Les douceurs du péché (The sweetnesses of the sin)
An exhibition presented at the FRAC PACA, Marseille, 7 September - 22 December 2013.
© JC Lett and NVDS
Curated by Stéphane Le Mercier.
Director: Pascal Neveux.
For this exhibition a number of books were transformed into graphs and unfoldable maps; behind their austere appearance, treasure-drawers and hidden perspectives opened up new narrative possibilities. Ten artists were invited to create a project using a pre-existing document that had been important to them - a favourite book, a travel journal - or a book that was simply dug up for the occasion . Illuminators, forgerers, translators, kleptomaniacs, archivists, all means were possible in order to successfuly complete their work.
Certain projects were resolutely discreet (Claude Horstmann, Hervé Humbert, Rémy Hysbergue, Babeth Rambault), the intervention modest (insert, erratum, modification of the cover, playing with the graphic design). They can be appreciated as finished models; the economy of the artistic project awaiting a distributor. Sometimes, they extended beyond the limits of the boo itself (Samir Mougas, Guillaume Pinard, Niek van de Steeg) ironically adopting the tradition of reading machines (systems devised in the Renaissance allowed for the manipulation of several incunabula but also the latest digital tablets). Finally, they could focus on what Gérard Genette called, 'le péritexte' - the book cover (Serge Le Squer), the cover sheets (Lasse Schmidt Hansen) - or within the framework of the printing process, the binding and gluing of the sheets, the image smearing (Pierre-Olivier Arnaud).

By questioning the material conditions of the book, these projects owe more to the inheritance of Dieter Roth than to Ed Ruscha. In this respect, they are conscious of the instability of their position, in that they do not correspond to the definition of the artist's book. Nevertheless, even if their distribution is limited, they do not fall into the category of fetishism and the bibliophilic rarity. They attempt, on the contrary, to defend a real experience while opening up a much larger area of the book form, and with it, a renewal in reading.
Stéphane Le Mercier

MMP (House of the Raw Matters) " Material Interests in France ", 2013
Stoneware, duralinox, wood, paint(painting), books(pounds), 100 x 80 x 90 cms

Since The Wind Pavillon inaugurated at the beginning of 1990s up to the very recent House of the Raw Matters, Niek van De Steeg develops a set of narratives which linger over the visible and invisible structures of the political economy.