The Ferme du Buisson contemporary centre d’art is committed to a policy of exhibition, production and publication that testifies to its active support for contemporary art. From October 2012 to January 2013, it presented Ent(r)e, a solo exhibition by artist Loreto Martínez Troncoso. “Entre” (meaning “enter” or “between”), could be the watchword of the centre d’art itself. An invitation inscribed on the pediment of a place that prides itself on being open to all, at the junction between viewers and artists, between various disciplines. This journal shows the close, lasting relationship between the artist and the place, and how each is nourished by the other.read
First and foremost it’s an invitation.
From the moment you emerge from yourself/from your home,
it means sharing something with someone else.
Moving from the inside world to the outside world…
Making yourself available.
“Doors open 45 minutes before start”
“Opening hours and entrance fees”
“De martes a domingo de 10:15 a 17:30”
(if you don’t pay you aren’t free; if you’re not free you pay)
Information given in programme announcements: on paper, the web, radio…
Information accompanied by “on now”, “archive”, “future”, “parallel activities”, “information”, “team”, “contact”, …
There are also word-of-mouth invitations
(in Castilian: de boca a boca or de boca en boca).
You give someone boca a boca to restore their breathing.
You’re taking care of them.
You also take the mouth of someone with or/and in your mouth when you kiss them.
It’s a declaration of love.
To the Other.
(– you’re frightened of going in?)
These notes are based on practice, not on theory.
Writing/reflecting based on practice, desde: from, después: afterwards
Title of the project, the exhibition (since we are dealing with an exhibition)
But what is an exhibition? (a question I ask myself often, as my practice is mainly immaterial and ephemeral)
And/or when does it start? (thinking about the title… thinking about announcing it…)
With the “r” between brackets, we have ente in Castilian: what is, exists or can exist.
(if we put the “n” between brackets, in French it would also give “être” [to be]: In Spanish ser (to exist) estar (to be in a place, to be in some kind of state)
It is also a direct invitation.
To enter a place, to come into a world.
It is a summons to a meeting.
(between you and me… between you and someone else… – What’s going on?)
A meeting with a place…
Which is not an isolated place. Which is set in a landscape.
Also a meeting with everything you see, experience, pass through to get there.
But what is a place? A building? A set of people? An economy? A history? What context are we working in? Not just physical, but political, economic and social too… Who are its inhabitants and who are not?
Who determines this working context, sets it up, and how can we juggle with it? How can we appropriate it, shift it and/or transform it. Elasticize it? Because if you don’t leave it, you work with it, from it. Hence the question: Where are we speaking from?
“I’d like to explore the underground world. To set out in search of those forgotten places (…)
I would map those lost places, I would pierce holes in the foundations,
before returning to society from the underground world.”
And he goes on:
“It would be a question of bringing art out of the galleries and taking it into the sewers.”
[in 1970 Gordon Matta-Clark dug a hole at 112 Green Street to see the foundations in order to release the building’s huge, compressed, trapped forces via this simple hole: “It would have been great to be able to pass freely under a zone that used to be governed by the laws of gravity.” (in Gordon Matta-Clark, Entretiens, Edition Lutanie, 2011)]
Considering what exists, considering what has existed, what has taken place and what is there, latent… Its history, its configuration, its transformations… Becoming aware of the way in which its architecture conditions our behaviour. Where we go in by, where we go through, and where we leave/or could leave by, or would like to be able to leave by.
– apprehending space, meeting it, working with it, from it (with the time that involves, involves for you).
– making hidden zones visible (tapping on all the walls to hear if there is air behind them; photos of the art centre before the last renovations: two rooms used to communicate with one another; the floors were not black… upon my arrival: the floor is covered with a dance mat).
– revealing places that are hidden from the viewers’ eyes, and opening doors to get into places that are not accessible to the public.
– creating openings where there are none or revealing old openings that are today walled up => for improved concentration? perception? contemplation, isolation –> loss of contact with outside, life outside, with where you are going, where you are
– (reread Kafka’s The Burrow.)
A wall is not just a surface you hang or screw or project something on to. It is also a material, a thickness, a layer…
– But why hang something on a wall when the wall itself is a much more stimulating material? (architecture as an organism, hence living)
“And we are in hell, and part of us is always in hell,
immured as we are …
in the world of bad intentions.
