Posts from the ‘english’ category

Marina Engel, “Neuclid team spirit”, 2003

Suspended from the ceiling, a glittering mobile may surprise visitors to the Department of Clinical Neurosciences and Dermatology (Neuclid) at the Hopitaux Universitaires de Geneve (HUG). Its shapes echo those of an optical ambiguity – the Rubin vase – which appears in the void resulting from the confrontation of two identical profiles – and is often used by neurologists. The mobile, called “Neuclid Team Spirit” is part of an installation that marks the end of Hervé Graumann’s stay at the Hospital as the artist-in-residence and the seven different profiles are those of the various heads of department – as well as of one younger physician.

NeuclidMobil2_pdef

In “Dialogues 2”, Hervé Graumann spent several months exploring the Neuclid department:  accompanying Professor de Tribolet into the operating theatre during surgical interventions on the brain; examining optical illusions in Professor Safran’s neuro-ophthalmology department; to concentrate finally on the work of Professor Landis’s neurology department. Here, Graumann followed Doctor Perrig in his everyday activities in the “Epileptology Unit” and also participated as a guinea pig in a series of neurological tests such as multichannel electroencephalography and functional magnetic resonance. The artist was therefore not just an observer but had subjected himself to the medical gaze – an experience shared with the patients in the department.

NeuclidMobil1_pdef

“Neuclid team spirit” ironically subverts the hierarchy of the medical gaze inverting the relation between observer and observed. Having photographed each one of the doctors, Graumann “operated” on them by perfecting every profile on computer before they were cut in brass sheet and chromium plated. As each physician stares at his mirror image and, at the same time, is refracted by those of his colleagues, Graumann playfully questions the nature of the Neuclid “team spirit”. How do these individuals relate to each other – and to the collective? And further – to the patients and to the public beyond? Patients and medical staff can now scrutinise the profiles of the medical authorities, balanced, a little precariously – immaterial presences – in the adjacent space, a contemporary version of the celebratory medical bust.

The relation between individual and collective is a theme in Graumann’s second work. During his residency,  the artist had the opportunity to explore the complex underground labyrinth that links the Centre Mėdical Universitaire to the Hospital. Regularly visiting the hospital shop and the hospital chemist located in this basement area, Graumann began to collect an array of objects ranging from the medical to the domestic- all defined as obsolete and destined to be thrown away. These objects were later assembled into two works entitled “Indefinable patterns”: a floor piece at the Musée d’art moderne et contemporain (Mamco) and a smaller installation inside a glass table, recalling the idea of the cabinet of curiosities, at the hospital. By associating ordinary household goods with medical implements the artist demystifies the latter of some of their aura. The value assigned to these objects is generated by the viewer’s perception of their relationships. Mimicking the function of a neurological test,  Graumann questions the nature of these affinities and of human perception. Each individual object is recognizable, but, as a whole, the relationships between the objects remain ever changing and indefinable.

Pattern - Vanité 2b, 2003 – installation, objets divers / installation, sundry objects – 400 x 500 cm.

Pattern – Vanité 2b, 2003 – installation, objets divers / installation, sundry objects – 400 x 500 cm.

 

 

F. Y. Morin – “A day in the life of Raoul Pictor” [cat.], 1994

Raoul Pictor cherche son style… (v.1), 1993 – dispositif informatique, ordinateur, imprimante, logiciel / computer device, printer, software – dimensions variables

Awakened by the activation of an internal clock, Raoul appears to us piece by piece, like a ghost, in the room which he uses as his studio. For a few moments, not yet sure of his personal identity, he loses himself in his surroundings, becomes entangled in the bright green trapezium of the fitted carpet or partly snatched up in the drawing of a bookcase, simplified by vertical bars of colour.
As soon as he finds himself, Raoul fervently undertakes his main activity: walking. This exercise is not a goal in itself, it indicates the perplexity of the artist. Decked out in a grey smock, beret fixed onto his head, his hands linked behind his back, Raoul tries out the space in his studio with a touching clumsiness. But when he changes direction he seems to face certain difficulties… is he not confronted with a spatial aporia: how to adjust himself to the illusionary depth of a plane? Raoul’s pacing, a metaphor for the problem of depth, that forever confronts painting, no longer has the virtue of proving motion by doing it, but asserts the possibility of representation. Raoul is a painter – Pictor – primarily by his pacing, obligatory preamble to his art.
To put aside his solemn absorptions the painter is accustomed to playing the piano. During his breaks he also abandons himself in a crudely comfortable armchair nestled into a corner of the room, privileged position for whoever pretends to scrutinize the orthogonality of the phenomenal world. After which, Raoul paints quickly, with an uneasy fervour, in his urgency to fix the outcome of his meditations, longly chewed over during all his comings and goings, before it escapes him. Being a studio-artist his model is mental. No image, picturesque vignette or sublime vision, comes to trouble his clear awareness of relationships. The canvas is finished with large brush-strokes and many gestures, whereupon the artist takes it under his arm and leaves the room by a narrow dark opening; this opening, if we are to grant credit to the Renaissance codes of perspective, symbolises a rectangular opening in the shape of a door.

