“Futomomo” at CAC Brétigny, Brétigny-sur-Orge
Sylvie Auvray, Anne Bourse, Xinyi Cheng, Mathis Collins, Jean-Alain Corre, Than Hussein, Clark Cameron Jamie
Curator: Franck Balland With the collaboration of Jean-Alain Corre
The scene takes place in the suburbs of Montgomery, the capital of Alabama, a Southern State and one of the most religious of the United States. Two young African-Americans sporting white tank tops, tattoos, and thin gold chains around the neck, are swaying lan- guorously in socks on the thick off-white carpet of a tidy little detached house. Around them can be seen polished furniture decorated with knickknacks and family photos, arm- chairs upholstered in pastel fabrics framing a marble fireplace, and atop the Christmas tree the Stars and Stripes. In a typical middle-class sitting room where Catholic crosses are carefully lined up on the walls, one of the boys slowly approaches a pedestal table. His finger delicately glides over the surface of the shiny wood, caresses the pedestal, and works its way back up to the table top, where it brushes over the objects resting there. In rhythm with the music of Sonic Youth, the raspy voice of Kim Gordon repeats “You’re so close, close to me…”, the two teenagers come back together, shimmy side by side towards a sofa embroidered with flower motifs. Their hands tightly gripping the armrests, their knees slightly bent, they move their bodies in a wavelike sensual and suggestive back-and-forth motion.
I’ve just described an excerpt of Massage the History (2007-2009), a film Cameron Jamiemade when he was studying the way gangs document their deeds on the Internet. Long fascinated by the—mainly subversive—myths and rituals that unite communities, this American artist stumbled on a video in the course of his research that turned the usualcodes and representations on their head. Far from certain aggressive virile clichés, groupsof three or four gang members are seen dancing lasciviously in cozy interiors in Alabama, wiggling around pieces of furniture (coffee tables, sofas, beds, chests of drawers…) as if they were trying to seduce them. For what precisely? As Jamie himself admits, nothing is terribly clear. According to the artist, this libidinal urge vis-à-vis objects suggests both certain tribal rituals and an original, collective form of fetishism provoked by these iconic domestic interiors of the American middle-classes.
In an article titled “Éloge du fétichisme” (In Praise of Fetishism) recently published in thepages of the French daily Libération, the philosopher Paul B. Preciado notes that the eroti-cization of objects represents “the most poetic and conceptual version” of humanity’s sexual history. The repertory of things which desire crystalizes around, it must be said, definitely holds surprises, running from the classic shoes, to tears, to even hurricanes. In the field of art, the expression has a range of echoes. Fetishism signifies—occasionally with a little disdain from its critics—an attitude that sacralizes works thought to have a suprasensible power. It is about seeing in art objects more than a simple material mani-festation, admitting that they transcend this condition by adopting a high symbolic power.More rarely perhaps, it is through the very plasticity of the works of art, or through what they represent, that we can glimpse the phenomena of the attraction to things. From a more psychological perspective, we ought to evaluate their fetishistic character as vehi- cles or even targets of the expression of desire.
While these two aspects are found entangled in “Futomomo” from the very first, it is thesequestions of desirable materials and representation that have been the focus of my wish to mount this show at CAC Brétigny. On the one hand, the exhibition took shape while working closely with Jean-Alain Corre, whose work explores a certain sensuality of forms and materials while revealing the way a domestic environment can be eroticized. And on the other, because, like Cameron Jamie, my attention was drawn to the work of artists whose treatment of day-to-day objects sometimes suggests their ambiguous role—as if through their presence, which is terribly banal nonetheless, they concealed the secret elements of a relationship with the other or the world.
I should say one last word about the title of this project, which is borrowed from Japanese. The word “futomomo” literally means “fat leg”. In shibari (literally “to tie”), an erotic practicethat consists in tying up and suspending the body of one’s partner with ropes, futomomois a specific type of knot for the leg. Restraining the thigh and the tibia with repeatedmethodical turns of the rope puts pressure on the skin such that the flesh displays a seriesof rolls. It is this specific relationship between the object, the body, and the expression of the occasionally complex desires uniting them that the present show would like to bring to light through the distorting specter of contemporary art.
One of CAC Brétigny’s aims is to offer a program of events that is especially diverse, where styles are seen side by side without looking like one another and forms clash, transformingthe space from one show to the next.
The wish to extend an invitation to the curator Franck Balland sprang from his own desire for paintings, sculptures, photographs, and all other kinds of supports for making art in which both the physical material of the art and the artist’s hand appear.
The exhibitions that Franck put together in Tlön in Nevers, in the odd spaces that were part of the Parc Saint Léger’s extramural series, and elsewhere as a freelance curator were full of odors, paints, sounds, and movements. Even empty space assumed a bodily form in them.
This then is how the exhibition “Futomomo” at CAC Brétigny took shape, with a ground swell of pleasure in seeing and feeling.
Part of the Altérisme (Otherism) cycle, “Futomomo” places the radical alterity of objects at its source while proposing a carnal encounter with powerful major works from today’s artistic output.
Director of the CAC Brétigny
at CAC Brétigny, Brétigny-sur-Orge
until 30 March 2019