Matali Crasset — Voyage en Uchronie
Voyage en Uchronie
Past: June 7 → July 20, 2013
Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac is delighted to be hosting Matali Crasset’s project Voyage en Uchronie in Pantin gallery.
“I think of the exhibition as a space for introspection. I’m interested in presenting elements of a moving and developing line of thought by using formalizations far removed from my usual practice with the ’exhibition’ object. I question my own practice as much as I question design in all its entrenchments, by thinking of it as an autonomous activity, detached from any basic premise. Thinking, and suggesting hypotheses, is what excites me in this context.”
Following the exhibition of the blobterre at the Centre Pompidou in 2012, Voyage to Uchronia, Crasset’s fifth exhibition at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, continues her reflection on experimental environments. The project conjures up the habitat and rituals of an imaginary human community. One of these rituals involves moving into a black hill that is a place of memory. This magic mountain, a place of introspection, invites us to put our aspirations into perspective.
Utopia is a recurrent theme in matali crasset’s work. It references her attachment to social thinkers such as Claude Nicolas Ledoux, Charles Fourrier, and Jane Addams. matali crasset’s social choices, both private (she lives in Belleville, a multi-ethnic Paris neighbourhood) and professional, have been a factor in her interest in taking on public commissions that involve re-thinking the way public spaces and buildings function. Her design for the Maison des Petits, an art centre for 0-5 year olds inside a North Paris cultural centre (Centquatre), and her woodland houses for a 5000-hectare open-air art centre, le Vent des Forêts, underline her ideal of design as a space for living together. She sees design as a space in which a certain kind of social thinking prevails and where the experience of living with it is central to design.
In 1936, Régis Messac offered this definition of Uchronia in Primaires, the review he edited:
“An unknown country, discovered by the philosopher Renouvier, located at a remove from time or outside time, to which, like old moons, events that might have happened but did not are relegated.”
The word was invented by Charles Renouvier, who used it in the title of his 1876 novel Uchronie, l’utopie dans l’histoire (Utopia in History).
Uchronia is a 19th century neologism constructed on the pattern of “Utopia” which Thomas More coined in 1516 as the title of his famous book Utopia. Where the Greek elements “u-topia” suggested “no-place” (ou-topos), “u-chronia” suggests “no-time” (ou-chronos in Greek). Etymologically, therefore, the word designates non-existent time.
Voyage to Uchronia : Instructions for Use
Voyage to Uchronia brings together a group of furniture, the Permanents, that evoke a group of humans and their rituals as well as a film Voyage to Uchronia, salvatico è colui che si salva directed by matali crasset and Juli Susin. The Permanents are built around a unique form that envelops the body and is present through its various activities. Folded in two, it is structured around the spinal column. The module partially surrounds the body whilst standing, seated or laying down. The folded form protects the head. The exterior grey color accentuates it’s protective side, the interior is orange, as it is in contact with human warmth. These structures are in their simplest forms, closest to the human being. We recognize in the different elements in this scheme that evoke a primitive life: A chair, a lamp, a sound-emitting module, one to lay down in, one used for thinking, for concentrating in and a module to meet others, composed of several Permanents.
The film Voyage to Uchronia, salvatico è colui che si salva, edited by Royal Book Lodge, borrows its sub-title from Leonardo da Vinci. It’s a genre film that describes this epic adventure to Uchronia or of this dream.