A palimpsest is a text on parchment that appears by virtue of erasing a previous text. Gérard Genette, reknowned literary theorist, in his fascinating and strict study draws a cartography of successive literature from Homer to the present day. And yet, surprisingly, such a study has never directly been applied to art. Many art historians logically study the influence of artists on one another, allowing for a reassuringly linear (albeit often artificial) perception of art history, but plagiarism has never been stated as an assumed principle ipso facto.
There has been a recent proliferation of attacks, in specialized periodicals, against artists whose works cite sources too blatantly. The palimpsest becomes then a powerful pretext for censuring the work of an artist, even though it is a largely inadequate argument, since artists always speak on someone’s behalf even if unconsciously.
Thus arises the need to distinguish individual creativity, to underline the particularity of thoughts beyond similarities. Even if it folds down the corner of the image of the Universal Creator, the history of art is always more interesting when it claims itself as a nebulous network of influences where the artist is the ideal suspect of insider trading.
In an era in which artists freely use the fundamental liberty to make references, to plagiarize, or to appropriate another artist’s work, this exhibition is neither demonstrative nor historical. Rather, Palimpsest, un bon pretext, is a “pretext” for exhibiting young artists who engage in a renewal of the French artistic scene, whose works evoke in different degrees the presence of a missing piece.
The exhibition at the gallery space in Paris presents artists, mostly French, who have not hitherto for been exhibited in our walls. The second part of the exhibition will take place in the La Réserve space at Pacy-sur-Eure (where Regis Durand curated Du machinique et du vivant). Many of the same artists will be exhibited at La Réserve in connection to other artists of the Xippas Gallery, evoking a meaningful echo through shapes and references, a disturbing feeling of déjà-vu.
With : Fayçal Baghriche, Bertille Bak, Yves Bélorgey, Dominique Blais & Cécile Babiole, Nicolas Boulard, Jean-Marc Chapoulie, Isabelle Cornaro, Ian Dawson, Matthew Day Jackson, Claire-Jeanne Jézéquel, Nicolas Floc’h, Aurélien Froment, Mark Geffriaud, Vera Lutter, Melvin Moti, Vik Muniz, Loïc Raguénès, Philippe Ramette, Jorge Satorre, Denis Savary, Janaina Tschäpe.