Eric Duyckaerts — ’Idéo


Drawing, installation, performance, sculpture...

Eric Duyckaerts

Past: March 5 → June 5, 2011

MAC/VAL is the first French institution to devote a solo exhibition, “’idéo”, to this leading performance artist, who for years has blended knowledge with the absurd.

Éric Duyckaerts has produced a dozen new videos for MAC/VAL, as well as new objects, sculptures, wall paintings, screen prints and mosaics. Much has been said about this artist and his œuvre: brilliant speaker, enigmatic theorist, mysterious scientist, clownish savant. So who is Éric Duyckaerts, exactly? Hard to say, because this man of a thousand faces won’t be pinned down by his own words. His thought is slippery, his statements skip freely from one field of learning to another. Everything is incredibly credible, irrespective of the subject at hand.

Éric Duyckaerts’s work is notably rooted in his wish to implode the standard discourse on art. His performances often lead to staged depictions of scholarly learning and pranks on the art of dissertation. He distorts, with evident glee, styles of diction to the point of ridicule. He slips in and out of accents and peppers his presentations with obscure quotations, always creating an endless series of mirror images between learning and humor.

“Don’t think that ideas precede form” he tells us. The method he proposes is based on logical principles offered as tools for interpreting his work.

Be they in figure eights, circles, or lines, it’s always the same enigmas phrased in the same ways. He calls his mysterious sculptures, composed of objects suspended from the ceiling, analogies. They reflect a formal logic, such as toying with letters, numbers, and typographical signs, creating a playful and celebratory approach to thought. As he explains regarding his analogies,

“They are not just analogies. Does everyone draw analogies all the time? No. These are interlinked chains of analogies. Or concatenations of analogies. As you wish. The idea is that you start with commonly accepted truths and end with absurdities, in a continuous line of reasoning. For example, I can easily segue from 1 over 2 equals 3 over 6 to something like an olive plus a Camembert equals the ONU flag plus a horn of plenty. Without it becoming unintelligible.”

True or false? The visitor/spectator doesn’t have time to ask that kind of question. And who cares, since all of it is convincing! Éric Duyckaerts proposes an odyssey across the universe of knowledge, an unexpected marriage of art with science. The itinerary of this multifaceted body of work is made of this to and fro between knowledge and art, where certitudes no longer matter.

  • Opening Friday, March 4, 2011 at 6:30 PM
94 Val-de-Marne Zoom in 94 Val-de-Marne Zoom out

Place de la Libération

94400 Vitry-sur-Seine

T. 01 43 91 64 20

Opening hours

Tuesday – Friday, noon – 6 PM
Saturday, noon – 7 PM
Closed on January 1st, May 1st and December 25

Admission fee

Full rate €5.00 — Concessions €2,5

Entrée gratuite pour tous les premiers dimanches de chaque mois

Venue schedule

The artist

  • Eric Duyckaerts