Heimo Zobernig, Ignacio Uriarte, Pier Paolo Calzolari, Gerwald Rockenschaub, Jaume Plensa, Olaf Nicolai, and Susan Hiller

Apr 14, 2008 – May 17, 2008
Opening: April 14, 2008, 18:30

Press release

The Bureau des Objets Trouves at number 36 of Rue des Morillons, in Paris, is Europe's largest depository, storing around seven thousand lost objects. Active since 1805, the archive is a model of Napoleon's administration. It is an impressive museum of thoughtlessness and distraction. Christian Boltanski, in "Demieres Annees" 1998, a show he did at Arc, Paris, used jackets, coats, bags and glasses that weren't collected from the Bureau. Distraction and lost objects are recurrent elements of the culture of the 1900's, from psychoanalysis to Walter Benjamin, from Modernism to its critic.

Freud has defined the Freudian Slip (also called Parapraxis in English or Fehlleistung in German) not only as an action that replaces another, but as any kind of mistake, an oversight in the use of language and a psychic phenomena.

Gennan language points out this sort of sampling, or archive, of mistakes through the use of the prefix 'ver': Vergessen (oblivion), Versprechen (verbal slip), Verlesen (reading slip), Verschreiben (writing slip), das Vergreifen (thoughtlessness) and das Verlieren(disappearance of objects).

Also, Freud compares the psychic world of fantasy to natural reserves, "spaces that are consecrated to the preservation ora normal state of being ... Here, everything can grow and proliferate freely, also the useless, and even the harmful."

In another dimension or space, literature and art can also be compared to a natural reserve and understood as a return to the obliterated ("Freudian Slip")

The role of memory in the artistic experience of the 1900's (intrinsic to Modernism after Baudelaire) is without any doubt one of its most original features.

We live surrounded by things. The material culture has emotions and ideas that are associated to objects that in different ways, establish our relationships to the world. Books, utensils, identity cards, photographs, money, souvenirs, tools. Each object opens us roads or paths to tell stories, to formulate identities, to remember or imagine histories or possible iconographic models.

Beyond fetishism or the emphatic ways of spectacularly, some of the contemporary artistic researches are set up in the use and in the analysis of memory (both historical and personal).

Even more significant are those researches are interested in the mechanisms and procedures that bring together memory and artistic act.

We can even imagine art as a place in which obliteration is produced and, consequently where we can give back to the lost object all its importance (obviously baring in mind the historical definition of "melancholy").

"Oggetti smarriti", is a curatorial project that intends to analyse how some contemporary artists use the idea of memory as an active tool to transfer actuality into non actuality and vice versa (or from the actual state to the virtual or potential one and vice versa).

This active faculty of transferring from one dimension to the other (and from one space to the other), adapts itself to different practices that aren't necessarily simultaneous or equal:

  • memory of space and transformation of this space in a "place" (also in its melancholic version)
  • Transformation and manipulation of the observer's "point of view"
  • Sampling and remix of elements from modernism ("modernity as our antiquity" ... )
  • New critical contextualisation of the contemporary visual imagery
  • The work of art as a catalyst of creative and interpretative energies, a king of remembering of critical celebration that generates real effects (acts), also through the association of ideas, literary and narrative sources and analysis of the language of art.
  • Revision of the basic elements (cultural, natural, political) of daily life.

The selected artists, Pier Paolo Calzolari, Susan Hiller, Olaf Nicolai, Jaume Plensa, Gerwald Rockenschaub, Ignacio Uriarte, Heimo Zobernig will testimony this particular and different use of the memory in contemporary art.

As Robert Lax wrote: Our identity is bound with our memories:wash away memory and identity disappears... only to reappear again with our next action. I remember the people I loved (who have died) or who have just disappeared- Remember their traits as though it were a sacred duty. What possibile use for all those memories unless we were (somehow) all to meet again?