October 21st 2014
December 20th 2014
proposition by Laetitia Hecht & Samantha Barroero with
Rimbaud, having decided not to be serious at the age seventeen, found himself deserted by his friends under the pretext of bad taste. He went on to radicalise himself, his conduct becoming unruly and his appearance wild: this particular “mauvais genre” eventually revolutionized the art of poetry.
The truly innovative artist has always been attacked on the grounds of taste. He has been censored and marginalised in the name of what is deemed decent and acceptable by the dominant thought, restricted as it is by its “bon genre”. Blind to the reality of the drives that control it or the laws that rule it, society prefers to label whatever disrupts it as defamatory. The artist isn’t concerned by this. He works in the margins and invests in the frontiers. With his talent for creative destruction, he opens up a fertile rift which splits society open. He pins it to the autopsy table, forces it to open its eyes and to change its language. In mathematics, the derivative of a function shows the direction of a curve by the means of a margin calculation; in the same way the artist, his marginality, tells society which direction to take without us always realising it. Then, the margin ends up becoming the norm; the limits of the mauvais genre are always pushed further away.
Laetitia Hecht and Samantha Barroero have also chosen to unearth the mauvais genre, and sometimes in places where we would not expect to find it. These photographs, paintings and collages aren’t trying to shock, but to weave new connections. They show that the most intimate details can affect the whole, that an innocent look and complicity of light can give certain images a sacred quality and defuse their rejection.
For example, take pink – the colour of innocence and quiescence. It would seem that its symbolic meaning has been deeply engrained in our collective imagination: the essential colour of little girls, the epithelial membrane of a healthy organ (a pink tongue), a glowing indication of prosperous health (rosy cheeks), a display of saccharine sentimentalism (romans à l’eau de rose) or our idealised existence (la vie en rose). But then, pink rebelled; it got perverted into a duplicitous colour and hid its deeper nature as a desaturated red. It started to connote paying for pleasure (téléphone rose), perverted waywardness (Ballets roses) or hallucinogenic trips (pink elephants). Why would the painter not display pink as the culmination of his creative mission? Would this use of a single colour not be the outcome of the prohibited ways in the wanderings of art? This is the same reasoning adopted by the mauvais genre; to make a colour which is conventionally a symbol of dull serenity into the faded expression of outdated certitudes.
By seizing onto this means of artistic expression, the “mauvais genre” directly confronts the issue of a dominant language; the mode of communication which imposes its norms, assigns names without speaking and makes reference without elaboration. Its supremacy blocks genuine exchange between individuals, meaning that it prevents symbiosis and communion. For Godard, for example, saying “adieu au langage” is to be at a loss to know how to give words a true meaning. In the same way, 3D does not revolutionise our perception of space as we are urged to believe, but only serves to give depth to flatness. The “mauvais genre” is seeking to penetrate reality. In order to do so, he must view it from an angle, take a step to the side and see it under indirect light so that he can capture what common language is powerless to express: depth, emotion and desire. This gives the feeling that the images displayed in the exhibition adopt the proper perspective: the one that suggests the profound significance of what is being shown. The mauvais genre appears then as a salutary salubrity.
Based on a proposition by Laetitia Hecht and Samantha Barroero, ADDICT Galerie will present the Mauvais genre exhibition from October, 21st to December, 20th. Throughout the course of the exhibition selected artists will offer performances, readings, talks, and screenings …“Samedi mauvais genre”.
A limited edition Mauvais genre box is being produced in collaboration with Les éditions derrière la salle de bains.