April 7 2009 3 07 /04 /April /2009 15:54
Only 6 works. Nothing more. Even the pieces go through the exhibition silently. Even more, the number of works reduces when you move: 3 by Roman Signer and Ceal Floyer, 1 by Laurent Grasso and Micol Assaël. You have a similar visual reduction, from scattered and intermittent Signer’s objects to Assaël’s worrying emptiness, the body is call upon services to appropriate pieces through new forms. So, definitively, with the running exhibition at Pompidou Center, the vacuum is a current trend of art, roughly answering to surrounding excesses. Who could complain?
We were waiting for a while now an exhibition that enlightens the work of art as a unique and singular object. You can run through the Palais de Tokyo at the speed of the main characters of Bande à Part (Jean-Luc Godard, 1964) or take a salutary time to explore the imposed sensorial penetrations, it’s the same. "Gakona" leaves the spectator free to choose, correct, interpret or quietly reject those oriented proposals. The exhibition is an extreme continuation of the tendencies taken and lost after the inaugural "5 Milliards d’années" (Walherian period) : sharp, precise, opened, reflexive, but not (too much) elitist. But, be cautious : if the exhibition is well designed, it does not mean that the exhibited pieces are all perfect. Here is the proof.
Obviously, beginning with Roman Signer is not risky. The work of the Swiss artist is absolutely and definitively brilliant, and does not spark off superfluous comments. The absolute economy of means (a table, chairs and an electric mower, umbrellas) only partially hides the colossus means implemented, sometimes technically, always conceptually speaking. He is the proudly representative artist figure, magical and magician, and we can’t, and don’t have to, reveal the tricks.
Ceal Floyer navigates on more tenebrous and blurred oceans. His pseudo-minimalism alternates the very good (the switch slide), the good (line traces and action relic) and the ordinary but not bad (sounds). The coldness of the pieces, their distance, participate of an aesthetical choice that is reflected in the dispositive and the connection created between the works. They can live without us but it’s harder for us to do without them.
Haarp by Laurent Grasso leaves us indifferent. The whole thing is aesthetically well done, sufficiently proportioned to impress, but it’s the paradigm of a strong trend on actual art (notably French art) of the young generation. The recipe is quite simple : you take an interesting event from the little history (preferably from Sciences for the theoretical justification), you interpret it quietly roughly on art field (from identical reproduction to slight changes, details) and, if you can, add a referential dimension to conceptual and/or minimal art. Not too hard, it succeeds each time and you can proudly say : “I (almost) did it”.
Chizhevsky Lessons by Micol Assaël runs on exactly the same principle (so, it’s not typically French). The main difference is that Assaël proposes an experience that is not visual, appealing our body foundations, and surprises us by bringing a dimension wisely innovative. Like Laurent Grasso’s piece, the installation is very beautiful on its formal perfection, but it has the advantage to make us go through new feelings. It’s not so frequent to feel the concrete manifestation of our sensibility passing through our body, so, enjoy!
The happy spectators of Thee Majesty show at the Pompidou Center Saturday night lived a similar corporal experience to Gakona. Vibrations, feelings, exploration of unexplored countries, annoyances, silences and noises were the menu. Finally, on minimalism or on exuberance, to provoke emotions and conceptual power is the main art judgment principle. The only one that allows you to escape even on your own body, material or immaterial : isn’t it right, Genesis?
[Visuals : above, Laurent Grasso, Haarp, 2009. Acier galvanisé, câbles, boîtiers. Dimensions variables. Architecte Pascal Grasso. Réalisation, Atelier Patrick Ferragne. Courtesy Galerie Chez Valentin, Paris © ADAGP, 2009. Vue de l'exposition Gakona. Photographie : André Morin. Below : Roman Signer, Chaises, 2007. 15 chaises, tondeuse à gazon électrique. Dimensions variables. Courtesy de l’artiste et de la galerie Hauser and Wirth, Zürich. Vue de l'exposition Gakona. Photographie : André Morin]