< Exhibitions
Je est un Hôte
Fabrice Samyn
Oct 29, 2009 - Dec 19, 2009

Before arriving on the first floor, the visitor is greeted on the intermediate landing by an in situ work by Fabrice SAMYN (°1981). This work plays on the complementarity of glass and light through a simple but audacious device. The artist took care to attach to the window a sheet of silvered glass on which signs have been meticulously reserved. At various times of the day, the signs, which are not silvered, allow light rays to pass through and are therefore projected onto the ground. This projection allows us to read the word "NOW". This intervention brings together in a subtle interdependence the impermanence of existence (the viewer reflected in the mirror) and the omnipresence of the moment (now). One could see in this work a beautiful reflection on the other side of the mirror and on the ontological quality of the moment.

Fabrice deepens his questioning of the moment with the second installation in the alcove on the first floor. A selection of postcards collected at flea markets is subtly diverted from its original purpose (to give news to a relative). Fabrice is interested in the text written by the addressee and systematically retains the formula 'The weather is' that is usually found in postcard literature ('the weather is beautiful', 'the weather is splendid', 'the weather is miserable',...). By taking care to obliterate the rest of the text with gold leaf, he opens up a reflection on this essential formula that is so commonplace in everyday life that it becomes banal. Through this gilding work, he gives an iconic dimension to the object, underlines the essence of time and disarms any qualitative judgement: time, in both senses of the term, is neither bad nor beautiful, neither short nor long; it is.

In the two main rooms, photographs of moulds of the faces of the deceased are on display. These masks, since that is what they are, are death masks of famous people. Nothing, or almost nothing, makes it possible to recognise them any more because the successive distancing is complex: the man is dead, the mask is moulded on this frozen face, this mould is photographed, the photograph is preserved in negative: the white becomes black and vice versa. The testimony has more to do with the order of immanence than with a desire for historical veracity. These men, freed from the weight of their names, are now united under the banner of anonymity. Death, because it is inevitable, makes us all equal. Fabrice paradoxically restores anonymity to these illustrious figures who were moulded by their contemporaries in the hope of escaping oblivion. He makes these faces ambassadors of something other than their own existence; rather, representatives of this passage into the invisible. To die is to withdraw from all visual exchange, to hide one's face from the view of others.

With this exhibition entitled Je est un hôte, Fabrice Samyn alludes to Arthur Rimbaud's famous Je eat un autre, but also underlines the relevance of Deleuze and Guattari's reflection: "We sink into a face rather than possess one".

In the end, one of the essential questions posed by Fabrice Samyn could be this: Can we not see death as the mould of life?