tuesday-satudray 11am-7pm, and by appointment
6, rue Jacques Callot - 75006 Paris
march 22 - june 15, 2013.
Curator: Christian Xatrec
Jean Dupuy left Paris for New York in 1967, having thrown most of his Ab-Ex-style paintings in the Seine in an action he later summed up with an onomatopoeia expressive of watery relief “Plouf! Ouf!” (Splosh! Gosh!).
Only a year after his arrival in New York, his sculpture Cone Pyramid (Heart Beats Dust) became an emblem of EAT. Made of dust and activated by visitors’ heartbeats, this sculpture was Dupuy’s first encounter with the idea of the collective but also with what he called Lazy Art, which he later defined as “letting other people do most of the work, instead of me.”
The immediate success of Cone Pyramid (Heart Beats Dust) was the platform for over forty years spent exploring “techno-sensorial” techniques, with the help of artistic institutions and in the face of an increasingly dominant art market.
In 1972 he left the Sonnabend Gallery to devote himself to a living form of art, an art not shaped by the dictates of the market. In May 1973 he organised his first collective event, an exhibition titled About 405 East 13th Street (#1), for which he invited 30 artists to intervene in and in relation to the venue, a loft (a combined living and working space). Most of the resulting contributions were minimal, almost imperceptible. None were for sale.
A second About 405 was held in the same space the following year. There he put on his first performance, The Shaving of My Moustache. On a mechanical revolving stage (Lazy Susan) operated by an assistant, he shaved his moustache, visible as a shadow behind a translucent screen.
Jean Dupuy: the collective years (1973-1983) is the first retrospective of the artist’s “collective” period, from About 405 all the way to the last exhibition of this kind, at the Grommet Gallery, shortly before his return to France and his almost monastic retreat to the mountain village of Pierrefeu, north of Nice, where he has devoted himself to his anagrammatic work.
Dupuy very fittingly defined the collective genre (exhibitions, performance and video) as a “sampling of contemporary creation (in the early 1970s), placed under the sign of mixed genres and artistic families (a salad of artists!).”3 It was not, then, a movement, the way Fluxus (George Maciunas) was, nor was it a “franchise” like the New York Avant-Garde Festival (Charlotte Moorman) – two precedents which it would be difficult to ignore. It was simply a “salad of artists” mixed in response to an occasional invitation (issued in the form of a theme, an idea or a title) to exhibit or perform, within the prescribed limits of a given space and/or time interval.
The exhibition at Loevenbruck features numerous archives, videos, photographs and original documents (posters, invitations, publications), many of them being shown for the first time. They evoke the impressive sequence of collective exhibitions, performances, videos and concerts organised by Jean Dupuy between New York and Paris during the years 1973-1983.
To mention only the most emblematic: “Soup and Tart” (The Kitchen, November 1974); “One Afternoon On a Revolving Stage” (Whitney Museum, March 1976); the “Grommets” series (Grommet Studio, 537 Broadway, 1976-1977); “A Tower at PS1” (PS1, February 1978); the now mythical “Art Performances / Minute” (Louvre, Grande Salle des États, October 1978); the four “C.U.L.” evenings (New York and Paris, 1980-1981); and the collective videos Artists Propaganda (1977), Artists Shorts (1979) and La Pub (1980).
These documents bear witness to the key role played by Dupuy as an instigator of collective art in the early 1970s, as well as the magnitude of the phenomenon itself. His events brought together one hundred and thirty painters, artists, dancers, sculptors, musicians, and poets, most of them from among his many friends, and including: Laurie Anderson, Olga Adorno, Christian Boltanski, Robert Breer, André Cadere, Charles Dreyfus, François Dufrêne, Robert Filliou, Simone Forti, John Giorno, Raymond Hains, Bernard Heidsieck, Dick Higgins, Alison Knowles, Arnaud Labelle-Rojoux, George Maciunas, Gordon Matta-Clark, Anthony McCall, Annette Messager, Jacques Monory, Charlotte Moorman, Claes Oldenburg, Patty Oldenburg, Nam June Paik, Charlemagne Palestine, Richard Serra, Ben Vautier, Hannah Wilke.
Here is ample evidence, if ever it were required, that the idea of collective consciousness developed in that so-called “lazy” fashion by Jean Dupuy over a period of ten years, between New York and Paris, is difficult to ignore.
Virginie Barré, Alain Declercq, Robert Devriendt, Dewar & Gicquel, Blaise Drummond, Jean Dupuy, P. Gaillard & Claude, F. Giraud & R. Siboni, Vincent Labaume, Arnaud Labelle-Rojoux, Lang/Baumann, Edouard Levé, Philippe Mayaux, Gabor Ösz, Bruno Peinado, Werner Reiterer, Børre Sæthre, Stéphane Sautour, Alina Szapocznikow, Morgane Tschiember