Avec Act up, Art & Language, Gino de Dominicis, Thomas Hirschhorn, Mike Kelley, Ivan Kliun, Irene Kopelman, Barry Le Va, Mark Lombardi, Kasimir Malevitch, Corey Mc Corkle, Jean-Luc Moulène, Matt Mullican, NO +, Blinky Palermo , Dominique Petitgand, Lotty Rosenfeld, Harry Smith, Susan Treister, Cy Twombly, Raphaël Zarka
As part of the 2009–10 season, we have invited freelance curator Guillaume Désanges for three exhibitions, two of them at Le Plateau and one, with our collection, in another venue.
For this programme, titled Concrete Erudition, Guillaume Désanges has come up with a series of exhibitions, publications and other events raising the issue of erudition and specialised knowledge in relation to art. While it is clear that art can never be identified with the merely instructive or edifying, artists have often acted as “knowledge mediators” by creating personal cognitive systems functioning outside educational or academic norms.
Today especially, a whole generation of international artists is reappropriating concepts or discoveries from various fields of knowledge, drawing on documentary material which to a more or less overt degree underpins the modelling of their work. Often committed to a free, self-possessed relationship with knowledge, they have no qualms about falsifying their material and upsetting its system of values in the interests of injecting poetry, fantasy, abstraction and political issues.
Focusing on the use and persistent character of certain elementary forms in art, which act as fundamental signs and indices, “Planet of Signs” shows how these can be endlessly recharged and reinterpreted, changing in the process from vectors to subjects of study.
This exercise in speculation goes well beyond the field of art: the enormous fascination the geometrical, arithmetical and symbolic properties of these forms held for early philosophers and mathematicians has passed down to practitioners, researchers and artists who combine a rationalist vision of the world with a faith in an occult power of forms that can take the form of mysticism.
With this in mind the exhibition explores its subject via three main avenues: cognitive, political and mystical. At stake here are the relationships between sign and signification, power and submission to the sign, visual compression and intellectual expansion, universality and secrets, tradition and modernity, magic and geometry. Driven by a rationale of continuous oscillation, of counterpoints and equilibrium/disequilibrium, “Planet of Signs” sets out to simplify what might seem obscure and complexify what seems obvious.
In the segment of the exhibition titled “Squatter” an artist is invited to intervene in the exhibition spaces for a limited period without having to respond directly to the exhibition’s subject matter.