Pierre Bismuth
12/09/2013 > 12/10/2013

Opening on 12/09/2013, from 7 pm to 9 pm

The exhibition Jugement civil no 71/2013 presents a collection of works by PIERRE BISMUTH (born in 1963 in Paris, lives and works in Brussels) that remained unseen since 2006. Indeed, following the artist's decision to end his collaboration with one of the galleries representing him at the time, a conflict started when the gallery decided to hold his work abusively. It was only after several years of legal proceedings that a civil court ruled in favour of the artist and sentenced the gallery to restoring all the works to their original owner, which were then able to get out of their forced oblivion and are shown here in their entirety. The exhibition highlights playfully a usually hidden aspect of the relations between actors from the art world.

Among the works on display, two of them are related to Most Wanted Men, a mural painted by PIERRE BISMUTH in 2006. If Andy WARHOL's "most wanted men" were the most wanted criminals in the United States, they become with PIERRE BISMUTH the most valued artists of the contemporary art market, whose names he sprayed on the wall, each in a different colour. By combining the public's fascination with celebrities and the shape of graffiti, this work updates the importance of the artist's signature in the construction of the artistic value. Of this ephemeral painting, remain the collection of labelled spray cans each with an artist's name and six large preparatory drawings.

At the same time, PIERRE BISMUTH spray paints the names of famous artists (Paul MCCARTHY, Santiago SIERRA, Mike KELLEY etc.) in the streets of Brussels and, in the way of street artists, he immortalizes it through photography.

The act of exhibiting, not the piece, but what remains of it, is at the heart of the Left Over series. The two words ("left over") are cut from patterned paper and placed on a white background, in relation to the remaining hollow patterned paper. Tautological at first glance, this combination introduces doubt about what is referred to as the leftovers and therefore, what constitutes the work. PIERRE BISMUTH plays on words by using a conventional technique, paper-cutting, wherein the void is used as a material.

The Collage with Marcel also uses this delicate technique to cover, with white paper, the naked body of Eve BABITZ, the young woman playing chess with Marcel DUCHAMP in the famous photograph taken in Pasadena in 1963. Intervening on an iconic work, symbol of a certain artistic and erotic freedom, like a censor trying to "dress up" the artist's nude model, PIERRE BISMUTH introduces a reversal of roles and directs the attention to less known aspects of this photograph.

The Unfolded Origami series is based on an absence. Folds are made from posters and presented unfolded. Only the title refers to the original form (butterfly, pigeon), which traces remain on the creased paper. Similarly, for Pop Culture, the artist crosses out the lyrics of a globally renowned pop song from its partition. Coded for any non-musician, stripped of its popularity and thereby of its power, this icon of pop culture stands in front of the viewer in a form of silence.

In the series Signed anonymous letters to be sent to someone I don't know, the artist addresses the recipient in inverted manner. This piece consists of a fake anonymous letter (it's signed with the name of the artist) written using letters cut out of newspapers, sent to an unknown recipient randomly selected in the phone book. By declaring "I don't know you", PIERRE BISMUTH reverses the relationship usually established by an anonymous letter, in which the sender knows more than the recipient.

Duplication and replication are at the origin of the Symétries symétriques (symmetrical symmetries) series, which takes as its starting point several monuments of Sofia dating back to the first half of the twentieth century, which architecture observes an almost perfect symmetry. The artist creates, from a photograph taken frontally, two images with each half exactly symmetrical to the other. Pushing the neoclassical obsession for symmetry to its most extreme point, this gesture makes visible all that refuses to comply with the requirement of architects : vegetation, fountains, bystanders that reveal the artificiality of the created image.

The Newspaper series also uses the act of duplicating an image : by using collage, PIERRE BISMUTH adds a double to the image on the cover of major newspapers. Showing its status of replicated image, the image in the press loses some of its power of persuasion. As for the drawing I Agree - The Idea of Cloning Humans is Disgusting, it evokes a news event showing the application of reproducibility to living organisms : when Dolly was born, the world's first cloned sheep from the cells of another living sheep, the New Yorker published this little cartoon reversing the roles between men and animals. PIERRE BISMUTH uses this image as a repetitive pattern for wallpaper, reproduced by hand, but potentially to infinity.

With the Location Pieces, PIERRE BISMUTH uses neon sign and its ability to bind a message to a location. Taking the object in the literal sense, he gives it the task to indicate only its own position with a cross. As for the neon sign Quelque chose pour eux qui ne peut être compris que par vous (something for them that can only be understood by you), intended for window display, it also plays on the ambiguity of its location : located inside, it addresses those who are outside. On the postcard I Was Not There, a collaboration with the British artist Jonathan MONK, a similar cross indicates, on the front of a building by the sea, an apartment where they both have not been.