les presses du réel


Vincent Pécoil
(excerpt, p. 95)

Pierre Vadi describes his exhibitions as kinds of hotels, where the works are the guests. They stay for a while, then move on, waiting for the next invitation. Some of them come with their families, others alone. The people in a hotel are not a community, but rather a disparate group of people with little in common: a shopping trolley, some coconuts, a rope, some architectural models, sky maps, a communion wafer, a heap of sugar.
The works are travellers, not only foreign to the spaces where they are installed, but also to each other. Yet this very foreignness is what, in the end, creates a bond between them, or at leads the viewer to suspect that there is some invisible thread connecting them across the various spaces they inhabit. As the artist recently wrote for a public presentation of his work in his Geneva studio, “My space both unites and scatters objects whose relation to each other is all the more durable since all they apparently do is reflect constantly on their own existence.” The works are “ just passing through,” with no fixed home; their place in time is similarly uncertain. Some of the forms are self-evidently our contemporaries, reproducing familiar objects, while others seem to be forwardlooking vestiges or futurist shapes thrown up by the past. Add the fact that some of the objects appear to be incomplete, or that their role and function seem to belong to a culture that is not our own, and the exhibition appears on occasion to become an archaeological dig, with recently recovered objects arranged on the floor. This was particularly true of the exhibition Alcaline Earth (Dijon, 2009), with its works entitled Fils in the form of small mummified animals, the various elements of Mission moderne, the soft toys of Wo Es war, soll Ich werden, the studies of the San Francisco de Asis Mission Church and of Mendelsohn's Einsteinturm, and the books cast in concrete. All these works shared a resemblance with fossilised remains.
Most of Pierre Vadi's pieces are fairly small and are placed directly on the floor. The exhibitions take place in horizontal space, giving the visitor the impression of an aerial view. This is not the only way the space is organised, however: partitions, barriers, chains, and hanging sculptures punctuate the layout of the works on the floor, or frame them, in the case of the painted partitions, like the edges of the page frame the text. Walking through one of Pierre Vadi's exhibitions puts the visitor in mind of one of those dreams we all have where we are flying over an expanse of space, or a child's playful imagination where the world is reduced in scale and becomes a toy in his hands.

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