Virginie Yassef — Un mur de sable vient de tomber


Installation, photography, sculpture, mixed media...

Virginie Yassef
Un mur de sable vient de tomber

Past: December 1, 2012 → February 9, 2013

Virginie Yassef will be presenting in La Galerie, Contemporary Art Centre a group of new works, together with one from the Seine-Saint-Denis Departement Contemporary Art Collection.

“We might well lend the word ’Entstellung [distortion]’ the double meaning to which it has a claim […]. It should mean not only ’to change the appearance of something’ but also ’to put something in another place.’” Urged by Sándor Ferenczi in a letter to Freud in 1913, this duality could be applied to Virginie Yassef’s exhibition and its creation of ephemeral forms resulting either from actual transformations or from transfers from one context to another.

“A Wall of Sand Has Just Collapsed” involves us immediately in a narrative situation: something has happened, right now, before our eyes — beneath our feet, almost. Although the title suggests an abrupt occurrence within the exhibition, what we actually see is a series of slow metamorphoses: in the video Alloy (2007) a child’s patient handiwork turns a pile of small, geometrical shapes into a teetering monument; while at another moment sculptures are transformed into stage props by the skilful hands of another child. This presentation is the first of two: the second will take place at the Ferme du Buisson art centre (Noisiel, near Paris), where the child, his mutation accomplished, will become a dog…

Distortion in the sense of displacement can describe the “reading room” as a whole: from its furnishings to the reading matter provided and the Scénarios Fantômes (Ghost Scenarios, 2003-2012). The armchairs are replicas of self-assembly furniture, specifically Gerrit Rietveld’s 1934 Crates series, whose title points up their mobility and reproducibility. What we have here is a kind of authorised update, a tagged historical quotation adapted for use in this “reading room”. The reading matter, too, is made up of isolated quotations lifted from the press:

short sentences that immediately conjure up images hover on the wide, white pages of a newspaper, signalling the absence of the original context from which they have been irreversibly extracted. Another form of uncertainty and another reframing effect are to be found in the _Scénarios Fantômes _(Ghost Scenarios), series of one, two or three photographs whose shared title postulates a hypothetical narrative that interconnects the component images without providing the vaguest indication of how they are to be read.

This time these forms of suspension of meaning are matched by forms of physical suspension which affect the sculptures: whether governed by magnetic attraction or systems of counterweights — as in the aerial work Airedificio (2007) — all of them give rise to illusionistic effects linked to physical manifestations of opposing forces. In this way the instability of the wall of sand, which we imagine as having spread itself across the floor in all its granular infinity, affects the exhibition as a whole. Thanks to these shifts and transient states the works remain indeterminate, impending, suspended, just like the figure of the child who functions here as a promise, a factor for mobility and distortion as he himself mutates toward the animal state. This phenomenon of transition embraces the entire exhibition at La Galerie, which is itself a stepping stone towards another exhibition at the Ferme du Buisson art centre in 2013, and so implies, as if in a subtext, the words “to be continued”.

Émilie Renard

1 Sándor Ferenczi, letter to Sigmund Freud, 23.06.1913, quoted in Richard J. Bernstein, Freud and the Legacy of Moses (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), p. 15.

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