press release

Jimmy Robert. Plié
March 8–September 6, 2020

The French artist Jimmy Robert (*1975 in Guadeloupe, lives and works in Berlin) creates mental and physical spaces of reference for dealing with questions of cultural and social identity. He uses both found and own photographs, texts, videos, sculptural settings as well as performances and he integrates basic materials such as fabric, wood or paper which he processes manually by folding, cutting, perforating or layering. By emphasizing the specific properties of his materials, he refers to the exhibition architecture and provides essential meanings to these elements within his installations. They become partners in the performative process and he thus abolishes the distinction between object and body, image and space. In doing so, socially defined and culturally as well as physically effective boundaries, which can be assigned to origin, gender or class, are made perceivable, their claim is simultaneously questioned as well as recognizable as a construction. Jimmy Robert knows the mechanisms of social reference systems, that are instruments of distinction and demarcation, of hierarchies and domination.

At Leopold-Hoesch-Museum in Dueren Jimmy Robert has created a spatial installation that is based on texts written and adapted by the artist and relating to former performances by him. They are associative by nature and their content can be read as reflections on body, gesture, role, place and function. The texts display in the exhibition as sculptural elements of varying degrees. They form monumental or small-format wall writings, appear as printed works on large paper rolls or are inscribed as negative forms on their material. All of these texts, which are essential to Jimmy Robert's artistic thinking, appear in the form of an artist's book that relates them to photographs of former performances and forms an exhibit in itself. The written language corresponds with new, sculpturally processed photographs of the artist as a dancer that act on wooden platforms both as bodily presences and as representatives of what they are showing. Finally, an interaction between the visual and textual levels is created by the performance Songs to dance to, that has been conceived by Jimmy Robert specifically for being performed in the framework of the exhibition at Leopold-Hoesch-Museum Dueren and that will be brought to stage by Dueren based singer Ina Hagenau. Performance and installation thus unite to form a space of reflection and resonance for the contents, thoughts and encounters that Jimmy Robert's works deal with and which acquire meaning for the individual and for the community. A specific reference to the location is created through the integration of objects selected by the artist from the collections of Leopold-Hoesch-Museum Dueren and the associated Paper Museum Dueren. These become integral parts of the installation and mark its contextual approach while the compilation of the current survey of works from the collection with works of modern and contemporary art shown parallel to the exhibition Jimmy Robert – Plié reacts to it in a broader sense.

With the kind support of the Bureau des arts plastiques of the Institut français and the French Ministry of Culture.