Philippe Thomas

Claire Burrus

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 advertising is a worn-out artistic strategy, Thomas looks to art history for other paradigms to exploit. From this perspective, he elaborates an esthetics of reception, the first instance of which was Feux pâles (Pale fires, 1990), the exhibition at the Musée d’Art Contemporain in Bordeaux for which

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