New Frac acquisitions.
Untitled (3/4 blue), 2011 (2011), by the Mexican artist Gabriel Kuri, is a three-dimensional installation which is not autonomous because it creates a situation in which the visitor can play a role. A mattress is placed between the sculpture and the floor, and visitors situate themselves beneath the shelter in an intimate space provided for them.
Domus Prints (A Secure Future) (2004), by the British artist Liam Gillick, is a set of six prints derived from the final posters promoting the policies of the Deutsche Demokratische Republik (DDR), the German Democratic Republic, before the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Gillick, who grew up during this era of tension between East and West, plays with meaning and takes us back to the past. He has obscured the images, removed insignia and flags and translated the text literally in English, without modifying the original expressions, thereby enquiring into the value of the slogans and images society creates.
I love you II (2012), by the Swiss artist David Renggli, both captures and reflects light. It is one of David Renggli’s falsely ‘modern’ abstract paintings in swaths of colours. The composition, made up of paint under glass placed in front of an aluminium plate a few centimetres away, gives the impression of quivering, or even being split.
Wedge (2011) and Demonstrators (2012) are second-hand objects, placed together by the Danish artist Nina Beier to create two still life sketches close to Arte povera. They suggest the idea that all objects emit a spiritual magnetism that ties them to others. These are thus two connections between present and visible objects, while we imagine other absent connections through mental association. A wedge-heel shoe transformed into a doorstop for Wedge (2011) and the image of a telephone left on a chair for Demonstrators (2012) are objects which invite multiple interpretations.
Our Castelli Collection (2011 – in progress) is a unique work-in-progress collection of documents of the Leo Castelli gallery’s activities from 1960 to the late 1970s, to be completed by the Mexican artist Mario García Torres and the collector. García Torres wishes to reactivate these documents by coming up with multiple possibilities and scenarios which could have taken place if the political and cultural circumstances had been different.
For several years the British artist Scott King has been working with real or invented quotations. “Art is simply evidence of a life well lived” is a quotation he attributes to Guy Debord from the day before his death and which he has transposed to a colour neon sign.
Long Neck and Groove Bottles, by the Dutch artist Hella Jongerius, is a group of bottles in two traditional materials, porcelain and glass, joined by simple plastic adhesive tape, the kind used to tape up packages and for fragile objects to be handled with care. These colourful design objects blend cutting-edge technology and manual labour, revealing the thin line between art and craftsmanship.
The furniture designed by the Swiss duo Lang/Baumann for a café-boutique space is evidence of a decompartmentalisation of artistic practices in the way it joins architecture, art and design. In this place of relaxation, visitors are invited to share a lunch with other people who have also come to explore the venue. The modular furniture makes it possible to add benches or table sections at will or to divide them up into separate groupings. A single employee can both operate the boutique, whose books and related products are displayed on a spacious bookshelf, and serve coffee and pastries to visitors.
Trevor Paglen explores the ‘invisible world’ of the clandestine activities of the U.S. army and secret services. The series ‘Limit Telephotography’ is the result of his efforts to photograph protected military facilities, most often in the southwest United States, around land closed to the public and accessible solely by military personnel. These zones are dedicated to training, testing armaments and classified secret missions. Although everything is arranged so that nothing is visible beyond the boundary beyond which visitors cannot pass, with the necessary material he succeeds in making out the shapes of buildings and distant lights. These can be seen in Open Hangar; Cactus Flats, NV; Distance – 18 miles; 10:04 am (2007); Detachment 3, Air Force Flight Test Center #2; Groom Lake, NV: Distance – 26 miles (2008); and P35-12 Military Meteorological Satellite Near Alpha Persei (OPS 8389) (2007).
These acquisitions are in keeping with pieces already found in the Frac Nord-Pas de Calais collection.
Gabriel Kuri’s work is similar to that of Bruno Serralongue and Erwan and Ronan Bouroullec, whose respective works, Abri #5 and #7 in the series ‘Abris’ (2007) and Lit clos (1999), are found in the Frac Nord-Pas de Calais collection. It also fulfils a commitment by Frac Nord-Pas de Calais to place the public at the heart of its projects.
Liam Gillick’s series is like other works in the collection by virtue of its socio-political message; these include Ken Lum’s My Name is Scott Ruzycki (1991). This is the third piece by Liam Gillick to enter the Frac Nord-Pas de Calais collection, after the installation Think Tank Think Tank (1999), acquired in 2000, and a video acquired in 2011.
Visually, David Renggli’s creations are reminiscent of Walead Beshty’s photographs or Gerhard Richter’s large-format works in the Frac Nord-Pas de Calais collection. This work rounds out a group of works by the artist in the collection: You’re always late (open) (2007), You’re always late (in between open and closed) (2007) and The Train From A To B (Hangout III) (2007).
The two works by Nina Beier are related to a number of design pieces in the Frac Nord-Pas de Calais collection, such as Maurizio Cattelan’s office shelving unit turned into a door, Untitled (1997), and Tejo Remy’s assemblage of drawers, Chest of Drawers = You can’t lay down your memories (1991), a poetic re-appropriation of the objects in our everyday life.
The acquisition of a work by Mario García Torres makes it possible to add to the work of Mexican artists in the collection. We might mention for example the recent acquisition of a work by the Mexican artist Teresa Margolles.
The acquisition of Scott King’s work rounds out an important group of works by the artist in the Frac Nord-Pas de Calais collection. This work can of course be exhibited in a variety of venues, but, attached to the façade of the building designed by the architects Lacaton & Vassal, it will bring to mind Maurizio Nannucci’s Provisoire & Définitif (1996), commissioned by Frac Nord-Pas de Calais when it moved to Dunkirk and installed on the building’s roof in September 1996.
The designer Hella Jongerius’ works will be added to those of hers that have already been acquired as well as to the many works in the Frac Nord-Pas de Calais collection which lie between contemporary art and design.
Trevor Paglen’s work joins that of the artist Taryn Simon, several of whose pieces are in the Frac Nord-Pas de Calais collection and which also take up the topic of the United States and its secrets.