les presses du réel
Preface – Eva González-Sancho (Director of the Frac Bourgogne)

Individuation processes only occur within a group, just as it's only possible to detect gaps and voids within a set of elements. Gitte Schäfer's work, or rather the addition of layers (formal, historical, cultural) which form it, plays a considerable part in this deductive postulate. In her show at the Frac Bourgogne [Burgundy's Regional Contemporary Art Collection], we got the feeling of gradually drawing closer to a landscape: a series of masts made from various superposed objects rose up both elegantly and mysteriously; those masts stood side by side like trees in one and the same forest. Surrounded by pictures and various assemblages on the wall—they were, incidentally, more or less sculptural—, they formed a set of things as different as they were timeless; a fantastic and laborious grid, at once craftsmanlike and overtly part of the history of the readymade.
A certain involvement comes into play in the wager on the process of developing a work which, to my eye, seems to become optimized in its spatial development, where the display of a host of pieces, in turn composite, helps to fully savour the work's wealth. For all this, the presentation of Gitte Schäfer's work has not, to date, radicalized the intent of the grouping. At times her masts and numerous other pieces have been the object of a “group” show, at others they have been “individualized” to offer another form of contemplation, more typified, and probably more affective, exclusive and personal. In this sense, the work raises the issue of our reading thereof within a private environment and within the context of a more overall and, in addition, public presentation—an issue left deliberately open-ended by the artist, it being up to everyone to appraise its scope...
Beyond this initial point (the public or private, group or solo presentation of Gitte Schäfer's work), it is probably also a question of our own way of looking at art and our objects of desire: their history, the spaces upon which our eyes alight (the West, Asia, Africa, or elsewhere), our social and cultural condition as onlooker and beholder, as if to better underscore the admixture of cultures high and low, of the art world, and of the realm of craftsmanship, free of judgement and condescension. A sort of generosity surges up from the artist's work because, by being precise and precious, each object can be ours. This publication— like all the artist's oeuvre—is also generous in the viewpoints and interpretations it offers us. It has been put together like a tool of discovery and knowledge, with the aim that our adult way of seeing things will be beguiled by the curiosity and wonderment bestirred.

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