les presses du réel

Palais #16

Jean de Loisy
President of the Palais de Tokyo
(p. 16)

I have struck, do you realize, incredible Floridas.” I have often returned to those verses, to the senseless wandering of Rimbaud's drunken boat, seeing, in this poet's journey, the path itself of the artist embarked upon the arduous adventure of creation. Who hasn't desired to participate in this voyage, to come as close as possible to the work while it is being created? To witness this investigation that leads the author and the spectator through perilous seafaring, towards shapes and ideas never before articulated? Who wouldn't want to be a passenger, even a stowaway, on this quest that inspired the adventurer to write: “I have seen archipelagos of stars! and islands / Whose delirious skies are open to the sailor.”
The amateur who has chosen to develop a passion for contemporary art is necessarily brought very near these developing languages, and is thus equipped to reach as of yet unchartered territories. The explorer's progress can be difficult. Occasionally, as Rimbaud has written, “The Dawns are heartbreaking.” But the journey itself is uplifting, a journey that will be explored during this season devoted to the “imagination adrift.” One will witness the progression of the artist's thought, observe the circumstances of his/her invention, discover the interval between the idea and its materialization, see the artist become accustomed to his/her own discoveries, to this “I-know-not-what that by fortune I may reach,” and draw conclusions from them.
Examining as closely as possible the creative act and its originators, and together with them, this issue of the magazine PALAIS develops and enriches the exhibition program devoted to this staging, conducted by the artists themselves, of the trail of their thought. Prominent figures such as Fabrice Hyber; artists discovered by our own team, such as the exceptional Damir Očko; a daring explorer of new forms such as Neïl Beloufa; Boris Groys' visual analysis of the photographic work of Alexandre Kojève; Ryan Gander's “bibliothèque d'artiste”; works by Helen Marten and by Markus Schinwald commissioned by the Palais de Tokyo; as well as international artists brought together by Julien Fronsacq for the exhibition “Imagination Adrift.” We hear the words of these bold navigators in this issue, words that echo now under the roofs, the cupolas, the columns of this immense Palais that has welcomed, for the past ten years, the most vivid, free and exciting experiences in contemporary art.

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