Times to reflect on

Times – and things – to reflect on
11/1 > 31/3/2018

Curated by Pauline Hatzigeorgiou

The six artists of the exhibition make use of the processes of reproduction and displacement as tools to think, but also to reveal tensions identified in common transactions, communication exchanges or financial agreements. Situations extended to everyday realities that are all the more evident in their materially and socially conditioned artistic practices. They thus plan to act within, or on the systems under consideration. Through different mediums such as video, installation, sculpture, drawing or writing, the artists delineate narrations or forms, both speculative and disruptive, looking for potential means of action.

Pedro Moraes considers the effectiveness of the work being determined by its impact on the real. For several years, the artist has been conceiving functional systems that provide him with the economic means to which the institutional art world is singularly depriving him, as by taking advantage of the precarious situations of artists (especially when it comes to their remuneration). Placed in front of the window, throughout the duration of the exhibition, a computer is mining (transforming) the electricity power drawn by the artwork in ethers (a cryptocurrency alternative to bitcoin arising from the Ethereum blockchain technology), that the artist then resells on a platform at the market value. If the machine is only the visible part of the system, it shows the materiality of the data and the energy needed for their production. A didactic dimension assumed: the artwork is left open-source so that it can be appropriated by the artistic community. The artwork is thus both the product of the assembly of goods and techniques, but also the means of production of exchangeable financial resources.

An adherent of the extraction of functional objects and their reconfiguration through subtle sculptural gestures, Rokko Miyoshi presents two installations in which the commodity, escaped from its initial exchange circuit, acquires an active anthropomorphic presence. The first, trade / rated / tread / tared/ date, is a hand-made stainless-steel coin tray produced by a Californian company, repeated five times. If the artwork explicitly refers to Donald Judd’s minimalism, it is to affirm the utilitarian and prefabricated nature of its commodity value. But it is also to refuse the distortion of the work, to let the merchandise speak in its own language. An obvious and frontal 'objecthood', which is addressed to the viewer, which is embedded in the structure of the exhibition and valorization space, becoming an object of exchange, just like everything else. In the second room, a plinth bears four vintage press photographs relating to the monetary transformation of cash, from their emission to their destruction, and which were purchased on an archive image website. The display leaves the back of the images readable so as to crystallize the historical and contingent process in which they participate in.

Luiza Crosman’s drawings from the Unboxing Art series carry in each one of them the association and the confrontation of two registers in motion and their reciprocal influence: compositions whose lines, plans and texts refer to mental schemes, and materials from postal packages. Through these pieces, a tension occurs between two modes of (re)productions, that of subjectivity, and that of goods. (Re)productions that express the social constructs and constraints that structure the existence, such as the programmatic dimension of the urban or the power relations that govern cultural institutions. Thus, for the artist, the drawing and more specifically the deployment of the line, by the primordial relation it maintains with the artistic gesture, with the thought and with the spatialization, occupies a central place. A line that is both restrictive, delimiting frames, and prospective, weaving a vast system of correlations and dependencies. A line that could even modify the model that engendered it. It is at least this performative aim pursued by Luiza Crosman's practice, such as the visual essay Unravelling Institutional Dynamics which unfolds into a discursive diagram composed of theoretical extracts that play an authoritative role in the artworld.

Sofia Caesar's video and wall drawing addresses the performativity of the sensitive, physical and social body, considered as a productive force constrained by the technical innovations. Workers leaving the factory, a vast project the artist embarked on several years ago, takes as a subject the worker and the various visual supports that reflect his own image since it got in motion. At the origin of these works, a series of films produced by FIAT dating from the last century that the artist drew from the archives of the factory in Turin, as well as recent captures from the company's website. By putting them in relation, the images reveal in their internal structure that the artist make readable, the paradigm shift between a productivist society (of the collectivity) and a consumerist system (of the individual). The immersive visit of the factory shows the contemporary context drowned in the reign of commodities: they now come to us, they are the ones who lead us.

More than a movement, circulation is for Marc Buchy, a concept associated with knowledge and values which he scrutinizes its interceptions, defaults and losses. Touching on the infra-material, the artist proceeds by displacements and situational procedures which aim at fixing the switch between the enunciation and the existence of the thing, between the existence of the thing and that of the work art, as well as the considerations that flow from this new status. Such bended coins scattered on the ground. Although they bear the trace of the artist's gesture, the currencies retain their fiduciary value and are legally allowed to circulate. On the other hand, their status as works of art are created by their financial value on the basis of a contractual agreement between the artist and the private purchaser. It is about possession, or more precisely, about its illusion. It is about what, within the artwork itself, escapes the property. The commodity, the good, will survive its owner who is only the temporary holder of his materiality. For Pedro Moraes, the focus is on the relation of the artwork to the artist that must be circumscribed, a protection guaranteed by these two future assets readable on the Ipad on the desk. To project oneself in time, to invest and to speculate on a value to come, an exercise schematized in the drawing a banker realized during an informative meeting with Marc Buchy, who keeps this support as the trace of an exchange whose meaning is to be redialed.

Josephine Kaeppelin's approach is based on the transposition between various production sectors. Her works speaks of the common denominator of technè, a meeting point between objects, knowledge and social organizations that give birth to them. The aesthetic expressions go beyond the field of art, they populate the domain of the industry as well as the tertiary sector or that of the artisanal know-how. The artist therefore develops transactional procedures on forms that carry these areas of influence. The material and the treatment of the two black corian© plates combine technical innovation and manual work, while the text subtly penetrates the nonsensical and dispossession of the subject by the bureaucratization of the world: Service sans contact. Management des impressions. The twelve drawings that face them have been made by the artist using the Word software, by combining elements predefined in the interface (tables, backgrounds, lines, etc.), formal elements that are superimposed randomly over the prints executed successively on the same sheet, making each of the drawings a unique composition. In this specific series, they also include partially censored text. These are excerpts from an audit of the staff that the artist has conducted in the Le Magasin, an art center in Grenoble, which, under the aspirations and individual sensibilities, testifies of the subjectivities’ derailment.

Pauline Hatzigeorgiou