Works of art which set out to record memory, particularly Rainier Lericolais’ musical productions, attracted the interest of Frac Nord-Pas de Calais and prompted the commissioning of a new work for the opening of the FRAC/AP2. The Frac’s wish was that he would take up the city of Dunkirk in a musical composition accessible to every audience.
This new work was produced like a “laboratory for musical experimentation” and combines reading, musique concrète and hörspiel. The experience is taken to the visitor, who becomes an agent of the work by virtue of choosing his or her path from the FRAC/AP2 and the LAAC (Lieu d’Art et d’Action Contemporaine) and of choosing what is heard – by selecting or not the chance reading, and by the choice of language. The visitor may remember the date 25 June 1658, a historical moment that still has meaning today through this music, or will soak up the sound of the carillon in the Dunkirk belfry, will hum “God Save the Queen” by the Sex Pistols or will fancy imagining the voice of Jan Baert.
Drawing on archival research and field recordings in Dunkirk, Belgium, Japan and China, this work evokes activities found in the city of Dunkirk (such as Carnaval and shipbuilding in the Chantiers de France), the city’s history (war and the figure Jan Baert), its characteristic sounds (the wind and sea), the institutions involved in the project (the Frac and the LAAC), but also the direct or indirect relations established by Lericolais (Japan, industrial music).
Taking as his starting point this date of 25 June 1658, in the course of which the residents of Dunkirk were three successive nationalities (Spanish in the morning, French at noon and English in the evening), Rainier Lericolais plays with the notion of the border, in the sense of geographical and temporal limits – the pillars of history – to tell a story, a narrative, out of the factual reality.
Through this exploration of the memory of Dunkirk, by leaving visitors free to find their own interpretation he also evokes elsewhere. Having previously referred to an idea of the French writer and filmmaker Chris Marker as the basis of his creative process, according to which one speaks best about one’s country when one is distant from it, here Rainier Lericolais has succeeded in drawing an interesting counterpoint from this music: it is by speaking of a place that one has a better view of elsewhere…
Le Son des Dunes, a specific joining of musical compositions and speaking, approximately forty-five minutes in length, which visitors can enjoy between the FRAC/AP2 and the LAAC. They may thus create their own trace in a collective memory.
Rainier Lericolais is a French artist who was born in 1970 in Châteauroux and who lives and works in Paris.
His corpus may seem a formal patchwork; in any event it reveals a marked taste for exploration, even hybridisation. Overall, however, his work is connected by two major interests: drawing and music. While he views them as complementary in theory and sometimes independent in practice, this visual artist and electro-acoustic musician has often employed them to take up themes of moulding (Tentative de moulage d’eau, presented recently in the group exhibition Mémoires vives by FRAC Aquitaine and the Pôle d’archives de Bayonne et du Pays Basque; the series Abstracks, made up of collages of impressions of vinyl records moulded in plastic) and reading (visual reading, as in the drawings entitled Perroquets, or musical, such as that of 12 bruits de fond(s), made to mark the re-opening of the LaM in Villeneuve d’Ascq), and, by extension, the notion of recorded memory. He remarks, moreover, that he enjoys places with a real history, a history he can then explore, even ‘sample’, using his own memory, those of the place’s residents or the work of other artists who have influenced his work.
His experimental work, both graphic and musical, is based on both rational research into logical connections and a quest for chance personal ties. The important thing is always that the audience be wondrous and sketch an intuitive and sensory reading of the work.