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Fausse bonne nouvelle


Juan d’Oultremont

Artist selected as part of the open call

32931b Rue de la Cathédrale

I lie. I have always lied a lot. One of those compromises with reality of which my mother was already the queen, and which has become for me a way of preaching the false to make the true even truer.

As I am also a collector, I believe I can say that I collect lies.

This inclination to tell “fibs” explains the jubilation that Robert Doisneau’s Tout est factice arouses in me. This is  a photo he took in 1942 (a period of war and restriction) in which a couple of grocers pose in their shop in front of shelves full of products clearly announced as fake.

80 years later, without having lost any of its relevance, this Tout est factice directly refers to the paradox of art: a perfectly crafted lie that makes you dream. A reason that seemed sufficient to me to revive a shop window in Liège and display objects that question the imperative to “bring back unfamiliar elements onto the art scene.” In this case, bringing a set of toy clubs (Inflatable Caveman Club collection), mostly made of plastic or fabric, back “into the art window”, coexisting with their wood or plaster replicas produced in my studio.

After having made an initial shift from the cave to the toy store, the exhibited clubs perform a second shift, from the toy store to the art scene. A series of movements that are “accelerated” by the potential violence of the initial object (the club, the puzzle) and that of the context of the photo (war and the risk of being robbed of rare commodities).

Avowed objective: to produce an installation that, beyond a first reading, resists interpretations and sows doubt about its true stakes. What are we looking at? A grocery store? an armory? a joke shop?

While I was designing this installation, I couldn’t help but think of Joseph Beuys’ Wirtschaftswerte social sculpture (1980 SMAK Gent), and the fact that a confessed fake news is halfway forgiven.

Juan d’Oultremont