Pierre Joseph — Hypernormandie



Pierre Joseph

Past: January 22 → March 26, 2016

Pierre joseph hypernormandie la galerie 1 grid Pierre Joseph — La Galerie, Noisy-le-Sec Avec Hypernormandie, la Galerie de Noisy-le-Sec propose un projet inédit et radical d'un artiste qui repousse depuis plus de vingt ... 2 - Bien Critique

Imagine the landscape of a part of France where intensive farming has been pushed to the limit. The region in question is Normandy and, more exactly, a vast area devoted to a single crop: fields of wheat — of only two varieties — as far as the eye can see. Now imagine these fields before the harvest, under the bright summer sun: the plants have reached their maximum, standardised height, forming a carpet that follows the slight undulations of this perfectly ordinary agricultural plain. Now put together an identikit photograph of an artist whose decisions are largely governed by a few simple sets of rules. He has placed his trust in preset image production tools: his many photos have been generated by a sophisticated digital camera in automatic mode. The choice of framing leaves no room for sky or ground, the outcome being that the images possess no centre, no exteriority and no suggestion of composition apart from the uniformity of a single, infinitely repeated pattern. The artist has turned out two logically distinct series of photographs, one for each strain of wheat. The prints have quite simply been ordered on line, with their colour levels and formats chosen from the parameters on offer when the order was placed. Their quantity is determined by the exhibition space available. Potentially, then, there exists an indeterminate number of photographs for each series, under the title “photographs without end: fields of wheat #1 and #2”. You can now readily imagine other, approximately similar series.

In thus resorting to mechanistic procedures that empty his output of all clear authorial presence, Pierre Joseph is pursuing an examination of the generic, impersonal character of a certain contemporary practice of digital photography. One of his recent works, Mon nom est personne (My Name is Nobody, 2015) is a photographic archive of amateur artworks by members of his family. Including war sketches, still lifes, photo portraits and children’s drawings, these varied images have been digitised and preserved using the standard formats of a photographic archive box; this is a way of aligning disparate whims with present-day norms, of dissociating them physically from both their originality and their emotional charge. While the title of this family work points to a strategy based on the disappearance of the author’s name (made up of two first names), the emphatic title of the exhibition, by contrast, underscores the immersiveness of a French landscape where the sway of intensive farming goes hand in hand with the advent of the hypermarket.

In another everyday register, Pierre Joseph engages in a quest for images which shape our way of seeing and bear witness to their time. His aim here is to produce images that are ordinary and created on site, in France, today. Only the title of the exhibition provides any indication of place, but one wheatfield looks so much like another that these could easily be somewhere else. The overall parameters — subject, production mode, picture quality, exhibition approach — seem to have been dictated by current use of available tools; the images themselves emerge from a limited field of negotiation with different viewing machines, revealing a kind of passive relationship between the artist and his equipment. Achieving this degree of indistinction has called for no more than the unexceptional, widely used procedures, tools and techniques particularly popular with photographers fond of “professional quality” images. These images are thus so much of their time that ultimately they seem in no way original; rather they take on a kind of normality that in turn generates a sense of déjà vu. This inherent transparency might even seem the product of a kind of dominant culture, working in the interests of standard representations of global agriculture; but in fact these are visions of the present day, issuing from a specific context and generated by a singular decision: an adaptation to the range of preestablished choices offered by our visual tools that restricts creative space to a minimal threshold.

Welcome to “Hypernormandy”, an exhibition of photographs without end, featuring a uniform farming landscape where the sole traces of human intervention are shaped by agricultural machinery. Welcome to generic images in which the sole signs of authorship are neutralised by those of the photographic apparatuses used. Come and experience with your own eyes the immersiveness of a “Hypernormandy” stretching as far as you can see.

Emilie Renard
  • Opening Friday, January 22 6 PM → 9 PM
  • La passivité : un concept révisé et augmenté — par Vanessa Desclaux, curatrice, critique d’art, enseignante à l’école d’art de Dijon Lecture Saturday, February 13 4 PM → 5 PM
  • L’impact de l’agriculture industrielle sur les sols + La créativité des intelligences artificielles Lecture Saturday, February 27 5 PM → 7 PM

    Deux conférences autour de l’exposition « Hypernormandie » par Pierre Joseph :
    « L’impact de l’agriculture industrielle sur les sols » par Marc Dufumier, agronome et enseignant-chercheur

    « L’émotion et la créativité des intelligences artificielles » par Angelica Lim, chercheuse en intelligence artificielle et en robotique

  • Délégation et protocoles photographiques de l’art conceptuel + Monet et l’expérience du paysage Lecture Saturday, March 12 5 PM → 7 PM

    Two conferences relating to the exhibition: ‘Delegation and photographic protocols in conceptual art’ by Guillaume Le Gall, researcher in art history at the Sorbonne and ‘Monet and experience of the landscape’ by the writer Marianne Alphant.

93 Seine-St-Denis Zoom in 93 Seine-St-Denis Zoom out

1 rue Jean-Jaurès

93130 Noisy-le-Sec

T. 01 49 42 67 17


Opening hours

Tuesday – Saturday, 2 PM – 6 PM
Saturday, 2 PM – 7 PM

Admission fee

Free entrance

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Venue schedule

The artist

  • Pierre Joseph