With roots in both the Californian art scene and the New York literary scene, Julien Bismuth manages to unite these two parallel worlds in works that are both poetic and droll. The title of his new exhibition, “Les Continents Incontinents,” suggests that all kinds of overflowing are in store, involving both ideas and objects. The show is articulated around a very simple idea: to make the hanging of the works – usually one of the hidden sides of the gallery’s activity – the main theme of the exhibition. The show is divided up into two phases and two spaces. The work – drawings, sketches, paintings – will be presented in the entrance to the gallery, while the main room will remain empty until the moment of the opening: 7 pm on March 11. Five handlers will then install and manipulate a series of pieces in a precisely choreographed series of mute, expressive actions that will gradually reveal the works. These works are modular, foldable and transformable; they spread out, fold, retract, at times bringing to mind the Bichos by Lygia Clark. The second moment of the exhibition will come on 19 March at 7 pm, a week later, during a performance. A monologue, “Incontinent Continents,” will be declaimed by a single actor sitting on a pedestal specially designed for the occasion. The structure of his text has the same folds and cuts as the different formal elements gathered in the exhibition, constituting an aural illustration, a clarification and an articulation of the two phases of the exhibitions. We have come full circle.
Julien Bismuth’s performances were recently presented at the Institut d’Art Contemporain in Villeurbanne, the Kunsthalle in Vienna and Tate Modern, London.