Think that a simple word, a name, is enough to shake the walls with your strength.”
Pierre Reverdy, Risques et périls, 1930
–> Michael Asher’s intervention at the Teselli gallery in Milan in 1973: He threw sand at the walls to the point where he removed all the layers of paint and arrived at the “beginning”, eso sí, with the (violent?) trace of the erosion of the gesture.
…a wall: a cavity, a dwelling-place – I often think of los topos who used to live hidden behind walls and under floors during the Franco period.
…in the end not something that separates, or… that does so by default – I think of the neighbours we hear upstairs or downstairs or in the adjoining bedroom.
– introducing movement into a static structure; dynamism -> making it appear (haunt)
– more controlled, more delicate gestures (rubbing down, sanding) and more uncontrolled, rougher, more aggressive gestures (breaking)
– removing, dismantling, deconstructing… to reconstruct somewhere else (?)
– shifting, moving a wall like you open a door or turn a page
Would going into an exhibition not be being present, going in, experiencing this time of reading and writing?
I’m thinking of a bedroom.
I’m thinking of a house.
I’m thinking of a place that is lived in and for living in.
A place in which you spend some time …
(as a host and as a visitor).
I’m thinking of meetings…
It is a place of meetings (with a place, with those who live in it, those who work in it, those who come often or from time to time, or are there for the first time, by chance…)
–> the piece Samson (1985) by Chris Burden at the Henry Art Gallery, “monumental in scale”, which is only a criticism of the institution?
– challenging the idea we have of limits
– (noted, further away: “prison is on the outside”)
– (noted, close at hand: “Too much space stifles us far more than if there wasn’t enough of it” Supervielle, Jules –> also speaks about: “external vertigo” and “internal immensity” in his book Gravitations)
The question of the viewer, his/her involvement, participation, responsibility? – the word “responsibility” disturbs me – perhaps realization? (…) His/her participation. His/her involvement. Getting involved. Becoming a friend, becoming an accomplice. We are not the only ones – or… yes (?) – or the only one … to.
[+ isn’t staging an exhibition also a desire to get close to others? To their needs? But what availability do I have, what virginity? My desire… to forget myself, uneducate myself, unlearn. To leave my suitcases at the door and make myself available, to let myself be surprised. (unplanned meetings –> surprise –> coup de foudre). Borges says “art arrives”. And “for me, it happens like that: all of a sudden I feel that something is going to happen and it is at that very moment that my soul, my consciousness, is in a passive state, and I wait.”
– Vale, pero, qué pasa.
– ¿Será el duende?
+ where is emotion and where does this disdain for it come from. For speaking about it. – “disdain for emotions” (disdain – desprecio, distrust – recelo, rejection – rechazo) + shame at weeping, but… alone or in company? – Francisco’s story, he was moved and his emotion went “silent” when he sensed the presence of another viewer. Where has… Where has the flesh gone?
–> practices like Michael Asher’s, where it is more about perception, sensation, than analysis (I’m thinking of his piece, intervention, gesture where he created a draught in space, caused it to be felt.) Or… a terremoto, an earthquake.]
(some time later)
The exhibition as speech (?)
A gesture is a spoken word.
Any gesture is an act.
A spoken word act
Spoken word that constitutes an act.
A gesture that constitutes an act …
A question of who it is addressed to.
(we always address someone (?) or, a gesture doesn’t come from nowhere)
The need for an addressee (?)
An exhibition as a space of writing.
(space as a blank sheet)
An exhibition as a space for writing.
(through what is offered and also through the reading, writing of the visitor, the other – incomplete writing, writing as soliloquy, with no other)
And also a written space.
(which has already been written on by others; that is inhabited by others, by voices)
A past, a present and a future (a future unknown to us; a future “construction” created and reported on by the person who experiences it)
An exhibition as a meeting.
And when there is a meeting, a world unfolds, opens up, stretches out before me.
Openings… on to a boca con boca.
But how and exactly when does a meeting take place?
– I know why you came in.
– Because something has happened to us.
