Palais #20

Jean de Loisy
(p. 3)

In the book of collected writings entitled Écrire les expositions [Writing Exhibitions], Harald Szeemann suggested that exhibitions should be conceived in the way that a sentence is composed. Certainly he was highlighting in this way the capacity of an exhibition to tell a story or support a theory, to be born out of an encounter or exemplify a particular standpoint. However, the phrasing of an exhibition is also signified here: that way in which words, syntagmas and sounds succeed one another to create a rhythm—dynamic or meditative, regular or halting—that produces a melody, an emotion, a climate, influencing the way in which we listen to spoken words, read a text or visit an exhibition. Indeed, how does one transpose this to an exhibition? How does one surprise with the attack of the opening artwork, enter more deeply into the meaning with the second piece, and create a silence with the third? How does one appease the mental excitement thus aroused with the next piece while maintaining the link between artworks through a masterful glissando and minding the relation of each artwork to its neighbor? And in such a way that, from one piece to the next, the viewer penetrates little by little through a series of inflections into the narrative without this narrative ever imposing itself over the deeper meaning of the artworks and the artists' intentions? How does one enable the melody to remain perceptible in the fragile thread that gently stitches together the associations in the exhibition? If the strain were to be interrupted, this exercise in enchantment that plunges the visitor into an exploration of theirself could not take place. Like a deep sea diver suddenly cut off from their oxygen source, returning to the surface would then be imperative and the exploration at an end. But any exhibition requires its “coins porte-bonheur,” as Marcel Duchamp has written, and there are many such corners in the Palais de Tokyo. In this vast experimental laboratory, artists and curators invent new phrasings. Philippe Parreno, Thomas Hirschhorn, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Georges Didi-Huberman have each proposed their particular intonations and never before imagined ways of making an exhibition. During this new season, in addition to the Modules – Fondation Pierre Berger – Yves Saint Laurent invented by young artists and to Shahryar Nashat's exhibition, three stories are told. An exploration of China by Jo-ey Tang, the fusion of times, past, present and future, invented by David Maljković, and a plunge deep within ourselves with the exhibition “Inside.” Three fables, three modes of writing and their phrasing, three sentences.

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