpus of this highly prolific artist, certain periods, series, even whims stand out. For instance, there is the leitmotif of the bird (known to be inspired by both the naturalist paintings of the American ornithologist John James Audubon and the sculptures of the Finistère sculptor Jean Pierre Dolveck), which is often alone and hemmed in by the picture frame, stuck in layers and layers of paint that seem to weigh down on its movements. In 2015, following a residency at Les Chantiers, Canesson focused his solo show at the Passerelle Contemporary Art Center in Brest on the myth of Samson and Dalila. Both blocking and boosting communications beforehand, the artist himself painted the posters that were later placed in billboards around the city, conveying even before the show opened a range of visual translations of the Biblical story.

Retrospective My Eye: The title of both the show and the album is a straight-up homage to Robert Wyatt. It comes from the words of Gharbzadegi, one of the pieces on Old Rottenhat, the fourth album, a solo, self-produced work that the English musician brought out in 1985. The Night He Came Home—another reference, this time to John Carpenter’s 1978 film Halloween—is even a cover version; it can be heard in the show.

Royal Garden 9, 01 Jan 2017 00:00:00 +0100

A scene, a character, a tegument? Have you ever looked a worm straight in the eye? Bibliomania invites you to follow Andy and your instincts to the other side of the apple. When loved objects become magnets, you’ll finally know why “worms don’t come easy”.

STRETCH, 01 Jan 2017 00:00:00 +0100

The three STRETCH exhibitions, in which some sixty objects illustrate the different phases of Alexandra Bircken’s work, was designed specifically for the Kunstverein Hannover, the Museum Abteiberg in Mönchengladbach and the Centre d’art contemporain d’Ivry - le Crédac in Ivry-sur-Seine.

This book presents variants of the installations from the first exhibitions in Hannover and Mönchengladbach, as well as a documentation of the processes, which introduce the artist’s working methods and her research on materials.

Remontages, 22 Nov 2016 00:00:00 +0100

remontages (Ivry-sur-Seine) was realized by the artist during the preparation of his exhibition l’espace épisodique presented in spring 2014 at Crédac.
The video focuses on the clock of the Manufacture des Œillets. Stopped since the closure of the factory in the late 1970s (since it has occasionally been restarted), it contains within it both the symbol of time and memory. With its double dial, it was visible from the courtyard when arriving and from the factory during the working day. The artist reconstructs the repair process by the watchmaker and its operation for the duration of his exhibition at Crédac.

Carte blanche to Elfi Turpin, 18 Oct 2016 00:00:00 +0200

In the Eye of the Shadow Machine is a film program that suggests the research led by Elise and Marcel Florenty Turkowsky around different possible communication experiments between humans and non-humans in Japan. With this program, the artists focus specifically on Bunraku - a form of theater in which the characters are represented by large puppets, manipulated by masked and black dressed operators.
The program opens with the short movie Shadow-machine that reveals a constellation of characters, plants, animals and machines, isolated in a dense summer night, and sharing the feeling of being strangely linked to each other as they were guided by the same external force, collective and threatening. If Shadow Machine is inspired by Bunraku, it is a reflection both anxious and liberating on the domination of an author on his player.
The second film Kitsune-Bi Material enters the eye of the first one. Designed in the conspiracy of the same night, it unfolds short stories from Bunraku theater “behind the scenes”, revealing a complex narrative device that separates the music of the voice, the voice of the body, the head of the members. By distancing itself from the representation, the film observes how operators like shifting and sovereign shadows, alternately give life and take it back.

The Blue One Comes in Black, 09 Sep 2016 00:00:00 +0200

A major artist on the contemporary Canadian art scene, Liz Magor finds her ideas in human beliefs, reactions, and behaviors, especially when they have something to do with the material world. Magor is interested in the social and emotional lives of ordinary objects, being particularly fond of materials that have since lost the luster of their use or their function from an earlier time. Selecting them for their capacity to contain and reflect stories, like personal and collective identities, the artist points up a resonance that goes beyond their simple utilitarian function via transformations and shifts in context or perspective.

Magor’s art practice began forty years ago. This long period has witnessed great changes in artmaking, from the dematerialization of the object to its rematerialization, from a movement away from the studio to its recent reaffirmation and a renewed interest in materials and making. Throughout this whole period, the artist has maintained her studio practice, specifically questioning the things that share the same space-time as her own body. In the catalogue of her recent retrospective at MAC, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal [^Liz Magor, 2016. Catalogue of the show Habitude at Museum of Contemporary Art, Montreal (22 June - 5 September 2016)], she has gone, she says, “from words to the visible, from the idea to the object” for “it was a long process and it was in the studio that this change took place. Nowadays I need the concrete space of the studio to examine the world. It isn’t enough to just look. I need to transform things to better capture and understand the constituent properties of the materials and processes that form the objects of the world. Since all of these things already bear a social stamp, it is a bit as if I was bringing scraps of the world into the studio.”

Thanks to this experience, Magor decided to explore and absorb the world, to experience it before beginning to conceptualize. “For my use objects can be divided into two categories, those that come from the world and those that I produce in the studio.” The objects she chooses to make a part of her work are at the end of their expected life, dirty, rebellious, devalued, old fashioned, stupid. She traces their slow deterioration in connection with the domestic realm, then takes them into her care and slowly brings them around to a new attraction.

“What interests me is the influence of what is fashioned in the studio on what is simply found. By a mysterious phenomenon, found objects truly come to life when they are in the presence of the sculptural representation of something ordinary.”

Her works, which she says are designed, created, and polished by the play of contradictions, seem to restore the torment but also partake of the vitality of existence. By working from hyperrealist casts of day-to-day objects or pieces of clothing, mending and protecting objects chosen for their obvious disuse and obsolescence, realizing negatives of objects or facsimiles (two processes connected with reproduction), Magor puts us on alert. Through this awakening of an anonymous material world, a certain history of our modern culture can be read, from property to the need for protection and accumulation, to the ambiguity and inconstancy of the desire that connects us with objects. The artist creates and keeps a “photograph” of objects for a long time by putting an abrupt end to the process of corrosion and collapse. For sculpture has quite a lot to do with time and Magor’s sculpture, which is endlessly negotiating with “oxidized” matter, has to do with the idea of putting an end to time and to death. With these new associations between objects, Magor recreates life without creating new stories since she doesn’t want to lend particular meanings to her assemblages. There is no romanticism in her approach, maybe a slight nostalgia only. Nor is there any “regionalism” since she chooses her materials where she works.

Magor knows that the viewer doesn’t always make the difference between a real thing and a sculpture. She looks for that space of error between the manufactured and reality precisely where a disconnection with reality can play out.

The climate control and the summer of love, 08 Sep 2016 00:00:00 +0200

The film The climate control and the summer of love is based on a single action carried out by a performer immersed in a setting that plays on the codes of the green screen studio used to produce special effects. The costume and mask worn by the performer bear similarities to the figure of the spectre in early silent films, her action being reduced to producing and maintaining in weightlessness a simple soap bubble above a glass table. The only form produced in the incrustation studio, the bubble, struggling with gravity and its inevitable disappearance, refers on the one hand to its motif used in classical painting, but also to a possible contemporary vanity linked to our relationship to images through their virtuality, their daily appearance and disappearance. In this micro-ballet, between a body and a bubble, a co-presence gradually asserts itself, blurring the markers to know who is supporting the other, the bubble or the character.

Olivier Dollinger

Thursday 6 October at 7pm : Screening and meeting with Olivier Dollinger

La Vie Héroïque de B.S. : Un opéra en 3 actes, 24 May 2016 00:00:00 +0200

In this video-opera, Hoël Duret stages the investigation of a fictional character named B.S., a whimsical designer and clumsy heir to the rational principles of modernity. Conqueror, he accepts an ultimate challenge: to redesign the hen’s egg.
The sixties aesthetic oscillates between DIY and design, teeming with references to post-war industrial creations, and already heralds the collapse of the hero’s fascinated modernist thinking. The three acts were filmed in as many exhibitions designed as film sets (Frac Pays de la Loire, Mosquito Coast Factory and Zoo Galerie).

Thursday 2 June at 6.45pm: Screening and meeting with the artist.

Rodtchenko à Paris, 04 May 2016 00:00:00 +0200

In 1925, Alexander Rodchenko was commissioned to design the USSR pavilion at the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts. During his stay in Paris, he wrote to his wife Varvara Stepanova about his life in Paris, giving a host of precise and critical observations on the society of the time.
The film has been built up progressively since March 2003 by successive shootings, generally associated with exhibitions of the Workers’ Club, which Michel Aubry has reconstructed and set to music. In the film, Alexandre Rodchenko, played by the actor David Legrand, travels through contemporary Paris in the footsteps of the constructivist artist, discovering places that have remained unchanged, such as Versailles, the Cirque d’hiver, the Hôtel Star-Etoile, the Olympia and the Grand Palais.

Thursday 12 May at 6.45pm: Screening of the film and meeting with the artist.

Carte Blanche to Ana Jotta, 08 Apr 2016 00:00:00 +0200

A Coragem de Lassie (Lassie’s Courage) plunges us into the world of Ana Jotta. We follow the artist at work, in her studio and during the setting up of an exhibition. Her work is illuminated by the comments of people close to her. The title is borrowed from an exhibition by the artist in 1988.

TI RE LI RE, 08 Apr 2016 00:00:00 +0200

Ana Jotta has been elaborating one of the most exciting and singular bodies of work on Portugal’s art scene of the past few decades. While she mostly works as a painter, she also collects and gleans all sorts of things, injecting new life into the objects, writings and finds of others as well as her own. Making is the perennial watchword in the development of her work, which is as modest and spare as it is copious.

A Portuguese daily recently published a long profile of her entitled “Story of a Cat without a Master.” Indeed, Ana Jotta has no taste for what is dominant, classified, or ordered by anyone other than herself. Obeying only her own orchestration, she follows her many paths, routes and circles. She readily defines herself as irrational and fond of the unclassifiable, the inexhaustible, the immoral.

In the gallery devoted to the Js, the totemic sculpture called Genealogic Tree (undated) is characteristic of her practice. Suggesting a living room lamp, the assemblage brings together light (artificial and filtered through a plastic bucket that has been repurposed as a lampshade), a shield from the parades that took place during the 1940 World’s Fair in Portugal, and a painting by Pedro Casqueiro. Crowning the whole, the head of a dog trophy-like sports a royal headdress of ermine. Beneath the finery of a personal coat of arms, the artist is having fun with the notions of style, discipline, and the individual creator in a practice that is fundamentally free.

Footnotes forms an inexhaustible reserve and matrix for the artist. This collection of objects, images, drawings, and souvenirs has taken shape over the years and continues to grow, reminding us of the importance of amateurism (with its roots in amare, to love) and its attachment to the “minor” arts. Conserved in her home, the series resembles a retrospective show of her life (consider Petit cirque [Little Circus], which contains a year’s worth of images shot with her mobile phone). The elements making up footnotes were carefully selected by the artist initially for the exhibition A Conclusão da Precedente at Lisbon’s Culturgest in 2014. Photographed for the occasion, they gave rise to a book, which in turn generated wallpaper. This sort of Wunderkammer, or cabinet of curiosities, the forerunner of the modern museum, mirrors both Ana Jotta’s working process and her art, which, like her own body, is in constant motion.

Each show is in effect a chance to read and reread her output, a chance to come up with a new way of displaying it. There is no distinction then between her art and how it is shown and arranged. It is often through lighter, transportable, even perishable arrangements that her works by turns vanish and reappear. Her most recent pieces are substitutes for the artworks remaining in the studio and printed on light, sheer, ghostly pieces of cloth.

Ana Jotta calls herself eccentric, that is, literally outside the center. She lives and works on the margins, where frail, sensitive things, things that are almost invisible, are ejected. It is in those neglected, yet familiar, spaces that she finds her material, pointing up the essential details. Regarding them, she speaks of “exclusive objects that are peculiar to each of us, liable to have a life of their own through their oddity, charm and antiform.”

Claire Le Restif

Going Space, 15 Jan 2016 00:00:00 +0100

The odysseys Caecilia Tripp shares with viewers are bound up with the history of peoples’ migrations. Rendered as journeys as well as ascensions or celebrations, these movements are indeed constantly in motion.
Going Space begins with a sound piece that accompanies viewers as their own steps take on a mounting rhythmic movement towards the exhibition space itself. Like a parade or procession, which is a recurring code in the artist’s work, the show follows a certain thread throughout, that of a fluid geography which starts with the intimacy of portraits showing sleeping readers (Sleeping with Books, 2011-15), continues with an urban context and the reenactment of past performances (Last Song, 2015; Paris Anthem, 2008), and ends in cosmic music and a vortex that is drawn in chalk through the circular dance of several roller-skaters.
Scoring the Black Hole [^Scoring the Black Hole is produced by Lafayette Anticipations - Fondation d’entreprise Galeries Lafayette.
Guests : Chimurenga « Pan African Space Station »] is first a performance, then a cosmic musical composition inscribed on canvas and film. There is neither a beginning nor an end, only the infinite and the unknown. In We Are Nothing but Stardust (2015), the artist alludes to string theory and references the jazz saxophonist and composer John Coltrane. Coltrane played cosmic constellations in his improvisations, which have since been explored by the quantum physics research scientist Stephon Alexander. Scoring the Black Hole reveals and highlights our invisible ties.
Another journey is enacted with a “prepared” bicycle (Music for [Prepared] Bicycle, Score Two: New York, 2015), which starts from the Bronx, passes through Spanish Harlem, and pushes on as far as the Brooklyn Bridge, retracing the history of both the Young Lords, a radical social group founded by young Puerto Ricans in New York and Chicago in the 1960s, and the Black Panthers.
In any case, Going Space is about shifts and movements in history. The history of the construction, fluidity and exceeding of identities is indeed the cornerstone of Tripp’s work. Through the history of music and sound, she offers us some of the construction codes of a multiracial America reinvented through the imagery of hip hop and poetry (The Making of Americans, 2004).
Travel, wandering, being adrift in the world, these artistic and philosophical motifs run throughout the show. From the figure of the flâneur, that idle rambler of urban streets introduced in the early 20th century by the philosopher Walter Benjamin, who praised slowness as opposed to the acceleration of modern life and the expansion of cities, with a tortoise on a leash for a guide (The Turtle Walk, 2011). It is a critical point of view that was extended by Guy Debord in the 1970s with the concept of dérive, drift, which placed the individual at the center of thought, calling into question the meaning of public and private space in the age of capitalism.
In her show, highlighting the last ten years of her work, Tripp shows us that she is a true recorder of the world. She is fashioning a body of work that seems to be the bearer of a belief according to which each of us, in movement and action, has the power to change something. Of course she is creating works of art at a moment of crisis and protestation, when all the reference points and landmarks have been called into question since Ground Zero and following Occupy Wall Street, the Arab Spring and the surge of fundamentalisms of every stripe. Tripp doesn’t limit herself to merely documenting. She designs and records her performances out in the street, always in collaboration with someone else. She long ago abandoned the idea of the studio in order to directly engage with people. Poets, choreographers, musicians, philosophers, historians, physicists, and astronomers are the protagonists or companions in the participative processes that she herself conducts from Paris, Mumbai, New York, the Caribbean, and now Ivry.
She is an artist who is forever on the move, like the wheels of a bicycle whose spokes are the strings of a guitar (Music for [Prepared] Bicycles - bicycle sculpture, 2015), thus transformed into a musical instrument and a revolution.
Tripp is interested in protest movements, civil disobedience and anarchy. Those who defied racial segregation appear everywhere in her work, from the American writer Gertrude Stein and the jazz musician Miles Davis, to the activist Angela Davis and the boxer Muhammad Ali.
The artist is deeply inspired by the Caribbean poet Edouard Glissant, a close friend to whom she has dedicated several films (Making History, 2008), and it is “the poetics of relationship” that enables Tripp’s critical eye to be open to utopias, the invention of new languages, the revelation of dominated cultural codes, and the analysis of social imagery. Tripp is endlessly fascinated by going beyond the question of identity since, as she puts it, “we are not fixed identities.” Because, as Edouard Glissant stresses, “Nothing is True, everything is alive,” like the multiple sounds and identities that resonate in Going Space.

Claire Le Restif

Going Space, 15 Jan 2016 00:00:00 +0100

À l’occasion de son exposition personnelle Going Space, un cycle de films de Caecilia Tripp est présenté dans le Crédakino :
The Making Of Americans, 2004 . Vidéo HD, son et couleur, 18 min
Prepare For Paradise Lost, 2005/15. Vidéo HD, son et couleur, 6 min
Music for (prepared) Bicycles, Score Two NY, 2013. Vidéo HD, son et couleur, 14 min
We are nothing but Stardust, 2015. HD, son et couleur, 12 min

En 2014, Caecilia Tripp a reçu le soutien de la FNAGP pour un projet de film en Afrique du Sud.

Royal Garden 8, 01 Jan 2016 00:00:00 +0100

Figures is a construction game based on fragments of images, textures, materials and objects gleaned. Mathias Schweizer, a graphic designer, creates compositions – from an abundant matrix of elements passed through the prism of his scanner, or shaped according to his research – which are as many game boards for visitors. If he is at the origin of the first figure, it can then be modified at will by the visitor and left as it is for the next one.

Thierry Chancogne, graphic theorist and teacher, invited to react to these compositions, proposes a flow of reflections, which rubs shoulders with the game like a continuous flow of information. He writes a series of impromptus conceived as a diachronic study on the appearance of forms and images in the fields of architecture, painting and cinema.

tout le monde, 11 Sep 2015 00:00:00 +0200

I’ve always liked billboards when they turn blue, that moment when all the messages are covered over. Those mornings in Ivry are my favorite, when the blue of the sky draws a little closer to the asphalt. It is that custom on the scale of the city in its entirety that has served as a template for the very architecture of this exhibition, with billboards replacing the usual display on gallery walls.

In order to extend the idea that the blue of the sky belongs to “everybody”, I have brought together twenty-two international artists [^With works from the collections of Centre National des Arts Plastiques, Centre Pompidou, Paris / MNAM-CCI, Frac Aquitaine, Frac Lorraine, Frac des Pays de la Loire and courtesy of the artists and the following galleries : Gaudel de Stampa, mor charpentier, Jocelyn Wolff, Dohyang Lee, Art : Concept, Marcelle Alix, Blum & Poe, gb agency, Anne-Marie & Roland Pallade, Peter Freeman, inc., Eric Dupont, Kamel Mennour.] who have been producing work over a period that stretches from the 1960s to the present. Although they may come from different generations, they all share in common gestures or actions that constitute fragile, even tenuous, works of art created with a certain frugality and attention to the surrounding context. They convey an anxiousness about our environment (Ágnes Dénes, Kōji Enokura), ritual (William Anastasi), care of the living (Michel Blazy), the sublime (Guillaume Leblon), time (Nicholas Nixon), praise of slowness (Melanie Counsell), walking (Helen Mirra), the poetic act (Gina Pane), ecological action (Hans Schabus), and revolt (Marie Cool Fabio Balducci). Others treat such themes as the collection (Jean Le Gac), collecting things (Dove Allouche, Bĕla Kolářová), the simple gesture (Lili Dujourie, Jiří Kovanda), the urban gesture (Gordon Matta-Clark), preservation (Lara Almarcegui), anthropological recording (Marcos Ávila Forero), writing (Marcelline Delbecq), and play (Roman Signer, Mathias Schweizer).

The show represents a modest inventory that conceptually is a herbarium rather than an atlas. Poetic, occasionally political, and pitched at a level that everyone understands, the works court neither heroism nor the spectacular, and yet they are extraordinary for the thoughts they spark or the position they adopt.

Focusing on “slight” gestures as opposed to the “over-the-top” ones that our screens transmit daily, the exhibition favors slowness, calm, immobility, even a form of banality, like so many perceptible connections that tout le monde addresses to “everybody”.

Claire Le Restif

MECCA 08, 01 Sep 2015 00:00:00 +0200

Co-designed by Marcelline Delbecq and Mathias Schweizer, Mecca 08 can be seen as an extension of the show tout le monde (11 September - 6 December 2015). The two were invited to produce their own reading of the exhibition using the everyday tools of their profession—for her writing, for him graphic design. Working without any visual support, Marcelline wrote about the show based solely on the tour I gave her of the still-empty galleries at the art center. Her narrative fragments are accompanied by a tour in images composed by Mathias Schweizer.

Modes & Usages de l'art, 10 Apr 2015 00:00:00 +0200

Since the 1990s, Delphine Coindet has been developing a sculptural language through collages and assemblages of widely varying materials and techniques, as well as arrangements of the exhibition itself, treating the display space as an open mise en scène. The inventiveness of her style, which generates an endless dialog with architecture and design, is articulated today around a broad palette of experimental works that includes the art exhibition itself of course, as well as theater design, performance, publically commissioned art, and the creation of radical furniture.

Le Crédac continues its long-term collaboration with Delphine Coindet, which goes back over a decade. This most recent project is part of an unusual work arrangement in association with CIRVA (the International Center for Research in Glass and the Plastic Arts, Marseille). In 2014 the two institutions, moved by a common desire, invited the artist to work with experienced artisanal glassblowers in a material that was entirely new to her practice, glass. The artist has come up with forms that take advantage of both the virtuosity of the craftsmen’s technical expertise and chance, the accidental, leaving room for the creation of a series of variations in terms of color and texture.

The title of the show, Modes & Usages de l’art (Modes and Uses of Art), may come as a surprise with its didactic character in the style of a user’s manual or an old-fashioned magazine. But questions concerning the function of art and its modes of production and representation lie at the heart of this exhibition project. The works presented at Crédac suggest useful objects that have been shorn of their utilitarian function and now display, for the visitor’s appreciation, their purely plastic power and symbolic weight. Playing on the vacillating ambiguity between art and design, the artist questions the heritage of domestic conventions that orchestrate the interiors of our living spaces. Transitional, narcissistic, ritual, what indeed are our connections with the objects around us?

Bruno Pélassy, 16 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100

An art center is not a museum but occasionally it has to become one. Thus, today, for the first time, Crédac has mounted a retrospective exhibition devoted to the living work of a deceased artist, Bruno Pélassy. A beautiful and fruitful collaboration played out around his oeuvre, with the unfailing support of the Pélassy family, the artist’s friends (Natacha Lesueur, Brice Dellsperger, Frieda Schumann), art critics and experts of Pélassy’s body of work (Didier Bisson, Florence Bonnefous, Marie Canet), generous collectors, and the art centers Passerelle in Brest and MAMCO in Geneva which host exhibitions and events dedicated to Bruno Pélassy in 2015 and 2016.

The main aim of the Crédac show is to return to the spotlight the work of this singular French artist, who is etched in the memory of the artistic community but has yet to be discovered by the public at large. Pélassy produced his work in the context of the 1990s, a time of economic hardship and individual and collective traumatism having to do with the AIDS virus, but the decade was also one of artistic ferment in Nice, where he was close to the art school and art center of Villa Arson, then under the direction of Christian Bernard. His friends were the artists Jean-Luc Blanc, Brice Dellsperger, Natacha Lesueur, Marie-Ève Mestre, Jean-Luc Verna and “guardian” artists like Ben. He had his first exhibition in 1993 in Nice at Art:Concept. Pélassy did not attend art school. Rather, he studied textiles and jewelry, which eventually led to his working for the jeweler Swarovski, while from fashion design he was to borrow his processes, materials, and the techniques for shaping them. A do-it-yourself approach joined forces with painstaking work that employed glass and crystal, and the creation of jewelry went on right alongside his construction of cheap little mechanical creatures.

The works featured in the show were all created over a period of ten years. What is striking from the very outset is the diversity of the experiments, both esthetic and technical, which the young artist seemed driven to give form to like some irresistible impulse. There are the “Créatures”, silk and lace organisms moving about in aquariums; “Bestioles” (Bugs), a mechanical bestiary making a spectacle of itself; the portraits done in wax or pencil; his only video piece, Sans titre, Sang titre, Cent titres (1995), a kind of manifesto in which the magnetism of the video tape is gradually erased as it is reread over and over again, damaging the image until it disappears; and the “Reliquaires” (Reliquaries), which contain both pieces of jewelry and one of the artist’s jackets.

The Crédac show refuses to stake out a position that strives to ape a display the artist himself might have devised, but neither does it adopt an overly museum-like approach to presenting the work. Thanks to the present show, Bruno Pélassy’s output can be seen once again and now is part of what is most current and relevant in today’s art. The images to which it refers, the echo of the context in which it was created, and the use of metaphors and figures which it puts out into the world form a vast field of experimentation that allows us to fully measure the interest of this body of work, an oeuvre that won’t go out of fashion, that is somber and luminous, sophisticated and cobbled together, heartfelt and lucid, and above all free.

Claire Le Restif

Royal Garden 7, 01 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100

This seventh issue of Royal Garden offers a kind of ascension that unfolds with a series of documents, games and multiple experiments in public outreach.

We invited Boris Achour to appropriate the living part of the Public Outreach Bureau and the artist came up with a novel proposal that he developed through animated GIFs and a playful interface that goes over emblematic motifs and archives.