– Things don’t happen like that. In a day…
– Sometimes it takes just an instant. I was saying to myself this afternoon that it was like a flash of light. That grips us completely!
(to be continued)
FORMS OF DISTANCE
Certain recent circumstances have led me to deal with the concepts of scale and distance. The former thought in methodological terms, the latter in moral terms, both from a historiographical point of view. As a curator, I have been involved in the research of topics linked to colonial histories that call for a constant reconsideration of where one is positioned, and from where one is speaking. Furthermore, a project (exhibition or else) is not autonomous from its conditions of production and reception and one cannot sublimate it from its contextual existence. The issue of distance becomes then crucial, but also its artificial sibling, distantiation (in Brechtian terms), which is perhaps needed as a form of translation and relation to reality.
Reading through the wealth of approaches represented in uncoupdedés.net and its celebration of institutional decentralisation experienced in France, I thought it would be useful reconsidering the implication of scale -or rather shifts scale – and distance in the production of contemporary art or in the way we think about art as a means to approach reality. Of course, I am not talking about this in absolute, all-encompassing terms, but rather as a way of offering a nuanced reading of how a decentralised network, to which uncoupdedés.net offers a visible existence, shows the relevance of these many ways of operating at different scales in the geopolitical entity called mainland France. In a way, all this has to do with what now seems a hackneyed expression: the production of knowledge.
Edouard Sautai’s collaboration with the Centre d’Art et Photographie de Lectoure offers an immediate consideration of the implication of a change of scale. By evoking flying, a situation that allows to see a reality at a particular level of detail, but also the making of models as another way of representing this reality at a different scale, Sautai reminded me of Bernard Lepetit’s considerations about the dialectic relationship, and constant oscillation between the micro and the macro. For Lepetit the fabrication of a model “does not distinguish between the different parts of the object but between the differents dimensions in which it spreads out” (Bernad Lepetit, “Architecture, géographie, histoire: usages de l’échelle”, in Genèses, 13, 1993, p. 129.) Likewise, Aurélien Mole’s fictional narrative about the future potential of research in the margins seems to reflect on the importance of considering particular micro-realities in order to recapture larger macro-perspectives.
But it is perhaps the question of distance that interests me the most here. In artistic research –and we may want to consider its modes of existence and qualities as in Jean-Pierre Cometti’s interview with Eric Mangion for Le Centre National d’Art Contemporain de La Villa Arson – distance is sometimes created and annihilated in a stroke, or perhaps created in one dimension of a project and obliterated in another one. Stephen Willats’ work offers perhaps an example of such dialectical interaction with a context where the artist is embodied in the photographic work, in the relative distance of the camera and what it points at which through composition, offers an immediate intimacy, and yet, paradoxically, a sense of estrangement. From a different perspective the idea of hosting as a form of offering a shortening of distance is dramatically staged in Berdaguer + Péjus’ intervention in the back building of the Centre d’Art Contemporain La Synagogue de Delme, where space is considered in it physical, affective and ghostly dimensions, materialising the multiplicity of directions in which distance operates.
Carlo Ginzburg considers and actualises the different moral implications of distance both in terms of time and space (Carlo Ginzburg, “Killing a Chinese Mandarin: The Moral Implications of Distance”, in Wooden Eyes: Nine Reflections on Distance, Verso Books, 2002.) For the historian the inevitability of distance in time (the past becoming ever longer and the future shortening its distance to us permanently), towards which he or she is impotent can be counteracted through the way the past is remembered or written about. Distance in time and space often operates as detachment or oblivion, but also as admiration or desire –or perhaps sometimes as a paradoxical interweaving of some of all of these possibilities. (And here, I find interesting Valérie Mréjen’s fictional account in La Chapelle Saint-Jacques’ intervention on uncoupdedés.net, where the contrast and complex interweaving between civil time and experienced time become evident.) Transposing this to the field of contemporary art, the time-space framework of the artistic project, operates at several levels of close proximity and distancing, often transcended or further materialised through memory and documentation – Elie During’s contribution in relation to visiting the Cneai attests to this in a diagrammatic way. But if experience is at the core of the artistic act, then form becomes a way of shortening or elongating the distance to that which seemed to be pointed at. Adva Zakai’s intervention on uncoupdedes.net –as a step forward in her collaboration with Le Quartier Centre d’Art Contemporain – is a performance that happens in the time-space of a website, an act of giving form which creates an experience of place where the subject is not represented but embodied through words.
