Palais de Tokyo


All of the above

18 october - 31 december 2011

As a way of mapping the artist’s brain, desires, and influences, offering carte blanche to an artist provides the opportunity to approach the creative process and the forging of aesthetic links from a novel angle. ALL OF THE ABOVE is the rerun in reverse of “none of the above”, an idiomatic expression, and the title of an earlier curatorship of an exhibition by the artist at the Swiss Institute in New York in 2004. Each of the works was distinguished by its extremely small size, or even its immaterial nature. From NONE OF THE ABOVE to ALL OF THE ABOVE, invisibility gives way to photogenic quality.
As the Palais de Tokyo is involved in building work throughout 2011, artists are being invited to devise an exhibition in the former auditorium, transformed in turn into a building site, a theater and a scientific laboratory. Each of them had used a platform which was first architectural, then theatrical, then scientific. John M Armleder in his turn has decided to use this platform in the manner of a stage and invites around 20 artists to present a work. Whatever the nature of the works (painting, sculpture, video), placed on this stage they are subject to a frontal viewpoint and a visual superimposition making the whole effect oscillate between chaotic entanglements, groundbreaking meetings, and mixtures of genres.
ALL OF THE ABOVE overturns a logic that Marc-Olivier Wahler deliberately initiated at the Palais de Tokyo which in the course of his program scheduling has taken us from the super-visible to disappearance, by way of stealthiness. The arrangement of this project likewise bulldozes the very foundations of exhibiting, namely the moving body and the unmoving eye: which only goes to prove that only John M Armleder was a suitable candidate to bring the cycle 2006-2011 to a close – completing the circle.


The Art Freaks

8 july - 31 december 11

The disparate work of Olaf Breuning draws on the visual codes of mass culture. He mixes origins, confronts universes, to invent a unique aesthetic in which the bizarre mingles with humor. All his art thus oscillates between turmoil and distance. His effects are not use truly special: the wigs, disguises, hairpieces and make-up seem to affirm their failure to dress up reality and get it right.
The Art Freaks comes into the context of the artist’s recent research into his relationship to the history of modern and contemporary art, and is deployed in space via some fifteen banners suspended from the ceiling. On each of these pennants a photograph is printed showing us a person whose body is painted in the manner of a keynote artist (Francis Bacon, Louise Bourgeois, Damien Hirst, On Kawara, Yves Klein, Jackson Pollock, Vincent Van Gogh, Andy Warhol…). Thus Olaf Breuning picks up on a practice, that of body painting, often verging on bad taste, and gives it something of an artistic added value. Aiming at a sort of paradoxical perfection of the fake, these flags question our relationship to these famous images and the aesthetic engendered by their reproducibility. If at first we think we are in the presence of a cliché corresponding to what we know, a series of small details – tweaked, as it were – come and undermine that impression: we then start doubting our own critical faculty.

[1970] Born in Switzerland, lives and works in New York