Critics’ Picks

Laurent Montaron, Memory, 2016, super 16-mm film, color, sound, 3 minutes, 3 seconds.

Laurent Montaron, Memory, 2016, super 16-mm film, color, sound, 3 minutes, 3 seconds.


Laurent Montaron

Triple V
5 rue du Mail
November 24, 2016–January 12, 2017

One encounters Laurent Montaron’s Radio (all works 2016) in the gallery’s antechamber: From a SONY CRF-230 B with three antennae, a voice speculates on the power of picking up electrical waves and hearing songs. The antennae are activated by a transmitter connected by copper thread to a yellow kite floating high in the back of the exhibition. The film Compass Experiment replicates a magic trick by media personality and self-proclaimed telepath Uri Geller. Here, a pair of hands demonstrating human magnetism moves a compass—without ever touching it—on a mirrored, translucent table: Fingers point with intent, and the needle shifts. Logic continues to crumble with Revision Theory of Truth, a trio of nearly identical photographs showing a man at a light table with drafting equipment, in deep concentration, writing a statement that varies slightly with each image.

In the film Memory—which features a percussive-jazz-like composition by the artist—a 1970s IBM Memory Typewriter comes to life in an attic filled with boxes, cobwebs, and a squashed Scrabble game. IBM’s machine, a sort of protocomputer, allowed typed material to be stored and revised. Suddenly, we see a text emerging: “I possess the capacity of constructing languages in which every sense can be expressed without having an idea how and what each word means.” Shots focusing on the contraption’s typeball and other internal mechanisms in motion are juxtaposed with static views of its now-antiquated keyboard. Challenging the efficacy of knowledge, observation, and technology, the artist highlights that “truth” is always more slippery than we realize.