International 2011 Archives
Stories of A, Works from La Coleccion Jumex
Museo Amparo, Mexico.
"When older beliefs have lost their grip on imagination—and their hold was always there rather than upon reason…" John Dewey, Art as Experience (1934)
Like the love stories celebrated in song by French duo Les Rita Mitsouko, animal stories, as a rule, turn out badly. History has been repeating itself with great precision since time began: predators and victims, endlessly, without truce or respite.
Stories of A does not set out to answer the question—so often put but never resolved—of what distinguishes man from animals. Animals are considered as lacking a conscience and the capacity to reason; as living solely in the present, afflicted with a kind of total, genetic-
Listening to the news from the inhabited world, we sometimes doubt man's capacity to reason. Or, to put it another way, the reason he lays claim to can often seem pretty unreasonable. As for conscience, let's face it: to each his own.
Man is a wolf for man, goes one song.
Who Killed Bambi?, asks another.
In flight from hassles and inner torment, littérateurs, poets and other tellers of tales, at certain periods and under certain regimes, have resorted to animal metaphors in recounting the deeds of their fellow men. Jean de la Fontaine and his fables are maybe one of the most explicit examples. More recently, in his novel Wagahai wa, neko de aru ("I Am a Cat"), serialized in the literary magazine Hotogisu in 1905–06, Natsume Soseki recounts the weirdness of human life as seen through the eyes of a cat. And of course the Disney catalog is simply seething with anthropomorphized beasties.
Stories of A: ten stories fashioned by eleven artists, ten stories in which animals both innocent and cruel, the masks they assign us and certain shared attitudes dictated by necessity produce certain revelations.
It was in the library of the London Alpine Club that Marine Hugonnier came upon Claudia Bell and John Lyall's The Accelerated Sublime: Landscape, Tourism, and Identity (2002), a book urging the closing of the world's most significant tourist sites. This discovery was the starting point for her film The Last Tour, whose conceit is that the region around Mont Cervin (for the French), Monte Cervino (for the Italians) and Matterhorn (for the German Swiss)—the Matterhorn National Park, in other words—has taken the Bell and Lyall tip and become a no-
In the hope that these Stories of A are not going to dissipate their energies pointlessly in some symbolic or totemic fixation, the ten narratives come together in reciprocal accord and, God willing, will ensure that in the Baudelairian sense "perfumes, sounds and colors correspond."
Michel Blancsubé, Curator
Installation 9 July -
© ArtCatalyse International / Marika Prévosto 2012. All Rights Reserved
Michel François, Pas tomber (gratification immédiate), 1995. Clay field and video (approx. 6 mn)