Perrotin gallery is pleased to host an exhibition of the artistic collective Information Fiction Publicité on the occasion of the publication of their monograph by the Presses du Reel / Editions Perrotin. Following their solo shows at the MAMCO in Genève (2010) and at the MACVAL in Vitry sur Seine (2012), this exhibition will highligt historical works.
Created in 1984 by Jean-François Brun, Dominique Pasqualini and Philippe Thomas, IFP, the collective worked until 1994 (in 1985 Philippe Thomas quit the collective, embarking on a career of his own). Emmanuel Perrotin met Jean-François Brun and Dominique Pasqualini at the end of the eighties. One of his first exhibition was dedicated to IFP when his gallery was settled in his appartment, rue de Turbigo (1992). Between agency, brand and artistic collective, IFP questions the authorship of an artwork : Their works – in which clouds appear as a recurring motif – are never signed and thus escape the tyranny of the name. The collective exerted considerable influence, especially for their thinking on and deconstruction of the concepts of representation, exhibition, dissemination and the mediatisation of art.
“This is an embleme, but it’s also eventually a diagnostic of what is art, our definition of art in general, namely art is about information, fiction and publicity. And this applies both for a 14th century retable, a Poussin and a Warhol” Essentially preoccupied with the social space where public advertising totally blurs into the private life of the individual, and, perhaps more importantly, the (then) extremely fashionable issues of authorship, the work consists largely of three parts: their logo (featured on sculptures and light boxes); images of the sky; and advertising in various forms.
Grande Surface (1987-2010), is a vast billboard-size, green monochrome wall painting. At the bottom right corner of the painting is located the collection’s logo in white, next to a fold out seat, as in a movie theater, upon which a single viewer could sit and contemplate the sprawling frieze of re-contextualized, public imagery before them, while activating, for the benefit of other viewers, the field of green directly behind them. Together, the two offered a rather wry commentary on Duchamp’s famous observation that the viewer completes, who in this case, is literally instrumentalized by the work in order to achieve said completion. Le plot (1985), seems, at least in theory, to invite a similarly instrumental engagement/exploitation. These are basically small, round concrete plinths, whose center’s featured mechanically rotating, metal plates, upon which is painted the collective’s logo.
Difficult not to imagine a single viewer obediently standing on one and, no doubt, expressionlessly, rotating like a human sculpture. The motif that dominates the exhibition – the sky – (the group’s signature image) just happened to be the most winsome motif of the exhibition. Parceled up into light boxes, on folding partitions, and in a film, the presence of the sky suffuses the spaces with an extraordinary and inhuman, as in emotionless calm. Ciel, station (1988), an overhead series of ten light boxes with images of cloud spattered skies, spaced apart at symmetrical intervals. Evocative of either a train window or say, a film strip, the installation is cause, despite its elegant beauty, for a highly unnatural feeling. One had the sense that the sky, and any romantic significations normally associated with it, had been deprived of any content whatsoever, rendered completely vacant, like a screensaver.But it wasn’t until seeing a vertical, human-sized light box of the sky, and after seeing a few images of inhuman spaces such as a desertscape and a moonscape pasted directly unto the wall, that a preoccupation with a colonization of space begin to assert itself. Indeed, the light boxes of the sky themselves testified to the commodification of the one thing that would seem to put up an indomitable resistance to being packaged and sold. And yet here it is, streamlined into luminous and entrancing segments of its own representation. Whether or not such a critique was initially part of their project is hard to say– they were notoriously uncommitted to any critical position, aside from that of abjuring traditional notions of authorship. That said, if time has potentially made a subtle critique of commodification within the work more apparent, then one other latent aspect becomes even more apparent than that: the memento mori. For what do these pure, artificial representations (preservations) point to other than the extinction of that to which they refer? Granted, these were made at the end of the Cold War, post Soylent Green (1973), and above all, post Blade Runner (1982), but the specter of ecological catastrophe, now psychically, culturally and historically pushing down on them, has become a thoroughgoing box office hit, not to mention an imminent reality.
However, unlike their spectacular Hollywood counterparts, the sense of doom they both compactly and vastly invoke is wrapped in a peaceful and impenetrable silence.
Except form the text “Information Fiction Publicité . L’épreuve du jour”, published in the online supplement of Kaléidoscope Magazine, February 2011 Following IFP’s Japanese residency at Villa Kujoyama (Kyoto), in 1992, Jean-François Brun travelled extensively around Asia (India, China, Japan) while conceiving works of art for public sites. The practice he established from 1995 onwards as a critique of the contemporary condition involved various kinds of interventions including the creation of poetic situations (Action Timing, Tokyo, 1999; Digital Stage, Fukuoka, 2001; L’ouverture du présent, Paris, 2005), organising debates (Inventer le présent, Toulouse, 2006; La sécurité totale, Fleurance, 2008; Auteurs de vues, Lectoure, 2012), and setting up ‘ecosophical platforms’ (La terre est la commune, 2000; Le Jardin des Frondaisons, 2011; Maîtresjardiniers, 2012).
Since 1994, Dominique Pasqualini has conceived several exhibitions, including ‘Collision avec hybrides instruments’ (1996), ‘Les trois îles’ (1997) and ‘Les yeux rouges’ (1997). He makes films and videos, notably what he calls digital versatile displays. In 2002 he set up the École Média Art Fructidor, which he directs, and in 2003 he created the Motion Method Memory production platform. He conceives and produces arts performances, notably Ça ou rien (No commedia) (Théâtre des Amandiers, Festival d’Automne, 2004), Davidantin [with guitar] (Chapelle des Récollets, 2006) and Peindre une toile tendue sur [mouvement] (INHA, 2008). He is an author, designer and editor whose books include Dummy Airbag Test (1995) and Le Temps du thé (1999). In 2008 he became editor of the MMM collection at les presses du réel.