Paris’ EXO EXO and Mexico City’s LodosGallery have teamed up to present duo show by Michael Debatty and Noah Barker on June 23 in the former’s Paris site.
The press release discusses the exhibition in terms of what it describes as the ‘micro’, pragmatically framing the angle as one that aids coalition and alliance building between project spaces such as Exo in France and Lodos in Mexico:
“This is not to conclude the engagement as ineffectual in furthering the collective interests; rather it invites a time for sober second thoughts and doses of pragmatism.”
The short one-day gap that the exhibition can be referred to is also a coming together of a larger gap, quite intentionally it seems, left open, between “expectation and product” on the artists’ part, creating a space for “alternative vision”, as there is otherwise very little information to accompany the untitled show, and a plain grey jpeg poses as its leading image.
The publication explores different art scenes around the world and is described as “experimental, empirical and subjective”. For every issue it takes a different city and houses text- and image-based contributions from both local and visiting participants. Previous editions have been on Berlin in 2009, Mexico City in 2011, and Beirut in 2013.
The Paris issue according to the press release “teases out an offbeat and distanced portrait of the Parisian and French scene, through the restitution of work groups (dinners, performances, round table) and contributions from 70 participants for whom a certain detachment was chosen or imposed: foreigners living in Paris or in residency, French people based abroad, nomads and dromomaniacs passing through, etc.”
The Пикник на обочине (Piknik na obochine) group show is on at Paris’ Exo, opening May 12 through May 19.
The exhibition —the title of which translates to ‘Roadside Picnic’ in English —includes work by the likes of Viktor Timofeev, Jason Benson, Martin Kohout, and Hannah Lees, each of whom have contributed a lot to the art world’s conversation on human self-comprehension and the related speculation around the existence of the ‘natural’ world during “The Time of The Anthropocene”, to quote philosopher Bruno Latour, who’s words are echoed in the press release.
The show borrows its title from 1970s Russian science fiction novel of the same name about an extraterrestrial occurrence called ‘The Visitation’, that happened for two days across six sites simultaneously, unbeknownst to the local people. The book compares the event to a picnic, while the exhibition’s press release also includes a paragraph from Annihilation (2014) by Jeff Vandermeer that describes a picture of the discovery of left-over rusted equipment and tents that were “little more than husks” in an aftermath of an expedition made by humans gone long before.
Following a text devoted to the neglected bacteria that “made us”, the press release for the show describes the human body as a map of a metropolis, where these micro-organisms become “citified, recycling all”, including these corpses of “once-living giant evolutionary offspring”.
For two weeks in July, exhibition space Exo in Paris hosted Belgian artist Aline Bouvy‘s solo show, Sorry I slept with your dog. Little information was given with the announcement of the show apart from an image which stood in as the Facebook event cover photo of one of Bouvy’s drawings of a worried face next to a sculpture cast of a foot. The face looks worried by how close the foot is and also potentially how contorted and flexible the person out of sight’s leg is. Bouvy’s drawing manages to make the viewer know this. It looks at you.
The phrase ‘Sorry I slept with your dog’ is to imagine a moment of self disgust. The moments in the the show are laid out via a similar format or thought/word-process of someone reflecting upon themselves. Sculpture feet are pigeon-toed hiding under black painted hay bails. The hay bails could even have only been in the space in order to host sad, sorry feet. There is a mini man drawn laid back or maybe knocked back on one of the thinner walls -which makes a nice contrast between his horizontal body drawn with perspective and the actual, thin vertical wall (aren’t all walls vertical?)
Underneath the charcoal man on the wall is everything he had in his pocket, according to a story that is so present inside all of the elements in this show and in Bouvy’s wider practice -without being verbalised. Of course the plaster casts of some buttons, a lighter, half a domino and some other bits that are lying on the floor are not from this guy’s pockets because he is a drawing, but Bouvy doesn’t even make you ask this ridiculous question. You just look at it and feel melancholic and you understand something.
Mounted on to the painted hay bails are some large printed images of a vaccum cleaner or water bottle with mountains of straws, or a squid, which, actually, upon describing in words seem to make sense in relation to the act and fact of suction. Bouvy’s work attaches itself on to you and maybe there is a really good reason for there being no words around the exhibition press. **
The Paris-based curatorial program and an exhibition space Exo Exo has teamed up the Parisian gallery as part of the Galerie Alain Gutharc’s ongoing ‘Passerby’ window display (measuring in at only 98 x 290 x 34 cm), created to present scenes of artist-run project spaces in Paris.
For the display Bending Binding will present Loop of Faith, comprised of an installation of new works created specifically for the space. Previous displays included ones by Tonus, Palette Terre, and Moinsun, and after Loop of Faith, the window will bringing in a presentation by Shanaynay.
Or is it? The exhibition’s short descriptor confuses the seemingly basic message, turning around on itself in the paragraph’s last sentence:
I cut out the mug and went to the bottle cut out the mug and went to the bottle out of the mug and into the bottle cut the mug and wet the bottle I cut out the bottle and went to the mug
The following—and last—sentence of the exhibition’s abstract simply reads: “It tastes like a strange addiction to process, routines, uses, slides and distorting imagery.” What is the addiction here? Alcohol? Art? Life itself?
The effortless continuity of the two-artist show proves surprising; the two artists come from totally different cultural and artist backgrounds, using unrelated materials in disparate mediums. Yet there is a conversation between the two, a back-and-forth between LaFrance’s bed-sheet canvas-like pieces mimicking ghosts and echoing the American flag and Sarion’s large-scale plaster-glass-et-al installation. Is it the paint-by-numbers kindergarten impression they give? Is it that in both cases, this impression quickly dissolves into some kind of beguiling, something surprisingly sophisticated, or intriguing at the very least? **