Raoul Pictor cherche son style... (v.1), 1993 – copies d’écran / screen captures

Raoul Pictor cherche son style… (v.1), 1993 – copies d’écran / screen captures

To note: we know nothing of the work that has just been completed as it was placed on an easel with its back to us, taking the centre position in the studio, and the artist, after having finished his work, took it away without turning it. For the moment Raoul, who has reverted to his primordial electrical state, is linked so intimately to his creation that we can no longer distinguish one from the other, Raoul deprived of a surface, Raoul the algorithm moving in the network of cables, straddling the interface that connects the printer and the computer. From his unrepresented activity, an image is born: a pattern of coloured inks obtained by combining in a landscape format a random selection of elements stored in the programme’s memory. Signed, dated and numbered the work then represents merely one of the terms of the set of probabilities to which Raoul’s creative fervour finally boils down. From here several pressing questions are to be posed:
Does the expression Raoul Pictor seeks his style signify that it will have been found once the music of chance has died, when he has exhausted all possible combinations – without doubt many billions – within the limited framework of his memory? In this hypothesis, if Raoul continues to produce, there will be nothing left for him except to plagiarise himself. Is one to see here a form of rambling or rather consider this as a wonderful lesson in the mysterious mechanics that make artists act? Is not the work of art, whatever its form, whatever materials are employed to embody the form, fundamentally lacking in originality? To the appreciation of the enthusiastic public, which applauds a radical novelty, failing to recognize, beneath the glaring deception of its topicality, a deft or inspired reorganisation of sameness, Raoul offers a less idealistic conception of creation. If after x years of hard labour, he begins to paint canvases that have already come out of his studio, can one fairly reproach him for it, knowing that within his achieved memory his completed work exists, at least potentially, even before he has prepared his palette? A painting that comes out of a printer is therefore always a copy. What privileged status then does the first copy hold? Is it possible to give an ontological legitimacy prohibiting a second or third copy, and finally to them all being reproduced? To the question that opens this passage, we echo the following one, with no pretention of closing the subject: Is it then that, unlike many, who one day believed they had found, Raoul, scrutinizing the boundless but finite corpus of what he has to express, continues to seek?

F. Y. MORIN
(Trad. V. Sordat, D. White)

 

RP_paint_v1

…de l’ordre alphabétique des couleurs

...de l’ordre alphabétique des couleurs (dladc base v1.1) – table en 7 langues & 11 couleurs classées par ordre alphabétique

…de l’ordre alphabétique des couleurs (dladc base v1.1) – table en 7 langues & 11 couleurs classées par ordre alphabétique

...de l’ordre alphabétique des couleurs (allemand, anglais, espagnol, français), 2004

…de l’ordre alphabétique des couleurs (allemand, anglais, espagnol, français)

...de l’ordre alphabétique des couleurs (allemand, anglais, français, italien), 1992 acrylique sur panneaux de bois / acrylic on wooden panels – 100 x 200 cm.

…de l’ordre alphabétique des couleurs (allemand, anglais, français, italien), 1992
acrylique sur panneaux de bois / acrylic on wooden panels – 100 x 200 cm.

