Wunderkammer Café


Publishing, graphic design, video

Wunderkammer Café

Past: September 4, 2020 → January 23, 2021

" The artist’s book is not an Art book. The artist’s book is not a book about Art. The Artist’s book is an Artwork." 1

On the occasion of the season’s opening, and for the tenth year of the gallery, Michèle Didier will present in her new exhibition most of the editions she has been publishing since 1987. Gathering a large part of the edited works, the gallery will take the shape of a consultation room, in a staging that could remind a café, a reading room or the famous Wunderkammer.

The publishing house « Les Maîtres de Forme Contemporains2 », now known as mfc-michèle didier, opened in 1987 in Brussels, while the gallery opened in Paris in 2011. Mainly dedicated to the publishing of works on paper, multiples and artist’s books, mfc-michèle didier provides a reflection about the collection and production of edited works in contemporary art as well as about conceptual art.

Although the Wunderkammer is usually devoted to display unique and rare objects, and the reading room showcases archives and Incunabula, the exhibition will only present edited works3. This is apparently in contrast with the rarity of the works. However, the artist book has a peculiarity: it is not, as opposed to a simple print, just a reproduction, but an authentic, multiplied artwork, that keeps its « aura » despite being edited. This « work » in a literal sense, associates the artist to his publisher in the creative process, and each new publication appears as a « Wonder », that by accumulating constitute their Oeuvre. The artist book is a media that needs time to be understood , it is an object whose perception is nor immediate, nor integral. It requires an encounter, an handling and it generally has its own logic. Some works are long to read and some are complex in term of conception. For instance, On Kawara’s Trilogy includes more than 14000 pages, One Billion Colored Dots comprises 25 volumes and Double Bind by Leigh Ledare is an ensemble of three volumes, three photographs and one fac-simile letter.

In the framework of the exhibition, the gallery is thought as a place outside of time, with its own rhythm, allowing the consultation of those mirabilia, those admirable and astonishing things that are usually presented under a showcase.

The exhibition’s conception will allow visitors to satisfy their curiosity and to take the time needed for each work. The nature of the art object implies a permanent movement between the desire to know (libido sciendi) and erotic desire (libido sentiendi), which is all the more important in the context of artists’ books and anthological works. Entitled Wunderkammer Café, the exhibition will also be ponctued by meetings and discussions about the artists and their works. We wanted to take the time for us to meet again, but also to continue to use the gallery as a space of reflection and not only as a merchant house or a showroom.

1 We translated. Guy Schraenen, Le livre d’artiste dans l’art contemporain, in « D’une Œuvre L’autre », Morlanwelz, Musée Royal de Mariemont, 1996 p.7-8

2 I choose this name in reference to Bauhaus. There was then “Form masters” such as Oskar Schlemmer and “Colour Masters” such as Wassilly Kandinsky." Michèle Didier

3 Except some unique works where produced on the occasion of specific events, as for instance the works produced by Allan McCollum and Claude Rutault on the occasion of their exhibition at the gallery in 2015.

  • Opening 2020-09-03 12:00:00 +0200 → 2020-09-04 20:00:00 +0200
03 Le Marais Zoom in 03 Le Marais Zoom out

66, rue Notre-Dame de Nazareth

75003 Paris

T. 01 71 27 34 41


Arts et Métiers
Strasbourg Saint-Denis

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