Pierre Paulin — Détails d’un futur souvenir


Film, installation, mixed media

Pierre Paulin
Détails d’un futur souvenir

Past: October 10 → December 10, 2011

Movie kisses keep coming on a laptop desktop. Each newly opened window shows one of those archetypal sequences that sum up the Hollywood love story. From one extract to another, the continuous effect of the travelling emphasizes the intertwined bodies’ movement. Those scenes (all of them found on YouTube or Dailymotion websites) have been shot again by Pierre Paulin — and the film was then blown up on 16mm stock.

Next to this film, on another wall, images were printed in white on white and are slowly revealing themselves as the paper yellows throughout the exhibition duration. L’industrie refoulée is lying on the floor: a few words were engraved on rotogravure cylinders. At the opposite of what those brief descriptions of Paulin’s works imply, the artist claims he doesn’t address any nostalgia for these out-of-date (or soon to be) technologies: Paulin was born after the rise of 16mm amateur cinema and is merely witnessing its current decay. However, the artist shows no hesitation in using this technique or to evoke rotogravure via its fragile and bulky cylinders, whose storage difficulties are among the crucial issues that jeopardise its profitability and durability. Seen through the contemporary art lens, the obsolescence of certain technologies is rapidly becoming meaningless. Technology that no longer belong to our world obviously persist in contemporary art practices, while barely created or uploaded digital pictures instantly disappear in the flood of old images constantly substituted by new ones.

The film described above, made of found footage Hollywood kisses, is named Vertigo. It evokes both the dizziness created by the accumulation of images and Alfred Hitchcock’s eponymous film. Paulin contextualizes his works and places them at the precise (although fictional and virtual) junction where two cultural and technical eras may connect ? hence revealing two ways to use movies and fictions. The artist plays with this space-time ? either incompressible or larger than life ? where a technological change happens. It is also within this interval that, during the time of an artwork, two different modes of representation superimpose: the collective cultural memory on the one hand, and the personal, emotional ? almost intimate ? considerations that come with it on the other hand.

Paulin explores the similar uses of the Internet and techniques that pre-existed: the cinema and other means of mechanical reproduction (e.g. rotogravure, offset printing, etc.). He plays with the habits and attitude one develops with new technologies and which are often instinctively passed from one generation to another. In this regard, he says: “For example, from the internet interactive interface to the movies, I consider web browsing as a form of editing.” Thus, the artist observes the evolution of our relationship to images and texts as infinitely reproducible and mass produced data, up to the point where their contents may not matter to him.

Such an approach might be perceived as being slightly romantic, especially considering the fact that Paulin adds further autobiographical elements to it. But the use of common technical forms and materials reject such interpretation. His practice includes the desktop — the computer one — as a standard tool in which the private and the public spheres inevitably intertwine. In his own words:

“If I chose to mix images found on the Internet with those of the person with whom I share my life, it’s just that they found themselves being next to each other on my computer screen. Personal life is constantly mixed with public information. This should not be considered as a gesture, but as a condition of the tool with which I work. The computer or the Internet interest me mainly as standard format or medium.”

Caroline Soyez-Petithomme
  • Opening Thursday, October 13, 2011 6 PM → 9 PM
Emmanuel Hervé Gallery Gallery
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75020 Paris

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Opening hours

Wednesday – Saturday, 2 PM – 7 PM
Other times by appointment

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The artist