Paris

Mark Geffriaud, The light that moves against the wind, 2011, blown-glass lenses filled with water, light, paper, shelves. Installation view.

Mark Geffriaud, The light that moves against the wind, 2011, blown-glass lenses filled with water, light, paper, shelves. Installation view.

Mark Geffriaud

Mark Geffriaud, The light that moves against the wind, 2011, blown-glass lenses filled with water, light, paper, shelves. Installation view.

Mark Geffriaud triggered an explosion of references with the extremely long title of his exhibition, which, in its abbreviated version, reads, “All that is said is true, all the time, all the time . . . on October 26th.” Its opening lines were appropriated from a poem by musician and performance artist Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, to which Geffriaud appended the announcement of the French release date of Marie Losier’s 2011 film about him, The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye, which documents P-Orridge’s and his second wife Lady Jaye’s manipulation of their bodies in order to become a single “pandrogynous” being. This is a decidedly more carnal experiment with doubling and displacement than Geffriaud ventures in his own work. But the urgency of his insistence on encounter and exchange seems equal.

In the gallery’s main room, shrouded to create the effect of a cavernous space, Geffriaud created a mesmerizing scene of light, liquid, paper, and air. Four glass lenses, each of which the artist had blown with a single breath, were sparsely arranged on a simple set of shelves and filled to the brim with water. A single bulb illuminated the sculptures against a diaphanous paper backdrop that hung from the ceiling behind the almost shrinelike display. The visitor’s own breath and movements around the work stirred the thin paper, causing a delicate tangle of brightness and shadow to dance across its almost transparent surface. The water-filled glass torqued spirals of light and shadow, at moments acting as a prism, extracting rays of blue. The work, The light that moves against the wind, 2011, takes its title from the filmmaker Hollis Frampton’s “pseudo-anthropological” text “A Stipulation of Terms from Maternal Hopi”; the phrase is Frampton’s proposed translation of an invented cluster of black and red glyphs.

Geffriaud’s Shelter, 2011–, is an ongoing project that involves the realization of elements of an imagined house for himself. At the beginning of the exhibition, the work was just a few raw wooden boards bound around the base of one of the gallery’s white columns. Over the next several weeks, the construction unfolded as additional planks opened like the petals of a flower, up and away from the column. An upper level of flooring, a kind of open terrace, was in place by the end of the show. Throughout, an eight-by-ten-inch piece of paper that read A CONVERSATION FROM A BALCONY was pasted on the wall high above the evolving sculpture, referring to a conversational performance with curator Francesco Pedraglio that was supposed to close the show—an event that, in the end, did not take place. Geffriaud’s sculptural work is catalyzed not only by the wide array of references he invokes, but also by active collaborations. On the night of the opening, Geffriaud and curator Géraldine Longueville performed the artist’s work Nouvelle réfutation du temps (A New Refutation of Time), 2010, simultaneously reading the two versions of an essay of this title by Jorge Luis Borges, from 1944 and 1946, their texts veering apart and then at moments coming almost perfectly back together again.

Cyrus, 2009, the third and final work in the show, consists of an object Geffriaud “stole” three years ago from fellow artist Eric Stephany. The two agreed that this Geffriaud could keep the purloined item until Stephany realized what exactly had been taken. Geffriaud has presented this work in other contexts, but for show, gallery director Nathalie Boutin was charged with the object’s care. Visitors to the exhibition were made aware of this work only through the communication of its title in the press release (the precise nature of the object was left unannounced). Meanwhile, Boutin became inseparable from her artist’s (appropriated) work; she kept it in her pocket for the seven-week run—even taking it with her to Art Basel Miami Beach. In this work, Geffriaud orchestrated the gallerist’s intimate association with the mysterious object, a relationship that echoes P-Orridge and Lady Jaye’s desired fusion.

Lillian Davies