Royal Kinder Garden recreates, though only partially, the world of our outreach work, which we would like to be resonant, enlightened, and enthusiastic. Children and adults can replay these experiences of the eye, hand, and word online.

Bruno Pélassy, 01 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100

Born in Laos in 1966, Bruno Pélassy has produced a baroque, funny and incisive body of work, including a manifesto film, Sans titre, sang titres, cent titres, on which Marie Canet draws to highlight the links between the work and the Aids virus, which won the award in 2002. Bruno Pélassy’s works are produced in an artisanal spirit of accumulation and a taste for fabrication; by their precariousness they walk against permanence. At the crossroads of jewellery and decorative objects, they are domestic things because, made at home, they value in their elaboration as well as in their content the intimacy of the making and its destination.

The Blue One Comes in Black, 01 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100

The Blue One Comes in Black offers a new contribution to the thinking around Liz Magor’s long standing practice by gathering newly commissioned critical texts and creative writing, as well as texts by the artist herself, some of which were previously unpublished.This book not only highlights important works from throughout Magor’s career but also present her latest work for the first time in a publication form.

The Registry of Promise, 01 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100

This catalog is published on the occasion of the four part series of exhibitions (May 2014 - March 2015), curated by Chris Sharp, which took place at Fondazione Giuliani, Roma (Italy); Parc Saint Léger – Centre d’art contemporain, Pougues-Les-Eaux (France); Centre d’art contemporain d’Ivry – le Crédac, Ivry-sur-Seine (France); De Kabinetten van De Vleeshal, Middelburg (The Netherlands).

The Registry of Promise 3, 12 Sep 2014 00:00:00 +0200

Such polyvalence assumes a particular poignance in the current historical moment. Given that the technological and scientific notions of progress inaugurated by the enlightenment no longer have the same purchase they once did, we have long since abandoned the linear vision of the future the enlightenment once betokened. Meanwhile, what is coming to substitute our former conception would hardly seem to be a substitute at all: the looming specter of global ecological catastrophe. From the anthropocentric promise of modernity, it would seem we have turned to a negative faith in the post-human. And yet the future is not necessarily a closed book. Far from fatalistic, The Registry of Promise takes into consideration these varying modes of the future while trying to conceive of others. In doing so, it seeks to valorize the potential polyvalence and mutability at the heart of the word promise.

Taking place over the course of approximately one year, The Registry of Promise consists of four autonomous, inter-related exhibitions, which can be read as individual chapters in a book. It has been inaugurated by The Promise of Melancholy and Ecology at the Fondazione Giuliani, Rome, then followed by The Promise of Multiple Temporalities at Parc Saint Léger, Pougues-Les-Eaux, then The Promise of Moving Things at Le Crédac, Ivry, and will conclude with The Promise of Literature, Soothsaying and Speaking in Tongues at De Vleeshal, Middelburg.

The third part of The Registry of Promise, The Promise of Moving Things deals with the so-called life of objects in our current pre-post-apocalyptic paradigm. Influenced in equal measure by animism, the much-discussed philosophical movement Object Oriented Ontology, the surrealism of Alberto Giacometti’s early masterpiece The Palace at 4 am (1932) and even the theoretical reflections of the Nouveau Roman novelist, theorist and editor Alain Robbe-Grillet (an ontologist, so to speak, well avant la lettre), The Promise of Moving Things seeks to address just that– the very idea that there exists some promise within objects in a world in which humans no longer roam the earth. Neither a critical rejection nor an endorsement of these ideas, the exhibition embraces the ambiguity at the very heart of the word promise. It questions to what extent this negative faith in the cultural and animistic legacy of objects is a genuine rupture with the anthropocentric tradition of humanism and to what extent it is merely a perpetuation of it.

Thus does the exhibition consist of works that features objects or processes which seem to possess some form of human subjectivity. For instance, the Austrian, Vienna-based artists Hans Schabus’ sprawling sculptural installation, Konstruktion des Himmels (1994), could merely be a random collection of variously seized wax balls and an elaborate light fixture or the most human forms of celestial organization: a constellation (which it is: a recreation of Apparatus Sculptoris [Sculptor’s Studio], identified and named in the 18th century by Louis de Lacaille). Almost but not entirely by association, German, Berlin-based Mandla Reuter’s sculpture installation, The Agreement (Vienna) 2011, which has been paired with Schabus’ work and is comprised of an armoire hanging from the ceiling, assumes a quasi, supernatural and animistic quality.
The transference of so-called human subjectivity is unmistakable in Swedish, Malmö-based Alexander Gutke’s work, Auto-scope (2012). This 16mm film installation portrays the trajectory of a piece of film passing through the interior of a projector, exiting into a snowy, tree-dotted landscape, ascending upward into the sky before plunging back down to earth and looping back into the projector, and repeating the process, all as if in an allegory of reincarnation.
The US, New Hampshire-based artist Michael E. Smith’s slight sculptural interventions, which often consist of recycled textiles, materials from the automotive industry, animal parts, and a variety of toxic plastics, are known to possess qualities hauntingly evocative of the human body, as if the spirit of one had entered the other.
Drawing his formal vocabulary from machines and tools, French, Dijon-based artist Antoine Nessi creates sculpture, which can perhaps be best described as post-industrial, in which the inanimate seems to take on an organic quality, assuming a life of their own. Finally, the practice of the Swedish, Berlin-based artist Nina Canell is no stranger to the kinetic and to a certain, if specious sense of animism. Something of a case in point, Treetops, Hillsides & Ditches (2011) is a multi-part sculpture comprised of four shafts of wood over the top of which a clump of Iranian pistachio gum has been spread (like the top of a match) and which slowly crawls down the sides of the wood, enveloping it, like living a skin.

Thus is the reception of each work complicated and vexed through issues of subjectivity, projection, necessity, and desire. Now to what extent the works are complicit in that reception both varies and is debatable. Whatever the case may be, it is virtually impossible to say, but this does not necessarily mean that it is impossible to conceive of a world without humanism, as argued by Robbe-Grillet, at its center.

Chris Sharp

l’espace épisodique, 11 Apr 2014 00:00:00 +0200

Peñafiel Loaiza has continued to adhere to this esthetic position and the striking economy it shows in the means it employs. There is a play of appropriation and subversion that takes shape, for instance, in acts of destruction (pages with holes, erased ink, rubbed out images) and reconstruction (backwards reading and rewriting) which are perpetrated against images and language. This plastic dimension, however, does not exclude a political position that generates meaning. A vector of memory, the invisible mass of nameless persons—demonstrators, immigrants, extras and supporting roles in movies—is brought to light through traces that are themselves imperceptible.

At the Manufacture des Œillets, the former eyelet factory that is now home to Le Crédac, Peñafiel Loaiza intends to conjure up the earlier use of the site, that is, labor, the noise of machines, mechanical operations. In this building, constructed in 1913 from the American “Daylight Factory” model, daylight once punctuated the machine pace of the work. The artist is focusing on this aspect of the venue, which is inseparable from the world of the working classes, and will be doing art work in the center’s exhibition galleries, as well as the oldest part of the site (the Manufacture’s Main Hall), specifically its clock. The large clock that parceled out the working day of the laborers is now stopped and only its light continues to function.

L’espace épisodique features completely new works by Estefanía Peñafiel Loaiza as well as a cycle of films programed by the artist and screened at Ivry’s Le Luxy cinema, including Georges Franju’s Eyes Without A Face (1960), Pedro Costa’s Casa de Lava (1994), and Yorgos Lanthimos’ Canine (2009).

Rien de plus tout du moins, 11 Apr 2014 00:00:00 +0200

Between the White Cube and Wild Space (from Psycho to Vertigo)

Benoît-Marie Moriceau (born in 1980) focuses on landscape as concept, idea and the subject of his art. The landscape that interests him is the constructed one of cities as well as that of the vast open spaces of America occasionally modified by the artists of land art. Commanding great amounts of information like many of the artists of his generation, Moriceau draws on art history, cinema, literature, science fiction, and the social sciences. And he has never been shy about his interest in settings that evoke the movies, amusement parks, and places associated with entertainment generally.
Moriceau’s output has taken shape around a definition of the work of art that is “located” in its environment, its physical, economic, social, political, historical and institutional context. The impetus for his work is sparked by the venue he is invited to and in which he integrates mechanisms that are linked with representation.
Since Psycho (2007), the artist’s Hitchcockian-titled piece in which he completely painted over an old house in black (the exhibition space 40mcube in Rennes), Moriceau’s ability to develop through a wide range of art formats is well known, from the most spectacular to the least visible, in every case conjuring up a particular atmosphere or climate.
In this case it is the nineteenth-century “guardian’s house” that the artist has chosen as his subject, because it is both a house and a fine piece of sculpture on a scale equal to that of the American building that slipped in beside, even adhered to the house in 1913.

From Crédac, the view looks down on the roof of this house, which sports chimneys here and there, and is a true trigger of stories and literary and cinematographic echoes. Moriceau amplifies this impregnable promontory overlooking the noisy urban space of Ivry by reconstructing within the confines of the exhibition venue a “replica” of the roof, which has become both a kind of film set and an image.
The double and the historical or architectural replica are indeed part of the themes explored by the artist. In 2005, with Novo ex Novo (once again at 40mcube in Rennes), Moriceau offered viewers the chance to experience both duality and the void. Like Yves Klein in his show Le Vide (The Void) at the Iris Clert Gallery in 1958, Moriceau treated an initial room of the gallery, then invited visitors to pass through a kind of airlock into another room that was a replica of the first one. Viewers thus confronted both an experience of the void and its quotation in the exhibition.
There is little to see in the show, strictly speaking, but much to look at outside. Going beyond the attempt at an illusionistic image, Moriceau brings together a scopic device and a fiction. He reverses the issues and questions normally raised by the site, which becomes a visual tool that opens our eyes to the urban space around it. The artist thus completely highlights the important visual porousness that exists between the exhibition space and the city. He links two spaces here, mobilizing a characteristic element of his work, namely the fact that the exhibition space falls implicitly within the ambit of public space.
Unlike Psycho, which visitors to the show could not enter, here the roof is in fact open and can be clambered over like an urban mountain, a metaphor of a terrain’s natural highs and lows. The play of different scales, which is inherent to the question of space, is a presence that is very much there for the eye to see. The city viewed from the art center looks like an image or a scale model.

In the show, viewers do not face a setting but rather find themselves in the setting. They can, if they want, fulfil a beautiful dream, that of strolling over the roofs of a city.
In these concrete situations, Moriceau introduces fiction from elements that are either absent or simply conjured up.
In his work, a place rarely guarantees that it will carry out the function for which it is designed. Here the white cube serves as an excuse for a novel meeting, making possible what Benoît-Marie Moriceau seeks to create: a point of contact between reality and a suggested piece of fiction.

A Plan to Follow Summer Around the World, 17 Jan 2014 00:00:00 +0100

“Friedrich Kunath is not a painter. Nor is he a draftsman, sculptor, or filmmaker. He is all of these things at once. More specifically, he is an artist representative of his generation – one whose attitude, not to say aesthetic position, is one of flux. Contemporary flux, in which the perpetual motion of new technologies developing around us finds a number of forms of expression within his work. Recycling, collages, references, quotations – these are the tools with which he has chosen to construct his iconography while not letting himself be crushed by monolithic and dominant culture.

Kunath’s works form a fertile terrain uniting our era and the Middle Ages, the 18th century, the hippie period and 1970s Europe… and this creates surprising collages. (…) We know that globalization and new technologies changed the world and, of course, also art. Kunath’s horizons drew on this but his artistic education was built on classical foundations as in Caspar David Friedrich’s paintings, where man maintains a mystical relationship with nature. Kunath appears to us like a hyperrealist with a surrealist touch. A joker, he uses German Romanticism as a nod to his origins.

Amongst his beacons, he readily mentions Dutch conceptual artist Bas Jan Ader (lost at sea in 1975). According to Kunath, Ader put into place a new and momentous alternative: the alliance of conceptual art with a certain emotion. (…) On moving to Los Angeles, that city of the image, of fiction and fantasy, the iconography constructed by Kunath was electrified by its contact with Hollywood. His work is born of a collision between Albrecht Dürer’s famous painting Melancholia (1514) and the world of Walt Disney and is amplified in an encounter between Baron von Münchhausen and The Wizard of Oz.

Using various collisions, clashes, and stylistic crashes he puts into place an abundant iconography drawing on various sources, many of which are impacted by two poles – the culture of wisdom and popular culture – to the point of obsession and even, at times, systematization. Using the same strategies of superimposition and collage that feature in his pictorial works, he constructs a world on the basis of fragments from diverse repertoires – cinematic, televisual, literary and musical – to which he adds references to his own work whose lyricism combines past and present, happiness and melancholy.”

Claire Le Restif, “Dark Rainbow” (excerpts), in Friedrich Kunath. In my Room. Catalogue, Modern Art Oxford, ed. Walther König, Köln, 2013.

Royal Garden 6, 01 Jan 2014 00:00:00 +0100

The sixth installment of Royal Garden is designed as a prolongation of The Registry of Promise, a cycle of four shows developed by Chris Sharp and jointly mounted by four art venues in Europe in 2014-2015. All of the artists who took part in the shows, along with the four venues’ directors who worked together to make this undertaking a reality, were each asked to come up with an entirely new intervention echoing the cycle, and have thus created an open and evolving archive like the “Registry of Promise” that lies at the heart of the four exhibitions.

MECCA 06, 01 Dec 2013 00:00:00 +0100

Mecca 06, issue now out of print, is a non-exhaustive visual journey through ten years of Crédac programming (2003-2013). It is primarily a game based on iconography and memory, exhibition and collection. It is a visual promenade for the reader to make his way and build their own matches.
A discovery for the casual visitor or a remembrance of past appointments for the faithful observer, Mecca 06 explores some recurrent concerns such as the folds of memory, sedimentation, analysis through revelation, entropy (science of disorder measure, synonymous with transformation and degradation) and the idea of origin: buried, forgotten, revealed, fantasy, virtual or even invented, starting and concluding the human adventure.

The Searchers, 20 Sep 2013 00:00:00 +0200

For his show at Crédac, Aubry has made reinterpretations of temporary architectures and a number of furniture prototypes that were presented by the Soviet Union at the 1925 International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts in Paris. The pieces include Alexander Rodchenko’s Workers’ Club, Konstantin Melnikov’s Kiosk and the USSR Pavilion. The Pavilion is in fact the subject of a brand new piece by the artist.

Paris, 1925. Alexander Rodchenko was staying in the French capital to oversee the installation of the USSR’s show at the Grand Palais along with his Workers’ Club and several kiosks for which he had designed the color. With its simple, economical and functional forms and materials, Melnikov’s style of building design was then the architectural materialization of the Revolution’s new aesthetic, the ideological tool of a renewed relationship to objects and knowledge. In the Foreign Galleries, Rodchenko showed his Workers’ Club, an ensemble of furniture for reading, playing games and socializing that was meant to be reproduced throughout the country, the reflection of a utopian idea of integrating all the arts in daily life and contributing to human progress. Melnikov’s kiosks, which featured popular artisanal products, were exhibited in one of the exposition’s gardens.

Now lost, these Russian Constructivist masterpieces are still rather obscure in terms of documentation even today. Besides the rare photographs and layouts that have come down to us, Rodchenko’s letters to his wife, Varvara Stepanova, form a major source of information for Aubry with respect to the creative context of these pieces. The collection of their correspondence [^See in French Alexandre Rodtchenko : l’œuvre complet, Paris, Philippe Sers, 1986.] also makes up the plot of a fictional film biography (Rodtchenko à Paris, 2003-2013). The scenes of this biography have been progressively filmed one Aubry show at a time.
Aubry has been tirelessly documenting the production conditions of these avant-garde projects in order to put them into practice in a different context. Thus, starting in the late 1980s, the artist set up a system of equivalences between the Western musical scale and spatial measures, drawing his inspiration from a family of Sardinian wind instruments known as launeddas. These traditional instruments are constructed from reeds, with each stem length determining the note of course, the longest ones producing the deepest notes while the shortest ones emit the highest. Once the artist had worked out a Table de conversion (Conversion Chart, 1992) between the musical pitches (low and high) and metric lengths, it was then possible to find for each sound composition “a geometrical equivalent in space, and vice versa.”[^Yves Aupetitallot, Interpréter,Michel Aubry, exhibition catalogue, Le Quartier, Centre d’art contemporain, Quimper / Centre d’art contemporain de Vassivière en Limousin, 2001, pp. 48-62.] This system, which governs nearly the whole of his sculptural output, is a “contamination” protocol, both arbitrary and ironic, of the form and functions of the objects he takes for his models.

Aubry uses reeds as both measuring instruments and art materials, whether immediately visible or incorporated in the very structure of his sculptures. Transformed into potential musical instruments (and fitted out with the true reeds of standard reed instruments – the artist’s reeds can indeed vibrate then though this is never done), the original objects change status yet remain “truer than nature.” With his Mise en Musique du Club Ouvrier de Rodtchenko (Putting Rodchenko’s Workers’ Club to Music, 1925-2003), for example, the club’s eight reading chairs, originally all the same, have been resized to fit the growing lengths of the reeds making up a mounting scale, as if subjected to a “forced musicalization” that “contaminates the historical truth of the reconstruction.”[^Ibid.] Conversely, for Mise en Musique du Kiosque de Melnikov (Putting Melnikov’s Kiosk to Music, 1925-2009), the artist decided to abide by the object’s original dimensions at the expense of the musical reference.
The doubts and unforeseen incidents that arise during production interest Aubry in that, like a glove turned inside out, they reveal something about the technical skill and craftsmanship involved in the making of the piece. Unlike the profession of the transcriber or counterfeiter, who strive to reproduce as closely as possible the final form of something, for Aubry it’s a matter of putting situations into practice in an approach that is akin to experimental science. He next sought to “put to music” Vladimir Tatlin’s Monument to the Third International, including the tinkering and makeshift solutions that went into it, and thus display its character as a project, rather than the flawless aestheticizing object that is reproduced in museums at times. Similarly, the Soviet Pavilion, originally designed by Melnikov as a metal structure, eventually had to be built in wood, an invisible though ideologically capital difference, and a sign that the avant-garde was indeed confronted with the economic reality of the time. At Crédac, Aubry is showing his 1:10 scale replica, transformed into a piece of sculpture made of reed and wood. The reconstruction is both an active memory and an experience.

Finally, the Fratellini’s Dressing Room (Loge des Fratellini—2005), which Rodchenko visited while he was in Paris, has been recreated at Crédac. The lair of the three famous brothers and clowns was a fascinating place, a kind of cabinet of curiosities for the theater world; turned into a traveling exhibition space in Aubry’s work, it is also a tool accompanying the artist’s films, in anticipation of the day when those films will be shot.
While it is indeed a question of “experiencing [the production process] anew,” Aubry’s art is also about rethinking the legacy of these works through the act of remaking them. Indeed, while they were once imagined as operating in social reality and have since been “smoothed over” by art history to become icons, out of synch with their social and economic context, the question remains: What status do these historical works of art enjoy at present?
By upending the problem of the “loss of the model,” a fundamental question in sculpture, Aubry’s strategies of re-production imply an ontological shift of the works vis-à-vis their originals. Moving from the field of decorative arts to that of the plastic arts, Aubry’s pieces are made independent; becoming nonreproducible and nonfunctional, they acquire a social, political and aesthetic reach that is reactivated in terms of a renewed context. Foreign to all ideological models and all generic forms, Aubry’s approach involves the notions of uniqueness, reversibility and the constant shifting of form. Like Rodchenko and Melnikov, Aubry strikes us as a searcher, pursuing an ever-elusive object, just like the heroes of The Searchers, the title of John Ford’s famous 1956 film which has been borrowed here for the name of the present show.
By drawing on the knowledge and skills of the historian, musicologist and craftsman, Michel Aubry continues to develop an original system of representing the history of forms, reflecting a contemporary outlook that is enriched by the various layers of its past.

Michel Aubry’s film Rodtchenko à Paris has been selected by the patronage comitee of the Fondation Nationale des Arts Graphiques et Plastiques which supported this project.

Musée éclaté de la presqu'île de Caen, 28 Jun 2013 00:00:00 +0200

“With their great formal simplicity, Katinka Bock’s sculptures and installations are a reflection on the context in which they are found. She uses elementary materials such as ceramics and wood and experiments with new creative methods, sometimes letting natural elements (rain, drying time) affect the final form.‘Katinka Bock’s method of speaking about a social reality is never immediate. It takes the path or detour of formal reflection” (Patrick Javault).

The Musée éclaté (MéPIC), located at the crossroads of heritage and creation, is spread across a region whose past, present and future are dominated by water, the central theme of Normandie Impressioniste 2013. Alongside the major heritage exhibitions being presented in the second edition of the festival, the école supérieure d’arts & médias de Caen/Cherbourg, at the initiative of the Communauté d’agglomération Caen la Mer, has mobilised to develop an original concept contrasting in every respect with traditional idea people have of museums.

As part of the Normandy Impressionist Festival.

Ivry souterrain, 19 Apr 2013 00:00:00 +0200

The city of Ivry-sur-Seine is currently undergoing enormous change and a profound redefining of its territory, where major development projects are about to break ground. These sites are already redrawing the map and revamping land use, notably to the east and the vast, formerly industrial zone of Ivry-port (now known as Ivry Confluences), and to the west along the former N305 route (now RD5). For centuries, with its many quarries and warehouses, Ivry helped to build and feed the Paris metropolis. The disappearance of once-thriving industries has left behind wasteland and economically depressed zones. Today’s change is taking shape around several key points, including the economy, diversification of services, housing, and education and recreation zones. These mutations are fashioning a new urban landscape.
Based on a synthesis of current data on the state of the city’s underground areas, the book Ivry souterrain examines the different periods and below-ground levels of human activity, networks and infrastructures. Old quarries and labyrinthine basements, sacred thermal springs, metro tunnels, buried lakes, networks of water, energy and telecommunications present a genuine portrait of the city through what lies beneath it.

In several of its manifestations, Almarcegui’s work resembles a straightforward inventory of data related to a given site. It is an inventory that is both “horizontal” (territories that she reveals through maps and slideshows accompanied by visitors’ guides), and “vertical” (the geological nature of a particular area, construction materials or materials coming from a destruction of some kind, which she presents in the form of lists or installations). Each work or show is an objective reproduction of the long-term experience of a place and a synthesis of a large amount of information. This reproduction may assume a monumental aspect (the Rubble Mountains, shown notably at Secession, Vienna in 2010 and currently on view at MUSAC in León, Spain), or it may be slight and minimalist, such as slideshows, guides, lists of the weights of materials—so many typologies springing from research or education sources enabling the viewer-reader to make a mental representation of the spaces in question.

The artist also offers in-the-field experience with visitors to her shows, inviting them to join her on guided discoveries of the places and construction sites that are the subject of her research. Through a physical understanding of a place, these visits help the people there to reappropriate the issues at stake.
The notion of change is central to this artistic practice, which views the city as a living entity in an approach inherited from psychogeography (as defined by Ralph Rumney). If indeed wastelands figure among the rare places that still fall outside the economic imperatives and mechanisms of control that characterize the postmodern city (absence of clearly indicated borders, hygiene and security monitoring, and harboring people who are not officially there, etc.), they are eventually co-opted and transformed. Thus the guides Almarcegui has produced of wastelands in London, São Paulo, Rome or Sharjah, for example, crystalize these sites’ divisions and history at a given moment, often at the dawn of major development projects like the Olympic Games, revealing the transitory nature of all space.
While the artist’s projects are endemic and intrinsic to their context, they also allow her to freeze a fleeting moment and, through the work of memory, locate it in a longer, more expansive timeframe. The integrity, clarity and systematization of her art with respect to a specific place point up its singularity while making it possible to tease out the issues that have a global resonance.

Almarcegui thus combines a social commitment with her analytical art practice. Going beyond merely laying out what is, she turns a critical eye on the notion of progress and the destructive consequences of urban development subjected to financial imperatives. Questions connected with the environment, the denial of natural spaces, are some of the concerns underlying her artistic commitment.
By pointing up the land’s subjugation to building development, Lara Almarcegui produces work in an approach that proves political and ecological, in the original sense of the term, i.e., the understanding of what surrounds us. Because they speak to us from margins of the land and society, her works stand as invitations to leave the exhibition space and reappropriate our environment.

Along with her show on display at Crédac, Lara Almarcegui represents Spain at the 55th Venice Biennial (1 June - 24 November 2013).

