Some Works to Read. Collection Eric Fabre

Some Works to Read. Collection Eric Fabre
Temporary exhibition
31/05/2010
- 22/08/2010
Floor: 
2
Some Works to Read. Collection Eric Fabre
Temporary exhibition
31/05/2010
- 22/08/2010
Floor: 
2
Body: 

What’s the best way to visit this exhibition? You find yourself in the role of whom the collective Art & Language described as the 'untrained reader […] who becomes discouraged from reading any further'.

This exhibition was designed as a conversation in the manner of Isidore Isou (Botosani, Romania, 1925 – Paris, 2007), who would show up for a first meeting with his “matrix-briefcase”. He would open it, take out some works concerning him, and make his interlocutor read them before he would begin any conversation.

Several works shown here, from Isou’s letterism to Art & Language’s investigations and the work of Joseph Kosuth (Toledo, Ohio, 1945), are based on parody and irony. Gil Joseph Wolman’s (Paris, 1929-1995) “described paintings” are witness to this: they are the “here begins the failure of painting”. In their Index: Wrongs Healed in Official Hope (1998), Art & Language set up a sabotage operation. Isou’s “monosigns” mimic abstract gestural painting. We can find them in 1961’s Grand panneau à Comparaisons ou Proposition Manifeste d’espace hypergraphique Lettriste, a painting in twelve elements.

Imagine a visitor. He follows the path through the exhibition, observing the works one by one. Gradually, his eyes become unfocussed and his attention wavers. He has to operate in a different manner, walk around the exhibition until his eye is truly caught by a piece. He will be chosen by the piece, not the other way around. Thus, there will be no a priori in this visit; no preference will influence him: neither the colour, nor the composition, nor the medium, nor even the name of the artist. The work will have come to him.

The artists presented here share the fact that their work moves back and forth between practice and theory. This is the case of Soulèvement de la Jeunesse, published by Isou in 1949; Wolman’s L’Homme séparé (1979); Situational Aesthetics (1969) by Victor Burgin (Sheffield, 1941); Tractatus Post-historicus (1976) by Braco Dimitrijevic (Sarajevo, 1948); and Art After Philosophy (1969) by Kosuth. Or even Art & Language’s project aimed to bring about a “shift of focus from 'art as ideas', which are subjective, to 'art-language', which is intersubjective and socially institutionally based”.

But how can it be shown? Whence the significant question of the wall text? A technique well known to Lawrence Weiner (Bronx, New York, 1942). The positions of Art & Language and Isou come together in the notion that painted wall text is not a fixed, definitive art category. Art & Language insist that the text-painting was born from conversations. The text-painting should keep its dialogical and fictional nature. Text as art or literary text: the artists do their best to play in both fields. Custom dictates that we leaf through a book to read it, placing it on a table and not on the wall like a painting. It is thus that Art & Language present graphic charts on both sides of the same page in Note-book. We ordinarily find indexes at the end of a book, but that doesn’t stop Art & Language and Wolman from using them in a work of art. Publishing processes and visual art processes become intertwined.