Critics’ Picks

View of “Object reference not set to an instance of an object,” 2014. From left: A Kassen, The color of things (accordion), 2014.


“La référence d’objet n’est pas définie à une instance d’un objet”

Galerie Édouard-Manet | Ecole municipale des Beaux-arts
3, place Jean-Grandel
November 28 - January 17

An awkwardly translated error message from a programming language such as C++ or Java serves as the ontological thrust and title of this exhibition. “La référence d’objet n’est pas définie à une instance d’un objet” offers a linguistic path in the chase after the shifting contours and the abiding contradiction in the status of objects. Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys’s photographic series “Objects as Friends,” 2011, is a deadpan mash-up of quotidian items, while real-life couple Sarah Tritz and Maxime Thieffine explore intimacy as a ruse for pairings of sculptural paintings and painterly sculptures. The collective A Kassen’s The color of things (accordion), 2014, displays the pulverized contents of the titular instrument glued onto the wall next to a photograph documenting its former self.

Neïl Beloufa’s steel structures are mounted with artifacts such as a flip phone or a carved-wood bicycle seat in an adroit armature of the stuff of contemporary life, while Pierre Paulin’s video Nobody’s tears, 2014, features the graphic background shown during character transfigurations in the late-’80s Japanese anime series Saint Seiya, set to dulcet piano music. This sound track is also recorded on vinyl held in its own plastic bag depicting a freeze-frame from the video. Elsewhere, Robert Breer’s final film, What Goes Up, 2003, is a symphony of photographs and stop-motion animation—a eulogy to a lifetime of art, family, and victuals. Yet it is perhaps the fictional Cheryl Rellik, whose YouTube channel URL is advertised on a poster by Angharad Williams and Richard Sides, that pushes us closest to the present morass of digital consciousness. A mystery unfolds online—a murder perhaps—across four uploaded videos on her channel as our protean desires confront, perhaps, the true nature of objects, that of curiosity’s deep end.