Palais de Tokyo takes a spatial approach for their new introspective contemporary art experience, reports Jill Pope.
November 13th, 2014
Above: Numen/For Use, Tape Paris, 2014. Photo: André Morin.
Many exhibitions aim to transport you into the artist’s mind but what is different about Inside is that the works take you inside your own sub-conscious – “a risky voyage through oneself”. Guiding you through the full gamut of human experience, the curators have not only used the contemporary works but the physical environment of the Palais de Tokyo to enhance this multi-sensory exploration.
The voluminous proportions of the contemporary art museum act as much more than a blank canvas. In the main foyer you are surrounded by Nemun/For Use’s ‘Tape Paris’ (2014) – giant, opaque tubes constructed of scotch tape, suspended and branching throughout the space and animated by visitors crawling around the airborne maze.
Equally striking is the transition space between levels – a stairwell covered in graffiti-esque text and images by street artist dran, which prepares visitors for the second, darker half of the exhibition.
True to its word, the exhibition is almost entirely immersive – even seemingly less participative works seem to reach out and grab you at a visceral level. Once ‘through the looking glass’ (Marcius Galan, Secão Diagonal, 2008) there is no turning back.
Meandering throughout the labyrinth, the works are at once intensely beautiful, hideously grotesque or like Stéphane Thidet’s ‘Le Refuge’ (2007) dream-like in their absurdity, where something is not quite right. The ebbs and flows of the exhibition design mirror our emotional spectrum, but will be interpreted differently by everyone.
Introspection can be necessarily confronting, a sensory assault, so this chiaroscuro effect is also necessary to allow people to absorb the art. Inside lets up at just the right time; after a series of heavy works, Bruce Nauman’s ‘Get out of my Mind, Get out of this Room’ (1968) is designed to act as a ‘palate cleanser’ for your mind.
In an era where contemporary art seems more prolific than ever, it’s easy to get lost in the white noise. Inside reminds us of new media’s ability to engage at a powerful, emotional level, as well as the potential of space to take the exhibition experience to new heights.
Mike Nelson. Studio Apparatus for Palais de Tokyo – A Maquette Turned Memorial to a Phantom Work: Four Way Introduction; towards a mechanism to dislocate both time and space; futurobjectics (reversed); mysterious island. 2014. Photo: André Morin.
Video: Numen/For Use, Tape Paris, 2014.
Curators: Jean de Loisy, Daria de Beauvais, Katell Jaffrès
Artists: Jean-Michel ALBEROLA, Dove ALLOUCHE, Yuri ANCARANI, Sookoon ANG, Christophe BERDAGUER & Marie PEJUS, Christian BOLTANSKI, Peter BUGGENHOUT, Marc COUTURIER, Nathalie DJURBERG & Hans BERG, dran, Marcius GALAN, Ryan GANDER, Ion GRIGORESCU, HU Xiaoyuan, Eva JOSPIN, Jesper JUST, Mikhail KARIKIS & Uriel ORLOW, Mark MANDERS, Bruce NAUMAN, Mike NELSON, NUMEN/FOR USE, Abraham POINCHEVAL Araya RASDJARMREARNSOOK, Reynold REYNOLDS & Patrick JOLLEY, Ataru SATO, Stéphane THIDET, TUNGA, Andra URSUTA, Valia FETISOV, Andro WEKUA, Artur ZMIJEWSKI.
Palais de Tokyo
20 October 2014 – 11 January 2015
Numen / For Use
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