Uncoupdedés.net — La Villa Arson


Mixed media

La Villa Arson

Past: February 16, 2013 → February 19, 2014

The centre national d’art contemporain de la Villa Arson plays the game with Jean-Pierre Cometti

But the main problem lies elsewhere…

Linked by its status to a fine arts school, a residence and a media library, the Villa Arson highlights relationships between artistic creation, teaching, research and experimentation. Exhibitions are the result of either internal projects or collaborations with external organisations and rely on the presence of artists in residence. Invitations are also extended to researchers wishing to conduct original experiments on site, as was the case in 2010 with Jean-Pierre Cometti’s seminar and exhibition Double Bind / Arrêtez d’essayer me comprendre!

Jean-Pierre Cometti interviewed by Eric Mangion

Eric Mangion: “In recent years there’s been a lot of talk about research in art. Not so long ago we were still using the terms experimenting or experimental art to say the same thing. What are your thoughts about these three “companion” expressions, which in fact may not be as companionable as all that?”

Jean-Pierre Cometti: "It seems to me that the word “research” started being used when it was decided that art schools would become part of the LMD system (the Licence-Master-Doctorat organization). “Experimenting” dates further back and refers more to the circumstances in which artists turned towards new approaches, or having the reputation of being new, and whose signification was related to the issues they were raising in various and hypothetical ways, without necessarily culminating in an object capable of containing and exhausting its meaning.

Nonetheless these expressions are “companions”, as you say, since experimenting in general, and “experimental art” in particular, are also a type of research, which could be defined as practices striving to answer a specific problem opening onto various possibilities, whether concerning fields of knowledge or practical — even formal — inventions. However, even though these words are “companions”, I’m not sure that the ways in which they are used always are. Research today, in science or industry, has to fulfill goals that, as we know, rarely correspond to what scientists call “fundamental” research, which should be free from any predetermined, constraining goal, catering to limited interests. This results in an exaggerated concern for performance and in selection, in the name of a profoundly instrumental logic of excellence. This aspect is certainly the one which artists should be the most wary of. But the main problem lies elsewhere. My biggest concern is with our habit of blindly opposing, in various situations, intelligence or understanding on one hand, and sensitivity on the other. So that what we fear in the notion of “research” would be a kind of obligation that one considers as being contrary to the artistic process and to what one sees as the “sensitive”. One will never have done stressing the damage brought about by this word and the dichotomies that have sprung from it, and firstly the opposition between art and knowledge, or even thought, as two distinct and antagonistic extremes. But we don’t have intellect on one side and sensitivity on the other. Art is no more a stranger to knowledge than science is a stranger to invention and imagination. One must eradicate these false oppositions. (…)"


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