Rrrhône by PAULINE PERPLEXE
90 Avenue de la Convention
90 Avenue de la Convention
From 8 to 22 juin 2019
In the room sheet, Simon Poulain, curator of the exhibition wrote:
Since the 1990s, Niek Van de Steeg has been developing a work organized into major projects setting up credible and sometimes satirical programs generally referring to administration and economics, bureaucracy or advertising. As part of the institutional logic of taking charge of the individual and society, through fictional superstructures, his work induces a relationship with utopia, but also derision while preserving a form of poetry or sensitivity.
Its work and projects are always part of a form of reality based on real subjects or territories (Île Seguin, the Rhône, the European Context, etc.), and play on their own credibility by using different distribution media, sometimes evoking the communication systems of agencies, architects or power in general: television reports, newspapers, archives, portraits, institutional exhibitions, etc.
These institutional fictions have so far structured in a more or less rigorous way the main part of Niek Van de Steeg's work: the Wind Pavilion, the Manège des douze, the Structures de correction, the Très Grande Administration Démocratique and the Maison des Matières Premières...
The exhibition presents a collection of recent pieces (paintings, ceramics and sculptures) that are part of the genealogy of the MMP project, "Maison de la Matière Première", questioning the relationship between resources and their exploitation or the impact of the economy and production on the landscape.
At the entrance to the exhibition are presented a set of pieces from the ceramics series, both hung on the wall and arranged on a mobile presentation device ("Arrangement", 2017). Each of these circular pieces (2013-2019), whether in stoneware, cast aluminium or porcelain, recreates a micro-relief to their scale and evokes a form of coring or direct sampling in the landscape. Here the artist presents different variations, some with motifs close to camouflage or a form of abstraction, and others with anamorphic perspectives reminiscent of quarries and open-pit mines, excavated in a spiral.
In the second space, the artist presents a set of new pieces directly inspired by the river that gives its title to the exhibition, but stated as in a rail: RRRhône... The palisade of the Maison des Matières Premières has laid on the ground, to embody a more fluvial motif. Two acrylic and oil paintings depict the Rhône river and the essential markers of its course (for example mountains, Lake Leman or nuclear power plants), in an almost cavalier flattened perspective that evokes both medieval representations and representations of hell and purgatory in Dante. From these motifs the artist created a kind of bas-relief in cast aluminium, giving an almost anachronic or retro-industrial aspect to the representation (" le Rhône ", 2019).
On the walls two other rooms complete the ensemble. "River" (2019) is an ash composition, giving an almost abstract representation of a meander, raising the veins from wood to oil paint and hanging on the wall by kinds of bronze piles. In contrast to this piece, "Les Failles" (2019) uses the same principle but adds more figurative motifs reminiscent of oceanic faults or excavations, while adding a ceramic element such as a well, the cone of a volcano or an optical lens.
Finally, on the ground, two sandstone and slip forms, "Blue Pot" and "Black Pot" (2019), resulting from the same research, are presented as they are on the floor of the exhibition, covered with pages that cover it completely, carrying out the Maison des Matières Premières project, and a potential history of the raw materials (coffee, asbestos, Yellowcake and uranium, aluminium, PCB) and its pollution.