08/04/2011 > 21/05/2011
Opening on 08/04/2011, from 7 pm to 9 pm
Screening of the film Counter-History of Separation every hour (duration: 52 minutes)
For his second solo show at the gallery, ÉTIENNE CHAMBAUD presents his new film Counter-History of Separation co-written with Vincent NORMAND (HD video, 52 min, 2010), along with a series of new two-dimensional works using objects and documents from the film.
This ambitious documentary film deals with two particular eras in French history: firstly, the post-Revolution period of 'la Terreur' ('Terror'), which would simultaneously witness the invention of the guillotine as a mass-execution device, and the creation of the prototype of the modern museum with the opening of the Muséum central des arts de la République, the first public collection and ancestor of the Louvre. Secondly, the year 1977, when the last decapitation by guillotine occurred and the Centre Pompidou, a new museum paradigm, was inaugurated.
Through this film, which consists of hands manipulating diverse documents and objects upon an animation stand and complemented with a commentary full of poetic erudition, the authors evoke two hundred years of parallel histories, which often interrelate, of two systems, each of them having seemingly a rather opposite goal: in the case of the guillotine, if that particular device aims to literally separate one part of the social body from the rest, its main purpose is in fine to strengthen it; as for the museum, if it primarily intends to form a national identity, and therefore unite, the process of assembling scattered objects is subsequently connected to their harsh removal from their initial locations.
Consequently, ÉTIENNE CHAMBAUD and Vincent NORMAND question the disintegration of the political functions of the guillotine and the modern museum in what they call 'the Decapitated Museum'.
In his series of works Counter-History of Separation (fragments), ÉTIENNE CHAMBAUD uses the documents and objects shown on the film: they are presented within elaborate frames made of successive glass panels, structures that directly refer to the animation stand. Thus deprived of the orality, in this case the commentary, which animated them in the film (hence the title of the exhibition), the artifacts merely lie at the bottom of their frameworks.
ÉTIENNE CHAMBAUD was born in 1980 in Mulhouse, France, and he lives and works in Paris. He has had numerous solo exhibitions including, in 2010, Centre International d'art & du paysage de l'Ile de Vassivière, (Vassivière), David Roberts Art Foundation, Kadist Art Foundation, (Paris) and Nomas Foundation (Rome). His work has also been shown in many group exhibitions, amongst which at Centre George Pompidou (Paris), Museum Ostwall im Dortmunder, (Dortmund), Villa Arson (Nice), Fondation d'Entreprise Ricard, (Paris) and at The Drawing Center (New York).