Critics’ Picks

Quelqu'un par terre (Someone on the Ground), 2005–2006. Installation view.

Quelqu'un par terre (Someone on the Ground), 2005–2006. Installation view.


Dominique Petitgand

gb agency
18 rue des 4 Fils
December 2, 2006–January 20, 2007

In Quelqu’un par terre (Someone on the Ground), 2005–2006, Dominique Petitgand creates a play of connections, separations, and superimpositions between noise, voice, and text. The exhibition consists of a single installation piece that occupies four spaces in the gallery. A number of loudspeakers that transmit metallic noises in a steady rhythm are installed in one brightly lit room. In an adjacent space, a monitor displays an English-language text at a synchronized pace: Fragmentary phrases evoke a possible event or story (“it’ll pass / don’t worry / it’s fine / it’s forgotten”). Yet another space is dark and populated only by a single loudspeaker, which projects the voices of a small boy and two women reading the same phrases. The voices are synchronized with the noises and the text, but their words are in French (the monitor displays translations of their improvised and cut-up speech). From within this space, the monitor cannot be seen, but the sharp, metallic sounds are clearly heard. In each room, then, events in another can be perceived, yet nowhere can one perceive clearly the entire piece at once. To move through the installation is to open and close connections between written and spoken words, between languages and sounds. Sometimes they translate, sometimes they do not, but whichever the case, they construct a complex, open-ended sonorous and linguistic whole: To realize how the different elements in this exhibition belong together is to understand that they cannot be made to cohere.