Workmanship of Certainty, 18 Jan 2013 00:00:00 +0100

“Dysfunctional Sculptures”

The sculptures of the Belgian artist Koenraad Dedobbeleer (born 1975) work like simulacra of functional present-day objects. Because they are placed in an exhibition context and hence freed from their useful function, they exist as ambiguous supports that are made available for interpretation. Each piece is presented as both an everyday object, belonging to the domestic sphere (a piece of furniture, utensil, tool), and an esthetic object, corresponding to the criteria that obtain in design and sculpture. Tables or columns are excessively enlarged, for example, or taken apart and rebuilt differently.
This is the case for The Subject of Matter (For WS), 2010, a piece that is something between a column and a fountain, both massive and portable, and doubly paradoxical, or Tradition is Never Given, Always Constructed, 2012, a monumental reproduction of the tubular feet of stools imbued with great banality, painted in delicate pink and off-white tones, like so many ironic shifts that make the pieces waver between the status of ornamental furniture and that of works of art. The warmth of a stove, the flame of a gas ring (Political Economy of the Commodified Sign, 2012), the water of a fountain, a shrub trimmed into a topiary, these suggest an appropriation of nature through pleasure, while manufactured objects are broken up to be converted to a wild state.
With a great heaping of irony, the artist’s objects seem undecided, provoking multiple associations of ideas, Dedobbeleer creates “dysfunctional sculptures,” snares laid for our perception that invite us to re-evaluate our own criteria for understanding forms and their cultural origins.

“Works for art lovers”

Workmanship of Certainty is the second in a trilogy of shows that began in St. Gallen (and ends in Middelburg).[^The current show was jointly conceived and planned with two other exhibitions, Formidable Savage Repressiveness, Lok/Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, Switzerland (8 September – 11 November 2012; Konrad Bitterli curating); and You Export Reality To Where It Is You Get Your Money From, SBKM/De Vleeshal, Middelburg, the Netherlands (April – June 2013; Lorenzo Benedetti curating).] While the selection of works and their arrangement is specific to each venue, the project is a global one in fact, whose common starting point is the artist’s book Œuvre sculpté, travaux pour amateurs (Roma Publications, 2012). A kind of nonchronological visual version of a word-chain game, this publication brings together images of artworks, furniture and architectural elements to form a sort of repertoire of historical references, a manual of practices and uses for day-to-day objects, which serve as keys for reading these three shows.
As always in Dedobbeleer’s work, the titles of pieces and exhibitions have no direct connection with the object or objects they cover. Taking the form of extremely pompous, absurd aphorisms or theoretical considerations touching on art and culture, they shed no light in fact on our understanding of the works. On the contrary, Dedobbeleer humorously plays with our reflex of wanting to explain the object through the text.
Yet the title of the show at Crédac tells us something about the artist’s concerns. The turn of phrase Workmanship of Certainty (defies translation, offers a number of meanings at one and the same time) seems to draw an analogy between manual skill, which is necessary to achieve form, and knowledge. As the artist points out in an inscription on an earlier work, “Reflection is manual activity and a concrete labour”; in other words, the production process is a mechanism of culture.
For Dedobbeleer, works of art are always inextricably bound up with where and how they are exhibited. They are thought out as “tools for reading space, and their design, selection and arrangement are heavily influenced by the weight of the history and architecture of the venue. By turns connecting two spaces, underscoring a volume, lending structure to zones where people are passing by (like the screen of Too Quick to Dismiss Aesthetic Autonomy as Retrograde, 2012), or creating areas for rest and interaction (the artist’s many seats, benches and stools), Dedobbeleer’ works desanctify the expected function of an exhibition venue. By attributing possible uses to it (on the order of domestic use or leisure), they throw into question the modernist project of the institution as a neutral space outside the world.
While reworking in a tragicomic vein the great concerns of modernism (the drive to unite functionality and esthetics), Koenraad Dedobbeleer’s works also display a materialist, antiheroic rereading of minimalist and conceptual sculpture. Rejecting any exclusive, unequivocal interpretation, the artist’s vocabulary, formal above all, examines the connections between an object, its aspect and its use, and in doing so scrutinizes the links between public, private and exhibition spaces.

Axelle Blanc

Royal Garden 5, 01 Jan 2013 00:00:00 +0100

Vegetal Passion sees the exhibition space as the natural milieu of works of art. The artist and curator duo It’s Our Playground (Camille Le Houezec & Jocelyn Villemont) has imagined this 5th installment of Royal Garden as an ambiguous jungle in which visitors will find artists’ pieces, archival photographs and images gleaned from the internet, all shown side by side without any obvious hierarchy.

Deftly mixing plants and works of art, works that involve plants and «exhibition plants», this curatorial project takes a new look at gardening practices in institutional settings, which is increasingly a part of today’s reality. Indeed, while blogs are replete with images of plants, which are adopted for their graphic qualities, they have also invaded art galleries, for artists appreciate their formal values as well as their reference to both a domesticated nature and a questioning of the decorative function of artworks.
Originally this project was based on exhibition photos (notably from the Marc Vaux and the Cahiers d’Art collections, which are conserved at the Kandinsky Library) from the 1940s to 1960s, an age of pre-standardized museum and exhibition design, when decorative plants seemed to naturally punctuate exhibition galleries.

This show also takes into account the recent proliferation of indoor plants in contemporary artists’ work. The images of plants and archival images of art exhibitions are thus mixed with images of recent works of art and specific projects by contemporaries, including Laura Aldridge, Ditte Gantriis, Hayley Tompkins, Travess Smalley and Pedro Wirz, who were invited to produce series of images that resonate with their usual art practice.

Vegetal Passion looks like a tame digital jungle in which all these images of a different nature are there to be discovered and ferreted out. The show will later change with the seasons, and like a winter garden we will follow its evolution for a year to observe the various proposed works by invited artists and the selections made by the two curators.

With special projects by Laura Aldridge, Ditte Gantriis, Hayley Tompkins, Travess Smalley and Pedro Wirz.
Texts by Dorothée Dupuis and Aurélien Mole.

A Curious Contortion in the Method of Progress – L’ellipse d’ellipse, 01 Jan 2013 00:00:00 +0100

In 2011, almost simultaneously, the Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein and the Institute for Contemporary Art in Villeurbanne are asking Bojan Šarčević to present his entire work in a museum for the first time. This happy conjunction immediately gave rise to the desire to bring together all possible forces. The publication is a testimony to this and the first general presentation of the artist’s work to date.

Attraction étrange, 01 Jan 2013 00:00:00 +0100

For their first artist’s book, Louise Hervé & Clovis Maillet draw inspiration from the American popular genre of the “pulp”— a genre mostly dedicated to fantastic literature and science–fiction — to present a first overview of their work. They commissioned a graphic illustrator to design a “pulp” cover and three authors to write curious short stories whose outlines are derived from their artworks and their recent exhibitions. Hervé & Maillet have also redesigned all of them as black & white illustrations to accompany their performance scripts and own texts such as the 19th-century-like serial story they published in 2012 in a local newspaper. Fascinated by narrative processes and multi-layered (hi)stories, their book is a way to filter their practice through a literary genre they are familiar with.

Ivry Souterrain, 01 Jan 2013 00:00:00 +0100

Published on the occasion of Lara Almarcegui’s exhibition, Ivry Souterrain is a synthesis of the data that exists today on the subsoils of Ivry-sur-Seine. In ten chapters, the book deals with the different periods and strata of occupation, the networks and infrastructures: old quarries and cellars, underground tunnels, buried lakes, water, energy and telecommunications networks that draw a true “in-depth” portrait of the city.

This project received the financial support of Mondriaan Fund, Amsterdam, and Acción Cultural Española (AC/E). With the careful support of Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris

L’Homme de Vitruve, 14 Sep 2012 00:00:00 +0200

The exhibition took shape around a realization, that the famous Manpower logo with Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man, the symbol of man at the center of work, had in fact disappeared a few years ago in favor of an abstract image. L’Homme de Vitruve brings together international artists who are acutely aware of the phenomenon of deindustrialization and the past of now abandoned factories, and who view the work world as an apt subject for an archeology of the present age.

The Grommet Factory is emblematic of the history of Ivry, which only yesterday was still an industrial town. The building, which also houses a school of architecture and graphic arts, and soon a national center for theater, is also representative of another phenomenon, the current vogue in refurbishing and repurposing factories as art venues that transform this heritage into a cultural and tourist destination.

Not far from where visitors can watch Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory (1895), a film by the inventors and pioneering filmmakers Auguste and Louis Lumière, a selection of albums from the 1980s British music scene is on display. The musical trend of those years, fittingly symbolized by the Factory Records label, represents this reappropriation of postindustrial sites by artists, initially as production areas and later as venues for getting art and music to the public.
The painting by Boris Taslitzky called Le Jeudi des enfants d’Ivry (Thursdays, for the Children of Ivry, 1937), where we can make out the Manufacture des Œillets in the background, illustrates in fact the first recreation centers at a time when intellectuals and artists were also taking part in workers’ struggle for better conditions. And with his photo series Trente-neuf objets de grève (Thirty-nine Strike Objects, 1999-2000), Jean-Luc Moulène places himself in this same tradition, refreshing the collective memory through these objects, tokens of famous union struggles. Nine photographs are presented along with a brochure containing the whole of the series and offered free to visitors.

Louise Hervé and Clovis Maillet are highlighting a selection of objects that once belonged to Maurice Thorez (director of the French Communist Party from 1930 to 1964, and a member of the French National Assembly representing Ivry) and are conserved in the Municipal Archives of Ivry. The man who titled his autobiography Fils du Peuple (Son of the People), and hailed books as tools for emancipation, is also the starting point of a science-fiction story and a performance, both produced by Crédac for the show.
Now a production site of a different sort, artistically directed in this case, the Manufacture has been taken over by artists, who, like archeologists, ethnologists, archivists, or engineers, weigh the legacy of workers and commemorate this heritage through their own creative endeavors. Opposed to productivity, their pieces highlight the process of work and its human context.

Thus Jorge Satorre, in suspending his project La Part maudite illustrée (2010), an illustrated version of Georges Bataille’s essay The Accursed Part, put into practice its central idea, i.e., the part of loss and wastage that exists in any sort of production. Likewise, in Le Nombre Pur selon Duras (Pure Number According to Duras, 2010-2012), Thu Van Tran sought among other things to draw up a complete list of all the workers who had once been employed in the Renault factories in Boulogne-Billancourt, an idea first suggested by Marguerite Duras.

Simon Boudvin offers an update of the history of a Maison populaire, a kind of early popular recreation center, in Liège. The center, a refuge for workers in the union struggles in Belgium, was housed in a mansion dating from the 17th century (FAÇADE 01 (Liège), 2010). Through a model of the building’s façade and photographs of some of the original stones that have been conserved, the artist points up the different intentions that are at work in the act of conserving and, in the process, how history is constructed.

Bertille Bak records the façades of corons, those traditional row houses in proletarian towns of Northern France, and recreates an assembly line for French fries manned by children from the housing projects (Cité n°5, 2007). Meanwhile, Mircea Cantor collaborated with the workers of a match factory in Romania to produce a series of two-headed matches from discarded ones at the foot of their machines (Double heads matches, 2002). His film celebrates manual skill, just like the 2007 film by Harun Farocki called Vergleich über ein Drittes (Comparison via a Third), which documents the different ways bricks are made around the world.

Jacques Faujour, on the other hand, documented deindustrialization by photographing productive leisure activities along the banks of the Marne in the 1980s, showing angling and gardening against a backdrop of industrial wastelands. These photos act like humanist echoes of the implacable typologies of Bernd and Hilla Becher (Pit Heads, 1970-1988 and Blast Furnaces, 1970-1989).

The sculptures of Jannis Kounellis (Untitled, 2003) and the film by Richard Serra (Hand Catching Lead, 1968) remind us, with their strong emphasis on materiality, how seriality and industrial materials (steel, coal) have pushed the human body to rival machines by inventing new kinds of behavior. The Moebius strip devised by Alexander Gutke (Measure, 2011) introduces notions of continuity, loops and movement.
There is an empty pedestal still standing in Ivry that once held a sculpture in the 1950s. Sporting the inscription “Homage to work,” this non-monument strangely resonates as a local and universal symbol of the “Vitruvian man,” who has been rendered invisible.
Drawing on the history of the industrial past and present, these artists sketch out a recollection that differs from what one finds in the work of the historian or sociologist, an active, productive recollection that tries to place once again the human body and the social at the heart of societal issues today.

Le dos du désert, 14 Jun 2012 00:00:00 +0200

“Dear Françoise, dear Jean-Philippe,

Your collection shown at the Silo, the place that you opened in Marines (Val d’Oise) in 2011 has been, implicitly, the backbone of our project. Asked to examine this body of minimal and conceptual works from the 1970s to today, we imagined the project The back of the Desert. Impressed by your flawless hanging and by the proposals of our elders, we were touched by your generosity and desire to open your collection to a special experience. The stories you have told us during our meetings and the closeness you have with the works and artists have allowed us to generate new formal and conceptual dialogues with these historical figures. What can be said about these works explored so many times? How far can we “strip bare” them to extract the core of our productions? How to situate ourselves in relation to that legacy? For the student as for the artist, it is always a matter of position. Based on our respective practices, we have foiled or replayed material, gestures and postures to confuse them, reverse them or extend them. We then play at tracing desire lines between the artists in the collection and three institutional sites. These paths, formed by the time, that connect and bring closer some points in a city reappear in this project in the form of geographical, intellectual and emotional intersections where young practices dare to meddle with those they quote. From these places and their crossings emerge a common landscape, suggested by the paradoxical title of the exhibition Le dos du désert (The back of the Desert), a place that can only exist if created from scratch.


Méryll Ampe, Clarisse Bachellier, Maxime Bersweiler, Maxime Bichon, Juliette Broquet, Louise Folly, Virginia Gamna, Pierre‐Henry Kleinbaum, Olivier Lavenac, Alice Maillot, Sara Martinetti, Gloria Maso, Floriane Pilon, Allister Sinclair, Hua Yang, Alicia Zaton.”

Toucher de l’œil, 14 Jun 2012 00:00:00 +0200

Dedicated primarily to support the artists and the production of works, Crédac is also a meeting place for publics and artistic practices. Raising art sensitivity is one of our major missions.

Carried out by the public office, this mission takes shape through activities and initiatives that are constantly reinvented: educational tools accompanying exhibitions (posters, booklets for children, discussion paper for teachers); various events (studio-snacks, meetings with artists, lectures, etc.); visits and workshops in the exhibitions; residencies and workshops conceived by artists with groups of all ages and contexts. These activities are designed with the artists, directly from the exhibitions program of Crédac or in partnership with the Ministry of National Education, the city services and associations. Their richness relies in their experimental and in-progress aspects, according to the sensitivities and approaches.
The experience of sight, of various mediums, the sharing of the artists’ creative process are the core of our action. The construction of a knowledge relationship between different generations, the ways of transmission are for us as much important as the results.

Thus, beyond the works produced during the workshops, it is also these encounters, these human and artistic experiences that we want to transcribe here through videos, publications and sound pieces. The exhibition Touching with the Eye wants to make visible the diversity of our approaches and reaffirm our belief that art is a place for reflection and sharing. Since the experience of sight is inseparable from touch, this exhibition offers to reactivate the “kiosk-workshop” where everyone is invited to create their own architectural volume from cardboard modules. Finally, an “open workshop” is available to all in the education department room, to create and experiment in family.

Séances, 13 Apr 2012 00:00:00 +0200

Crédac and La Triennale have joined forces to present Boris Achour’s Séances (Sessions), a project that evokes both the art exhibition and pure spectacle, and in which different artistic disciplines and fields of knowledge are mixed in an uninterrupted space. The concept of Intense Proximity, which was formulated by Okwui Enwezor, the curator of La Triennale 2012, merges with the concerns of the Contemporary Art Center of Ivry - Crédac on several levels: first, in the connections the center and the periphery normally maintain; secondly, in the fact that it questions how an art center situates itself vis-à-vis local cultural issues within the perspective of a global world; and finally and most importantly, in the forging of a connection of “intense proximity” between artists and the different audiences for the art of today.

Séances is a new addition to the Conatus series that Achour began back in 2006. Plunged in partial darkness, a range of elements form a setting/landscape that visitors are meant to wander around for forty-five minutes. Films, sculptures, texts, sounds… yet not a single actor or live event: the combination of formal elements, a venue, a timeframe and an audience makes this art piece more akin to a show or spectacle. No one particular way of visiting the project is singled out; the films and events unfold at the same time and without any chronological order, generating a nonlinear, branching form of narrative. It is up to the viewer to construct their own story through methods of mental association, collage or correlation (forms, ideas, sensations) that suggest film editing, the police procedural or psychoanalysis.
Even if the viewer is never a simple, passive receiver but always participates actively in making sense of a work of art, with Séances it is a matter of exemplifying that active part and placing the artist’s own involvement in the artwork and the viewer’s on the very same level of necessity. This non-authoritarian dimension recalls one of the concerns at the heart of La Triennale and its concept of Intense Proximity, i.e., the wish to offer writings and tales from history (and here, simply a story) that break down any and all monolithic, unequivocal or dominant constructions.
Thus, Séances invites us to the construction of a narrative and therefore a space that is both physical and mental, made possible by the articulation of dissimilar images and objects for which we do not know whether they share a common origin or not. Ritual and gestural assemblies, camp fires, segments of poems and so on form a scattered whole that presents multiple echoes and unspecified functions. The films and sculptures become sources of light, while pieces of sculpture also figure in certain films as accessories, suggesting a fluidity of or porousness between artistic media and their uses.

The many collaborations with dancers, musicians, graphic designers, theoreticians and writers that Séances has generated are also part of the movement to expand and open up the project to other, different forms, practices and sensibilities. Of these the Bibliothèque des Fragments (Library of Fragments) stands apart. The Bibliothèque brings together an open collection of texts written for the project by several authors, including Jean-Yves Jouannais, Eric Mangion, Gaëlle Obiégly, Nathalie Quintane, Michele Robecchi, who were invited to devise their own narrative within Séances. From science fiction to the compilation of historic texts to the theoretical essay, this library, still under construction, is a concert of different voices that both share in the plurality of experience at work in the project and enrich how we perceive it. Origin and archive at one and the same time, this collection of texts maintains the ambiguity of a pre-existing story, albeit one whose meaning still has to be constructed.
Thus, in words and a range of spaces, the notion of obscurity is everywhere and suggests a past time or an apocalyptic future, a world in which night is without end. Unless, that is, as in any good science-fiction novel, it is in fact all about our present:
“There existed once a blue sky, you certainly must have seen it in a photo, film or painting. Which of them best offers you the feeling of the clear sky, of what it’s like to live beneath the lighted sky? What for you will have best betokened the former world, the time when we were in the light of the sky and were nevertheless not happy all of us, always, and at the same time? And so I come to what I wanted to tell you. That catastrophe you may have already heard about. Which plunged the world into darkness. Which forces you to keep the lamps lit at all times. We learned afterwards what had happened. I was still quite young. It’s what makes it possible for me to bear witness.”
Gaëlle Obiégly, Le monde, avant. (excerpt)
Unpublished text in the Bibliothèque des Fragments, available for reading during Séances.

Séances hours:
Tuesday to Friday: 2, 3, 4, 5 PM
Saturday and Sunday: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 PM
Duration: 45 min

Sublimations, 20 Jan 2012 00:00:00 +0100

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.

Royal Garden 4, 01 Jan 2012 00:00:00 +0100

Rivers wear away and make memory visible. Rivers includes works in the fine arts, sound, film and literature that form an open continuum, a series of possible imaginary actions.

At the outset of this project there is a list (reproduced on the following page). After taking part in Le Travail de Rivière (The Work of the River) at Crédac in 2009, Rittener indeed began compiling a list of works in the visual arts, music and literature that refer to rivers, like some endless task of getting back to the beginning, the origin. This work of returning to, reviving and extending a past exhibition is fairly rare and joins up with the ideal, labyrinthine form of Royal Garden.

Rittener opted for subjectivity over exhaustiveness and his list was brought to an end with the help of Federica Martini. It also became the invitation that was extended to those taking part in Royal Garden 4, the «riverbed», as it were.
This list is also the first of twenty iterations of Royal Garden 4, whose dynamic interactive interface suggests a stream at the surface of which the various individual projects flow off in a random fashion.

L’Homme de Vitruve, 01 Jan 2012 00:00:00 +0100

Designed in conjunction with the new location occupied by Crédac since 2011 (the Manufacture des Œillets in Ivry), this catalogue, published on the occasion of the exhibition L’Homme de Vitruve (The Vitruvian Man) brings together works on the industrial world, the gradual disappearance of workers’ skills, and social movements in factories past and present.

More Cheeks Than Slaps, 16 Sep 2011 00:00:00 +0200

The end of transparency in art plays a great role in Mircea Cantor’s work. Forming a mysterious body of work with many offshoots, Cantor’s creations are a plea in favor of the “need for uncertainty,” as the artist puts it. His art runs counter to the current overriding need to know and predict everything. Sensitive to the general context in which we live and his work exists, Cantor produces artworks that seem to be founded on three pillars, i.e., ethics, aestheticism and mysticism. He strives to discover the meaning of things, their origins, even their tradition. He does so not through nostalgia or a fondness for folklore, but rather to test how different fields of knowledge can make sense in the contemporary world.

When he discovered in 2007 the pre-Christian motif of the tree of life carved on wooden gates in a region of northern Romania, Cantor immediately connected this vernacular symbol with the double helix of the DNA molecule. For the artist the DNA motif conjures up the desire for certitude, a symbol of aspiration, one step towards a new world which he relates to the solar and to representations of the heavens. Describing DNA Kiss (2008), one of his first drawings to depict a stylized version of the DNA sequence, in this case in the form of lipstick kisses, Cantor says that “the DNA kiss is bound up with the idea of vibration.”
Seven, a sacred number (as in the seven days of creation, the seven notes of Western music, the seven classic arts, etc.) seems to crop up everywhere in Cantor’s work. Seven Future Gifts (2008), for example, is made up of seven different-sized concrete elements representing empty gift boxes. The same number is present in Rainbow (2011) as well. This floor-anchored sculpture is made up of glass panels (500 x 250 cm) on which the artist has drawn a rainbow in the seven fundamental colors. Cantor painted the motif using his own fingerprints, dipping his index in seven different inks, but the image figures in fact a barbed-wire motif. Through this transparent sculpture, which is both fragile and solid, once again it is a matter of identity and singularity. Here Cantor brings face to face two opposite motifs. The rainbow, emblem of peace and the covenant between heaven and earth; and a depiction of a fence, symbol of a forbidden territory. The rainbow, a meteorological and optical phenomenon that points up the continuous spectrum of visible light when the sun shines in the rain, is a rendering of the visible and the invisible, two subjects that lie at the heart of Cantor’s work. The famous grommet plant building is an ideal foil for this piece then. When displayed diagonally in one of the building’s light-filled galleries, the piece creates a dialog with this transparent venue. Viewers’ bodies can move around the work while their gaze can focus on the detail of the artist’s fingerprints, or on the rainbow motif, or even pass through the piece and continue its trajectory into the landscape in the distance.

More Cheeks Than Slaps, the title Cantor has chosen for his current show and a direct reference to the Gospel injunction to “resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also,” is likewise the name of one of the works on view. The words, written out in reverse by the artist, are formally translated into neon lights and can be read thanks to their reflection in a mirror. The elements making up this installation form a passage and link the gallery in which Rainbow is on display and a second room in which the exhibition continues with the screening of Tracking Happiness, a video from 2009 that features music by Adrian Gagiu. The film depicts in an almost mythic way a group of seven women. Like angels vested in white, they are shown first walking in a line, then forming a circle, treading barefoot on fine sand, a broom in hand. Each of the marks they leave in the sand is swept away by the woman following directly behind. A truly peaceful image, the scene repeats ad infinitum, like a mantra.
In the other gallery Cantor gives voice to a completely different position with Fishing Fly (2011), a piece of sculpture measuring 400 x 350 x 146 cm that depicts a kind of airplane fashioned from recycled oil barrels. Fitted with a golden hook that hangs beneath its cabin, the aircraft recalls the esthetic of those toys made from tin cans in Asia and Africa. The object conjures up both a fighter plane and a fishing lure. Normally a symbol of speed, power and conflict, the craft is stranded here, posed off balance on a single wheel.
Hanging on the wall in the same gallery are 69 small illustrated vignettes, a collection that Cantor put together and framed himself. Since childhood he has kept the nearly complete collection of images that came in packs of chewing gum. The images all depict airplanes… warplanes in fact. On each the artist, like an illuminator, has drawn a hook in gold leaf.
Since the very beginnings of his work, Cantor has tried to make himself understood in a language that can touch the broadest possible audience, “Today the essential thing is not to speak globally, playing on the multinational card, but to speak universally, which is the opposite of global. It’s what globalization annihilates.”
Perfectly anchored in its age, Mircea Cantor’s work contains a subtle mix of the quest for happiness, utopian desire for a new age and an occasionally discouraged realism. This is the case of I Decided Not to Save the World (2011), a video piece that runs barely a minute and features a small boy saying in a cheerful, angelic, straightforward way that he has decided not to save the world. As everyone knows, out of the mouths of children and sucklings comes the truth, which is a nice way of not making promises that look like lies!

