paris

Laurent Grasso

Valentin

What does it mean to be contemporary? It depends with whom or with what. We are always contemporary in relation to something, to someone. To the Internet, to Viktor Yushchenko, to the war in Iraq, to plasma screens? On this question, there is no “we” that holds up: Born in 1968, I am not the same “contemporary” as my fifth-floor neighbor, born in 1974. And each instant renegotiates this bond of contemporaneity, this relationship to the world—because being contemporary with someone or something entails a distinctive manner of bonding with one’s time.

Sometimes, contemporaneousness is almost synonymous with coincidence. And that’s how I first perceived Laurent Grasso’s solo exhibition at Galerie Chez Valentin in Paris—through what some might dismiss as mere coincidence. It was mid-November when I saw it, and while certain suburbs were ablaze as a result of a long-pent-up social rage, while

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