Rejection, fascination, meditation or contemplation, as many attitudes that generates the face to face with artwork and that all induce the notion of distance. Of particular importance in the areas of critical (1) or writing (2), the "proper distance" is here applied to the artwork. If this notion marks for Roland Barthes the need to find a distance where the purpose become "intelligible", it accentuates here this delicate balance created between the understanding of the work and its aesthetic.
The exhibition “A distance convenable”, by confronting the formats and techniques, playing with emotions, on the senses and perspectives, relies on the report of proximity or distance that the visitor maintains with the work of art. In his discovery of the artwork, the eye oscillates between two distances, one that allows it to apreciate the overall composition, its aesthetics and one where he discerns and analyzes at the closer the technique. The purpose of the work is more or less "visible" depending on distance but also on the time of the gaze. Sometimes as a ballet, the dance of visitors around the works is slight and fleeting. Eachone on its own way, scans and the takes a step back at work, subconsciously expressing this search for an ideal distance, where the work will be open to emotion and understanding.
Chosen for their power of attraction, for their technicity (embossing, accidents, details, materials used) as well as for the scope of their meaning, the works presented are not given immediately to understanding and require this "suitable distance ". While using this power of attraction, artists play with a kind of distancing so that the scope and reflective content of their work can be seen by the audience. This distance is suggested by many details, a whole set of proportionalities, lines and perspectives that, with subtlety, induces a notion of ideal distance with the viewer.
By distancing the viewer at a suitable distance, the work may be included in the currents of thought of his time. If the drop is too large, the viewer keeps a distance with the work, puts in the context of a general nature of art. It loses its uniqueness between technology and aesthetics, it becomes mere entertainment. The notion of distance is important as it raises the question of perception and beyond the reception of the work which is also that of our relation to the world.
1 "The criticism is a matter of suitable distance. It is at home in a world where this are the perspectives and optics that import and where it is still possible to adopt a point of view.", Walter Benjamin, One-Way Paris, 10/18, p.168
2 In his seminar on love speech, Roland Barthes cites the parable of the porcupines of Schopenhauer resumed by Freud in psychoanalysis Essays, ed. Payot, p.112: "One day of a glacial winter, porcupines of a herd tightened against each other to protect themselves against the cold by the reciprocal heat. But painfully embarrassed by the spines, they soon began to diverge from each other again. Forced to close again because of persistent cold, they felt again the unpleasant work of quills and these alternatives reconciliation and remoteness lasted until they found a suitable distance where they felt safe from evils. "