Land & Sea, 08 Apr 2011 00:00:00 +0200

The Sea Paintings series is central to the work of Jessica Warboys. Her generally large-scale paintings exist at the crossroads of ritual, performance and artistic process, three important elements driving this young artist’s work.
Warboys executes these series directly outdoors in the countryside, specifically on the English seaside, where the artist lays out her canvases on the beach. The combination of pigments and the wind and waves has yielded this tangible result. This process has ties to performance and the improvisation of gestural painting, and is similar to the way Warboys creates her videos, in which the narrative is revealed in time with the editing, like a puzzle.
In the space Warboys is showing on a single screen a trilogy that is made up of two recent films and a new piece. La forêt de Fontainebleau (Fontainebleau Forest, 2010), Marie de France (2010) and Victory Park(2011) are three self-contained films that form a triptych for this exhibition. Only one of the three is a sound film. The British artist reads a poem by the 12th-century poet Marie de France, who, like Warboys, lived between London and Paris.
The three films take place outdoors, in either a setting that has been laid out by man, as in the landscape park of Victoria Park, which dates from the 19th century, or in a natural area that is relatively untouched, such as the forest of Fontainebleau, long a favorite of landscape painters (the School of Fontainebleau, for instance). Occupying the center of the triptych, Marie de France consists of a subtle mix of an outdoor setting, a lushly growing meadow, and an indoor one.
In each part of the trilogy, the body is fragmented, as the camera focuses on the legs and arms of the two female characters.
Warboys creates mysterious, poetic, ritualized film scenarios.
At the heart of her work, legends and other founding myths are powerfully evoked, especially through her manipulation of objects. The recurrent object most often seen is the mirror, archetypal and timeless. It allows her to slyly reproduce the visual in the visual, and is a metaphor of painting and optical tricks. It is simply a producer of images.

Claire Le Restif

Jessica Warboys’ show À l’étage (Upstairs), runs from 24 March to 5 May 2011 at the Maison d’art Bernard Anthonioz (Nogent-sur-Marne) as part of the external program of the Jeu de Paume, Paris.

Une exposition comme les autres, 08 Apr 2011 00:00:00 +0200

In the white gallery (the play platform), he has created an installation that highlights an object while encouraging visitors to both handle it and offer their own comments. On a cross-ruled platform that visitors can sit around, he has placed a box containing his specially arranged version of ten of the twenty gifts devised by Friedrich Fröbel (the German teacher and educationalist who founded the first kindergarten in 1837 and designed one of the first systems of educational games).
All of Fröbel, as Froment sees it, is about projection: geometrical projection of a volume onto a flat surface, transformation of one thing into another, the role of speech and the place for interpretation. Our own reading of Fröbel is, according to Froment, a projection of ourselves. In this gallery the artist encourages us to handle things and create our own projections. At the end of the experience, we are invited to return the elements to their box. It is this gesture that serves as a conclusion for the short experiment.
In the dark gallery (the screening gallery), the artist brings out and renders legible what the venue ought to have been, i.e., a cinema. Le yoga par l’image (Yoga in Images) is screened from the projection booth. We find ourselves looking at a film that presents different seated positions for the body, whether passive or active, on the floor the way a yogi would sit, or on chairs whose design is more or less adapted to the body.
These two pieces reflect Froment’s interest in language and transmission as well as his investigations into the distance that exists between an object and its description, and the ways an object can be presented and displayed.

Le yoga par l’image is a coproduction of the Pavilion, Leeds, and the Contemporary Art Center of Ivry—Crédac.

Special thanks to: Gill Park, William Rose, Stephen Gaughan

Cursif, 14 Jan 2011 00:00:00 +0100

From the very start of her career, space has played a central role in her work. She devised pieces that opened out to viewers’ (mental and/or physical) space and thus modified their own perception. The size of the format wasn’t chosen in order to impose a form of authority. It was rather the space in question that suggested it.
Today, having mounted numerous shows, including important retrospectives, Levi is pushing her painting towards new horizons by renewing gesture and the tools she employs. She continues to cultivate an interest in abstraction, a question that remains quite open, as she sees it.

Levi is currently showing her latest work at Crédac. Since 2008 spray paint has given way to other tools for applying pigments, and the bright fluorescent colors have been replaced by other ranges of color, as in this show, which features white, black and blue. Where the projected powder of spray paint was more unstable, and the outlines and edges of the drawing were elusive, Levi now prepares her pigments and has renewed her contact with the depth of brush painting. Working directly on the walls has disappeared in favor of frame-mounted canvases, though in this instance in very large formats located in the space. What persists in her output and remains a priority is the movement of viewers from one work to the next, the same petering out of the materials determining the end of both the gesture and the space. What I also find exciting in her work is the presence of elementary signs that have been carried by the collective memory since time immemorial and which underscore the energies at play—fundamental, original signs and gestures.
The show is entitled Cursif (Cursive, in English), which means traced or drawn by hand and is related to course, coursing, speed, in writing and reading, suggesting a quick, brief, swift, imperative nature. In German kursiv means “italics.”

Also on display are small drawings contained between two sheets of Plexiglas, placed in dialog with the large canvases bearing the marks of the artist’s gesture. These little treasures, anonymous only yesterday and now signed with a significant “ée” within their margins, are in fact trial doodles gleaned from stationary shops. A contrario, the notebooks that have also been gathered are shown as they are, untouched by the artist. These personal drawings, distractedly worked out on the paper with no other intention than to test a writing instrument, display the tentative, the instinctive and the primitive. They are a part of the visual inspiration of the artist, who recognizes in them the moment when nothing is calculated and the human being is embodied. Analyzing Levi’s body of work, Christian Bernard[^See Kill me afterwards (Essen: Museum Folkwang, 2003).] once characterized it as “drawn painting.” It is within this question of line and drawing that Cursif, an important step in the explorations of this Swiss artist, is located and imagined, and plays out. It asserts that for Levi the little ink tests, gleaned and chosen, selected and signed, and now put on display, have as much value as her paintings. It raises once again the question of signature and choices consciously made. Each picture, each drawing, each color is thus a site, a locus.

In contrast to her painting, Levi has also put three photographed images on display. There is first an image of the exhibition invitation, where the artist is hidden behind the curtain of her hair. Then a photograph of the top of Levi’s skull is featured in the public space in front of Crédac in the format of an advertising poster. Finally the third image is located inside the exhibition in the Crédac’s small gallery, at the very same place it was displayed last June during the multiples show entitled Le Carillon de Big Ben. In this image Levi, with the sun in her eyes, is seen standing before a dumpster containing the remains of a destroyed installation.

Royal Garden 3, 01 Jan 2011 00:00:00 +0100

Royal Garden 3 shows the memory of Crédac, through exhibitions that have been shot since 2003.
Without hierarchy or chronology, these films are stacked like bricks, a structure evoking the outer robe of the new Crédac, which has opened in September 2011 at the Manufacture des Œillets.

Hôtel, 01 Jan 2011 00:00:00 +0100

Pierre Vadi describes his exhibitions as a kind of “hotel”, whose guests would be the works, hence the title of this book. They stay there for a period of time and then leave, waiting for the next invitation. This first major monograph on Pierre Vadi’s work brings together a number of his sculptures and the places they have had the opportunity to visit: Crédac (Ivry), Mamco (Geneva), ribordy contemporary (Geneva), La Salle de bains (Lyon), Le Spot (Le Havre), the Swiss Institute (New York), Triple V (Dijon) and the Zoo Galerie (Nantes).

Le Travail de rivière, 31 Dec 2010 00:00:00 +0100

Le Travail de rivière (“the work of the river”) is built on three archeologies: the topography of the underground and labyrinthine space of the Crédac which hosts the exhibition and which inspired it, the memory of the curator of the exhibition, and the nature of the works themselves.

Mental Archaeology, 22 Sep 2010 00:00:00 +0200

Mental Archaeology is the title that Kathleen Rahn and Claire Le Restif (directors respectively of Kunstverein Nürnberg – Albrecht Dürer Gesellschaft, and the Centre d’art contemporain d’Ivry – le Crédac) have given to a show featuring three artists whose work is especially close to their hearts.
First, there is the Georgian artist Thea Djordjadze (born in 1971), whose sculptures, generally done in small formats and in extremely fragile materials, express the instability of matter (clay, plaster, papier mâché…). For each new exhibition, Djordjadze likes to develop new dialogs between her pieces. The artist also infuses her works with memory and forgetting without summoning these notions explicitly. Collection of objects, fetishes, reinvented “ethnographic” displays, Djordjadze’s works reveal their own archaeology, partially constructed or, paradoxically, partially destroyed. There is one piece, for example, that she created to be burnt and the ashes then buried.
If archaeology is inverted in Djordjadze’s art, it is reinvented in the work of Matti Braun (born in 1968) with the installation Ozürfa (a part of which was shown in the 2009 show Le Travail de rivière at Crédac). The title of the piece here translates as “the real Urfa”. The mythic city of Urfa, in Turkey, is considered the site of the Biblical Garden of Eden. Like an explorer sharing the rediscovery of a site, Braun has in fact invented various relics of an authentic Urfa. He brings together and fuses disparate stories, conjuring up, for instance, the miracle of Abraham through the skeletons of three carp placed in a copper display case, elements that exist side by side with a copy of the film Yol by Yilmaz Güney (1937-1984), the 1982 Palme d’or at Cannes.
Jean-Luc Moulène (born in 1955) is exhibiting a number of different elements from his work. Two sculptures, four monochromes done with Bic felt-tip pens (black, red, and blue and green), four drawings “in motion” done in black lead pencil, and a range of photographs, including a series of seven of a stone that makes a complete circuit around the subject. “Archaeology” in this show isn’t taken literally then, as the science of ancient objects. It is understood more as a movement of the mind that invites artists to “dig up” undiscovered elements or force the events of the matter of the mind to leave a trace on the surface of things.
What this archaeology reveals springs indeed from the artists’ mental world. It is archaeology as “cosa mentale”.

MECCA 05, 30 Jun 2010 00:00:00 +0200

Initiated in 2008, the Nouement project organized by the Centre d’art contemporain d’Ivry - le Crédac and the Seniors Service of the City of Ivry, in partnership with the Medical-Psycho-Pedagogical Center, was implemented over three years.
Mecca 05 Nouement, issue now out of print, recounts this experience, which has developed over the long term. This edition reports on these three years of exchanges, complicity, projects built together, and emotion. This book allows us to reflect on the artistic and political stakes of such a project.

Le Carillon de Big Ben 2, 07 May 2010 00:00:00 +0200

In mathematics, a multiple is a number which contains several times the same integer: in art, a multiple is a work existing in several copies, playing on their identical character. When multiplied, the work then loses its original status and gains the status of an object “accessible”.

Indeed, the aura of the work Walter Benjamin speaks of is linked to its uniqueness. Its use value, on the contrary, can be amplified by its reproducibility. By multiplying itself, the work can get closer to mass culture, infiltrate into daily life and the life of the city. In this way, the reproduced work acquires another status, a “practice” that Benjamin calls political. [^Walter Benjamin, Œuvres III, L’œuvre d’art à l’époque de sa reproductibilité technique (last version 1939), translated from German by Maurice de Gandillac, reviewed by Rainer Rochlitz, Paris, Gallimard, 2000, p. 269-316, p. 282].
It is in this spirit that the Le carillon de Big Ben is constructed. In resonance with a programming linked to its context, the artists who have participated in the Centre d’art contemporain d’Ivry’s project since 2003 are invited to present a multiple.
For Le carillon de Big Ben, we can speak of a non-exhibition, like Lewis Carroll speaking of a non-anniversary in his Alice in Wonderland. As Benjamin says, again, “in artwork, what is driven by the decline of the aura is a tremendous gain for the playing space…” [^W. Benjamin, Ecrits français, presented and introduced by Jean-Maurice Monnoyer, Paris, Gallimard, 1991, p. 188-189]. As if the rarity of the object imposed its rules and a new freedom was born from multiplicity. The multiple work can potentially be financially accessible to many.
This is why we give priority in the exhibition to works available from precious distributors such as galleries and art centers in France and abroad.

The Garden of Forking Paths, 23 Mar 2010 00:00:00 +0100

The Garden of Forking Paths is more a temporally (rather than spatially) labyrinthine story written by Borges. The exhibition is built on things which the city of Istanbul brings to my mind: a temporal labyrinth, feeding channels, layers, entropy. I chose to invite three artists whose works centralize around the premises of entropy, exposure, excavation, loss, recording, and critique.
Lara Almarcegui is an artist who is interested in «time gaps» surrounding cities or suburban towns that are in oblivion or that are just starting to gain some life of their own.
Currently working on a project regarding urban architecture, Jordi Colomer is a follower of deviating paths that have the ability to allow for the intervention of coincidence.
The temporal nature of Guillaume Leblon’s works situates them in an imperceptible space between past and future. He uses the omnipresent archetypal elements of both creation and destruction: earth, water, and fire.

Qualunque Light, 05 Feb 2010 00:00:00 +0100

Having put a UFO in the sky over Rio, Coffin has landed at Crédac for a solo show that brings together several videos and installations. In an extension of his usual work, he is pushing his investigations further through different types of phenomena (natural, optical and other), offering visitors new ways of seeing and understanding such manifestations, and new means for questioning the subjectivity of science.
The title chosen by the artist refers to his ideas for this show with respect to the experience of movement, color and light. The Italian indefinite adjective «qualunque » can mean any, any old, whichever, whatever…
Crédac’s main gallery will feature the artist’s latest piece, the Shepard-Risset Glissando, a video whose image plays over two-thirds of the space (floor, ceiling and side walls). Projected from where the screening room of this venue would have been (it was originally designed as a cinema), the video features the different colors that make up the spectrum of light as described in Isaac Newton’s chromatic circle. The movement of the colors is accompanied by a so-called Shepard-Risset glissando, in which one perceives an endless gradual rising towards a high pitch or inversely a descent towards a low one.
Visitors are immersed in a visual and sound installation that is designed to shake up their sensory perceptions.
Along with the projection, Coffin’s piece includes a collection of sculptures displayed on pedestals scattered throughout the venue (these were shown in February 2009 at the Barbican Art Gallery in London). The series Transformation Works was created with the help of a mathematician specialized in topology and the transformation of objects into various forms according to mathematical processes. A human skull, for example, is turned inside out. A pine cone is transformed into a fragment of Rubik’s cube, while a shell is broken up and repeated as if seen through the lens of a kaleidoscope… The modification process is displayed alongside the source object. Viewers are invited to reconsider the art of transformation as a creative and conceptual exercise. Coffin makes it possible for ordinary objects to become another reality.
In another gallery Coffin is screening the video Untitled (L’Angelus Experience), his interpretation of L’Angelus, the mythic painting by Jean-François Millet (1814-1875). The artist explores the effects this video has on viewers when they watch it repeatedly over long periods of time. Through one simple gesture, he is able to make Millet’s peasants «dance» the bossa nova, playing on perception and illusion.
Further along Coffin sets up an extremely thin neon «serpent» that runs from the floor to the ceiling. He takes over the Pilot light panel located on the art center’s exterior and infiltrates its telephone system with a soundtrack.

Le Carillon de Big Ben 1, 16 Jan 2010 00:00:00 +0100

This is what we see in the proposal of Leonor Antunes (born in 1972). The triangulation system that constitutes her work is directly inspired by the system of measurement of the Meridian Arc invented by two astronomical surveyors, Delambre and Méchain, between Dunkirk and Barcelona, between 1792 and 1798. In her artistic work, she reconsiders, grasps, retains, studies through free and personal reading: a form, a fragment, a plan. Moreover, duplication is one of her major preoccupations. One of her first catalogs was entitled Duplicate: Manifesto.

Bojan Šarčević’s work is very much based on questions of construction, deconstruction and reconstruction. The multiple proposed by Bojan Šarčević (born in 1974) evokes a small shelf. This sculpture, a fragile structure, in a way reconsiders the ambiguity with which Bauhaus designers produced objects on the edge of art, in series.
Renée Levi (born 1960) is a painter. She works with a form of painting deployed in space. But she also produces paintings. Here she responds with an image. Against the light, dazzled, Renée Levi hides her eyes. In front of her, we can guess a skip in which she plunged some of her paintings on a frame, still wrapped up. The intensity of the colors she uses, the fluorescents in particular, which electrify the space and give a vibration to the context, remain silent. It is a distant, humorous image that Levi entrusts to us, especially since she invited Olivier Mosset to write a text on this image, he who is only interested, he says, in painting.

After a discussion about a publishing project, I wanted to invite Didier Rittener to take part in this project. This artist is interested in collective memory (multiple images, from scholarly or popular books) and individual memory linked to the personal selection that we make through this multiplicity of images. In his manifesto book Libre de droits - the title comes from the visual encyclopaedias L’aventurine which proposes old representations free of rights which can be reproduced and from which one can be inspired - he challenges the notion of originality and uses existing sources which I wished to associate with this exhibition.
For reusing existing forms, it must be remembered, is a language. The game continues!

Royal Garden 2, 01 Jan 2010 00:00:00 +0100

Etienne Bernard has set up a Royal Garden into Royal Garden by inviting A Constructed World, the Australian duo mid-graphic designers mid-artists who has themselves invited critics, historians, engaged in contemporary art, to comment on a series of pamphlets as “crisis, nationalism, stupidity, ignorance…”.

The authors invited by ACW are : Sébastien Pluot, François-Eudes Chanfrault, Hu Fang, Claire Fontaine, Justin Clemens, Elisabeth Lebovici, Claude Closky, Manuel Cirauqi, Heman Chong, Marie Muracciole.

  • Etienne Bernard also invited the artist Raphaël Zarka, and co-wrote a text on the Land Art with Antoine Marchand.
  • David Evrard develops his project I was here but I disappear during the overall season. His script is : “In 1977, Tony Manero, a young worker from the suburbs is going every Saturday to 2001 ODYSSEY just to show everyone that he is the living god of this light wooden floors, glass brick lighted from below following the impulses music…”
  • Claire Le Restif invites Bruno Bellec to share his notebook to an architectural trip to Japan. The urban fabric, the web and his plastic work are mixed up.
  • Isabelle Cornaro allows us to discover her Casts on the spot series differently.
  • Mathieu Mercier reacts to different occurrences in the manner of an exquisite corpse offering after the Nationalism pamphlet, the image Flag on sale.
  • Pascal Beausse brings a poetic text L’art est un caillou (Art is a pebble).
  • Véronique Joumard offers a flip book.
  • Peter Regli creates specifically a Reality Hacking No. 279.
  • Silvana Reggiardo takes us for a walk on the Ed Rusha’s parking photograhic series (echoing the proposal of Etienne Bernard and Antoine Marchand).
  • Sabine Canivet gives us a presentation of a utopian architectural project of the 1970s, left into disuse in Ivry : the Riboulet towers built by the Atelier de Montrouge.
  • Mathias Schweizer has made two interventions and creates the visual noise project of Andrew Sharpley and Noël Akchopté.
MECCA 07, 01 Jan 2010 00:00:00 +0100

Mecca 07 is dedicated to the project of workshops Lisières. Lead by the artist Estefanía Peñafiel Loaiza at Romain Rolland high school in Ivry, with students of a reception class. He has been developped during three years (2010, 2012, 2013).

Variations Continues, 01 Jan 2010 00:00:00 +0100

Variations Continues (Continuous Variations) is a concept linked to the heterogeneity of the artworks at the heart of a show that has been thought out as a continuous process. The artists Ayşe Erkmen, Füsun Onur et Seza Paker have brought this concept to bear in order to see both the space and their pieces collectively while preserving the personal dimension of their work, something that is indeed singular and unique to each artist.

Véronique Joumard, 01 Jan 2010 00:00:00 +0100

This book is a panorama from 1985 to 2010 of a work that questions the gaze by playing with light, with two essays and an interview.

Vincent Lamouroux, 01 Dec 2009 00:00:00 +0100

First monograph: an overview of Lamouroux’s wide range of practices (installations, sculptures, works on paper, photos, videos…) and a retrospective of his large architectural installations conceived for the spaces of the Palais de Tokyo, Mamco, Centre Pompidou, etc., with two essays (including an original work by Marcelline Delbecq, comprising six texts specifically created for the book) and a conversation with the artist.

Variations continues, 20 Nov 2009 00:00:00 +0100

Four years later Ali invited Grasso, a French artist, to do his first solo show in Turkey at Aksanat, a venue in Istanbul where Ali mounts exhibitions. The discussions Ali and I had led us to stress to each other the importance of the exchanges between our two countries; naturally enough we seized the opportunity presented by the Saison de la Turquie en France (July 2009 to March 2010) to take this Franco-Turkish event as the framework for our own project.
Today Ali is the curator of a show at Crédac. He invited three of Turkey’s most renowned artists to design with him how they would «occupy» the venue.
As Ali points out, «Variations continues, the title of the show, puts in place a piece of collective-design work that nevertheless preserves the personal dimension of each artist’s contribution. Variations continues is a form of organization and creation. Each work is related to the time and place while also taking into consideration the architectural inclination of the space inside and its relationship to the context outside.»
Ayse Erkmen divides her time between Istanbul and Berlin. Sculpture, installation and film make up this international artist’s body of work.
At Crédac she has taken on the space’s «famous» architectural reiterations, proposing on-site installations in wood or steel that run through several of the venue’s galleries and which visitors are invited to experience for themselves.
Like many foreign artists, Ayse first encountered the venue through the Internet. Discovering our interface, she was struck by the identity of our site and is presenting a film that echoes the site and the four parts of Crédac’s fragmented logo.
Seza Paker divides her time between Paris and Istanbul. In her protean work, which includes installation, drawing, performance, video and photography, one piece runs into or overlaps the next formally.
Her project for Crédac’s main gallery is a sound sculpture called LAK7DE16A. Taking the graphic motif of the bar code as her starting point, Paker has tried to fashion a symbolic transcription of it for Variations continues.
Füsun Onur, an artist from Istanbul who began doing art in the 1960s, produces paintings and installations that employ a wide range of materials.
For the Crédac show she is pleased to present Applications Esthétiques (Aesthetic Applications). To create the geometrically shaped paintings of this series, the artist uses pieces of fabric in a range of colors. Shriek, another work on display, is a silent installation made up of different-colored pieces of cloth hanging from a bell that cannot be rung.
In March 2010 it will be my turn to serve as a guest curator. I will be mounting a show with Lara Almarcegui, Jordi Colomer and Guillaume Leblon at Aksanat as part of our exchange.

Claire Le Restif

Imagine there’s no countries, 09 Sep 2009 00:00:00 +0200

Goiris (born in 1971), a photographer, works exclusively with the traditional camera, taking on all of the necessary rigor the medium demands. He manages to capture the strange spatio-temporal weight where time is crystallized. As Goiris explains it, “The camera is an instrument that enables one to produce abstractions, scenes that the eye cannot see. Time is a crucial factor in that. I frequently use very long exposures (lasting several hours sometimes) that make a different, non-anthropomorphic framework possible.”
Goiris aims to record the unusualness and rarity of certain sites with the clarity and precision of Flemish painting, while offering viewers a plus, a range of exotic motifs like a polar station, an observatory, architectural UFOs from the 1970s, a “wish tree”, a cement baobab, a solitary rhinoceros, an albino kangaroo….
Goiris tackles images more as a visual artist than as a reporter. He has been building up an intellectual and perceptible reflection on borders, which has led him to Chile, Mongolia and Spitsbergen. For his latest work focusing on the optical and atmospheric phenomenon of the “whiteout”, the artist traveled to Antarctica.
At Crédac, Goiris will be showing a series of images (displayed in slide shows) that come from such an experience, when the sky is as white as the ground and it becomes impossible to distinguish one from the other, and where observers feel as though they are uniformly surrounded. “It’s not a far cry from a trip on the moon,” says the artist with regard to his expedition. Goiris will also be showing large-scale photographic prints in poster format that are directly pasted to the walls, classically framed photos, and light boxes.

Goiris, the first photographer to figure on the Crédac program since 2004, is thus offering us a show about traces that signify a great deal for him, fleeting or lasting impressions that symbolically point as well towards the very essence of photography.

Claire Le Restif

Le Travail de rivière, 04 Feb 2009 00:00:00 +0100

To put this show together, I proceeded by undertaking an archeological dig but an archeological dig in my own memory. Like a gold prospector working in a river, I sifted and refined, an effort that eventually revealed a galaxy of works, all irreducible to a sole reading, all conveying a “legend,” questioning the origin of form, the origin of humanity. The selection of old works (1920, 1967…) and more recent ones spotlights my fascination with forms that are strong, simple, primal, “materiological.” However, this is not about laying out the methods employed, for art remains above all a conjunction of signs.
The show is achronological and features an interest in human constructions, mute objects, relic-like works, a taste for vestiges. The works have a strong connection with time and finiteness, origins and eternity; they bring us back to the mystery and energy of artistic creation. They speak of time, art’s natural milieu, which loops back on itself in the sense that certain forms from the past persist, survive in the present, remain and come down through the centuries towards the future: the myth of “eternal recurrence.” The selected works are made of clay (memory of form), graphite (carbon offers the element that boasts the slightest difference between the animal, vegetable and mineral orders), sharpened flints (something that dates back several hundreds of thousands of years), lead (Saturn, fatal star, the lord of lead and melancholy), dust (powder, particle of matter), glass, sand, crystals, coral, amber, paper, shells, ink. So many fundamental and elementary materials forming “the very substance” of the natural repertory, from the rawest to the most precious of substances.
It is also the chance for viewers to have for themselves an up-to-date, tangible experience of a lost origin, whether real, fantasized or invented. Le Travail de rivière goes back over the classics and updates more naturalist recordings like prints, fossils and geological samples, while collecting such ethnographic traces as masks, headdresses, and migratory cells—a range of formal, artistic, cultural and intellectual molds.
It is a “collection of sand” as Italo Calvino understood the phrase : “To assemble a collection the way one keeps a diary, that is, a need to transform the course of one’s own existence into a series of objects saved from being scattered, or into a series of written lines, crystallized beyond the continuous flow of one’s thoughts.”
It is at heart a show that admits it can be the result of the imagination of that temporary collector that is the curator, and in that respect may fall into the province of a system of subjective correspondences that is equivalent to the system of the collection. It is a show that can be viewed through different layers, the way a dry riverbed is revealed in the very heart of summer.

