The exhibition starts outside, from the street. The photographs (10 x 15 cm) are displayed on white slats in the window, an elongated showcase that shelters and shades the gallery interior from the incoming sunshine. The photos were all shot at the 20th edition of La Plaine, an independent carnival held outside the eponymous district of Marseilles owing to ongoing urban development work there.
We follow the „partygoers“ in their element till they melt into the crowd and into the imperturbable architecture of everyday life. Some of their eyes express incredulity amid this multifarious mix of Marseillais. Ubiquitous reflections of a thousand differences in distinct, even incompatible, parts of the city. We wanted to show them to passers-by in Basel, a city in which carnival is done differently. We took these reflections with us to serve as an introduction to the exhibition, as well as to pay tribute to a place, a moment, a multitude of friendships.
Inside the gallery we’ve hung a series of large-format pictures on the walls, oil paintings on paper mounted on wood, the fruits of our explorations and discoveries. Our motive was to paint anything but a painting, to work with a polychrome palette, to make a point. We confine ourselves to evoking forms without naming them: spheres, self-consuming planets, umpteenth gadgets, observant eyeballs, blindable eyewitnesses, all manner of projectiles that gouge whatever’s gougeable, a ginormous packed arena, a host of human skills and wills) – forms that may well be attributable to a general sense of the end of time/race/world. We ought to celebrate the potential disappearance of all these concepts, like switching on the lights at a show about the instantaneous extinction of a civilization. Affixing verbalized themes (maternal bonds, quarrels over needs and desires, a patrol reporting irregularities, collective emphasis) to this multitude of microcosms introduced us to the Paleozoic soul and then to the degenerate heart.
We have never shown abstract paintings before: shame on us for waiting so long – and shame on us for jumping on the bandwagon now!
It’s as though we’d resisted this temptation... until the door gave under the weight of insistent serendipity, until we found ourselves facing the music, finding interest in the insipid.
Which inevitably brought us back to our human destinies, acceptance of the first signs of old age, death. This series of paintings – alchemical treatises – goes down the wrong tracks of eternal life, skillfully recycling shit and gold, the Way of the Cross illuminated by sodium-vapor and energy-intensive mercury bulbs.
The furniture designed for the occasion is made of recycled materials, improbable colors, roughly based on a rough idea one might have of an equally rough idea: that of a nation.
The drawings speak for themselves.