Miltos Manetas
31/01/2004 > 24/03/2004

Opening on 31/01/2004, from 7 pm to 9 pm

In his canvas dominated by computer environment or in his websites and animated videos based on the twisting of video games, MILTOS MANETAS transcripts contemporary mental landscapes. An emblematic pioneer for the exploration of these new modes of expression, he launched a new artistic movement in 2000 dedicated to this effort : Neen.
However, the exhibition that MILTOS MANETAS puts together here is at the same time 'unplugged' and his first − and possibly last − personal show, as it deals directly with his private life. The title, Memoirs of the Devil
, refers to an autobiography of Roger VADIM in which he tells about the three women of his life − Brigitte BARDOT, Jane FONDA and Catherine DENEUVE. In this show, MILTOS MANETAS questions, both, like a tribute and a catharsis, his relationship with three women − an Italian renowned artist, a Japanese icon and a young American fashion designer.
Through series of paintings, computerized portraits, digital animations and music specially designed by Marc TRANMER (GNAC), MILTOS MANETAS gives a sensitive portrait of his vision of these three women and draws a map of their past relations. In a separate room, a crepuscular painting along with a glass stand filled with animated cables symbolises his relationship to women.
Manifesto, a big hieroglyphic mural painting, is an evaluation grid of the relationship of MILTOS MANETAS with these three women. It is actually a new version, designed by Angelo PLEASSAS after a famous 1967 work by Alighiero BOETTI, an edition of posters where he evaluated the artists of his generation and in which each characteristic was a symbol he
invented. The cost of the posters was very low but the price of the code was very high. It was foreseen that if nobody had acquired the code at a certain date, it would be destroyed, leaving BOETTI's judgement secrete forever; which is what happened. MILTOS MANETAS's code will be for sale until January 2006., a web site created by MILTOS MANETAS and the graphic designer Aaron Russ CLINGER, will be also shown and activated on the opening day.

MILTOS MANETAS was born in 1964 in Athens, Greece. He leaves and works in New York. He participated in several exhibitions, including at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (2002), at the Lyon Biennale (2001), at the CAPC in Bordeaux and at the Pompidou Georges (2000). His first show at Cosmic Galerie is the follow-up of an ongoing collaboration with Claudia CARGNEL started 10 years ago.

Until April 23 2004, MILTOS MANETAS will show an installation Ideal Office #4 at Outcasts Incorporated – 9, rue Pierre Dupont – 75010 Paris − telephone

Memoirs of the Devil


In 1992, I met Vanessa Beecroft and we lived together until 1999, first in Italy and later in NY. From 1997 thought, our beds were separated by a wall. In 2000, I met Mai Ueda, we did a lot together and around May 2002 we stop being a couple even if we are still very connected. In March 2003, I start having a sex adventure with a girl (#3) that I met two years before in Italy and who always tried to attract me to her, just to drop me once she succeed. Lately, I also start dating a fourth woman, the fashion designer Madeleine von Froomer and we still have a relationship which is strongly based on sex but also honesty- if is ever possible for a man being really honest with a woman.
The four women I mentioned, are all extraordinary, because of their talents and also because I say so. What happens to them if I turn my attention away? Will they collapse in to the nothingness from where they came from? And what happens to me if I will get rid of them, at least formally that means if I will turn them into fiction?
I decide to put them together in an exhibition, make the portrait of each of them and invite a philosopher-the youngest and most brilliant you can find in France- to write a text. Mehdi Belhaj Kacem has not seen the works I did for the show: I described to him each room in the way that somebody would narrate a dream to his analyst.

Quatre Parques moins une

Medhi Belhaj Kacem, 2004

If love is a « generic procedure », or sometimes a procedure of degeneration, then number three, even if is chosen unconsciously for capricious reasons that are arbitrary, is not in any case an innocent choice. We attempt to think of the Fates, to rationalize them and celebrate them as we must, but that doesn't happen easily. We must capture the Filandières , sisters before one of them will decide that our credits are about to expire and will cut the string.

It's only after everything will be over that we will recover from the event. In this point, “Art” would be the repetition of the three lost events, for some of us, lost already in advance.

A Lacanian irritation: if the woman is the phallus of the man or the symptom the trinity that Manetas is offering to us is the recapitulation of a symbol but a symbol of what?

This is where the event of love and the event of art meet. Art is the symptom of the broken link with the fates who are fabricating and cutting it as they desire.

With the overacting cynicism that has created his reputation and also his sense of humor, the politeness of desperation and the elegance of the prohibited, Manetas is selling the trick of Pucinella. Two points: in order to cash the plus value of the event you have to repeat it five, six, twenty times to amorticize. As we can find at least two artists through his former girlfriends, a fourth phantomatic that is repeating one of the three, we can begin to enquire.

The same sincerity leads to the work of a certain Pierre Joseph who is one of the most important living artists. It is his interventions that Beecroft and Manetas chose to repeat to start their careers.

When Cattelan repeats the gallery next door, he produces an event. But in this little world, it happens that if you succeed to create the event, you actually create the opposite: the situation becomes flat. It is not enough to repeat, it is the sacrifice of the fourth fate that permits the other three the evidence of a metaphor. To create hype, the hype of the event. And here is what amazes or shocks me in the work of Pierre Joseph, as I happen to know him personally: his pathological incapacity regarding the amortization of what is proper to the artistic profession called contemporary art, the repetition of what has been already achieved, the equivalent of the repetition of what we already know, so loved by Spinoza. Manetas accepts to play the game of repetition but the cards on the table are a little bit changed without being naïve or trying to transform them, which actually changes everything. Who repeats who? How the cold militant hysteria of Beecroft succeeds to double Manetas, the Greek who she dissected at the university in order to create her own way (Lachesis?). It is without doubt a repetition. The murder of the event that has created it.

We return here on the traces of Manetas: if we consider as Bourriaud does that modern art originates at the death of God, by risking to repeat it endlessly than we arrive to a metaphysical feeling of relationship in the way of Deleuze. But if we consider, as I do, that all relationships are empty, it is the emptiness of the relationship that we will have to examine, and how this emptiness creates consequences. The event is the fundamental existence of the illusion from which our memories feed. The irony here is evidently that the one who thinks ?

Cold hysteria should not be understood as something negative or positive: the writer of this text quietly accepts it and recognizes himself more in the fates portrayed by Manetas than in his own reflection. Because that hysteria is exactly what we consider the universal absence of relationship and pushes the universal deflation we come to feel.

What is the truth? asks a nymphette in a movie by Godard . And older seasoned man says to her, “It is in between appearing and disappearing.” “Ah, it means to transpire” Excellent definition which is exactly the opposite of what the current idealogy calls transperancy. Where the best example of appearance is pornography. But as the gardener waters the plants, he ends up always to wet his own pants. There is nothing more opaque than a certain aesthetic of pure transpirition. Manetas knows that this transpirition is what is inside the emptiness of the relationship. The hole between appearance and disappearance, The real hole lies not in between presence and absence as the philosophy of the twentieth century assumes. But between the presentation and the representation.

In this hole, and only in this hole, there is presence and truth.

There is no pornography here, no prudishness of the reality of the relationship. To equilibrate the situation or to cash back his relational aesthetic, to deflate his aesthetic is not his aim. Manetas: a sentimentalist who ignores himself. We cannot take for ourselves final closure with the Fates, they decide when that will be.