Claire Le Restif

Le Travail de rivière is also the title of a book by Laure Limongi, published in 2009 (Dissonnances / Graphic Unit of the city of Chaumont), with a work of graphic art by Fanette Mellier.

Royal Garden 1, 01 Jan 2009 00:00:00 +0100

Royal Garden 1 is a game with simple rules : each guest received a keyword. It is the starting point of production and the title of the posting proposal.

Royal Garden is not an encyclopaedic tool but a production area and proposals. The proposal does not necessarily constitute an illustrative manual of the keyword but a creative space, of thought and experimentation based on this imposed notion. So everyone chooses the way of expression he considers suitable to shape its response.

Bénédicte Ramade responded to “Bestiarium” Antoine Marchand for “Formalism” Christophe Catsaros for “Social Housing”, Cedrick Eymenier for “Hanging Gardens in Ivry”, Pierre Vadi with Francis Baudevin and Christian Pahud for “Soundtrack”, Jean-Marc Ballée and Antoine Marchand for “Poster”, Etienne Bernard for “Mister Hyde” and Claire Le Restif for “Dr. Jekyll”.

Laurent Grasso, 01 Jan 2009 00:00:00 +0100

Conceived by the artist, an exhaustive monograph on Laurent Grasso’s body of work, that resumes in the graphic design and models in the approach of scientific manuals while bringing back to the surface the documents, pictures, and informations that served as hidden scripts in the artwork. The monograph catalogues all the projects from 1999 to 2009, with 300 color illustrations.

MECCA 04, 01 Dec 2008 00:00:00 +0100

Mecca 04, issue now out of print, is dedicated to the workshop Formes souterraines, une géométrie organique, initiated by Crédac and led by artist Julien Pastor with Rodolphe Bouvet’s fifth grade class at the Einstein elementary school in Ivry-sur-Seine, and accompanied by visual arts pedagogical advisor Dominique Thouzery. This workshop was born from the encounter between a particular architecture, Jean Renaudie’s architecture, in which the Einstein school is embedded, both in its form and in the pedagogical design that underlies it and Julien Pastor’s work.

L’Ennemi déclaré, 21 Nov 2008 00:00:00 +0100

The 140 graphite drawings (10 x 15 cm) collected under the title Mélanophila II and exhibited by Dove Allouche in his show L’Ennemi déclaré (The Declared Enemy) constitute the recreation of a dazzling flash (melanophila is a beetle that detects fires in order to settle in the charred area and lay its eggs safe from predators).
The drawings were done from 140 photographs shot in a burnt forest in Portugal. The path taken by Allouche at that time was mad. He was moving about in a very limited perimeter. As if the photographic eye had combed the site, examining it from every angle.
The show is indeed about representing a lost subject while selecting the eucalyptus, a tree that can quickly regenerate itself. Even if it is a question of representing something that was, there is a possible return. It is about transcendence, not ruins.

The subject that is depicted is more or less the same 140 times, but from a point of view that has been shifted around. Reconstruction by drawing is slower than reality. The photographs, for example, were shot in the summer of 2003 whereas the series of drawings was only competed for the show five years later, in 2008.
Along with the 140 drawings, there is a photo entitled Portrait de Ninetto Davoli, an actor associated with Pier Paolo Pasolini. This image was shot by Allouche in August 2008 in Davoli’s home (which was Pasolini’s in Sabaudia, south of Rome), by the sea near Monte Circeo. The face of the shining, silent angel of Pasolini’s work is invisible here, 50 years later, since the actor is photographed from below and behind as he looks over a wall.
This image is, like a voice-over, a photo-over that is no more Davoli’s than Allouche’s. To Pasolini, Allouche adds Jean Genet, the other of the artist’s two major father figures.
L’Ennemi déclaré, the exhibition’s title, is also the name of one of the works featured in it. The title is shown in an electronic display outside the art center, illustrating the 1991 posthumous collection of texts and interviews by Genet. The book, which contains 4h à Chatila (Four Hours in Shatila), accompanied Allouche during the five years he worked on his 140 drawings. The book’s cover shows frenzied traces of graphite, evidence of the artist using it to sharpen his drawing pencil.
When Genet penned this “eye-witness account” of the massacres that occurred in the Sabra and Shatila camps, he hadn’t written in ten years. Genet devised a recreation of a searingly intense moment in a text of great beauty that goes beyond reality. An image cannot recreate the horror.
Written with great precision, the text bears witness to a lightening passage and materializes the force of a recollection, of memory after experience. Just as Dove Allouche sketched out, during five years, the recreation of a blinding instant.

Claire Le Restif

Original is full of doubts, 21 Nov 2008 00:00:00 +0100

Leonor Antunes (born in Portugal in 1972) has put together a series of new pieces for her exhibition at Crédac. In the foreground of the show stands the artist’s sculpture while hovering in the background is a pre-existing work in architecture by Eileen Gray (1878- 1976), although she was known more as a designer.
Indeed, Gray built only two villas in the south of France. They are the Villa Tempe a Pailla in Castellar, which was finished in 1934, and the Villa E1027 (1926-29) in Roquebrune Cap-Matin, for which she created a few pieces of furniture in a rationalist vein, including her Transat armchair (1925-30) and her metal-and-glass tube table E1027.
The objects / sculptures on display have a connection with fragments of the Villa E1027, which Gray built for her lover Jean Badovici, and which Antunes visited not long ago. Sculptures with evocative titles like the lacquer screen of E.G or the sensation of being outdoors, are to be analyzed as sculpture-objects possessing a specific presence in the venue. Antunes evokes, and summons as well, the work of the artist Eva Hesse (1936-1970), in terms of the way her sculptures are installed.
Antunes has focused on the work of Eileen Gray in the past, at the 2007 show Dwelling Place in Turin. Gray’s oeuvre is reconsidered and studied through a free reading that is specific to Antunes, who, as in each of her projects, observes, seizes on, selects a form, fragment or layout.
Duplication, study and in-depth analysis are the artist’s major concerns through the unit of measure and its by-products, “the notion of scale, the ambient volume of an object, lastly its connection with man.”[^in the press release of the exhibition Dwelling Place curated by Aurélie Voltz for the Associazione Barriera of Turin in 2007.]
Her work manifests her interest in the unit of measure, inventorying, bearing witness, the instruction manual, and the painstaking reconstruction of an intense experience.
For Leonor Antunes, duplicating is not only making an identical copy of something. To duplicate is to make a copy, reproduce, print off several copies, since an “original is full of doubts.” Duplicate is moreover the “manifesto” title of one of her first catalogues.
The production of duplicates and its strange distancing from “the original” is Antunes’ subject here in a way. On the one hand, because she wants to avoid adding information to the information surplus we are living in and, on the other, because she is fascinated with the different contexts and environments we live in, and the way we treat things. She focuses on the systems of architecture and city planning that determine our lives. And above all, because she senses that the observation of details opens an endless spiral.

Claire Le Restif

L’Amour, 12 Sep 2008 00:00:00 +0200

Like life, Stéphane Calais’s pieces work on energy. The artist quite often returns to, rectifies and questions anew his own pieces. Such is the case of Maintenant/Now (1997), a series of 36 hanging paper lamps, the least approach to them automatically setting off as many voices which murmured, as I recall, a poem by Denis Cooper to the memory of a friend who took his own life. This piece shown in Reims at FRAC over ten years ago opened my approach to Calais’s work.
Thus, for L’Amour, his solo show at Crédac, he has returned to this piece for numerous reasons, a good number of which are a complete mystery to me. The lamps have been reduced to eighteen in number, the design of the Chinese lanterns has been rendered clearer, and transparency predominates. The enchantment, sweetness and modesty of the vibrating Chinese lanterns have gradually drifted from the idea of the fun fair to lead us, ten years later, towards the world of a chapel!
But I’m going to make a detour here.

Our first time working together dates from a show mounted in New York in 2002. Calais, whom I’d invited to do on-site pieces in an industrial zone wedged in between the Brooklyn and the Manhattan bridges, created several works, including a black-and-white mural, a blend of a grid and a target. This large 4 x 3 m mural suggested a possible mix between Bridget Riley and Victor Vasarely and bore a stripe at the center, a swath of fluorescent orange spray paint.
The following year, I mounted La Partie continue, the first group show at Crédac. This time, on the large wall of Crédac’s great hall (cinema), Calais reworked the drawing with a stroke of paint that looked as if it had been subjected to erosion. The spray paint had become fluorescent green, Brooklyn Style 2. As with Maintenant/Now, Calais breathed new energy into Brooklyn Style.

The show he’s orchestrated at Crédac is articulated around three chapters connected by an underground harmony, a taut balance. After the Chinese lanterns, Calais displays a kind of painting machine. That is, he deploys great strips of white carpeting hanging from the ceiling. Speckled with black paint, they conjure up sketchbooks and lead pencil.
The brutality of the image is in keeping with the degree of incision of Calais’s stroke of paint. The technical triviality is akin to the delicacy of the brushstrokes in the series M.H.S. (myth, history, studio), ten drawings measuring 96 x 71 cm. Depicted there are portraits of Dora Maar, Napoleon III, Bismarck, Ambroise Thomas, an unknown woman, Loiseau de Persuis, George Sand, a view of Calais’s studio and so on.
In other words, so many motifs without an alibi, a close connection with figuration through the figure. Subjects that Calais characterizes as «subjects on the surface», flimsy, borderline, free.
Besides the quality of his artmaking, the singularity of his drawing and the breadth of his knowledge of art, Calais appears today as an artist whose formal language is at once complex, sophisticated and trivial. An agreement of power and elegance, between «the lacemaker and the knight.»
Calais is deeply influenced by the history of drawing but also by the history of design and literature; Pierre Staudenmeyer, the artist’s friend, perfectly described what he is all about, «That strange scrambling that goes from one subject to another, a kind of elation, furious and a tad bitter (in the culinary sense), the biographic character of the titles, that clever mix of the figurative childlike and precise technical skill (for example, the skill seen in his drafting of protocols for collectors’ use), that desire to highlight an individual consciousness and to transform how we see, that well-anchored feeling for the ‘true’ and its magic sources.»[^in Box Thaï, édition HYX, 2002]

In the third gallery, the smallest, Calais has hung L’Assassinat de Bruno Schulz (The Assassination of Bruno Schulz), a canvas from 2004, with two drawings by Pierre Joubert (1935) from his personal collection. It is a veritable introduction, an antechamber, to the show’s main piece, La Chambre de Schulz.
In the middle of the main hall, there is a return to the same place as Brooklyn Style, for Calais has constructed a 4 x 4 m pavilion whose exterior is covered with drawings. Some areas are smashed in, destroyed. This work plays off the strong contrast with the light, transparent Chinese lanterns at the start of the show, though with a similar feeling of presence and absence.
When Calais mentioned to me once his longstanding interest in the writer and graphic artist Bruno Schulz, he told me what this Polish Jew had to do coerced by the SS officer Felix Landau, i.e., the creation of a series of wall paintings in the room of Landau’s young son. The group of murals, discovered in 2001 in Ukraine and taken away to Israel, is an object, an enigma that haunts Calais. Three of the four walls cannot be seen to this day.
Since it is impossible to reach horror, Calais neither recreates nor reinterprets.
It is his artwork that will be visible. Like the graphic artists of his pantheon, the Félicien Ropses, Eric Stantons and Macherots, for example, who, like him and like Schulz, crystallize with simplicity levels of fantasy and put them into images. To which is added the psychology of fairy tales, cruel, tales of horror. Schulz’s room leads to a wearing away and a loss.
As in his works, paintings and installations, Calais is looking neither for a pretext, nor to propose a commentary, but rather to raise for others and for himself the question of the snare, the gin, the mousetrap.
The question posed is also the question of the Image.

Claire Le Restif

MECCA 03, 01 Aug 2008 00:00:00 +0200

Mecca 03, issue now out of print, offers images of shows produced by Bojan Šarčević (2007) and Pierre Vadi (2008), and in addition will develop an art space that will assume the contours of a carte blanche extended to Crédac’s invited artists for the next season. In this regard, Dove Allouche, Leonor Antunes et Stéphane Calais will be reacting to the very nature of the work with their own output.

SAS, 25 Jan 2008 00:00:00 +0100

In L’invention du quotidien Michel de Certeau, one of Pierre Vadi’s references, points out that on old maps both travelers and means of transportation were represented and indicated which routes should be taken. They thus constituted the beginnings of real as well as imaginary journeys in both the past and the future. Sas is the title Vadi has chosen for the journey he is offering to take us on here through the oddity of his world. It all starts out in the street, in an illuminated advertising support opposite the entrance in which Vadi places the poster reproduction of a drawing depicting a starry sky. Like a movie poster, the title, SAS, is written out. At which point the dream stuff that will guide us towards the sas, the airlock, of the art center’s entrance takes over.
The show brings together the recurrent motifs of Vadi’s work over the last ten years, including shelters, caves, vanitas paintings, climates, landscapes, mazes and cosmogony.
“I’ve set up a framework”, says Vadi, “in which the show functions like an arrangement of statements. Now it’s up to the viewer to move through it, in it.”

For his main material, Vadi uses soft resin, whose transparency and gradations of colors are charming while suggesting the fragility of things. The artist sets up scripted spaces in which the objects he creates produce strange relationships. Different elements are suspended in the space. Chains ranging from black to transparent glide down to the floor; a see-through chainsaw is hanging above a sort of atoll; odd things, as fine and delicate as skin and colored a synthetic green, introduce a changing vegetable world; while a black planet affected by a strange erosion floats in space. Landscapes laid out on the floor are titled Opera (like scenes in several acts). These are sugar “mountains” which Vadi soaks in blue-green resin. As it dries the resin encrusts the sugar, producing a kind of territorial plaque. It’s a sort of archipelago of ice floes and fragile icebergs, caught between crystallization and a meltdown. Like a series of still lifes or vanitas paintings, these elements remind us of the fragility of existence and suggest a certain climatic imbalance. Their formal beauty heightens the fear of destruction that steals over us upon entering the galleries. With cartography being a recurrent element in his work. “I’m turning the sky over into a territory.” Vadi divides the space with crumpled perforated black tarps of a regular constellation.
Fiction kicks in. The route leading through the show passes a fragment of architecture that is structured like a shelter or passage. The airlock of Vadi’s title.
What is the scenario written by Vadi?
Between what real world and what dreamed-up world has he placed this airlock?
What symbols are lodged here? What plot is taking shape?

Claire Le Restif

Only After Dark, 09 Nov 2007 00:00:00 +0100

«[…]Imagining the film medium to be a “sculpture”, that is, a physical and concrete presence in the exhibition space, Šarčević delineates a path that seems to enhance the perspectival vanishing point of the galleries: organized into three pavilions (five in Le Crédac), this path appears to be a rhythm, a moving-seeing-understanding suggested by the space itself. The pavilions are simultaneously 1) distinct plastic elements, in other words independent areas of sculptural value, 2) support structures for the film projection and 3) spaces in which it is possible to experience the inescapable relationship between the work and its architectural context […].

«[…] My interest in developing this sculpture-film project was related to the idea of bringing the matter, its form and structure into an evanescent representation. Something like where the apparent texture is readable and perceived as an intangible image. This permutation of something solid and tactile into something impalpable, I found indeed very interesting […].

[…]There are other elements that also come into play, the pavilions, the soundtrack… They are elements of construction that act upon the observer’s attention. Since there are no narrative lines within the films, its purely abstract, intense edited film that creates its own language relation to space, to time, to movement, to matter, to light… It does re-evaluate my conceptions of sculpture into a different perspective: perhaps this could be an allegory of the museum question that you are interested in […]1

[…] As regards the former project, the characteristics that seem to have undergone a major deepening are the following ones: 1) the work is (still) a sculpture, even if produced with a medium, namely film, that is not strictly speaking sculptural, a sculpture that is once again in a variety of materials in which the aspect of dynamic crossing, of the three-dimensional, physical relation with the viewer and the exhibition space are reiterated and emphasized by the use of the film medium; 2) the work is (also) a film, an element that tends to lighten and soften the volumetric and plastic discourse inherent to the original sculpture, relating to the spatial subdivision determined by the white cubes of the museum and using the possibilities offered by screening, thereby relating to the dynamics of the imagination disclosed along the two-dimensional and metaphoric surface of the screen; 3) the work is defined within the space of the museum, without, however, defining an alternative expository project (‘exhibition’) to its mere presence in the museum. It will therefore occupy the exhibition space without articulating or grafting on any further critical discourse – relative to the context of the museum, that is quite separate from its being there as it is (“its own language relation to space, to time, to movement, to matter, to light”), the supposed ‘specificity’ and ‘interference’ of the ‘institutional’ space that houses it – that does not correspond to the visitor’s experience of passing through the space and spending time there[…].

[…]It is from this spatiality, which is constantly changing and in the process of becoming not only in physical but also in cognitive and sensible terms (“What am I seeing?”, “What should I understand?”, etc.) that there emerges the horizon of what Eric de Bruyn defines – taking as an example Dan Graham’s unrealized Cinema project – as a ‘topology’ rather than a ‘topography’ of expanded cinema: “By topology I mean a more dynamic understanding of the field of filmic practice, a transgression of the physical and ideological boundaries of things, a performative activity that will open onto the realm of publicity, without being absorbing by it, an oscillation on the boundaries […] A topological field is thus a space in flux: it engenders a constant inversion of its boundary surfaces, a kind of temporal spacing in which different discursive positions can come to overlap. Such confusion on boundaries, for sure, is not just another way of speaking about intermedia. In a topological practice the boundaries between things, people, media and spaces are not dissolved, rather they are marked in all their materiality in order to be transgressed”.2 

In this topological rather than topographic horizon, what stands out appears to be contextually delimited and (<->) blurred, circumscribed and (<->) softened. Everything is confirmed and at the same time transgressed, remains itself and it is simultaneously acted, performed. Šarčević’s works are not therefore sculptures that use the film medium or films shown through a sculptural form, but “sculptures-films” (<->): that is, there is a difference and at the same time there is no difference at all between sculpture and cinema […].»

Andrea Viliani
In catalog Bojan Šarčević (2007)
Courtesy the autor / MAMbo-Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna

Moteur, 01 Jun 2007 00:00:00 +0200

Motor, such as the clapper for the first take of a film, but also the engine of a vehicle that must be supplied with fuel to move forward.
Invited in 2006 by Henri-Claude Cousseau, director of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris, to participate in the diploma jury (with Thierry Raspail, President of the Jury, Régine Kölle and Daniel Firman, artists), I was able to see and talk to some 150 students who had spent five to six years studying in art schools. It was for me a new experience. The rule: for each student, 45 minutes of presentation of their artistic work, its objectives, and its challenges. 100 graduated, 14 of them with the «congratulations of the jury». How? «We have decided here by a careful “Plus Petit Commun Multiple” in three components assembled together: personal investment, pugnacious conviction and consistent implementation of materials, whatever they are, to the most coherent inconsistencies… That’s all we have seen» says Thierry Raspail in the introduction to the catalog of Cadrage / Débordement published on the occasion of this exhibition held at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris until July 13th, 2007.
It is a fascinating exercise to discover these works, multiple, diverse, and at the same time, out of time, shifted, informed, refusing for some formatting. It is also remarkable to discover the artists who teach in this school and who stand as close as possible to them. For Moteur, I am thinking of Jean-Michel Alberola, Vincent Barré, Christian Boltanski, Patrick Faigenbaum/Marc Pataut, Dominique Gauthier, Patrick Tosani, Jean-Luc Vilmouth.
My choice was not oriented towards artists whose work is necessarily close to what we are developing as an artistic program at Crédac. The challenge, or more precisely the project, is not there. The idea is not to translate criteria of fashion, current events or taste, but rather to exhibit levels of art, forms, mediums and ideas that reflect our times and this school: a very great diversity.
We all ask ourselves, I think, the question of the teaching of art, of art systems, but also of the possible margins to this system. I wanted to continue the dialogue with these young, tenacious, lucid, voluntary and talented artists who express themselves through media such as engraving, sculpture, painting, photography, video, installation.
May their universes be political (Nicolas Dion, Marie Preston, Estefanía Peñafiel Loaiza) reactive to the context (Julien Pastor) dreamlike, fantastic (Julien Laforge, Marlène Mocquet, Astrid Méry-Sinivassin).
The wager of Motor is to try to bring together artists who never imagined exhibiting together.
So many challenges you’d day.
Isn’t this also the stake, the mission of a contemporary art center ?
I am convinced that it is!

Claire Le Restif
With the complicity of Tony Regazzoni

Expériences insulaires, 30 Mar 2007 00:00:00 +0200

The starting point for this project is the context of le Crédac itself. The corridors, staircases, recesses, changes in direction and levels form a rather disconcerting labyrinth. These passages lead into rooms of generous proportions but with partially sloping floors which also perturb one’s physical sensations. None of these spaces possess a window. One is therefore cut off from the world. Le Crédac may be perceived like a hollow island.
However, the art center is located in an urban fabric of such density that the hectic life of the city remains mentally present when one is inside. It is around this double notion - isolation and the relationship with elsewhere - that we have asked five artists to put together the Expériences insulaires project. Each of these artists, either in his or her work generally, or with one particular piece of work, provides a remarkable point of view on these notions. The Chapuisat brothers who build a gigantic and mysterious structure suspended from the ceiling, Simon Faithfull who plunges us into his maritime expedition to Antarctica, Hoio who proposes to discover the distant Santa Lemusa and its culinary specialties, Peter Regli who presents the island he had built on a lake in central Switzerland and Thu Van Tran who creates a wooden boat evoking imaginary journeys.

The exhibition is composed mainly of new works. A video programme presented during a special evening event provides a fresh view of the theme of insularity.

Jean-Paul Felley & Olivier Kaeser, directors of Attitudes, Geneva

Les roses de Jéricho, 17 Mar 2007 00:00:00 +0100

Although impossible to reduce to any univocal reading, the works collected in the exhibition Roses of Jericho suggest to me the notion of origin : the primal nature of a form of the past that persists, survives the present and crosses the centuries towards the future. Some of the works can be perceived as archaic (Dove Allouche and Gyan Panchal), others as primitive (Vincent Beaurin and Guillaume Leblon) or charged with magic, artifice and mistery (Laurent Grasso, Véronique Joumard, Pierre Vadi and Ulla von Brandenburg).
These objects of mysterious cults, usages or contemplation, play with the contrast between rough and refined, natural and artificial, smooth and edged in both their mode of production as in their forms, which often reveal several technical stratifications. Amongst the materials chosen by the artists, one can find polystyrene (derived from petroleum), flint, soft resin (also a fossil), thermosensitive paint, minerals, weaving and carbon prints.
In these works, the relationship to history is hard to define: neither backward-looking nor futuristic, they rather incarnate the mutation of objects whose identity is both hybrid and transitory. They evoke a persisting and circular notion of time. This is why I entitled the exhibition with the name of that extraordinary « fossil » plant, an archaic species existing since the dinosaurs’ age and designed to survive the harsh conditions of desertic environments. In periods of drought, it looses most of its water and shrivels up as if it were dead. But as the first rain fills the plant with water, it grows green again and comes back to life. A Middle-Eastern plant, the rose of Jericho was called after the city that constantly rises from its own ashes.

Claire Le Restif

Album 2005-07, 01 Jan 2007 00:00:00 +0100

This monograph documents the artist’s exhibitions since 2005, reflecting on the evolution and diversity of her work. The heterogeneous essays tracing her career are illustrated with exhibition views.

Avant la panique, 17 Nov 2006 00:00:00 +0100

Born in 1960, Vincent Beaurin today defies all established artistic movements. His “strangeness” cannot be put into any category. His work is not a demonstration of ideas and he is more than happy to leave it to the viewer to develop his own thoughts. He sculpts polystyrene with rudimentary tools. Polystyrene is light. It comes close to the most basic form of materiality. It is white like the snow in the Ardennes where he comes from and that sparkles like the glitter he uses to cover his sculptures.

