press release

For this spring 2002, the frac lr gallery has a new double billing, with two solo shows under the same roof. On the one hand, a film which will be screened twice a day, and on the other a generic object that belongs a priori to the decorative art category. The works on view are signed by two representative artists belonging to two different generations. Two quite different personalities with, to all appearances, little or no similarity between them. Bernard Joisten presents Paranoia, a 90 minute video which is, all in all, a fully-fledged cinematographic work. The story is borrowed from the sci-fi world and takes place at a time well in the future, telling the tale of a clash between two rival societies. An android is constructed by Biogames, for high-risk assignments. But S Corporation has its eye on the same machine. The competition between them is fierce and anything goes in the race to become number one in the field. Because the market for this sort of product is a limited one. What is more, the machine suffers from minor mental problems, and needs a doctor to learn how to live. The film consists of a series of repetitions and variations which end up making a story. There is even a beginning and an end. Filmed in Japan, during a period of residence at the Villa Kujoyama, Paranoia pays tribute to Ozu for his distinctive frames, at once static and using slightly high angle shots. But the camera never follows the actor around. If he steps out of the frame, he is cut; the set empties and then fills up again when he comes back into it. The dialogue makes up for the dearth of sets, and the narrative is organized in a visual/plastic spiral, in tableaux hallmarked by a spare quality and what we might call a photogenic aspect. Marine Hugonnier has designed a chandelier. The piece strives to rethink the form of the chandelier in the field of contemporary art. This form appeared at the beginning of the Renaissance, or the end of the Middle Ages, when Galileo announced that the earth was round and part of the solar system. The chandelier, which is usually designed for public places, is representative of this metaphysical revolution. It is the emblem of something total--a cosmogony. The work on view here takes up this idea of cosmogony and its form is accordingly the layout of the premises, including the storerooms and areas off-limits to the public. Like the space containing it, this object had to manage to be a reflection about the very theme of the exhibition per se. The brightness of the chandelier varies with the ambient temperature. The light factors in the heat released by visitors, thus, in a way, reacting to human presence. If we see the word "theme" as a form that is repeated within a defined social and temporal setting, this chandelier and the way it works are intended as an attempt to go beyond the boundaries bestowed upon the visibility of works. The twofold issue that underlies the conception of this piece involves knowing how to help the artwork to become part and parcel of a social reality, instead of being an object or an effect created for the edification of the audience, and how to exhibit it in such a way that it prompts a dialectic--a critical context which draws in its viewer and the place housing it.

Céline Mélissent Translated by Simon Pleasance

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Marine Hugonnier & Bernard Joisten