To make, to make yourself and to unmake yourself. Brave Tania Bruguera

Le Beau Vice
Élisabeth Lebovici

From: Lebovici,Élisabeth. “Faire, se faire et se défaire. Brava Tania Bruguera…,” Le Beau Vice, (illust.)

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To make, to make yourself and to unmake yourself. Brave Tania Bruguera…

Élisabeth Lebovici

The basement, frequently a sort of no (wo)man’s land at the Pompidou Center, has become a happy brothel. Well, not that much! Only part of the “Forum minus one” overflows with materials for audiovisual exhibition, set in order in metal shelves or, like the enormous flat screen, simply placed on a pallet. The entire stock of an old shop selling TV sets, through whose windows or in its show hall passersby used to see the images on the screen, now seems to be a demonstration. Actually, in this large hall there is no attempt at recounting the genesis, the “studio,” as is the case in many works of artists who take part in a piece of work: this one the casting, that one the decors, the other one film and TV production.

What is shown here, in this space for storage, is the shop, that is, the reproducibility. Without windows. Without ornaments.

Therefore, the artist says, this is not an exhibition, at least not like others, since she defined her project IP Détournement (IP = Intellectual Property, we know the address) as a “reassessment, on the basis of the New Media Collection at the National Museum of Modern Art, of the forms of work broadcasting, reception and appropriation.”

What happens is the following: videos and DVDs of the artists we see in monitors or small screens are reproduced, with the consent of those who made them, in many copies and sold each at 1 euro outside the Center. Every day new CDs are provided in plastic covers. When we arrive, the first thing we see are these stalls where we find names surprising for those who do not know what is taking place: Akram Zaatari, Tom Kalin, Yto Barrada, Peggy Awesh…

The artists who made them – in a word, the authors –for a week relinquish their rights which generally have to do with their function as authors. The museum does likewise, since these are titles from their audiovisual collection (of which, to a large extent, Christina Van Assche is the author too) intercepted through their Rendez-vous du Forum service, with the backing of the museum cultural center which invited the artist. There is also a small team that takes care of everything in the forum and accompanies Tania in the Fine Arts School in Paris… Here the chain, or perhaps the match, is remade, to show that and those implied by history.

The names of those who answered the petitions by Tania Bruguera and her temporary sidekicks are also there as testified by the many letters, exhibited one next to the other, always in the Center’s basement. Some messages are enthusiastic: “Go on!” Others analyze in more detail the commitment represented by the fact that their works bought by the institution are reproduced in a large quantity for a minimum price. Others, like that by Thomas Hirschhorn, are wonderful. Also those who did not say yes are present. In this case, their identity was not revealed.

Apart from the pleasure of recovering these works to put them to use (as a form of liberating their usage value), the movement of images that thus takes place does away with any autographic recovery of the allographic condition of these works and examines, over and above the logic on which present exhibitions of art objects are based, something much more prosaic: the suddenly tense equivalence with the daily lives on our screens in which every day, not to say every hour, we see something, a film, a clip, a sequence, made with second, third, umpteenth generation… Brave Tania MEETING WITH TANIA BRUGUERA ON SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 12 AT 5:00 PM. FORUM -1