In his own particular way, Vincent Beaurin creates an unusual world, both archaic and magic, where zoomorphic and mineral hybrids meet in a light that is sometimes icy, sometimes orange or golden.
The project he has created at le Crédac conjures up a mastaba, one of those trapezoid funeral monuments housing a tomb or a chapel, built for the notables of Pharaonic Egypt under the Ancient Empire. This is all the more interesting since the architect of the building, Jean Renaudie, refused to mark the entrances with any mise en scène, hiding them away like those of the Egyptian pyramids.

One might conjure up the natural history museum and amusement parks ail at the same time.

In this exhibition entitled Avant la panique everything is suspended.

Claire Le Restif

Delphine Coindet, 01 Oct 2006 00:00:00 +0200

Large format monograph on the work of French artist Delphine Coindet in sculpture and drawing, with unpublished texts by Xavier Douroux, Michel Gauthier and Julien Fronsacq.

Solarium et autres pièces, 08 Sep 2006 00:00:00 +0200

Fascinated by light and the wonder of electricity, Véronique Joumard exhibits works that create a powerful experience for the viewer. The material elements - cables, switches, power conductors, electric plugs - are laid bare, forming minimal sculptures. Conceptual objects, they question the surrounding space and entice us to fulfil the conditions necessary for the apparition of light. By a gesture, a sound or energy, the visitor interacts with the work. ln La partie continue 2 (a group exhibition held at le Crédac in 2004), Véronique Joumard showed Peinture thermosensible, a green monochrome wall sensitive ta heat and touch. Heat, energy flow and sensitivity are core questions in Véronique Joumard’s work.

Throughout the exhibition, tension, essential for the apparition of light, accompanies the visitor who, as he furthers his underground exploration, discovers the multiple facets of Véronique Joumard’s work. With its enigmatic title, this exhibition groups several works, some new, 50 me aider ones recontextualised.

If 4 ballons pour un immeuble lifted the Paris Prefecture off the ground in 2003 during the Nuit Blanche, lightness and gravity are at the heart of a new visual installation where a heavy surface takes off thanks to luminous balloons. Le poids des choses is installed in one of the exhibition spaces. Visitors move through a forest of springs. Hanging from the ceiling, their weightiness is accentuated by a millstone grill ballast. The resulting energy flows and tension are also to be found in a 1985 work in which a bulb lights up when contact is made between two metal girders. In le Crédac’s most underground space, Véronique Joumard bas created an impressive installation: a hundred or 50 light bulbs flood the space with an intense light. Eisewhere, the visit is punctuated by works like Lentilles (three circular pieces hanging from the ceiling in the reception area that completely alter our perception of space).

Claire Le Restif

Cuzin, 01 Jun 2006 00:00:00 +0200

The book provides different points of view on the work: the perspective of an author, Alain Coulange, whose concerns intersect with those of the artist; that of exhibition curators and art critics who have shared projects with Christophe Cuzin in recent years; the artist’s drawings of projects completed from 1990 to today; and finally a series of vignettes documenting the exhibitions.

Midnight Walkers, 03 Feb 2006 00:00:00 +0100

With Midnight Walkers, Claire Le Restif and Sabine Schaschl-Cooper, respectively directors of le Crédac, Ivry-sur-Seine and the Kunsthaus Baselland, Muttenz, present a project that originally sprang from the way they perceive the architectural environments which confront them in their work.
Indeed, both these art centres are partly underground and partly blind spaces. Whilst the Kunsthaus Baselland is divided into three levels (ground floor, gallery, underground room), le Crédac - originally intended to be a cinema - has three underground rooms. It is a perfectly enclosed environment therefore. The cinema “box”, as Robert Smithson called it and which Jean-Pierre Criqui compares to “… a sort of fixed vessel where the human race comes to lose itself in the contemplation of a substitute world”, is transformed into a visual box.

Both these places are also situated on the outskirts of large urban centres, on the fringe of important art centres: Basie or Paris. The project Midnight walkers teases us with a title that sounds like a rock song, a thriller or then again reminds us of two books, both of which are significant for contemporary art history: Lipstick traces by Greil Marcus and To five free or die by Bob Nickas.

It is a slightly romantic idea of the night stroll that steered us towards a visual language of the “under-exhibition” (night) and underground (in the strict sense of the ward) that is emblematic of these two places intended to show art.
The horizon of this landscape remains synthetic and fictitious. The night stroll symbolises an atmosphere of quest, melancholy, meditation, punctuated with irony and humour - a reconciliation with life.

Midnight Walkers is the result of the connivance of two exhibition curators. We have provoked an encounter between works and artists from one or another of le Crédac's or the Kunsthaus Baselland's past or present programmes. The project combines various positions and artistic sensibilities creating, by fragments, the landscape of an exhibition.

Rejecting the idea of an exchange that would amount to showing Swiss artists in France and French artists in Switzerland (especially since the presence of American artists is possibly at variance with any «nationalistic» character of the project!), different works of some artists will be shown simultaneously at both sites.

It is a treasure hunt therefore, the fruit of ramifications, elective affinities and programming efforts that makes the project as a whole possible today.
A publication true to the spirit of Midnight Walkers will be published at a later date.

Sentimental, sensual, fetishist, nocturnal, cruel, perverse, dark, visual, climatic, atmospheric, romantic…

Women’s feet wearing stiletto heels walking on Christmas baubles (Sylvie Fleury); pieces of broken glass strewn over the floor and large, transparent Zen chimes hanging from the ceiling (Pierre Vadi); a phosphorescent mural (Renée Levi); an anti-heroic guitarist (Alain Séchas); a car with dazzling headlights pinned to the floor by an enormous stone on its roof (Florence Paradéis); a black monochrome vortex pierced in the centre (Steven Parrino); a shower of paste jewellery (Edit Oderbolz); scratched films projected onto a black wall (Amy Granat); Alix Lambert and Olivier Mosset’s project sprang from the name of a New York cinema, Chelsea Odeon, a black monochrome canvas by Olivier Mosset on which Alix Lambert has placed lu minous garlands; posters made of black and white transfers (Didier Rittener); a «chimera» with six hands created for this exhibition (Saâdane Afif, Delphine Coindet, Mathieu Mercier); Jean-Luc Verna’s magnificent graphic universe, dark and passionate; Yan Duyvendak who has been invited to carry out a performance.

Kunsthaus Baselland : Saâdane Afif, Delphine Coindet, Anne-Lise Coste, Sylvie Fanchon, Sylvie Fleury, Amy Granat, Mathieu Mercier, Markus Müller, Olivier Mosset, Florence Paradéis, Frédéric Post, Didier Rittener, Alain Séchas.

Jens Wolf, 01 Jan 2006 00:00:00 +0100

First edition in French and English on the artist.

Desert me, 18 Nov 2005 00:00:00 +0100

Didier Rittener is concerned with memory, collective memory (multiple images from scholarly or popular books) and individual memory linked to personal selection - made from ibis multiplicity of images. This is how Didier Rittener, in a singular and unique way, chooses to make “collages” from different images. His original drawings or his transfers deal with our own memory faced with accumulation and representation. Alongside these drawings, Didier Rittener makes geometrical sculptures using the same play on associations and selection by accentuating a symbolical representation of our Western society.

Didier Rittener in his work in general, and perhaps more especially in desert me, is concerned with various sensory, intellectual or physical apprehensions one might experience during an exhibition and the intensity of existing paradoxes between representation and reality. For example, Didier Rittener has created an entirely new piece of work here, a (black) square “spiral” that seems to relate to nature and time, which can be read both as a “functional”, architectural clement and as an “archaeological” one. His form creates doubt between function and representation; in this it resembles various sculptures already made by Didier Rittener, but its scale (9,50m long) modifies our relationship to “the object” and brings an additional degree of reality even if the absorbent and malt black of the «spiral» is just too dark to be true! This colour, resembling ash, recalls the graphite used by the artist for his drawings, but also evokes the idea of ruin: “desert me”. Like the “spiral”, the six inordinately large stars situated in the second room are basic forms. Gypsum flowers, viruses or objects for protecting frontiers, these abstract forms entitled “self-protection” saturate the space that accommodates them.

Alongside the sculptures, Didier Rittener presents three large transfer drawings under glass. Desert me is the third stage in an exhibition programme the artist has undertaken over the past two years.

Claire Le Restif

MECCA 02, 01 Nov 2005 00:00:00 +0100

Mecca 02, issue now out of print, is an echo of the exhibitions Point de vue by Simone Decker and Desert Me by Didier Rittener in 2005.

Geometric Final Fantasy, 09 Sep 2005 00:00:00 +0200

The starting point for each section of her work is the notion of standard. Geometrical forms derived from architecture or painting are standardised forms. Her sculptures are produced from common forms like the cube, the parallelepiped and basic materials such as brick, plaster, wood, metal. She says she constructs with hackneyed, commonplace forms. Like the exhibition title, which is taken from a video game where the player makes up and develops his or her domestic and social world, Karina Bisch offers us a journey right to the heart of her various activities, paintings and sculptures. The four Géants in felt pen and acrylic on Hessian, presented here as a “screen”, may be interpreted in many different ways: “references to Matisse (his paper cutouts), Picasso, the practice of Cubist collage, decoration (tapestry), fashion (clothes), Futurism (these clothes are created after drawings by Giacomo Balla), a body beyond all human proportions, the circus, monumentality, the physicality of materials”.

Karina Bisch questions the notion of the original and the model and the place occupied by “the” model today. For this exhibition, she tackles a teapot created by Kasimir Malevich around 1920, offering us a “monumental” interpretation of it. The forms of the initial object are respected according to existing photographic documents, but the artist herself interprets the areas that are invisible on the images. On the subject of Nunchakube, a sculpture made of wood, metal and chains, Karina Bisch says “it is the vision of Gordon Liu handling the nunchaku (an arm of Japanese origin used in martial arts, made up of two or three sticks linked together by a chain) in 36th Chamber of Shaolin by Liu Chia-Liang combined with The Stick Man by Oskar Schlemmer that led to the construction of this work”. Suspended in space, “this wooden cube, its metal tops joined by chains, is a real cubic scourge, which, says the artist, favours “man’s death struggle with geometry”.

Geometry that can be found in her paintings also and that enables us to grasp Karina Bisch’s relationship with modernist architecture. Springing from the observation of geometry present in the reality of urban landscapes, the paintings take up geometrical motifs, fronts of buildings, interiors that the artist encounters on her strolls.

Claire Le Restif

Grounded, 09 Sep 2005 00:00:00 +0200

Through a large-scale in situ construction, Vincent Lamouroux offers a response that springs fram his own perception of the architectural environ ment he has been invited to confront. Grounded is a quasi-underground installation, thought out for a blind space with unusual proportions whose origins lie in the utopia of the architect, Jean Renaudie, like the group of buildings to which it belongs. Seen from above, these buildings that house le Crédac offer a series of small terraces spreading out like rays - small islands of greenery between heaven and earth - whose triangular nooks and crannies multiply the perspectives on the town. By raising part of the visible surface halfway, Grounded relieves the sculpture of the function of a potential floor, evidently impracticable since it is open, suspended and floating. The structure might also be seen as a levelled fragment of the Garden of Eden by Buckminster Fuller (the inventor of geodesic domes in the seventies) reinterpreted by the artist, not within a landscape, but in a completely enclosed environment, initially intended as a cinema.

Thus, regardless of whether the viewer is aware of the original function of le Crédac’s exhibition spaces, he is invited to tour the architecture that Grounded reveals in a different light. The triangulation of raw elements gathered in one space (a suspended grid, a circle of light, a dark monochrome mural, an allusion to an eclipsed panoramic projection) transforms the cinema “box”- as Smithson describes it and that Jean-Pierre Criqui finds similar to “… a sort of motionless vessel where the human race comes to Jose itself in the contemplation of a world of substitution”[^Jean-Pierre Criqui, «Un trou dans la vie (Robert Smithson va au cinéma»> in Un trou dans la vie, éditions Desclée de Brouwer, Paris, 2002, p.103]- into a visual “box”, thus establishing the conditions for interplay between interior and exterior that echo one another so as to afford greater resonance to the exhibition volume. As the visitor apprehends this blind space with a sloping floor, the perception of which has itself been subtly modified by the floor-wall-ceiling construction, he discovers within the structured and unsteady universe in which he is plunged, the potential decor of a film production about which he knows nothing but at the centre of which he inevitably becomes one of the main protagonists.

Through ifs minimal scale and ifs reference to the world of cinema, where the capacity to provoke the viewer’s mental displacement is due in part to the perfection of the scenery (particularly in futuristic films), Grounded expresses the artist’s intention to give substance to what he himself describes as “retro-future”: a contemporary formulation of utopian projections, architectural and cinematographic, which aim to recreate an idea of the future as it might have been at a given moment in history, while at present this future is already past. And in this visualisation process, only the viewer is “grounded” (that’s to say, firmly rooted to the ground), the possibility of movement inherent in gravity allowing him to undulate as he pleases around a universe that visibly strives towards elevation.

Claire Le Restif

MECCA 01, 01 Sep 2005 00:00:00 +0200

Mecca 01, issue now out of print, is published on the occasion of the concomitant exhibitions of Karina Bisch and Vincent Lamouroux at Crédac in Ivry-sur-Seine. The two artists evoke the relationship they have with the history and visual culture of their time, between invention, repertoire of forms to be repeated and unfinished projects, which remain to be extended.

La partie continue 3, 01 Jun 2005 00:00:00 +0200

La partie continue is a project (two exhibitions, one catalogue) inspired at the outset by a place with a singular topography, a sloping « white cube », and a contrasting geometry: Crédac, set in the foundations (1987-2011) of one of the most famous exemples of Jean Renaudie’s architecture in Ivry-sur-Seine (1970–1975). This title carrries with it the notion of game, somewhere between continuity and discontinuity, losing and winning, check and checkmate.

Emmanuelle Villard, 01 Apr 2005 00:00:00 +0200

This catalogue was published on the occasion of Emmanuelle Villard’s exhibition Algamata in 2004 at Crédac.

Dessins animés, 30 Mar 2005 00:00:00 +0200

“Dessins animés” (“Cartoons”) is a clear and precise title. It names exactly what it is about. In the minds of most people, it is a genre, minor, of the cinematic art. Minor, surely because it concerns primarily the young public. This is what we are talking about here, but also about the founding act for everyone that is drawing. For the best among us, that is to say the artists, drawing is going to set itself in motion. The spirit of the program offered at Crédac for 5 days aims to occupy the 7 to 77 year olds.

Point de vue, 04 Feb 2005 00:00:00 +0100

Raising Ghosts (extract)

Another work by the artist, in an entirely different style, confronts its viewer with an equally surprising optical phenomenon. A couple of full moons (2003/2004) is a showing of a film shot on a night when the moon was full. As it turns out, there are two moons that appear on the screen. There is nothing very mysterious about this, as the camera has recorded both the moon and its reflection on the lens. As the lens is curved, depending on the angle of the shot, the two moons are not necessarily perfectly superimposed. Furthermore, to show this film, Simone Decker has designed a peculiar viewing contraption: a kind of large telescope several metres long at the end of which is the projection screen. Unlike the theatre set which adds depth to the stage scene by taking on a gradually shrinking funnel shape, this device gets bigger, so as to resemble altogether a tunnel and leave an odd question mark over the distance from the eye to the screen. You might almost think you were dealing with one of those scopic devices so common in the early days of show business. Be that as it may, with this faintly absurd effect, the experience of viewing the film with the two moons is dramatized and placed almost on a scientific footing. The film camera has produced a second moon in the same way as the still camera takes tiny sculptures and turns them into monumental ones… »

“ …In 2004, Simone Decker returned to this practice of the imprint she had previously experimented with for Untermieter, in an astonishing set of pieces entitled Ghosts (2004). For these the artist took imprints of a number of sculptures taken from a broad range of periods, styles and qualities, and all located in the public spaces of Luxembourg. She then used these to make casts with a photoluminescent coating which, when bathed in daylight, stores it up and emits that light once darkness has fallen. Some of the resulting sculptures have been lined up on the roof of the “Aquarium”, the architectural appendix on the front of the main Casino building, where they stand out at night in the eerie, ghostly yellow light. Others, perhaps even more strikingly, have been placed in the obscure cellars of the building where they play their role of ghosts to perfection, when the phosphorus starts to give off its glowing effect, once the eye has taken the couple of minutes it needs to adjust. A ghost is the double of someone who is dead. Are we to take this to mean that Simone Decker’s phosphorescent casts are replicas of sculptures which, whatever their respective merits, have died of exposure, if not overexposure, in public spaces? Despite the formal novelty they inject into the artist’s output, the Ghosts tie in with certain concerns seen in earlier pieces. Consisting in the distance, both physical and chromatic, set up between a cast and its model, the idea here is close to that of a work like Untermieter. Even more surely than with Untermieter, Simone Decker’s ghosts of sculptures are to be viewed while bearing the photographs in mind. The insignificant architectures of the So weiß, weißer geht’s nicht series become like ghostly apparitions of themselves under the camera lens and the beams of powerful spotlights. Like the Ghosts, they draw their chimerical new lease of life from the night. As for the photographs of Chewing in Venice, 20 pavillons pour Saint-Nazaire, Pavillons im Musterbau und drumherum or Glaçons, their aim is not so very different from that of Ghosts as might at first appear. The photographic images seek to establish the monumental reality of ghostlike sculptures; the phosphorescent casts turn sculptures that have actually survived long enough to outlast any significance they may once have had into ghosts, to restore them to reality. Producing in this way a replica of a city feature that people seem to have lost sight of is also the subject of a work like Water Tower (1998) by Rachel Whiteread, a translucent resin cast of the volume of water contained in one of those rooftop tanks that are a feature of the New York skyline.1 Its presence, at once familiar and enigmatic, makes Water Tower another kind of ghost. Like Ghosts, such a project possibly indicates that in our postmodern, post-utopian age, ghosts are really all we can see any more…
(1)See Louise Neri, Looking Up. Rachel Whiteread’s Water Tower, Public Art Fund, New York City/ Scalo, Zurich - Berlin - New York, 1999.

Michel Gauthier

In Catalog Point of View
Co-edition Centre d’art contemporain d’Ivry - le Crédac / Le Casino, Luxembourg, 2005
Translated from French by John Lee

Low commotion, 01 Jan 2005 00:00:00 +0100

The Norma Jean project at Credac in 2003 dealt with a famous actress, Marilyn Monroe. For this project, Olivier Dollinger has chosen to capture under hypnosis the memory of a Hollywood icon. During the session, the voice of a hypnotiser urges actresses to slip into the idol’s skin. Slowly, the other, the icon-the character-her memory-her fantasy- is resuscitated.

Point of view, 01 Jan 2005 00:00:00 +0100

Simone Decker’s first major monograph (work carried out between 1999 and 2004), whose work consists above all in large and small spatial interventions thanks to the illusion of scale made possible by the use of the photographic lens. Point of view is published on the occasion of the eponymous exhibition at Casino Luxembourg in 2004–2005.

La partie continue 2, 02 Dec 2004 00:00:00 +0100

In November 2003, I inaugurated my artistic project for the Crédac with a group exhibition entitled La partie continue 1 (Karina Bisch, Stéphane Calais, Nicolas Chardon, Philippe Decrauzat, Barbara Gallucci, Jacques Julien, Didier Marcel, Mathieu Mercier, François Morellet, Olivier Mosset, Christian Robert-Tissot).

The title of this project carries several meanings: the part continues at Crédac, the part continues for the history of art, the part continues…really.
Originality, authenticity, continuity, are they still issues for art? Many artists today, informed, cultivated and aware, see historical forms as a vast database available which they are reactivating.
In the same way, they quote, replay, refer to, vary, recycle, combine filiations and manage to modify artistic creation significantly. Art is also nourished by art.
This exhibition is seen as a device: that is, made up of heterogeneous elements functioning as so many distinct points of view and peculiarities, in an attempt to establish a connection between the individual works, within the overall context of the whole.
Paintings, murals, drawings, sculptures, mobile objects are the elements.

Claire Le Restif

Recall, 19 Nov 2004 00:00:00 +0100

The dictionary definition of “recall” is: “the ability to remember all the details of something”. This title will undoubtedly remind some people of the famous film Total Recall by Paul Verhoeven (1990), adapted from Philip K. Dick’s 1966 futuristic novel We Can Remember It for You Wholesale. Remembering, of course, but in a very strong relationship to the future.
In the early 1980s, Pierre Bismuth, Nina Childress, Claude Closky, Pierre Huyghe, M/M, Xavier Veilhan, entered the “arts décos”, the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs de Paris (EnsAD).
Some of them, Claude Closky and Pierre Huyghe for example, decided to come there together. They encouraged each other. Others met there like Bismuth, Huyghe, Veilhan, and what the critics of the time called “B.H.V” met and made exhibitions. And catalogs.
Claude Closky, Nina Childress, Pierre Huyghe participate in the adventure of the Ripoulin brothers, budding painter-taggers. They create the event in New York or in Paris where they make the cover of the daily newspaper Libération. It is a first victory. Strategically the action takes place on a Thursday, and Jean-Louis Pradel takes the ball on the rebound and carries an echo in the eponymous newspaper L’Evénement du Jeudi (Thursday’s Event). They are students, young artists. The art market is in great shape.
Then they leave the arts decos rather quickly. Xavier Veilhan leaves for Berlin. Pierre Bismuth joined him a little later. Mathias Augustyniak, one of the M’s, from M/M went to London to the Royal College of Art. The links are woven.
This is the pretext of this exhibition, a new meeting, since they have never exhibited together.
At the invitation of Patrick Raynaud, director of Ensad from 2002 to 2008, this event takes place in the large hall of the Manufacture des Œillets in Ivry, which housed the scenography section of the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs from the 1990s to 2000.
In the 1000 m2 of this splendid industrial space, old and recent works by these artists are presented. The exhibition attempts to expose their reciprocal influences, crossed perhaps even briefly by a “school” thought… They did not come out of it “majors” and sometimes left it, but the contemporary history of visual arts finally designated them as such.
Yes, they are indeed major artistic personalities of creation in France since the 1990s. Certainly, they are not the only ones, but they considerably modified the landscape of the contemporary art, by the singularity of their thoughts, their approaches, the diversity of the mediums which they use.
Indeed, the link which joins them is also this one: volume, images in movement, drawing, photography, painting, sound, graphic art, scenography, advertising format… So many supports and formats that they all explored. In a “sensitivity” and a close thought.

