from 12 June to 16 August 2015
La Criée is pleased to be presenting Camp Catalogue by Swiss artist and writer Jérémie Gindre. Echoing the contact with nature that underpinned the Battre la Campagne thematic season, the exhibition offers a panoramic reading of a temporary landscape.
Jérémie Gindre is a born narrator. In the stories he tells us he brings exhilarating curiosity, lots of humour and a certain nonchalance to bear on fields as diverse as history, geography, conceptual art, neuroscience, archaeology and tourism. Other focuses for his enthusiastic attention are natural phenomena, humanity’s ecological footprint and the shaping of knowledge.
A direct descendant of Flaubert’s Bouvard and Pécuchet, he sets out to understand one thing and ends up with another. Along the way there’s lots of enjoyable mockery and irony, together with the quirky suspense that we find in his play with words and narrative forms. Camp Catalogue: here words function as keys that afford entry, then provide the impetus for a narrative context crucial to the processes of creation and exhibition. In this sense Camp Catalogue is to be seen in the light of toponymy and inventory.
«Camp» expresses the idea of occasional occupation of a territory: the holiday camp, scout camp and life sciences camp are temporary living spaces out in the wilds, and are often conducive to relaxation, adventure, learning and discovery.
«Catalogue» is a reference to scientific inventories and the disciplines that use them: botany, geology, ornithology and so on.
Out of this semantic association emerges the exhibition Camp Catalogue. It comprises eight series of drawings – «clubs», the artist calls them (and half the members are new) – that classify various components of the natural setting: geographic curiosities in Caratère Régional, a gallery of plant portraits in Prairie Parade and tricky terrain in Une Glissade.
Accompanying the drawings are series of objects: the kind of rustic furniture you find in cleaned-up nature spaces – benches, floating platforms, signage – and other samples of domestication. These objects add up to a repertoire not only of forms, but also of what strollers in the country like to do: rest, cross, orientate, gather, observe.
The exhibition closes with text-pictures echoing the drawings and objects and opening up different narrative and fictional avenues.
Camp Catalogue is a mix: humour and investigation, and a taste for both the trivial and the encyclopaedic. Situating La Criée on the summer traveller’s map of places with great things to see; the exhibition can be approached as a different kind of tourist site or a specialist manual to be consulted. It’s a landscape exploration, in the sense of a study of landscape systems.