Opening on thursday september 27 from 6pm
Curator: Florence Derieux
Plamen Dejanoff (born in Sofia, Bulgaria in 1970; lives and works in Vienna) explores links between art and the economy, developing a work that is half way between the capitalist strategies of a globalized world and an ironic and disillusioned critique of the art world. He questions the role of the artist in contemporary society. This way of thinking, as well as the means that he uses to develop and exhibit it, render him atypical. Indeed, since the beginning of the 1990s, Dejanoff has managed to define his own space in the domain of art by infiltrating those of business and communication.
The Bronze House is Plamen Dejanoff’s most ambitious project to date. He began in 2006 with the presentation of Planets of Comparison, developed for Veliko Tarnovo, a charming medieval city that today still harbours traces of its glorious past as the capital of the Bulgarian Second Empire. Dejanoff acquired seven houses in the historical centre with the intention of transforming them, aided by architects, into spaces that would house Bulgarian branches of prestigious international institutions. The original intention has since evolved due to economic and/ or administrative, but also conceptual realities. It has become a much more ambitious and complex project with Dejanoff playing multiple roles of manager, curator, architect, designer, collector, etc. Today, the land allotments have to allow for various infrastructures, all executed in bronze, including a library, a cinema, a theatre, an exhibition space and workshops.
The Bronze House is the first of these architectural installations, a veritable inhabitable structure taking the form of a colossal villa of more than 600 square metres. Upon completion of the construction, these “house-sculptures” will be composed of different modules in bronze, executed according to extremely specialised engineering criteria, even though the production is entirely realised through traditional craftsmanship. The facade, ground floor, doors, walls and stairs, indeed the entire ensemble of elements bringing all the different parts together will all be executed in the same way. The progression of the house’s construction is the central theme of this exhibition, which has already been shown at the MUMOK, Museum of Modern Art, and the MAK, the Museum of Applied Arts and Contemporary Art of Vienna (Austria), at the Kunstverein in Hamburg (Germany) and at the MAMbo, Museum of Modern Art of Bologna (Italy). In order to finance the project, Plamen Dejanoff has created a foundation that he promotes by means of a highly developed marketing strategy. Today, the success of this adventure depends on an international network of partners (artists, museum directors, collectors, entrepreneurs and gallery owners, etc.).
The choice of a material such as bronze, a classic medium in art, although unconventional in architecture, represents a challenge both in terms of construction, but also in terms of production. Each element is a veritable work of art, similar to the others only in appearance. The technique of assembling the elements evokes the decorative motifs embellishing wooden houses in this region of Bulgaria; it is the expression of an organic vernacular architecture described by Le Corbusier in his book Le Voyage d’Orient. The repetition and vertical progression of these elements that are a priori identical are also inspired by the Constantine Brancusi’s famed Colonne sans fin created in 1938, and installed in a park in the Romanian villa of Targu Jiu. This sculpture – a cast of nearly 30 metres in height – is defined by its absence of a centre, a beginning or end, using the form of the wooden pillars that support traditional Romanian houses, symbolising infinity. Another important reference for Plamen Dejanoff is the Chinati Foundation created by Donald Judd in the 1970s in Marfa, Texas. There, the American artist founded an artistic community in order to enable the creation of artworks that would normally be impossible to create in classic exhibition spaces. With this project, Plamen Dejanoff seems to want to follow in the same direction, but with the purpose of creating a veritable artistic community in Veliko Tarnovo. Though the city is very important historically (it has been recognised as a world heritage monument by Unesco), it is not very large, and its architecture has hardly evolved since Le Corbusier created his designs there around 1911. Plamen Dejanoff has imagined a very sophisticated strategy of “branding”, not without irony, in order to make it one of the most attractive destinations of Bulgaria, using the slogan “Where the Future Meets the Past”.
The exhibition presented at the FRAC Champagne-Ardenne places the accent on the genesis of the project for Veliko Tarnovo. It brings together numerous models and prototypes, but also sketches, drawings and other collages illustrating the enormity of the work prior to construction. It also illustrates the installations, somewhere between conceptual art and “Hyper-Pop Art” under the registered brand name of “Dejanoff”, presented as objects for sale more than as objects exhibited in a museum. This unique ensemble is completed with a series of original drawings by Le Corbusier.
