Why are exhibitions of works from collections so boring? Here we're going to try mixing things: one or two works from the FRAC Languedoc-Roussillon collection will be joined by pieces which do not belong to the FRAC, but all of them are in search of one and the same theme; it is, to all appearances, a fairly loose theme, but it does put its finger on an essentially poetic commitment.
Alighiero Boetti, Jean-Marc Bustamente, Ohad MÃ©romi, Hamid Maghroui, Bill Owens, LoÃ¯c RaguÃ©nÃ¨s, Christian Robert-Tissot, Jean-Claude Ruggirello, Joe Scanlan
Why are exhibitions of works from collections so boring? If all that is involved is lining up alongside each other things that are mutually alien among themselves, with the main criterion being the fact that they all belong to the institution (be it public or private) which has acquired them, is it not because the object, which has only just made its way off the trading floor and has been as if wrenched away from its status as free merchandise, finds itself sporting another even more underhand role, which consists in asserting the make-believe of value per se, removed from any kind of use? But the purchased object is also an object "sold", something set aside, apart, a traitor to its origin, and if, for a long time now, we have been refusing it the privilege of representing us, how are we meant to seriously accept that chillsome redemption, the collection show? How are we supposed to find ourselves in such a thing, we who refuse to be taken in? Working is tiring.
Here we're going to try mixing things: one or two works from the FRAC Languedoc-Roussillon collection will be joined by pieces which do not belong to the FRAC, but all of them are in search of one and the same theme; it is, to all appearances, a fairly loose theme, but it does put its finger on an essentially poetic commitment. With the help of the poet Pavese, requiring just two words to get the theme across--Lavorare stanca--, it will consist in the idea of getting something to beat, getting the collection to beat, the way you pound the beat, or beat an age-old foe; the idea of trying to give a heart to what is missing (convincing yourself that the heart is still beating), thus forging new bonds between things with no tongue, and finally dreaming of a hearth--otherwise put, a mixture of air and fire. In a nutshell, giving time to that which does not have any. Even more than this, Working is tiring is the assertion that something is invented in the effort, the tension towards the work which does not leave unscathed those who take the risk and rub shoulders with it. That this encounter proceeds from activity alone and not from passive judgement which is a renunciation (at worst a commodity). It is actually a recognition that things have this duty to disconcert us, to rap on windows and alert us, to not make life easier for us, but rather to complicate things. To wear us out, exhaust us, undo us, knock us down, that is, for those who appreciate such things, to make the pace.
This is the only honourable way for something of levity to emerge from that exhausting morass otherwise known as collections, from the fathomless funds we have, and from this endless debt that we have to pay to the lifelessness of the cemeteries of art--something of levity pulling things along in its wake, the way you win respect and win people over. In spite of the merchandise, in spite of the institution. Thus understood, the issue of the exhibition is obviously not a matter of generations: Alighiero Boetti's Per filo e per segno can rub shoulders with a work by the young artist Hamid Maghraoui, who retains just the breathing of the TV news; Ohad MÃ©romi's cold office space can find a violent counterpoint in Christian Robert-Tissot's beating STRESS, while Jean-Claude Ruggirello's L'Idiot leaves less trace of his Promethean activity than the onlooker sitting on Ann-Veronica Janssens' bench, the better to "take in" the images of Joe Scanlan, Bill Owens, Jean-Marc Bustamante and LoÃ¯c RaguÃ©nÃ¨s. Enjoy your visit.
translated by Simon pleasance
Image: a work by Jean-Claude Ruggirello
opening 14/03/2003 18h30
4 rue Rambaud F34000 Montpellier
t +33 (0) 4 99 74 20 35/6/7/8/9 f +33 (0)4 99 74 20 49