Olivier Zahm

  • Jorge Molder

    In different ways, Joseph Conrad is the common point of reference for Jorge Molder’s two exhibitions and the corresponding books. The book The Secret Agent, 1991—its title taken from the Conrad novel—is a sequence of 51 black and white photographs, of which a set was exhibited at the Galeria Cómicos/Luis Serpa. At the same time, the ministry of finance exhibited a series of photographs taken from a set of 31 that, accompanied by a text by Jacques Dam, constituted the volume dedicated to Conrad in the collection Lieux de l’écrit (Places of writing, 1991).

    External cultural referents, particularly

  • Rainer Ganahl

    At the very moment when Europe is in the throes of ideological and political reevaluation (problems with minorities, ethnic differences, Yugoslavia, the formation of the European Community, etc.), Rainer Ganahl put together a three-part exhibition, “3 TIMES, 3 WEEKS,” including the work of Peter Fend, Sylvia Kolbowski, and himself, on the question of the production of space. His objective as both curator and artist was to present recent formalist conceptual practices and to problematize the question of power. From this point of view, it was the exhibition itself that held our attention. The

  • Fareed Armaly

    Contemporary art no longer possesses a liberating quality, but, rather, speaks self-reflexively of affiliations and interests particular to the artistic community. If the polemic generated by Fareed Armaly’s exhibition “CONTACT,” 1992, is any indication, for an artist to question this kind of artistic production without conforming to it (like Hans Haacke and Philippe Thomas)for him to construct a far-reaching meditation on the modes of cultural production—is clearly unacceptable. Armaly refuses to play the ritual games of the art world. This refusal is first signaled by the heading “No-opening”

  • Chuck Nanney

    For some time now Chuck Nanney has been making huge accumulations of secondhand and vintage garments that function as repositories of stories, affects, and desires. It wasn’t until his recent show, however, that he exposed this aspect of his work. Here, in a series of photographic self-portraits in drag, we find all the poses, hand gestures, and hairstyles associated with the fashion model.

    As Robert Nickas explains in the catalogue, the artist’s taste for transvestism goes back to his childhood : “When Chuck Nanney was a young boy, he and his brother Dennis invented a game for themselves called

  • Patrick Van Caeckenbergh

    By turns magician, anthropologist, teller of folktales, taxonomist of heteroclite bodies of knowledge, and brain specialist, Patrick van Caeckenbergh is a polymorphous figure, who, by radicalizing his own subjective position, inoculates contemporary art with the vitriol of his personal fictions, dissolving not only our received ideas and certitudes but the very habits of mind that produce them.

    Although one could cite the tradition of Belgian Surrealism, along with Aesop’s fables and Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Marcel Broodthaers’ symbolism, the classificatory obsessions of Georges Pérec, and Flaubert’s

  • Walravens

    The history of the monochrome has never ceased to cause gnashing of teeth among those who attempt to historicize it (as if, in film, black and white had vanished with the appearance of color). Since 1965, Walravens has been working at delivering color from the history of art, that is, from the very idea of the monochrome, or, to put it another way, from its ideal solitude. His gesture could thus be said to populate the solitude with color.

    He does so first by employing a range of colors that he fabricates both for his own work and for an industrial concern (Tollens). The original colors are then

  • Nancy Dwyer

    Is it more apparent from Paris that Nancy Dwyer’s sculpture is as much a product of rap culture as it is an extension of recent media art? She owes more to Public Enemy’s lyrics than to Ed Ruscha’s deployment of found language. It is particularly evident from this exhibition that Dwyer’s visual vocabulary does not constitute a simulation or a critical appropriation—that it is in no way a deconstruction of the language of the mass media. Her speech comes directly out of the hard-core culture of conflict that gives the words a new power.

    This is a culture that does not make the word into a

  • Véronique Joumard

    Véronique Joumard focuses her attention on energy, electricity, and light, using all the appliances and hardware associated with this domestic universe: heating-resistors, light bulbs, neon tubes, electric wires, extension cords, and switches. What interests her is immaterial flux, that is, the way in which currents and energy (even spiritual energy in the form of drives and impulses) move through our daily environment.

    Joumard’s first exhibition is little more than a clever reprise of the first years of her studies—a sampling of the artist’s principal pieces, demonstrating the range of media

  • Jean-Luc Vilmouth

    On the heels of his beautiful intervention at the Lyons Biennale, Jean-Luc Vilmouth once again surprises us, this time with a retrospective in the form of an inventory of his procedures and investigations: “nature,” “habiter” (inhabiting), “interaction,” “outils” (tools), and “histoires” (stories).

    When he is asked to define his practice, Vilmouth answers laconically, “I am a friend of objects,” rather than holding forth with respect to his extension of the strategy of the readymade. By passing for a “sculptor,” he enables objects quietly to exact a subtle revenge—a revenge against the order of

  • Philippe Thomas

    Philippe Thomas presents us with an occasion to focus on an artist who plays hide-and-seek with his identity, dissembling behind Les readymade appartiennent à tout le monde (Readymades belong to everyone), a fictive international agency. Thomas looks for “characters” to cast in his art history: “The point is to seduce the art-lover or the art professional, so as to leave his name definitively associated with a work awaiting only him and his signature in order to become a reality.” Thomas thus proposes that the purchaser appropriate the work by signing in his stead.

    Aware that the simulation of

  • Allen Ruppersberg

    Allen Ruppersberg’s autobiographical Conceptualism tracks his day-to-day life, without a trace of nostalgia for the metaphysics of self. It is in the elimination of its autonomy that the subject fears for itself, not based on an idealism whereby experience, in its immediacy, would rush in to fill the gap, but, rather, with respect to the mediation of multiple fictions, narratives, and stories that captivate the subject. Ruppersberg’s “Me” is a nomadic passage from narrative to narrative, a transference between life and fiction. Conceptual art is here a way of turning literature against the mythic

  • Marylène Negro

    Among the new generation of artists who have emerged in France over the past five years, Marylène Negro is unique in that she rejects both the object and the spectacle. Cold and experimental, her work does not posit fictional situations, rather, it sets forth procedures of observation. It consists most often of a light table and a magnifying glass, with which one may examine a profusion of transparencies. The image is thus objectified, as a body to be manipulated and examined, multiplying itself in metastasis. But what Negro gives as reference are not images so much as linguistic and taxonomic