The Plamen Dejanoff exhibition has received support from Emanuel Layr gallery, Vienna.
Exhibition organized with the MAMbo, Bologna Museum of Modern Art.
With support from Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, Maison founded in 1772
Opening: February 2 2012 from 6 pm
Curator: Florence Derieux
The philosophical, political and psychoanalytic concepts form the very essence of Emily Wardill's films. They retrace a history of thought by means of multiple narrations, embellished with numerous soundtracks composed by the artist. Her filmic grammar is mysterious, to say the least, because the classic codes of interpretation are obsolete. We therefore have to penetrate into what seems to be a fascinating representation of the unconscious. Several levels of narration intertwine, often evoking Fassbinderian forms of melodrama, and allowing us to associate an eminently political idea with more popular visual references. All of her work thus seems to be a vast scientific experiment that catapults the spectator into a suspension between the initial premise and the final result, there, where the irrational becomes a requirement for being able to understand a given situation.
For her first exhibition in a French institution, entitled The Hands Of A Clock, Even When Out Of Order, Must Know And Let The Dumbest Little Watch Know Where They Stand, Otherwise Neither Is A Dial But Only A White Face With A Trick Mustache, Emily Wardill notably presents her latest film, Fulll Firearms (90', HD), commissioned by If I Can't Dance, I Don't Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution (Amsterdam), Serpentine Gallery (London) and Film London's FLAMIN Productions, and co-produced by Arts Council England - Film London Artists' Moving Image Network and City Projects (London) with support from M HKA (Antwerp), Badischer Kunstverein (Karlsruhe), FRAC Champagne-Ardenne (Reims), the Culture Programme of the European Commission (Brussels) and the Mondrian Foundation (Amsterdam).
Emily Wardill's new long form film utilizes the form of the melodrama to tell the story of Imelda, a woman in her 40s who inherits a fortune from her father, a successful arms manufacturer. With her inheritance she sets about building a house to accommodate the ghosts of the people killed by weapons produced by her father's company. Whilst the house is being built a number of people move in and squat the half finished property. Imelda's perception of the squatters is skewed - she isn't hostile to their presence because she simply sees them as the ghosts she expected. The film's narrative is built around the relationship between Imelda and the architect she hires to design the house. He indulges her every whim despite being aware that she is delusional. Fulll Firearms cleverly interlaces the themes of deception, storytelling and displacement. Elements related to the film complete the exhibition.
The exhibition also introduces the film The Pips, 2011, (3 min 39 sec, 16mm) as well as a series of sculptural digital prints of silk related to this fascinating work. The Pips explores movement and the materiality of it, the instigation of one and the duration of the other. Shot in black and white on 16mm, then transferred to a digital projection, this film focuses on British gymnastics champion, Francesca Jones. The film begins with a straight depiction of Jones' routine; the patterns created by her ribbon baton trace her movements in the air. It is a reflection of her actions, imitating her and existing because of her. Near the end of the film, the gymnast's body becomes stretched, elongated and distorted ultimately breaking into a series of mutant parts. Her face remains unfathomed and she gives no acknowledgement to her own decay. As Jones's becomes still, her actions take on their own identity; their materiality deconstructed by Wardill's emphasis on the physical replication of movement. The body and its motions become contained in the object, revealing an inherent plasticity in the gymnast's performance.
Born in Rugby (the United Kingdom) in 1977, Emily Wardill lives and works in London, where she is Senior Lecturer at Central Saint Martins College of Art. Over the last years, she has produced important monographic exhibitions, including Windows broken, Break, Broke Together in 2010 at the De Appel Foundation in Amsterdam, and Sick Serena and Dregs and Wreck and Wreck in 2007 at the ICA in London. Her work has also been exhibited at the Tate Britain and the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London, Witte de With in Rotterdam, Kunsthalle Basel, and the Reykjavik Art Museum. She is represented by Jonathan Viner Gallery (London), Standard (Oslo) and Altman Siegel Gallery (San Fransisco).
Emily Wardill's exhibition has received support from Fluxus, the Franco-British fund for contemporary art, the British Council and Standard, Oslo.
With support from Champagne Pommery