On a more often dealt with topic, the relationship, and therefore relative distance, between an artist and a context is problematised in several experiences related in uncoupdedés.net. Apart from the above mentioned work of Stephen Willats, one could quite clearly refer to Claudio Zulian’s strategies of working with specific communities as a filmmaker (portrayed here under the notion of empowerment), or the experience and ethical concerns of involving oneself as an artist with the management of nuclear waste. Is there a normative notion of distance that can be appealed to and therefore a prescribed form of responsibility which can claim a definite response to a context? It seems to me that Dora García and Jean-Pierre Cometti address this issue by discussing what constitutes the work of art which for García is a form of relationship between the author and the audience, and therefore is non-prescribed or scripted in absolute terms.
But what about proximity? What about the physical, embodied relation to what one distances oneself from or moves closer to? What about affects? Producers are affected by those they address their “products” to. As in Matthieu Saladin’s text about Cornelius Cardew’s work, presented in 2009 at the CAC Brétigny: “It [the act of listening] acts directly on its own source and affirms itself as an activity that, in collective production, reflects on what is being heard. Listening is not simply the space of passive affections, for it affects, in turn, that towards which it is directed” (Matthieu Saladin, “Like a Cloud Hanging in the Sky”, uncoupdedés.net, 2013.) It might be that outer space is not that far when one invokes its distance as a form of proximity with one’s own thoughts, but also, it is by observing the sky that one can see into the past, annihilating the physical distance that separates us from it as beautifully out by Emmanuelle Pagano: “To think is to get as close as possible to the absolute present, but our thoughts, our emotions, our memories, take time to travel in ourselves, to be distributed between our senses. To observe space is to watch what’s already happened, observing space is always nostalgic.” (Emmanuelle Pagano, “Night-Light”, uncoupdedés.net, 2013.)
Bolstered by its success and visibility, uncoupdedés.net is restarting and subjecting existing content to new voices. In 2014 and 2015, several personalities from outside France will be asked to become our editorial writers for one season. Their task will be to place the contents of the whole magazine in perspective, presenting them differently through the prism of their subjectivity and their own work contexts. Catalina Lozano (Colombia), Zasha Colah (India), Moe Satt (Myanmar) and Manuela Moscoso (Brazil): each guest editor will reformulate the actions of the centres d’art, various aspects of which they will have been able to perceive through the magazine. Each editor-in-chief will “roll off” a cross-cutting text, presenting an original re-examination of the resolutely fluid geography of the centres d’art. uncoupdedés.net repeats the challenge from the poet Mallarmé, resurrected in the cinematographic art of Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet (Every Revolution is a Roll of the Dice, 1977). The guest editors, coming from a variety of disciplines, will widen the circle of expression even more. Choral and fragmentary, uncoupdedés.net takes just as much after puzzles as it does after memories, and naturally calls for cut-outs of every kind…
Independent curator and researcher, born in 1979. En 2011, she co-founded the curatorial platform de_sitio in Mexico City. Catalina Lozano studied history (Universidad Nacional de Colombia), visual cultures (Goldsmiths College, University of London) the theory and practice of language and the arts (École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris). At the heart of her work are minor narratives and the revision of dominant historical discourses. Her most recent projects include Une machine désire de l’instruction comme un jardin désire de la discipline (MARCO, Vigo; FRAC Lorraine and Alhondiga, Bilbao, 2013-14), Being an Island (with Kasha Bittenr, daadgalerie, Berlin, 2013), La puerta hacia lo invisible debe ser visible (Casa del Lago, Mexico City, 2012), ¿Tierra de nadie? (Centro Cultural Montehermoso, Vitoria-Gasteiz, 2011) and Everything has a name, or the potential to be named (with Anna Colin, Gasworks, London, 2009). From 2008 to 2010, Catalina Lozano was head of the residency program at Gasworks (London). She is a member of the artistic team of the 8th Berlin Biennale (2014).