36 rue de Seine
Galerie Vallois
33 - 36 rue de Seine
Paris 75006 France

Julien Berthier

Évaluation 360°

Exhibition view « Évaluation 360° »
Galerie GP & N Vallois, Paris
25.10 — 06.12.2009
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Évaluation 360° - Galerie Georges-Philippe & Nathalie Vallois
Évaluation 360° - Galerie Georges-Philippe & Nathalie Vallois
Évaluation 360° - Galerie Georges-Philippe & Nathalie Vallois

« The works of Julien Berthier function on two levels, so we shouldn’t be in too much of a hurry to decode them, for behind the comely façade the backyard is a real nightmare. On first inspection, it would seem that the artist goes about his art with a desire to improve life for all. The two books of drawings that he has published so far contain a whole host of projects likely to help his fellow men, and make it clear that he is not deterred by the obvious size of the task. Too many people, he suggests, have given up, but not he. No, in the opening pages of one of these albums, Julien maintains that we should “not leave the world to the specialists.” For that reason he feels free to address every field, conceiving his works as interventions in all kinds of different sectors: urban development (Silent Sentinels, Elegant Third World, Balcon additionnel), furniture (Left-handed Rietveld Chair), yachting (Love-Love), the environment (Le Palmier, Résidence secondaire, Hypnos) the world of work (Take a chance on me, L’horloge d’une vie de travail), etc. » (…)
Behind their somewhat flippant appearance, Julien’s works thus question the situation of democratic societies and the danger for governments represented by the decline in the sense of civic respon- sibility. By coming up with fictive technical answers to apparently minor questions, he points up both the need to find – and the terrible lack of – real political solutions to evils such as the degradation of the ur- ban environment, the dwindling of energy resources, the magnitude of security concerns and the ravages of globalisation – evils to which those in power sometimes seem to offer only gimmicky solutions. But then, with his goodwill, his overwhelming desire to engage, isn’t Berthier just a dreamer? Hasn’t he heard about post-history and the end of the meta-narratives that underpinned the idea of a possible revolution? Well, yes, he has, and that’s precisely the point. Julien is the last person to believe in the illusory “grand soir” of radical rebirth. But he is equally enraged by those all-or-nothing logics that would lead to simply giving up, the argument being that since social utopias are a thing of the past, all art can do is simply perform its flatly decorative function. »

33 36 rue de Seine
75006 Paris – FR
+33(0)1 46 34 61 07

NY Fleiss-Vallois
1018 Madison avenue
NYC, NY 10075 – USA
(646) 476 5885