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EXHIBITIONS

“The Appropriationist (against and with)” and Joe Scanlan “Classism” at Villa du Parc, Annemasse

“The Appropriationist (against and with)”

Pierre-Olivier Arnaud, Sarah Charlesworth, René García Atuq, Douglas Gordon, IFP, Tobias Kaspar, Brian Kennon, François Lancien-Guilberteau, Sherrie Levine, Richard Pettibone and Sturtevant. Curated by François Aubart.
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In art the first instances of what has come to be called appropriation consisted of reproducing the work of other artists. The term was eventually extended to cover any practice that involves making a work of art by reproducing preexisting images. The reasons that push some artists to copy rather than create from scratch are many. One of them probably has something to do with the relationship that springs up between the appropriationist and the material employed in her or his art. It is anchored in a form of desire, that of getting as close as possible to the appropriated, of fusing with the other artist.
Seen in this way the different forms of appropriation seem to be guided by a desire to share with a name, an image, or an object a special personal moment to the point of making that entity entirely one’s own. Yet from that extremely close relationship spring a number of critical positions. Appropriationists take control of the object of their attention and express themselves through it.
The effects of this relationship are perceptible in both the material employed in the appropriated thing and the person who seizes on it. What appropriationists offer is to work with, and hence redefine, the terms of their reception and position as viewers. What is always at stake then is their own selves. Their identity is revealed and expressed through or within that on which their desire for control settles.

The show features several forms and modalities that embrace, in the work of several generations of artists, this relationship between materials from a range of sources and the people that use them.

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at Villa du Parc, Annemasse

until 14 March 2015

“The Appropriationist (against and with)” installation views  at Villa du Parc, Annemasse, 2015

Photos: Aurélien Mole.

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Joe Scanlan “Classism”

To write Le Classisme, the American artist Joe Scanlan worked with the theoretician Edward Said, not the person but his thought and text. That is, the artist modifies certain words and phrases that appear in the introduction to Said’s Orientalism, deemed one of the founding texts of postcolonial studies. Scanlan’s interventions have been left so that they are still visible in the text. The words he has modified are colored according to a code indicating the kind of change carried out (a shift, alteration, rewriting, transformation, or addition).

Thus, there is a blending of two voices, those of Said and Scanlan, who displaces the author’s original intention. What Scanlan is offering us here is the well-known gesture of employing a set of theoretical tools forged in one field of study and applied in another. Scanlan, however, makes this gesture while also transforming the subject of Said’s study.

Said’s text explains that the term “Orientalism” is an invention of the West, a constructed image imposed on lands that were deemed to be exotic in order to render them understandable and hence control them. Scanlan takes that text and makes it over into an essay that presents the same type of relationship but between contemporary art and popular culture. One imposes a form on the other in order to subject it more effectively to its intentions and point of view. Thus, a meaning is developed that is based literally on Said’s thought, or rather that thinks with him in order to construct a critical point of view on the way contemporary art represents and thus controls the Other. Unavailable in French until now, Le Classisme is published in conjunction with the Joe Scanlan exhibition and in collaboration with <o> future <o>. It is also presented at the Villa du Parc in the version designed for display in an art venue.

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at Villa du Parc, Annemasse

until 14 March 2015

Joe Scanlan, “Classism” installation views at Villa du Parc, Annemasse, 2015

Photos: Aurélien Mole.

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