(…) C’est une même démarche qui le conduit à travailler cette prose sans se plier à l’ordre narratif ou analytique qu’elle construit tout au long de ses divers segments mais comme un tableau à entrées multiples qui peut être consulté en tant que base de données. A une forme de tri propre au récit et peu directement explicite, H. G. superpose une pratique de la classification aux critères très rigoureusement définis. Prenant non pour thème, mais pour tête de chapitre général la couleur, l’artiste est ainsi amené à éditer la liste des abonnées du téléphone d’une ville affublés d’un nom de couleur, ou encore à réaliser une peinture qui n’est ni conceptuelle ni néo-géo mais la conséquence d’un double listage: horizontalement une série de langues, verticalement les noms de quelques couleurs préalablement choisies et rangées par ordre alphabétique. Les coordonnées ainsi définies permettent de constituer un ensemble de cases colorées dont la réunion n’est rien d’autre que le tableau. La même démarche aboutit également au fait de peindre une toile monochrome en présence d’une personne dont le nom désigne la couleur utilisée. Monsieur ROUGE, Madame ROSE sont ensuite invités à signer le procès-verbal rendant compte de la séance. Messieurs Damien et Alberto BLANC, plus complaisants, ont même accepté de faire connaissance puis de se laisser photographier, le premier tenant en équilibre sur les épaules du second pour une composition (en noir et blanc…) judicieusement intitulée BLANC SUR BLANC. (…)

Hervé Laurent – “Tableaux (monochromes) d’une exposition (informatique)”
in cat. 5ème SIV, St-Gervais, Geneva – 1993
Texte intégral

...de l’ordre alphabétique des couleurs (espagnol, français, italien, portugais), 1992 – acrylique sur toile / acrylic on canvas – 90 x 164 cm.

…de l’ordre alphabétique des couleurs (espagnol, français, italien, portugais), 1992 – acrylique sur toile / acrylic on canvas – 90 x 164 cm.

(…) It is the same kind of approach which leads him to work this prose over, not bowing to the narrative or analytical order which it constructs throughout its various segments, but like a multi-entry picture which can be consulted as a database. On a form of selection proper to the tale and not very directly explicit, H.G. superimposes a form of classification with very strictly defined criteria. So taking colour not as a theme but as a general chapter heading, the artist is induced to draw up the list of a town’s telephone subscribers whose names are colours, or else to paint a picture which is neither conceptual nor neo-geo but the consequence of a double-listing; horizontally a series of languages, vertically the names ofsome colours previously chosen and placed in alphabetical order. The coordinates so defined make it possible to compose a set of coloured squares which, when put together, simply make up the picture. The same approach also ends with the painting of a monochrome canvas in the presence of a person whose name indicates the colour used. Mr. RED, Mrs. PINK, are then invited to sign the minutes on the session. Messrs. Damien and Alberto BLANC (WHITE), more obliging, even agreed to be introduced, then to have their photograph taken, the former balancing on the shoulders of the latter for a composition (in black and white…) judiciously entitled “Blanc sur Blanc” (White on White). (…)

Hervé Laurent – “(Monochromes) pictures at a (computerized) exhibition”
in cat. 5ème SIV, St-Gervais, Geneva – 1993
Full text

 

dladc_3strips

 

Database totem II (allemand, anglais, français, japonais), 2001 acrylique sur bois / acrylic on wood – 250 x 35 x 35 cm. Database totem I, (allemand, anglais, français, italien), 2001 vinyle autocollant, verre acrylique / vinyl sticker, acrylic glass – 200 x 40 x 40 cm.

Database totem II, I, III (various languages), 2001


Links:
• alphabetical order of numbers (numbers from zero to one hundred alphabetically sorted)
• Buisson, Branche & Rossignol
• Sélection chromatique

(Monochromes) pictures at a (computerized) exhibition

armoireIkeaCoupee

armoire II, 1990 meuble numéroté, découpé, recollé

Hervé Laurent (in cat. 5ème SIV, St-Gervais, Geneva – 1993)

