The Watchmen, the Liars, the Dreamers (Concrete Erudition 3)

Monument to Transformation in Le Plateau

Curator : Guillaume Désanges

The Watchmen, the Liars, the Dreamers is the third part of the “Concrete Erudition”
programme devised by curator Guillaume Désanges, who has been invited to come up
with a cycle of exhibitions at Le Plateau. As part and parcel of the continuity created by
“The Planet of Signs” and “Prisoners of the Sun”, this exhibition in its turn questions the
way in which certain contemporary artists are renewing the relationship between art and
knowledge, by showing, this time around, the work of artists who are observers—
watchmen of the present and of the past. Even if their activities are, on the face of it, very
diversified, they all appear to derive from a documentary principle, in the broad sense of
the term.

While the classic relationship between the document and reality must generally be
gauged by criteria of objectivity, exhaustiveness, caution and rigour, these artists shatter
these references. They thus develop alternative methods of reproduction which may use
the paths of translation, reconstruction, transfer and fiction. It is not a matter of playing
with and deceiving, but of affecting the other by sharing awareness and knowledge and
accepting, if this is necessary, to contradict the ethical and formal rules of the scientist,
the historian, and the chronicler.

Be they artists, researchers, middlemen, or jurists, their forms are subject to the necessity
and urgency of a message to be got across rather than any stylistic determination. Nor is
it a matter of denying the effectiveness of the form; what is involved on the contrary is the
assertion of “functions” not to say missions. Echoing the idea of profound erudition,
turning into hybrid forms, the exhibition thus unfolds different strategies for writing facts,
which, based on practical reason and a political and militant will, sometimes end up
tending towards the poetic and the lyrical.
All these artists, who are extremely diverse in terms of subjects broached, share the
outcome of their research, not shrinking from creating their own documents when this is
necessary, and sometimes playing on ambiguities between fiction and reality, historical
objectivity and creation, archive and personal collection.

These artists, who are subject to obligatory means rather than results, operate in the end
of the day like inventors and middlemen, contesting the stance of the author as demiurge.
By using information sharing, inventories and intelligence as weapons, these watchmen
propose indirect ways of criticizing specific situations, which they have elected to
investigate. A moveable knowledge, to do with surfaces and connections, which
contrasts the quality of the relationship between facts with blind expertise.

16.9.-14.11. 2010
Le Plateau
Place Hannah Arendt
F 75019 Paris, France

With works from Agence, Mathieu K. Abonnenc, Jean Amblard, Eric Baudelaire,
Luis Camnitzer, Julius Eastman, Mario Garcia Torres, Jean-Luc Godard, Les
Groupes Medvedkine, Tamar Guimaraes, Chris Moukarbel, Walid Raad, Boris
Taslitzky …
& Monument to Transformation (Vit Havránek, Zbynek Baladrán + Vyacheslav
Akhunov, Babi Badalov, Chto Delat ? (what is to be done ?), Hafiz, Lise Harlev, Ivan
Moudov, Boris Ondreička, Anatoly Osmolovsky, Haegue Yang)


External Links

invitation and press release (pdf, 184 kb)


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