Vincent Meessen — My Last Life
My Last Life
Past: September 30 → November 12, 2011
" Truth to tell, the best weapon against myth is perhaps to mythify it in its turn,
and to produce an artificial myth : and this reconstituted myth
will in fact be a mythology. Since myth robs language of something,
why not rob myth ? "
[Roland Barthes, Myth Today]
The exhibition My Last Life develops an ambitious staging of the conceptual character Herbé, the fictional double of Roland Barthes. To the writer who declared the death of the author, the Belgo-American artist Vincent Meessen applies Barthes’ definitive mythological project. To wit, the inversion that posits that one does not remain the producer of one’s work but becomes a character in it. As he explores a territory abandoned by critics and commentators, Meessen animates in a novel way the colonial figures that peopled both the writings and the life of Barthes. Wasn’t his grandfather Louis-Gustave Binger the very explorer who offered the Ivory Coast to France? And the characters that haunt his texts―from the child soldier of an African troop saluting the French flag to the blond-haired Bichon, child-king of the Negroes―are they not at the heart of a familiar secret ?
Deftly handling film, documents, reproductions and quotes, the artist’s proposal plays with the codes of documentary enquiry the better to insinuate doubt by light translations―one of the definitions of which designates the operation of displacing a deceased body or its relics. Vincent Meesen thus deploys a cosmography in which living and dead rub shoulders as actors of hidden tales secreted in the folds of History. With this first solo show in France, Vincent Meessen positions himself as the narrator of a fable that recounts the inextricable relation between modernity and coloniality.
The screening of Vita Nova (30’) takes place every half-hour from 3PM to 7:30PM
Opening Thursday, September 29, 2011 6:30 PM → 11 PM
15, rue Chassagnolle
93260 Les Lilas
T. 01 43 60 69 72
Wednesday – Saturday, 3 PM – 8 PM
Other times by appointment Accueil des groupes le mardi