Ludovic Chemarin© — Identités


Installation, performance, photography, sculpture

Ludovic Chemarin©

Past: April 17 → May 16, 2015

mfc-michèle didier pursues its commitment towards conceptual and post-conceptual — or according to some, neo-conceptual creation — the definition of conceptual art, despite its aspiration to define art, has never precisely been captured, and thus its terminology even less. Indeed, besides the conceptual sensibility of the editorial line assumed by the publisher, mfc-michèle didier will hold, after the radical presentation of AB by Philippe Thomas in May 2014, Ludovic Chemarin© from April 17 to May 16, 2015.

The © symbol next to Ludovic Chemarin’s name also reminds us of the ® of the well-known agency Les ready-made appartiennent à tout le monde® created by Philippe Thomas in 1987. However, while this agency remained a form of fiction, as the artist never officially deposed the trademark of his work, keeping the project purely in the artistic sphere, Ludovic Chemarin© is included in a human, administrative and very concrete legal reality.

Ludovic Chemarin©

In 2011, the artists Damien Beguet and P. Nicolas Ledoux purchase contractually the work and the name of the artist Ludovic Chemarin, when he decided to put an end to his career. Since then, they continue his work under the name Ludovic Chemarin© who exhibits in France and abroad, takes part in conferences, gives interviews, is the subject of research and articles.

Ludovic Chemarin© is a new project, never seen before in art history, subversive and radical. It questions the limits of the law and challenges the use and practices in contemporary creation in an artistic context in crisis.

Both project & artist, artist & project, Ludovic Chemarin© examines the fundamental notions of art: the status of the author, the definition of an original work, the value of a signature or of the artist’s gesture, but also the various times and processes of creation: conception, production and monetization.

Resolutely conceptuel and juridical, this critical approach, based on the same model as Marcel Broodthaers’ or Philippe Thomas’, is volontarily integrated in the official space of art, a necessary experimenting field, by the production of artworks according to protocoles and specific declinations.

But who is Ludovic Chemarin? Or yet better, would it be more correct to ask: What is Ludovic Chemarin©?

In her text Ludovic Chemarin©: artiste génétiquement modifié, Raphaële Jeune clarifies this and explains the successive stages that led to the creation of the entity Ludovic Chemarin©. The status of the object to identify is announced in the introduction of her article, it’s the “artwork-artist-trademark”. This “branded creature” is a product imagined by two artists. Their starting point was nothing less than to purchase another artist together and to continue his work in his place.

A mission statement was defined by the both of them in order to research the ideal artist, as if they were seeking a bankrupt company. But how can one become the owner of an artist? The aim is not to buy the human being, but his auctoriality, which is his status and qualities as an artist, his creative power. “In order to achieve their goal, Damien Beguet and P. Nicolas Ledoux had to resort to contractual subterfuges and an ingenious hybridization of © and industrial property right”, explains Raphaële Jeune.

Here’s how they proceeded: “Once the ideal artist had been found and identified as Ludovic Chemarin, he — Ludovic Chemarin — registered a trademark under his name at l’Institut national pour la Propriété industrielle — INPI (the National Institute for Industrial Property), before assigning it over to Damien Beguet and P. Nicolas Ledoux. The same way, but in the framework of ©, Chemarin wrote his economic rights over to Damien Beguet for each artwork, most of them remaining only as photographic archives. Then, Damien Beguet, on his turn, signed over to P. Nicolas Ledoux 50 % of these same rights. Once these procedures had been accomplished, Damien Beguet and P. Nicolas Ledoux could finally use, under the trademark Ludovic Chemarin©, the artistic identity of Ludovic Chemarin, by reactivating his previous artworks and by making new ones.”
This way, the artist has become in fact a brand that should be promoted and be profitable. Damien Beguet and P. Nicolas Ledoux pinpoint here a going concern issue sustained by number of artists who are overwhelmed by the current globalized art market. Philippe Cazal, who has published with mfc-michèle didier an artwork entitled Factice in 1995, had already considered this since the eighties, when he ordered from Minium Agency his Philippe Cazal logo, two black and white joined rectangles revealing the artist’s name in negative. mfc-michèle didier is definitely interested in “artists of brands”.

The exhibition Identités by Ludovic Chemarin©

The exhibition Identités at mfc-michèle didier gallery will first and foremost be the occasion to present one of the central pieces of Damien Beguet and P. Nicolas Ledoux’s project, which is all the transfer agreements concluded since 2011 with Ludovic Chemarin. Five silkscreens will also retrace the decisive steps that led to the formulation of the entity Ludovic Chemarin©: the signing of the contracts at Ghislain Mollet-Viéville’s, the filing of the trademark Ludovic Chemarin© by Ludovic Chemarin at l’INPI, the first exhibition of Ludovic Chemarin© at La BF15 in Lyon, the making of the official portrait of Ludovic Chemarin©, and last but not least, the transfer of the drawing of Ludovic Chemarin’s La signature and its ©.

The two last episodes mentioned here above, the making of the official portrait and the transfer of the drawing of La signature, are very recent and represent the achievement of the transmission process the identity started by the artists in 2011: the exhibition Identités gives account of that.

Identités will thus present the original drawing of Ludovic Chemarin’s La signature, a unique and valuable piece. With this drawing — of which Damien Beguet and P. Nicolas Ledoux now own the ©, — Damien Beguet and P. Nicolas Ledoux will be able to reinforce their appropriation of Ludovic Chemarin in a significant and almost absolute manner. Of course, all the artworks conceived by the artist during his activity, from 1998 to 2005, have been transferred together with the trademark. Now, the question is to continue the use of the “creative power” of the bankrupt artist.

Therefore, the work chaise-bouée of the old Chemarin will be presented, but in a new actualized version by Ludovic Chemarin©: as an augmented and recontextualized sculpture. While the Jeff Koons exhibition at Beaubourg is breaking all records of visits, there is a certain form of provocation, to bring Ludovic Chemarin©’s work up to date by seizing the American artist’s favorite accessory/medium, the inflatable object, but with the aim to project it in an improbable and shifted universe. Despite a very pop look due to the presence of the buoy, this work strangely reminds us of the formal and intellectual organization of one of conceptual art’s main artworks, One and Three Chairs by Joseph Kosuth. This historical work shows the object of the chair, the idea of the chair (through its linguistic definition) and the photographic representation of the chair: it’s all about declined identity.

In addition to the sculpture, a by-product of the sculpture will be on display — a preparatory drawing, a very appreciated genre of the art market, which is here ironically post-preparatory and created digitaly.

Ludovic Chemarin©’ catalog holds a fundamental place in the exhibition, it is considered a manifest by Damien Beguet and P. Nicolas Ledoux. Indeed, this editorial project is substantial: 288 pages of texts and documents, images of artworks, published in an edition of 800 copies. The official launch of the catalog will take place during the opening of the exhibition, on Thursday April 16, 2015.

  • Opening Thursday, April 16, 2015 6 PM → 9 PM
11 Bastille Zoom in 11 Bastille Zoom out

94 boulevard Richard Lenoir

75011 Paris

T. 06 09 94 13 46

Filles du Calvaire

Opening hours

Thursday – Saturday, 2 PM – 6 PM
By appointment

Venue schedule

The artist