Claire Le Restif

Agalmata, 25 Sep 2004 00:00:00 +0200

Claire Le Restif: Why put the theme of seduction at the heart of artistic matters and, more particularly, painting?
Emmanuelle Villard: Seduction has become one of the most important motives behind my work. It’s not by chance. As an artist, I produce eye-traps. Objects that are meant to hold one’s attention. What’s more, as a woman, I have always been keenly aware of the seduction game. What one shows others has always fascinated me: appearances, the principal link with the outside world. This connection encourages me to look differently at the question of abstract painting.
C.L.R.: Do you acknowledge the fact that there is a link between your artistic propositions and your personality? A reflection of yourself?
E.V.: There’s no doubt about it and I do accept this now. When I’m trying to impress, I increase my femininity. Like a form of etiquette. I produce an image for myself that I compare to my work. Even though it seems obvious to me, I continue to ask myself the unresolved question of identification with the painting. I use the same strategies: eye-catching colours, fluorescence, iridescence, glitter, netting, ribbons, which are just as much make-up as they are masks and masquerades. The fact that my work may sometimes be qualified as decorative is not, for me, the end of the world.
C.L.R.: So you don’t avoid the subject of seduction. On the contrary, you seem attached to it.
E.V.: It’s complex. Seduction is there, from the outset, even before the paintings have been produced. From the very beginning, the materials exert a strong power of seduction over me. I try to master it, to tame it, so as not to be too overwhelmed.
C.L.R.: Can one say that desire is an important lever in your work?
E.V.: Quite. It’s the stories taking place on the surface that set me to work. Even before the paintings exist. The phenomenon of seduction is always a little dark. For my part, I try to establish an ambivalence in my paintings. Tension between what is seductive and what isn’t.
C.L.R.: For example?
E.V.: Well, for example, all the series involve allusions to sensuality, but at the same time, they refer to one’s personal universe, to the deterioration of tissues, to flesh, indigestion even, guts.
C.L.R.: Through your choice of colours, you evoke things carnal and . You establish a relationship between the surface and what it covers.
E.V.: The surface attracts, attracts the eye, its somewhat indigestible, vinyl aspect produces an impact. It reveals what happens deep down, referring to both body and skin.
C.L.R.: This ambivalence reveals itself on the surface. You use materials which attract, reject, interfere with one another, characteristics, well, shall we say, inappropriate to painting. Even if one ignores their nature, the conjunction of the different elements causes trembling, accidents on the surface. To my mind, this is an essential point of your work: intimacy, the skin as a living film, a sort of «cosmetic» painting. How do you bring about these «wounds»? This anthology of textures? These mutations? This «puckered» painting?
E.V.: I work with acrylic materials, which have a chemical base and smell. It has absolutely nothing to do with oil painting for example, which is organic. «Cooking» this base in a pragmatic fashion is an important moment in my work. For me, the handling of the material, the paint itself, means a lot. I am effectively referring to skin when I evoke deterioration: organic tissue deteriorates, like the medium here. As if this material (like flesh) could be contagious, I decided to paint using containers, which keep me at a distance. I decant, dilute, stir. I’m playing at chemists, alchemists, chefs, nurses. What’s more, to this role-playing I’m talking about, which is unconscious for the most part, you can add the role of viewer. Because tissue takes time to deteriorate, to dry out. This time is fundamental for me for I watch the paintings «come into being», without me. From the moment the paint is deposited, with no overpainting possible, the painting becomes an autonomous body.
C.L.R.: Is the paint alone responsible for what it is? Why do you put so much distance between yourself and the materials?
E.V.: Once I had set the rules of creation for myself by enclosing the creative act within a rigid process, more and more complex, I decided to enclose the material (literally) in containers.
C.L.R.: Is it linked to a sort of ritual?
E.V.: It takes time to get the paint into the pipettes I use. So there is a certain amount of thought, concentration and attention given, essentially to the preparation of the mixtures, to their dilution. This is where I distance myself from anything resembling impulse. I fix myself constraints, limits, which have consequences in my work. This enables me to concentrate. It’s a slightly obsessional quest for self-control, so as not to be overwhelmed: distance, self-control, taming: for fear of being overpowered.
C.L.R.: You put yourself and the painting under some incredible strains? Can these stages be qualified as sophisticated?
E.V.: No. Complex rather than sophisticated. It’s a quest for selfcontrol. All the freedom belongs to the material.
C.L.R.: Do you maintain a degree of experimentation in your work?
E.V.: I try to keep experimentation constant in my work. As soon as a series works well, I produce its counterpoint. Experimentation is a source of learning. I keep a close watch on developments.
C.L.R.: Can the body language involved be defined as strictly feminine?
E.V.: I don’t wish to express myself on behalf of all women, but neither do I choose to overlook the history of women in art. To my mind, my way of apprehending painting is radically different from that of a man’s. There is effectively a very, very different body language. Many women artists and painters adopt it. It’s difficult not to.
C.L.R.: You have chosen to make paintings, «visual objects». Are they surfaces for synthesis and projection?
E.V.: At the outset, I tried to refuse the premise of the painting as a surface for projection. I didn’t want it to serve as a «receptacle». My own premise was precisely «how to make an abstract painting that is not a surface for projection?». I asked myself, there again, why I kept my distance. A whole series of observations of what happens within the intimacy of the studio and the final sense of the paintings has led, today, to a violent, «in your face» come-back: the meaning lies at the heart of the connection I mentioned earlier. I bow to the evidence: it’s a sort of synthesis. It has nothing to do with constructed painting. It takes on another dimension.
C.L.R.: On the one hand, there’s a serious question: time and deterioration, on the other, a mask, masquerade even?
E.V.: Both are extremely important to me. They make up an identity. At the end of the day, it’s what happens in the interval between the two that interests me.
C.L.R.: In the «little pie» series, everything seems to overflow.
E.V.: That’s right. Surely because it’s the most food-like. Also, the formats are small, sensual. They work because they overflow. Otherwise, there’s no point.
C.L.R.: They are very small formats. Are they some sort of covered fragments?
E.V.: It is very meticulous work and yet it’s in this series that the material has the freest reign. On the other hand, my gestures are particularly controlled. I was bent over, mindful of the slightest mark, the slightest trace. Less is left to chance. The procedure established is both experimental and constructive for elements of plastic vocabularies.
C.L.R.: Do you give your paintings titles?
E.V.: No. The series have generic titles. For example: «the nettings, «the ribbons», «the little pies», «the goosepimple paintings». Because they’re abstract paintings and, to quote Noël Dolla, refer only «to the state of mind that existed at the time of their birth», I name them afterwards. When I succeed in creating a form that carries its birth within it, it’s a very pleasant surprise.
C.L.R.: Is there both «jeu» (game) and «je» (I) in your work?
E.V.: It’s a strange «je/jeu». I use all «jeux» (je). Today, without being dogmatic, I admit that my approach is fairly egoistic and self-centred.
C.L.R.: Is this where questions of intimacy and seduction come in?
E.V.: I feel that paint carries within it all this history of fear and assertion. There is a form of equivalence with existence itself: doubts, assertions, very intense moments of self-control. Whatever it is, it’s always a question of research. For me, artistic work is a path. My decision is to make my way along it, in the middle, through, amongst other things, seduction and its opposite: glorification of the body, appearances, pleasure, ageing, illness, fear and the final stage, death.
C.L.R.: I believe that in «the confetti» series you didn’t use the same process?
E.V.: At the time when I made that series, I was reading Bret Easton Ellis’ novel, «Glamorama», (the author of «American Psycho»). In this book, confetti, usually associated with parties and pleasure, is a worrying presence. It seemed hostile to me. In fact, whereas, usually, motives are born out of my work-processes, this series, on the contrary, exists because I wanted to make confetti and tried to find out how to make it.
C.L.R.: In this novel, which has to do with show, in the widest sense of the word: fashion, seduction, appearances, masks, cosmetics, consumption (including that of the other), confetti is a sort of omnipresent punctuation from one chapter to another. It’s also, for me, a metaphor for our world contaminated by viruses.
E.V.: It is the ambivalence that interests me. I try to make it coexist in my paintings: an «easy painting» aspect, on the one hand, easy to look at and, on the other, a strange, unknown element, and sometimes suffering even. What’s important is the reference to the surface universe and the extent to which we become diluted when we devote ourselves entirely to this particular entity.
C.L.R.: Elements that question the surface, but also their role in a common universe?
E.V.: Quite. Like snowballs one throws. It’s a part of my heritage. Just as one can’t ignore Pop art. My generation of artists owes its lack of complexes to the path travelled by artists before us. I am free to use glitter, fluorescent colours, even though they damage the paint and seem corrosive. Like a sort of acid on the flesh of the paint. I use certain painting concepts like so many different materials. In the same way as some artists use acrylic painting «as it comes out of the tube», I work with paint-runs, monochrome, the grid, all of them important elements in the history of painting.
C.L.R.: Do you also subject your paintings to particular modes of exhibition?
E.V.: The setting up of an exhibition is a sensual moment. When I make a selection of paintings, I take into account, on the one hand, the space they will be placed in and, on the other, the fact that several, formally different series will confront one another. By establishing viewing conditions between the paintings, then by introducing the question of seduction in terms of the viewer’s movements within the exhibition, I play with distance and proximity, confrontation and detour, intimacy and remoteness.

Fata Morgana, 18 May 2004 00:00:00 +0200

Taking the material of reality as a starting point and then freeing themselves from it, some artistic practices seek to transcend the environment that surrounds them. Artists create compromises between mimesis and invention, without falling into science fiction or surrealism. Their images are ambiguous, inspired by a familiar reality and yet questioning it: a rediscovered reality, illuminated in a new light.
The inversion of scale relationships, the autonomy of objects without real use, the effects of mirage contribute to question our place in the world as a subject of a nature formatted to our dimension. Because they are barely out of step with our daily perceptions and appeal to our most ordinary representations, these disturbances lead to a feeling of “disquieting strangeness” that makes us doubt our most obvious landmarks. The artists gathered here take familiar worlds as their starting point and introduce a disturbing effect. Using new perceptive objects (Philippe Ramette, James Hopkins) or narrative dramatization effects (Joachim Mogarra, Nicolas Moulin, Rémy Marlot), they question the reality of our visual certainties. The poetic springs used are deviation, mutation, manipulation or trickery. As with the appearance of a mirage, the exhibition plays on a furtive anguish that leads to a false vertigo.
Conceived by the curators in accordance with the atypical architecture of the Crédac, this exhibition underlines the paradoxes of the site - from its underground location, inscribed in the foundations of Jean Renaudie’s utopian architecture, to its unevenness characteristic of a cinema never used as such - and questions, like the place, the reverse side, the nooks and crannies, the losses of the contemporary world.

Curators :
Garance Chabert, Awatef Chengal, Stefan Decker, Anne Gregersen, Emmanuelle Levesque, Delphine Poli, Laure Rudelle, Anne Souverbie, Emilie Villez, in collaboration with Claire Le Restif.

La belle hypothèse, 23 Jan 2004 00:00:00 +0100

Extract from the text: The virtuality of actuality
A wooden plank above an ideally blue expanse of water – this is an image that several works of art (and not the least of them) have put forward. A Bigger Splash, which David Hockney painted in California, in the summer of 1967. The ochre diving board overhanging the pool, and the spray of water dissimulating the diver. On the other side of the pool, two palm trees, topped by a tuft of green leaves… Calmer, but just as Californian, the water Ed Ruscha photographed the following year for his book Nine Swimming Pools. Three of the nine images show a diving board standing out against the flawless blue. Plants and parasols embellish the surroundings. Delphine Coindet’s La Belle Hypothèse, 2004, carries within itself memories of Hockney’s painting and Ruscha’s photographs. On the ground, a curvaceous turquoise air-bed suggests the aquatic element: water represented by something that would ordinarily be found floating on it. In 1967 (the year of A Bigger Splash), Pino Pascali produced an image of the sea with 32 mq. di mare circa, consisting of some thirty shallow basins filled with blue-tinted water. In 1988, Jean-Marc Bustamante’s Le Verre bleu used a slightly convex plate of glass protected by a low white fence to represent part of a swimming pool. There is no diver to disturb the waves in La Belle Hypothèse, but a plywood E – Poseidon’s trident? – with three prongs of unequal length resting on the inflatable structure. It would be difficult to see the object as a diving board. The colour and the position might fit, but the form seems to lay claim to a type of abstraction that would be incompatible with an exercise in representation. Besides which, this E serves as a support for a large stylised metal flower that is clearly foreign to the world of swimming pools, though it has links to the aquatic realm; one might think of a water lily1. La Belle Hypothèse: Giverny, rather than Los Angeles? Monet of course – Hollywood nonetheless. Or rather, the water lilies in Giverny, but in a cinema studio, under sunlamps. A few steps away from the sculpture, a spotlight projecting a beam of light onto it, imperceptibly ranging over the colours of the spectrum. The flower passes smoothly from orange to indigo, from green to pink, from yellow to red. This chromatic lighting system animates the three elements on the floor, and introduces time into their sculptural existence. But above all, it brings into play a strong sense of artificiality, and turns these three elements into a setting – that of a highly improbable narrative which would be more likely to come to life in the Dreamworks studios than those of Paramount. La Belle Hypothèse syncretises the different aspects of an aesthetic that lends itself to a simplified type of figuration, with a projection into space brought about by the use of the third dimension.

Michel Gauthier

In catalog Delphine Coindet
Co-edited by Centre d’art contemporain d’Ivry - le Crédac / Laurent Godin gallery, Paris / La Salle de bains, Lyon / Evergreene gallery, Geneva / FRAC Basse-Normandie / La chapelle Jeanne d’Arc, Thouars.
Translated from the French by John Doherty.

Perpendiculaire au sol, 23 Jan 2004 00:00:00 +0100

This intervention is at one and the same time a work of art (a single piece), a show (the display of the proposed work in a space that is open to the public), a production (a material realization of the proposal, the means by which it is financed) and a critical reading of the art center (as architectonic sign and social space).Mounting this “hypo-installation” (which is how I qualify it) amounts to placing viewers in a situation where they will experience a certain number of “hypo-spectacular” connections, with a space, with their own bodies and with a certain functionality. Here Cuzin is stressing the points that unite the minimalists, who were behind a renewal of art’s foundations in the 1970s (Donald Judd, Dan Flavin…), with the rules laid down in the 12th century by Bernard of Clairvaux, who, rejecting precious materials and bright colors and advising against figurative representation, longed for an art freed of most of its tangible contingencies. Monochrome painting is the immediate consequence of this hungering after the spare, the pared-down. For ethical and political reasons. A disqualification of the aesthetic.
The white, infinite space of spatial painting is extended to the exhibition space. The things conveyed conceptually and emotionally are thus reinforced. The viewer becomes an element that is hyper-sought-after, hyper-expected. And before the generalized sophistication of goods and knowledge, the sudden immersion in this venue constitutes an artistic undertaking, now more than ever.

Claire Le Restif

Locus Heroe
Christophe Cuzin is a draftsman, painter and builder at one and the same time. His formal interventions employ, concentrate and contextualize “places” and “venues,” not “art objects.”
Locus Heroes sounds like Latin and English, like the title of a pop song or a novel. Yes indeed, as the title suggests, Christophe Cuzin is the hero of the place. His approach is rooted in the work of both Giotto, the Florentine painter and architect (1266-1337), and Sol LeWitt, the minimalist American artist (1928-2007), whom Cuzin worked for as an assistant or, more accurately, as his delegate since LeWitt entrusted others with executing his wall paintings. Cuzin indeed borrows from his predecessors, European and American.

Our first chance to work together came up in 1998, a project undertaken for the Church of St. Martin of Lognes in Seine-et-Marne in response to a public commission for renovating the church’s stained-glass windows. In the end it was all of the interior space that was reworked, a true overall project that involved the stained-glass windows of the nave and the choir, the oculi (or bull’s-eye windows), and the color and decoration of the walls.
As Éric de Chassey has pointed out, “At the same time this intervention took on added importance: it indicated the possibility of rehabilitating those thousands of small nondescript churches that represent the majority of French religious buildings, generally held in disdain by everyone save those who regularly use them and which are all too readily neglected.” Cuzin, the painter well versed in disappearance and ephemeral installations, was striving for a lasting creation in this context. He, the patently modest artist, wanted to fashion a response to the emptiness of time, to eternity.

It was surely no coincidence that Cuzin drew inspiration from the motif of the tree branches surrounding the church to create new bays for the building. The windows appear broken, like a car windshield after being struck, yet rise to the level of a “sacred” work of art. Eternity is relative since it is metaphorically overtaken by a physical reality.
In 2002 I mounted White not!, an attempt to question the “painting” exhibition today which featured work by three artists, Christophe Cuzin, Emmanuelle Villard and David Renaud. For White not!, Cuzin created 1010021 (2002), a pictorial environment that was dictated by the physical characteristics of the venue. It was a site-specific arrangement in the sense that there existed an explicit organic link between the given elements and their location: monochrome canvases done in different colors and stretched over frames were arranged to form a kind of plinth or baseboard around the venue’s walls. Serving as both a frame and pedestal for the show, Cuzin’s piece was intentionally located between the floor, where Renaud’s works were placed, and the classic height at which work is usually hung and at which Villard’s paintings were indeed displayed. It was a position, in the dual physical and ethical sense, that he likes to occupy. His painting was thus discrete and present, simultaneously picture, fresco and furnishing, infused with both a centrifugal force for itself and a centripetal one for the works of art inhabiting the same space. Here Cuzin indeed managed to create a go-between work of art, negotiating between itself (painting), the venue, the subject of the show and the neighboring pieces.

In May 2003, following in the wake of the program Comment s’appelle la partie immergée de l’iceberg? (What Is the Submerged Part of the Iceberg Called?), I brought together the artists Emmanuelle Villard, David Renaud, Véronique Joumard, Hugues Reip and Christophe Cuzin for a show called Slots at the Kunsthalle Palazzo in Liestal (Basel, Switzerland). The venue in this case was a former post office, transformed in the mid-1970s into a dynamic center for contemporary art. Upstairs the site boasted the proportions of an average home (160 m2) arranged around a hallway. There Cuzin mounted Rouge comme rouge (Red Like Red), a piece that combined, as is often the case in Cuzin’s work, a discrete invasion, a whimsical touch and straight out effectiveness. Questioning the connections between painting and the constructed, the passageway was done over in red, from midway on the side walls up to and including the ceiling. By rounding off the walls’ angles here, Cuzin immersed visitors in an atmosphere, a primary, primitive color.
Moreover Slots, after …L’Iceberg?, was the continuation of a (serious) board game. Cuzin was perhaps reacting to Catherine Perret, who wrote in the catalog with respect to White not!, “As the paradoxical motif of an art that is henceforth expelled from nature, the interior sets about explaining how to produce space with nothing… and therefore how to produce space with what remains, i.e., color… Such is Matisse’s message in The Red Studio. Red, the color, is what makes it possible to see things together.” But unlike Matisse, Cuzin doesn’t compose, he negotiates with the venue.
Our fourth encounter took place in January 2004 at Crédac, the Contemporary Art Center of Ivry, for a solo project entitled Perpendiculaire au sol. This intervention was at one and the same time a work of art(a single piece), a show (display of the proposed work in a space that is open to the public), a production (material realization of the proposal, the means by which it is financed) and a critical reading of the art center (as architectonic sign and social space).

Cuzin’s piece was inspired at the outset by a venue with a singular topography, the sloping, geometrically challenged “white cube” of Crédac, located on the foundations of one of the most famous examples of the architecture of Jean Renaudie,in Ivry-sur-Seine (1970-1975). The three galleries making up Ivry’s art center were initially meant to house cinemas. Putting together this “hypo-installation” amounted to placing viewers in a situation where they would experience a certain number of “hypo-spectacular” relationships, i.e., with a space, with their own bodies and with a certain functionality. As his title suggests then, Cuzin’s installation was indeed created with regard to the venue’s characteristics, namely, to render the walls “perpendicular to the ground.”
Because Cuzin’s approach is both formal and spiritual, it blends the legacy of abstraction with the memory of Cistercian art. For Perpendiculaire au sol the artist decided to paint the space white, an infinite space of spatial painting extended to the exhibition space. Because white seems to him certainly more neutral, less filled with emotion, simplified to such a degree, painting exists more than ever.
Perpendiculaire au sol is a kind of hollowing out that nevertheless proves the capacity of paint, even white paint, to create volume. “Simply revealing space is in itself a profound transformation.” Cuzin sets visitors before his raw material, the reality of an architectural space. Perpendiculaire au sol recalls the original experience of paint and painting associated with architecture. That temptation of an overall pictorial space hints at an aspiration to an ideal state of art that is altogether removed from the instantaneous.
Here Cuzin is stressing the points that unite the minimalists, who were behind a renewal of art’s foundations in the 1970s (Donald Judd, Dan Flavin, Sol LeWitt …), with the rules laid down in the 12th century by Bernard of Clairvaux, who, rejecting precious materials and bright colors and advising against figurative representation, longed for an art freed of most of its tangible contingencies. Monochrome painting is the immediate consequence of this longing for the spare, the pared-down.
Reworking Proust slightly, Cuzin writes, “For a long time I used to wake up early”, recalling the Order of Saint Benedict’s encouragement of manual exercise, but he is also describing the paradox he long found himself living in, that of earning his daily bread in the building trades by painting monochromes all day long while carrying on his work as an artist evenings by painting polychromes.
Those wall paintings of his called Bien peint/mal peint (Nicely Painted/Poorly Painted) are indeed references to the work of the artist Robert Filliou, but they also stand as a manifesto that corresponds to definitions that differ according to which of those trades you belong to.
By lending his creations an essentially fleeting, localized nature, Cuzin makes moral decisions. Lean production, zero inventory.

Claire Le Restif

Radio ghost, 23 Jan 2004 00:00:00 +0100

Where Laurent Grasso skillfully links micro and macro. Precisely how the hyperrealism of our cities is the setting for individuals who have consciousness, unconsciousness, deep within themselves, linked to the strictest intimacy, to the irrational, to spirits, to ghosts, to a beyond of reality which for each of us is what allows us to be completely in reality precisely.

The system proposed by Laurent Grasso exposes, indicates, informs about the very content of the stakes of the scenario he has imagined. Not a scenario linked to the construction of a narrative, but more precisely a working scenario so that the story, the stories are inscribed. Laurent Grasso is one of those artists inspired by the principles of reality linked to the imaginary. In the modes of construction of his work, the possible perceptive alterations are transformed into attentions.
Hallucinations, vertigo, dreams, excesses, ghostly spirits, sensory experiences constitute the vocabulary of his research.

In this sound projection booth, we are in relationship with beings telling us stories so intimate that their very nature is indefinable. No beautiful stories, no dramas, no nightmares, only strange because they are foreign to us. The sound of the sound is so intimate that its very nature is undefinable.
In the room, however, we are in a physically reduced relationship with the spectacle of this model city, a contemporary generic of a hyper reality. Here it is the eye that flies over and not the body placed at the heart of life, at the foot of buildings.

Laurent Grasso has been working for a few years to transcribe the invisible in his works (mainly photographic, video and sound); more precisely, he seeks to create tension through absence.
In Projection, one of his recent works, a shapeless mass invades the streets of Paris without anyone knowing what it is really about. This “cloud” whose nature is indefinable (dust or water vapor?) inevitably advances. Yet its movement does not seem to disturb anything. The sound that accompanies this scene is muffled, enveloping and just as disturbing.
The work of this artist is imbued with doubt and anxiety, irrationality and mystery, paranoia and threat provoked by reality. Laurent Grasso does not draw a narrative videography, which announces or represents. He gives viewers new and strong experiences.
In contact with his hypnotic and singular exhibition devices, we can extrapolate, imagine, wait, project, since he creates open works that propel us and install us in a borderline and strange state where the sensory experience is fundamental.

Testing our ability to understand situations, to read images, Laurent Grasso suggests with a certain excess the presence of ghostly spirits (Radio Ghost, 2004), strange phenomena (Projection, 2005) or escaping rituals (Soyez les bienvenus, 2002). The forms of hallucinations that he sets up by altering perception suggest his attention to merging the intimate and the universal.

Claire Le Restif

La partie continue 1, 14 Nov 2003 00:00:00 +0100

La partie continue is a project (two exhibitions, a catalogue) inspired at the outset by a place with a singular topography, a sloping ‘white cube’, and a contrasting geometry: the Crédac, set in the foundations of one of the most famous examples of Jean Renaudie’s architecture in Ivry-sur-Seine (1970-1975). This title carries with it the notion of game, somewhere between continuity and discontinuity, losing and winning, check and checkmate. The concepts of quotation, turning around, mixing and borrowing established, it is more the disappearance of the notion of the power, ownership and challenge of heritage that concerns us here. Admittedly, the rules of the game have changed and if the aims have not been the same for many years now, the field has not, for all that, been abandoned.
The idea of making someone else’s work one’s own does not date from the beginning of the eighties. Duchamp’s ready-made (the first pirating) has been widely regarded (in a fairly moralising way) by some critics as an abuse of power, even if it is henceforth an accepted fact.

Fifty years separate La partie continue (2003) from Rauschenberg’s appropriationist gesture (1953) when he created Erased de Kooning drawing by rubbing out a drawing by de Kooning with an eraser. This work has meaning only from the point of view of that which has disappeared. Even if this gesture highlights destructive innuendos, is it, for all that, a crime? Art lives on art! The dominant theme behind the capture of forms belonging to other artists is not evil versus the condition of artistic ownership. The gesture of repetition is by nature iconoclastic, provided the ‘pirate’ makes a sacrifice to Caesar and the source of inspiration is neither secret, nor taboo.
This violent ready-made is a founding act, essential for the capitalisation of forms, ideas and what, much later, artists will call ‘copywrong’. The greatest phenomenon in thinking over these last thirty years is the elimination of identity and, in this case, the uniqueness of the work of art. It makes its (discreet) entrance into the artistic field right from Sturtevant’s first exhibition, at the Bianchini Gallery in New York in 1965. Then, at the beginning of the eighties, it appears in the United States, a specific movement in art, that of “appropriation” or of the ‘appropriationists’. For the artists who are part of this movement, it is a question of, globally, making art with already existing art, or of producing a work by taking up, sometimes very directly, a work produced by another artist, whatever its period of creation. The artists’ position is then to think that ‘repeating’ a work can be a very powerful means of producing a fresh expression. Mike Bildo is similar to a forger. Sturtevant claims to be a copyist and does not wish to be likened to the appropriationist movement. She eliminates the original in favour of re-use and novelty for the already-seen. Philip Taaffe is a pirate. Sherrie Levine is a reproducer. For example, she turns around Roland Barthes’ text on the death of the author: “Similar to those eternal copyists Bouvard and Pecuchet, we indicate the profound ridiculousness that is precisely the truth of painting. We can only imitate a gesture that is always anterior, never original. Succeeding the painter, the plagiarist no longer bears within him passions, humors, feelings, impressions, but rather this immense encyclopedia from which he draws”.
Sherrie Levine will also be compared, for her reasoning, to Pierre Menard, author of Don Quixote in José Luis Borgès’ short story. The simple fact that Pierre Menard decides to rewrite Cervantes’ work and that it appears in a different context brings new meaning to Quixote. Nevertheless, it would seem that the decision of these artists was to show forms of the past again, forms they could not overlook, like a machine that has broken down. Re-use is what’s important. When Sherrie Levine entitles her work After Duchamp (for example), after takes on a double meaning: in the time following and in the style of. The art of the eighties criticised the notions of author or signature without however doing away with them.

