from 4 February to 14 May 2023
La Criée centre d’art contemporain, in partnership with the Centre culturel suisse. On Tour, is presenting Swiss artist Judith Kakon’s first solo exhibition in France.
In the wake of the holiday season Kakon, whose work revolves around the porosity between public and gallery space, and questions of usage, re‑use and circulation, is showing part of the City of Rennes’ Christmas illuminations.
The decorations are being displayed « dormant », that is to say switched off and laid out on racks. Inspired by warehouse shelving systems, these racks are designed as artefacts combining sculptures and utilitarian objects. In this way the exhibition blurs the boundaries between stockroom and gallery, interior and exterior, the beautiful and the useful.
Removed from their habitual context and metamorphosed in terms of form and function, these samples of urban heritage are seen in a new light by visitors to the exhibition, some of whom have doubtless wondered what becomes of the Christmas lights once the celebrations are over.
This change of focus also reconfigures the art centre and our expectations of an exhibition: for once it is not the art that moves out into the public space, but the streets of the city that infiltrate the white cube. This reconfiguration leads us to ask ourselves what we are looking at: Can a shelf be a sculpture? What are the sculptural qualities of Christmas lights? What models do they borrow from and what do they tell us about the circulation of forms?
Moreover, Judith Kakon’s project resonates doubly in the present context: at a time of energy restrictions the dormant lights of this eco‑responsible use/re‑use of local resources shine with a powerful symbolic charge.
In the cabinet adjoining the main room, the GRAND AIR exhibition continues with a display of works on paper. The different series on show reflect the artist’s ongoing concerns: the transformation of a standardised form or motif (an umbrella, a parcel scan, etc.) into a unique artistic object; the interconnection between individual experiences and normative contexts; and the polysemy and fluidity of images.
With GRAND AIR, Judith Kakon’s subtly political art offers us the opportunity to look at the objects, slippages and relationships of our globalized world, by displacing our usual perspectives and geographical notions, and by calling on us to reconsider what is behind and beside what we hold as seen.