press release

“Just believe” (Il suffit d’y croire) is the first solo show by Martin Le Chevallier. A selection of his works is being presented, all based on the idea of belief. We could thus believe in fulfilment in the work thanks to the CD-Rom Gageure 1.0, believe in social control with the video surveillance game Vigilance 1.0, believe in collective happiness with the interactive video Félicité, believe in the security ideal with the video Safe Society, believe in the virtues of consumption with the vocal telephone server Doro bibloc and, have trouble believing it in the interactive video Oblomov or believe in everything successively with Le Papillon (The Butterfly).

Le Papillon, his new interactive video, featuring Mathieu Amalric, describes the journey through life of a character seeking accomplishment. When this character achieves his aim, the film settles into a lasting tranquillity, a happy ending without end, nice for the character perhaps, but sooner or later boring for viewers. To escape boredom, viewers have the possibility of interrupting the existential choices of the character. They can thus, by plunging their hero into the chaos of fiction, vicariously savour a multitude of lives. Le Papillon has been produced by Camera Lucida Productions, with the help of the ministère de la Culture et de la Communication (Dicream) and the Drac Ile-de-France.

Martin Le Chevallier offers critical and ironic representations of our époque through the means of the tools that characterise it. From video-games to telephone servers, from CD-Rom to interactive video, these representations are experiences that viewers are invited to undergo by participating in certain apparatus, the constraints of which express contemporary ideologies. These set-ups sometimes arise from diversions (false video-games, false telephone servers, false advertising slogans, etc.) and sometimes from formal invention, notably when, through the intervention of interactivity, viewers reeplore cinematic narration. A reflection on the position of viewers is expressed through these experiences that he offers us. Whether they be a player, a guinea pig, a security guard, a walker or an executioner, the role that is assigned to viewers serves the purposes of the artist.

Born in May 1968 in Fontenay aux Roses (France), Martin Le Chevallier lives and works in Paris. After having worked as a graphic artist, from 1996 he started personal artistic research concerning political and social issues. His research first resulted in posters being posted illegally, then in the CD-Rom Wager 1.0 (Gageure 1.0, 1999), a labyrinthine denunciation of the business discourse. Afterwards, he made Flirt 1.0 (2000), a game of seduction made up of extracts from classical American movies, and a video surveillance game, Vigilance 1.0 (2001). From October 2000 to September 2001, he was resident at the French Academy in Rome where he devoted himself to the evocation of an utopian society through the interactive film Bliss (Félicité). This “praise of inactivity” led to the conception of another interactive film, 0blomov (2001), in which he juxtaposed the main character‚s apathy with viewers’s impatience. He again explored this method in One minute of silence (2003), an apparatus that offers a journey in the thoughts and the perception processes of a group of people gathered after September the 11th. In 2003, he created two new critical projects : Safe Society, a video parodying the security ideology and Dial star, a phone server dedicated to our urges to consume. In 2004 he set up the existential turnaround of The Butterfly (Le Papillon, 2005), his new interactive video that will be at the heart of the exhibition “Just believe”.

Martin Le Chevallier has participated in numerous group exhibitions in France and abroad : «À quoi rêvent les années 90?» (Montreuil, 1998), «Le temps libre, son imaginaire, ses aménagements, ses trucs pour s’en sortir» (Deauville, 1999), «Joint venture» (siège d’ A.T.Kearney, Neuilly, 1999), «Dial 33 then 1» (Kiasma Museum, Helsinki, 2000), «Connivences» (biennale de Lyon, 2001), «Art & Economy» (Deichtorhallen, Hambourg, 2002), «Big Torino 2002» (biennale de Turin 2002), «Tutto Normale» (Villa Médicis, Rome , 2002), «Fundamentalisms of the New Order» (Charlottenborg Exhibition Building, Copenhague, 2002), «Time-warp» (galerie Maisonneuve, Paris, 2003), «Reactivate!» (State Library of Victoria, Melbourne, 2004), etc.

This exhibition is realized with the help of the Ministère de la culture et de la communication - Centre national des arts plastiques - aide à la première exposition, and the Mairie de Paris - Département de l’Art dans la ville.


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Martin Le Chevallier / Just believe