La partie continue attempts to show how and why this excellent wealth of forms, this inventory of ideas and thinking, artistic, historical and political positions, still occupies artists today. In an age where the prevailing need is ‘novelty’, we note that this notion is positively foreign to art. Artists themselves put a stop to this obsession with ‘new blood’. They are by turns authors, interpreters, historians, since one of the constituent functions of art is constant redefinition. This ‘game goes on’ like the declaration made by one of Beckett’s characters in The Unnameable: “I can’t go on. I’ll go on”.
This project is neither the reflection of a trend nor a movement (a far too random notion) but rather that of a sign, a fundamental movement. Memory that is kept alive is not ‘against’ but with the end, with distance, with history, with losing. It hardly makes sense to establish classifications that are too rigid anymore; so these artists are not all to be put into the same boat. It is a question of establishing a contact between formally and conceptually hybrid works, using recyling as a new ecology of forms. In this way, the exhibition format takes on the very shape of this concept: hybridism. To create is also to include objects that are already there in new patterns, whether it be the works or the conception of the exhibition itself. Style is no longer bound to an era. The intrusion of formal features from diverse origins and periods enriches the works of these artists, making them more complex. Nevertheless, the desire of each one remains a real or fantasised emancipation, since filiations are double-edged and getting bogged down is a hazard of inertia due to a too weighty heritage.

Daniel Perrier’s work, set in an advertising panel outside the art centre, is more of a mixed quotation that turns its back on academicism. L’après-midi d’un fau(n)v(e) (1954-2004) (two posters back to back ‘corrected’) by Daniel Perrier is conceived from a typographical composition (1954) by Alex Stocker paying tribute to the eponymous poem (1876) by Stéphane Mallarmé and set to music for orchestra (1892-1894) by Claude Debussy. Daniel Perrier uses the word ‘corrected’ in the sense that this project realises the coexistence of the memory of a work (L’après-midi d’un faune) and a typographical game in the form of an illusion. Un faune, une faune, un fauve? Where does the truth of language lie? In a game, a pretext, an illusion… If one takes a closer look, the typography, printed on backlit film, reveals the primary colours on the edges of the letters that would seem a priori to be white on a black background. These primary colours, barely revealed, are the ones Sylvie Fanchon takes care to hide from us in the series Peintures extraites (2003-2004). An attentive eye can make out that her paintings, with weak subjects but strong forms, their origins in motifs that are ‘already there’, in comic strips for example, are not black and white. The whites are unpainted canvas and the blacks are (impure) mixtures of primary colours. Primary colours like Drum’n bass (2003), by Mathieu Mercier whose work here quotes Piet Mondrian’s series of founding paintings, better known to the general public by the “motif” of l’Oréal shampoos.

The exhibition is intended to show how clearly a pool of referents emerges, all linked to a shared interest in the pictorial abstraction of the avant-gardes (Jens Wolf, Nicolas Chardon, Karina Bisch, Mathieu Mercier), while maintaining a complex-free relationship with it. Fanchon’s anti-heroism can also be found (in painting) in Chardon’s work, who (like the magnificent Steven Parrino) is a vandal. He paints well. First. Then, with his hands and feet, he breaks the wooden square that he recycles as Mobile rouge (2003). Furthermore, he stretches Kasimir Malevich’s famous Black Square on a White Field like a metaphor for a “statement” that has softened over the century and that he entitles Pièce d’angle (2003). Philippe Decrauzat, Didier Rittener, Nicolas Chardon, Jens Wolf and John Tremblay’s historically connoted formats are edging towards a formal universe, where borrowing is law, and bringing out the iconology of their ancestry. For Brooklyn style 2, Stéphane Calais disfigures, strikes through with fluorescent spray paint, the black and white drawing he has just made on the wall and that evokes a possible mix of Bridget Riley and Victor Vasarely. Formally there again, softness, flexibility and anti-heroism reign. Like the famous biscuit from Nantes, the perfect sphere of Brooklyn style 1 is suffering from erosion.
Ivan Fayard takes up his place in this kingdom with El pesedos (2004), dripping “tondi” in the form of deformed targets or eyes, painted on the walls of two different levels. Eyes taken from comic strips, so many circles dispersed, an unlikely blend of a work by John Tremblay and Olivier Mosset. John Tremblay, Jens Wolf, Olivier Mosset, Ivan Fayard, Sylvie Fanchon, Karina Bisch, Christian Robert-Tissot call upon knowledge outside of art, but they are themselves situated in the heart of the pictorial process, while disregarding the knowledge of painting itself. All the works shown question the origin of form: whether it be the series of what I call “monuments” (staged ruins): Poison Ivry by Karina Bisch, Zozio II (2003) by Jacques Julien, Sans titre (2003), a blind spot in black granite by Mathieu Mercier, Chair frame (for a garden) (2003) by Martin Boyce, icons of modernist design inspired by creations of garden chairs by Charlotte Perriand, asserting both human presence and absence. These monuments are fossils too. Or forms with more modest dimensions: Danger zone (2003) by Didier Rittener, a series of black polyhedrons in painted wood placed on the floor, aligned in the shape of a diamond, Pendant 1 (2003) by Delphine Coindet, an acid (pop) and transparent (modern) form, a sort of woman’s oversized gem flirting with its soft, felt pedestal and, like an echo of Pendant 1, Sphère trames (1970) by François Morellet, in stainless steel. Simple quotations require that one be content with the ambitions of a critical system, but that is not what concerns these artists. What does concern them is more of a pretext for a work of interpretation of what they regard as being out of copyright: Ivan Fayard, Mathieu Mercier, Sylvie Fanchon, Martin Boyce, Daniel Perrier, Barbara Gallucci.

Hegel wrote somewhere that working on memory was not necessarily synonymous with a return to the past. This is perhaps why some of the artists in the exhibition very often call upon elements with loop effects: Reuse (2000) by Anselm Reyle, a flexible neon light in the form of a spiral wrapped around a worn out fishing net, John Tremblay and his brilliant speedway for the retina Curved air (1998), the anti-Sisyphus video by Jacques Julien, Snow ball (2003) and his shapeless, unstable snowball that will always and forever be hurtling down the black piste of his white mountain. Christian Robert-Tissot sets an abstract motif in motion, multiplied by three, Disques d’attente (2002), taking as a model the busy cursors of our computers, shown back to back with Olivier Mosset’s black circle target Sans titre (1970) that flirts with John Tremblay’s words: “I like to think of Olivier Mosset’s paintings of circles as being Op art. Only their effect would take five years instead of seconds”.

Each game included eleven players. So the match can go on, three authors have enriched the catalogue with their research and commentaries. Nevertheless, La partie continue remains a contemporary project in the sense that something unresolved, latent, possible is still apparent. The exhibition is like Sans titre (2002) by Didier Marcel, two mirrors side by side where, by means of silkscreen printing, fresh perspectives for interpretation appear, a wave and a grid with no edge. Based on reference, these exhibitions were built like mechanisms, that’s to say, made up of heterogeneous elements, functioning like so many points of view and distinctive features, in order to attempt to establish a connection between the individual works within the encompassing context of the whole. The tilt of Decrauzat’s “shaped canvas”, Sans titre (2003), embraces the slanted floor, the trajectories traced by Barbara Gallucci’s installation, Begin again (1999), a simple carpet with a tartan motif, zigzag. Hung just above the floor, Sphère trames (1970) by François Morellet breaks away from the area occupied by Stéphane Calais whose mural tricks the eye. Véronique Joumard enables the exhibition to be switched on and off by offering the viewer a Tableau lumière (1990) equipped with a switch, whereas her wall painting is sensitive to the thermal “environment” of the place and its viewers.

Art interests us because it continues to offer situations and forms that remain unfinished, that can be “played with” therefore. La partie continue outlines perspectives, traces lines of force, looks back, moves forward and because, in art as in figure skating, figures are compulsory… the game must go on.

Claire Le Restif

In catalog La Partie Continue, edited by Centre d’art contemporain d’Ivry – le Crédac.
Translated from French by Gabrielle Lawrence.

Reverb, 12 Sep 2003 00:00:00 +0200

Claire Le Restif: You are the only “performer” of your first videos: Apocalypse now (1996, 6 min), Currently on France Info (1996, 8 min).
Olivier Dollinger: I did indeed train as an actor. I didn’t go to art school. I created a theatre company. At the time I didn’t do shows but what I intuitively called “performances”. These micro-spectacles took place on the fringe of performances, before or after a show and never on stage, but around or outside the theatre.

C.L.R.: You very quickly had the intuition that what you were doing was not quite theatre. At the time you were only very little aware of the existence of this type of artistic language.
O.D.: It was indeed an intuition inasmuch as I’m self-taught. I had no knowledge of the presence of this type of artistic language in the history of art. These performances were a bit on the fringe of accepted conventions. Little by little they met an audience more interested in contemporary art. That’s how the transition for me was made from theatre to art. Some Carambar Jokes… (1996, 8 min): I fill this time with information in a minimalist performance. With carambars in my mouth I try to read the joke until I overdose. These performances are more interested in everyday cultural products than in big stories and are therefore close to the minimalist device of certain performances from the 1960s and 1970s. As a still possible space to say infra-thin and ordinary things.

C.L.R.: So your main concern seems to be with a body that is frustrated in its communication? For example A Green Mouse (1996, 1 min) and Some Carambar Jokes… (1996, 8 min) you just talked about?
O.D.: Through this series of videos, I tried to create a character close to the figure of the idiot. A character cornered by mass media over-information, losing his bearings with himself and his environment. A character unable to situate himself, unable to make sense of the external information that disturbs his daily life. The series is entitled Les vidéos-performances domestiques. In the video Une souris verte I almost entirely swallow a microphone at the back of my throat while singing the nursery rhyme Une souris verte, a way of using a tool linked to communication at its paroxysm, and by the same token of hindering and disrupting speech, the information becomes unreadable and gets lost, mixed with the hubbub of the body organs working and digesting.

C.L.R.: Your interest in the symptoms is already strong. Your photographs taken at the same period seem to be post-performance, consecutive to the action. Always central your body, your face. There are no external figures yet.
O.D.: At the beginning, the questions that preoccupied me could be summed up as “How can we still communicate when we are totally saturated with information? “What is actually communicated behind the incessant noise that surrounds us? ». It was during this same period that I made a series of self-portraits (1995, large format - passport photo framing) depicting the daily ills that alter the face through its holes, its gaps. All the communication orifices of my face, mouth, nose, eyes, ears, were disturbed by slight daily ailments.

C.L.R.: I would like to come back to your reference to the figure of the idiot. Is it as Clément Rosset understands it in Le Réel, a treatise on idiocy, or as Jean-Yves Jouannais envisages it in his book L’Idiotie? At the time of your first plays by the way, Jean-Yves Jouannais was putting on an exhibition called L’Infamie. The artists exhibited (Saverio Lucariello, Joachim Mogarra, Michel Blazy, Fabrice Hyber, Jean-Baptiste Bruant among others) took the risk at one point of leaving self-esteem aside, betting on sarcasm. This is an important moment for contemporary art. What was your position then, infamy or idiocy?
O.D.: Idiocy. It was then a possible posture to talk about my political position to the world and to art in particular. The real (as an artist) is what we have to struggle with. I am thinking for example of the representations imposed on us by our socio-cultural heritage which works within us and which we try to rework, to reorder to reformulate differently. The real is therefore in my work linked to a question of identity and its possibilities. I felt closer to idiocy than to infamy, a form of happy resistance, if I dare say so, a gentle irony, a state that allows us, perhaps through nonsense, to rediscover a part of innocence in the face of images. It’s true that in the mid-1990s, this became a recognised posture for many artists, officialized and integrated by the market and institutions. I then continued to work but in a direction where idiocy became less central to my work, less frontal and more deaf.
Nevertheless, there are reminiscences in my current work, it is also one of the possible angles of reading of a work like Over drive (2003, 6 min) which captures and stages the competitors in an SPL competition, a competition which consists of filling a car with powerful sound material and holding it in the passenger compartment for as long as possible for a few seconds under the effect of a decibel discharge.

C.L.R.: A central figure appears, who seems to replace you: “Andy” with the Rescucitate Andy kit. Another body on which you are going to act. This project lasted five years and it is fundamental. This work, on a form of reanimation, ends with the destruction of the mannequin!
O.D.: The first piece with Andy was produced in 1995 for a personal exhibition at Art 3 in Valence where I spent the week before the opening, alone in the space with the mannequin. It was a very big and empty space, I made him walk, I talked to him, I sang songs to him. The idea was to animate the exhibition space with the weight of what remains in art. How do you animate art? What do you do with art?

C.L.R.: The exhibition then consisted of projecting the images of the past week in the exhibition space. I am naturally thinking of Joseph Beuys’ work I love America and America loves me (1974).
O.D.: At the time I was represented by a gallery in Luxembourg and I had entrusted my model to the gallery owner for the duration of the exhibition. He put it in a corner and did absolutely nothing. He let it die. I had given him an instruction: “You do what you want with it! “I found that quite interesting in relation to the way the art market works. He told me after the exhibition “I watched him every day and I really didn’t know what to do with him!

C.L.R.: On the other hand, when you offer them “Andy”, the public is not lacking in imagination! Filmed behind closed doors in this “loft”, the scenes are in turn sadomasochistic, erotic, violent, and in any case disturbing each time. One person is benevolent! Léa Gauthier describes Andy in Le double jeu de l’image as “a relational lure, a perverse object on which desires or fantasies are projected”.
O.D.: Andy is a dummy used in the first aid pedagogical courses. What interested me about this object was its status. An unsurpassable contradiction, an object to which we try to give life again perpetually, an object on which we are forever striving in the void, something lost in advance, a nonsense that is somehow inscribed in the very function of the object. Andy seemed to me to be the ideal person to explore my concerns about notions of identity. A portable identity kit to explore and experiment with the relationship to the Other and the double. I used it as a fictional object to invest in. I proposed to my entourage to take “Andy” into their home to do what they wanted with it. One gesture = one photo. I made a slide show in loop and very fast, in different settings, atmospheres, emotions and feelings. The model came to life but kept changing identity, in perpetual search and reappropriable ad infinitum. Then I carried out a second project where I proposed Andy to students of a school as a fictional character to invest. The result was a film, each child invented a micro-script. As a final step, I placed Andy in an exhibition. Everyone could do whatever they wanted with Andy, in a closed room. They were warned that they were being filmed. What happened: the mannequin was totally destroyed. Most of the spectators unloaded violence on him repeatedly, incredible violence was unleashed. The mannequin no longer exists, it was completely destroyed, which ended the work in a natural way !

C.L.R.: Our first collaboration dates back to 2000, when I presented Collapse in an exhibition devoted to performance art. Collapse is an in-camera video where you hide under a big Pokémon head. You choose Pikachu, the children’s favourite. Big head, small body, not quite a puppet but not far away. For me this video is a hinge. It’s almost a still time, almost a photo. Communication and non-communication, autism again, how do we live in this closed-door world, a world full of threads that go nowhere? Communication plus the puppet plus the figure and plus the performance.
O.D.: And the image as well. Pokémon is a popular image that arises at a specific moment in time all over the world. For me there are virus-images, just like computer viruses. They invade the media space and infiltrate our minds and therefore also our bodies for a while.
Collapse is an apnoea video in which I experience the Pokémon state through the most famous cartoon character, Pikachu. I experience a physical state, a state after the performance and from within the communication. The oversized head of the Pokémon is a metaphor for the global market culture that is invading my living space.

C.L.R.: The Tears Builders (1998, 30 min): an amplified, inflated, unnatural body, a bit like Pokémon, wanders through space. Burning (1999, 3 min): you invite a young guy to enter a symbolic place, the “art centre” with his scooter. He crashes into the corners of the place, brakes and leaves tyre tracks. Over Drive (2003, 6 min): characters lock themselves in cars. The three works, three closed-door sessions, deal in some way with the construction of male identity through stereotypes.
O.D.: Three closed doors through which the “masculine” seeks above all to build himself up in a lost desire for power taken to extremes. In The Tears Builders it is played out through the mastery of the body, in Burning through the mastery of mechanics, and in Over Drive through the mastery of technology. In each of his pieces, the aim is to include the spectator in the psychological state of the protagonists. In Over Drive, it is the gallery space that is literally superimposed on the psychological space of the competitors.

C.L.R.: In The Tears Builders, it is no longer you who are on stage.
O.D.: In the videos you refer to, the performance has somehow become more complex and shifted from my body to others’. It is a question of the people invited to participate in my protocols to replay their reality in another reality. The body of the bodybuilder, disarticulated from its environment and its usual function, enters in struggle with its own representation. There is a shift that takes place between representation and presentation as much for the character as in my way of filming the action, which always tries to be very close to the bodybuilder’s breath. This in-between, this destabilising indeterminacy for the bodybuilder allows me to make him pass from an icon of omnipotence to an icon of emptiness. A floating appears in this suspension of intentions, spatial as well as temporal landmarks, since the bodybuilder’s only instruction on my part was to put himself in the psychological and physical state of mind of the moment before going up on an exhibition podium. The camera in this room is active in the sense that it captures as much as it triggers complex emotions in the bodybuilder that destabilise him and turn over the spectacular image in which he is caught.
In these pieces, the challenge is to merge performance and the modalities of reality TV in The Tears Builders, performance and the aesthetics of documentary film in Over Drive, performance and a certain grammar of cinema in Le projet Norma Jean.

C.L.R.: In your work you generally choose physique, facial types, at the passage between adolescence and adulthood.
O.D.: Andy, the model was also between two ages and two sexes depending on the lighting he could be as much female as male. Adolescence is one between two worlds where everything is possible, where everything can be played out, where nothing is defined, it’s a state of instability in which the child you were comes into conflict with the adult you will be. So it’s a time and a space of resistance and intranquillity and that’s why I’m interested in this moment, like a time when things can be replayed ad infinitum.

C.L.R.: In Reverb (the Norma Jean project), produced for Crédac in September 2003, the female figure appears. The work on the image, behind closed doors, the stretching of time, identification, mimicry, come back. Nevertheless, it is a new approach?
O.D.: It’s the same intuition: to open up an image, an image that we all carry within us, to reinvest it and inhabit it differently. Contrary to The Tears Builders where the duration (30 min) allowed me to see the character in different states and thus crack the spectacular image, in The Norma Jean Project hypnosis is the new element that allows me to reinvest a frozen image differently, a bit like an archaeologist who would go searching the unconscious in search of the original image that pushed these women to become actresses.

C.L.R.: What is the genesis of The Norma Jean Project?
O.D.: My first idea was to call upon two actresses who belong to the European film culture: Jeanne Moreau and Anouck Aimée. I wanted to make them relive under hypnosis certain scenes, certain bits of dialogue through the great roles they had played during their careers. The question for me was how this collective memory is combined with individual memory. But in the end, I was more interested in the status of the image, so I went looking for the icon: Marylin Monroe. From then on, Los Angeles appeared to me as the central city of the film industry. One inhabitant in three works for this industry. That is why I chose Los Angeles as the destination for this work.

C.L.R.: What was the scenario?
O.D.: Hypnosis allows me to open the image, to stretch it. The hypnotist’s voice accesses the actresses’ unconscious and slowly makes two spaces, generally separated from the psyche, juxtapose. For a short moment the conscious and unconscious of the actresses, the real and the virtual, open a new space and this psychic space seems to me characteristic of our time, where past and future, near and far, intermingle, losing their resolutions, their respective territories.
I chose this room for its specificity. The bed at the back is on a platform, as on a small stage, that is to say that what is most intimate, the bed, is already on stage. There are three spaces in the video which now form one, the bed (backstage), the small lounge (the stage) and the city of Los Angeles (the hall). These three spaces, which are usually independent and enclosed, are now one and through this arrangement I try to point out a new relationship to the intimacy resulting from its commercial spectacularisation. Los Angeles is the biggest image factory, it is there that our most intimate representations are made, the representations that govern the world come out of the image factory that is L.A., and it seemed right to me to replay these representations within the factory itself and those through the factory workers.
So this project also questions the city of L.A. in its relationship with the entertainment industry. The Hypnotist I chose is also a scenographer and works in Hollywood, he directed scenographies for Madonna and Marilyn Manson’s clips, in a way for me it was as if the show hypnotized the show…

C.L.R.: You didn’t do a casting ?
O.D.: Not in the classic sense of the term. It’s not the quality of the play that interested me, but the way they carried Marilyn inside them, the way they live daily with this iconic character. So it was more a discussion than a casting that decided on my choice. One of them is a fan of Marilyn Monroe and collects unpublished photos, another has played the role of Marilyn Monroe several times and this character has stuck to her ever since, yet another is campaigning to rehabilitate a healthy image of the star on Hollywood Boulevard. In short, each had, in a way, strong links with Marilyn Monroe.

C.L.R.: Finally, you are behind the camera. Is it you or the hypnotist who conducts the operations? Who is directing?
O.D.: I’m more interested in capturing than in directing. In a way, I try to leave the staging open to the accidents that can be caused by the architecture of the space, to the events of light and sound. Just like in The Tears Builders, where the character was staged in front of the camera and was in charge of his own image. The staging was therefore shared by the different protagonists of the protocol. It is in a way “Open Source”; everyone can appropriate a part of it.

C.L.R.: Gathered in the same space, their bodies sometimes look for each other. Nevertheless each one seems to be in great solitude. Each one is turned towards herself and not towards the others. They give themselves over to be seen, but this remains very intimate.
O.D.: The soundtrack of the video mixes the direct sound of Los Angeles coming from the traffic on Hollywood boulevard and the voice of the hypnotist in the hotel room who slowly interferes in the psychic intimacy of the young women. The soundtrack thus juxtaposes urban space and intimate space, creating an indistinction between these two territories. The indistinction also stems from the fact that we never know if they are playing or if they are “played” by the hypnotic injunction. The Norma Jean project can also be read as a contribution to the situation of political power in the United States and more particularly in Los Angeles, where Arnold Schwarzenegger has just been elected governor. Since Ronald Reagan, the United States has been moving towards a performative conception of the world. Arnold Schwarzenegger is the final stage in this evolution where the boundaries between an actor governor, therefore fictitious, and an authentic governor, therefore real, have been completely erased. The Norma Jean project thus points to a whole game of erosion of the boundaries between the intimate and the collective.

C.L.R.: The Norma Jean project is shown in a room that has all the characteristics of a movie theatre, without the seats!
O.D.: The Crédac space was originally intended to be a movie theatre and it has kept some of its architectural features, a bit like a movie theatre skeleton. I thought of the installation as an echo of this original function, a way for me to be equally attentive to the context and to take into account the place where my work is set.

Slots, 10 May 2003 00:00:00 +0200

Slots, a topical headline, as it concerns, among other things, “take-off and landing clearance slots” for aircraft . Networks can be bought and sold, for air transport, telecommunications, but also networks of influence, networks of thought, artistic networks, which need invitations outside their own territory in order to assert themselves.

This is what the Kunsthalle Palazzo offers us, by inviting these six artists to come down to Liestal station. While maintaining for each of the works its autonomy, its identity, “Slots” is a collective form. A game, with rules, colours, materials and various subjects, is set up between the pieces of the different artists.
The works proposed by these artists for Slots, are abstract, organic, haptic, optical, with painted, dry and greasy surfaces. They deal with metamorphosis, composition, light, colour, abstraction, a certain idea of fiction. They allow you to “take off” from one universe to another, immaterial and imaginary.

For Slots, Cédric Teisseire created two proposals for a wall, one on the façade of the Palazzo, the other signalling the beginning of the exhibition, Les trois miroirs (2003) by Véronique Joumard geniusfully shift our attention towards space. But beyond allowing sharp, different and original points of view on the exhibition, or on the landscape outside, they above all offer us a blurred reading of our own reflection.
A universe where the image has disappeared, a foggy world, where we cannot focus from the front.

David Renaud’s device Sans titre (2003), consisting of six circular platforms equipped with motors, is placed on the ground. On each of the circular “tables” are represented a kind of coloured molecule. These concentric motifs, a sort of roto-relief, water lilies, machine organisms, double the revolving effect. Naturally, we circulate, we bend down to look, physically and mentally caught up in this imaginary universe.

Emmanuelle Villard makes visual objects that she installs, perhaps even stages, no longer within the framework of a blank wall, but at the heart of a device drawn on the wall. She envisages the exhibition of her shapes, now without motifs, full, swollen, bloated or empty, folded, from which she has expelled the frames, creating the visual support that takes their place as a showcase. Further on, a small painting, both genesis and signature of the artist’s work.

Hugues Reip and Christophe Cuzin develop an essential relationship with space. They set up their territory by combining discreet invasion, lightness and efficiency. To questions related to space, they formulate answers to the context, to the place. Christophe Cuzin questions the links between painting and the built environment, using colour in monochrome units, with a roller, without any sign of facture. For Slots, he creates a pictorial environment, red as red, for the exhibition corridor. Hugues Reip, draws the space, drawing lines with wire. Aerial environment, tenuous visual space. These are two devices determined by the characteristics of the place, in situ, in the sense that this notion signals an explicit organic link between given elements and their situation.

Claire Le Restif

Public office, 01 Jan 1970 01:00:00 +0100Projets, 01 Jan 1970 01:00:00 +0100