The work of Hervé GRAUMANN (H.G.) runs across the categories which govern our relationship with the world of phenomena with a kind of serene indifference whose effects are, often, not devoid of irony. This remoteness from the existential burden which usually gives weight to the reasons adduced for our judgment, the analyses and the actions which result from it, H.G. owes to the privileged relationship which he has had from the outset with computer logic. This logic, of whose binary nature we are reminded sufficiently often to render any dwelling on it unnecessary, is further distinguished by the fact that it deals with an order of reality which we could describe as homogeneous and granular. Pixel, 0/1, …from the heart of the machine to the flickering light of the screens, the informational universe which the computer manages is formed entirely of identical elements, sorts of fractions whose final configuration can produce an image, a sound, a line of reasoning, the result of a calculation, etc., that is, so many events and figures recalling the web of our daily round. The result is that, deceived by this coincidence, we have become accustomed to attributing to the computer an intentionality directed toward real life, whereas it is the set of operating necessities readable through our user strategies alone which is responsible for such an, in fact, wholly unfounded similarity.
H.G. works in this breaking-up area whose consequences he strives to explore. First, by reducing it to the absurd, by applying the technique of its computerized keyboarding to the object itself. So we have furniture cut-up and glued together again, which we can describe as having been violently pixelized, or, again, part of an object is moved bit by bit into another object, as if the integrity of the wholes from which these parts were extracted were no longer a determining element to be taken into account in the intervention protocol. The copy/glue functions, then, without fear of creating monsters, so true it is that monstrosity is the result of heterogeneity – the centaur is a fine example of this, as are the fabled animals which peopled the medieval imaginary – and that here, once we have accepted that the uniform substance of the computer universe is going to be attributed to reality, this automatic reservation should be ignored. In other words, H.G. confronts qualitative metaphysics with a purely quantitative approach and humorously plays the theory of the grain of sand against that of the sand castle. The text is only possible if we refuse the domination of the texture. The humour innate in several of H.G.’s works lies in that he tries to have both, letting the repetitive structure of the computer grain invade the prose of the world and disrupt it.

...de l’ordre alphabétique des couleurs (dladc base v1.1) – table en 7 langues & 11 couleurs classées par ordre alphabétique

…de l’ordre alphabétique des couleurs (dladc base v1.1) – table en 7 langues & 11 couleurs classées par ordre alphabétique

It is the same kind of approach which leads him to work this prose over, not bowing to the narrative or analytical order which it constructs throughout its various segments, but like a multi-entry picture which can be consulted as a database. On a form of selection proper to the tale and not very directly explicit, H.G. superimposes a form of classification with very strictly defined criteria. So taking colour not as a theme but as a general chapter heading, the artist is induced to draw up the list of a town’s telephone subscribers whose names are colours, or else to paint a picture which is neither conceptual nor neo-geo but the consequence of a double-listing; horizontally a series of languages, vertically the names ofsome colours previously chosen and placed in alphabetical order. The coordinates so defined make it possible to compose a set of coloured squares which, when put together, simply make up the picture. The same approach also ends with the painting of a monochrome canvas in the presence of a person whose name indicates the colour used. Mr. RED, Mrs. PINK, are then invited to sign the minutes on the session. Messrs. Damien and Alberto BLANC (WHITE), more obliging, even agreed to be introduced, then to have their photograph taken, the former balancing on the shoulders of the latter for a composition (in black and white…) judiciously entitled “Blanc sur Blanc” (White on White).

CoulMin_RGB_Low

Couleur minute, 1990 – ordinateur, écran, logiciel / computer, monitor, software

COULEUR-MINUTE belongs to this group of works constructed around a problem using colour as the pretext. Its simplicity helps give a clear idea of the essence of H.G.’s work. It involves a bottom-of-the range Amiga computer, with a monitor continuously showing a random advertisement on the range of 4096 colours available with this sort of machine. Each minute, a colour chosen at random appears, to the exclusion of any other identifying element such as a menu or icon.
No sound accompanies this presentation. So, then, during a handful of seconds, each one of the colours exists on the screen occupying the entire surface and creating a kind of new and ephemeral monochrome picture which constitutes one moment of a computer-guided exhibition. The edge of the screen becomes the frame indicating the pictorial quality of the colour. In a half-light, the photonics mark out, minute after minute, a trembling band of coloured light, uniform but unstable, with low radiation. Its character as an apparition, whence it draws its specific aura is also the result of the brevity of this presence; we have moved from the grain of sand to the more complex metaphor of the sandglass. What we should understand is, I think, that H.G.’s work, under its obvious poetic quality, is first of all a reflection on the linking of the computer tool, nowadays prolonged by all its media appendices (by virtue of the interface), with our understanding of the world. To conclude, this exhibition coldly professes to be what it is; a series of moments whose duration is calibrated and whose sequential order calculated by a random function. In this respect, we can further say that our relationship was sensitive to the result but provided that we do not forget that its origin lies in the performance of the lines of a programme in which it is never a question of our view and that as a result, unlike the humanist thought of Marcel Duchamp, the viewers no longer make the pictures.

Text by Hervé Laurent (in cat. 5ème SIV, St-Gervais, Geneva – 1993)