'No snow no show' by Franck Scurti brings together a selection of works created in 2011 for the Musee d'art contemporain de Strasbourg along with new sculptures, drawings and collages created especially for this exhibition. Scurti's work is a constant attempt to invert structured systems to differentiate between them, to find links between them and to test them. The paintings displayed by Christian Hidaka for 'Red Desert' were developed after a trip to Volubilis, an ancient Roman outpost in Morocco.
No Snow No Show
We are pleased to announce Franck Scurti's first solo show at Galerie Michel Rein. The exhibition will bring together a selection of works created in 2011 for the Musée d'art contemporain de Strasbourg1 along with new sculptures, drawings and collages created especially for this exhibition.
More interested by playing with the sense of things than by a determined belief in them, the artist seeks to give his ideas a freedom which subsequently awards his artworks with a certain independence. Scurti's work is a constant attempt to invert structured systems to differentiate between them, to find links between them and to test them.
"What interests me is to see how one artwork can shine light on another even though it was made for completely different reasons and often there is a long time gap between them. I think of each work in relation to another, but there is no program, it's intuitive." Franck Scurti
Thus a large Afghan rug full of holes, presented in a metal frame (War Rug, 2011) hangs next to an old pair of shoes hung strangely vertically (La Marche de l'ivrogne, 2011). Further along, a drawing of a family tree, where the inscription boxes have been replaced by matchbox striking strips (Family Tree, 2011), recalls the volumed drawing of an atomic explosion created by a zipper (Gorgone, 2011).
Satirical, poetic and political, far from being pure exercises in style, each work has a subject, a goal, a victim. Anyone who stands before them is made to take into account the habits and the vacuity of modern society, a subject which art usually has the good taste to ignore. As the show’s title "No Snow No Show" suggests, the artist enjoys phrases with two meanings, his work is before all else poetic and political.
1 Franck Scurti, Works of Chance, Musée d’art moderne et contemporain de Strasbourg (16.04 – 28.08.2011), catalogue 220p, texts by Estelle Pietrzyk, Frédéric Bonnet, Jean de Loisy, Editions Musée d'art moderne et contemporain de la Ville de Strasbourg, 2011
These paintings were developed after a trip to Volubilis, an ancient Roman outpost in Morocco. Afterwards in Fez I made a set of tempera paintings with this excursion in mind. Deliriously, I thought of many things alongside the visit - the setting sun in the Utah desert which turns the rocks a blood red, the poignant absence of Volubilis’ former residents, William Stukeley’s1 engravings, Aboriginal art and our lack of comprehension when looking at the Naszca desert drawings apprehensible only from above.
How must it have felt for this community to find itself on the periphery of the Roman empire? The merchants and military personnel that formed the small elite of this town must have felt so far removed and perhaps even alienated from Rome. The mosaics, often situated around pools in courtyards, expressed fluctuating tastes- some were terrible and some were masterpieces. I imagined the owners proudly showing their latest floor to visitors who might have found themselves a little jealous or laughed privately at their poor taste. So too the artists relationship with the client was as fascinating and the will power (and wealth) of the client to get the best out of the travelling mosaic craftspeople (surely such a marginal scene wasn’t good to be a part of for too long?). Each mosaic expressed a level of sophistication and connection to Rome where the latest styles were set.
This marginal community desperately needed to be defined by its connection with its capital, which in turn probably cared little for it. Volubilis appeared to have been a small time participant, an aspiring spectator to the grandiosity of Rome.
The question now in making images of a landscape is not to describe something topographically which already exists, or even ideological subtexts that we already know, but to attempt to let something speak that we must believe is as yet unknowable, at the margins of the imagination, the barely discernable, the unfamiliar.
Ever since places like Volubilis were built, the desert became an alien, unreachable place that lay beyond, on the other side of the Atlas mountains, quite out of reach to the settled, marginalised colonisers. Standing in Volubilis today feels less like a remote outpost than a former frontier, a boundary marker, an edge of the known world and the ever expanding languages used to describe it.
Christian Hidaka, September 2011
1 Antiquaire, archéologue et auteur anglais du XVIIIe siècle / Antiquarian, archaeologist and English writter of the 18th century
Image: Frank Scurti, Snake Skin Map III. 2010, 68 x 87 cm, python skin on paper, 68 x 87 cm
Opening 6.10.2011 6-9PM
Galerie Michel Rein
42 rue de Turenne - Paris
Hours: Tuesday > Saturday 11 am > 7 pm