WRITING : Resultats des Courses
This text was produced on the occasion of Gregoire Bolay & Paul Limoujoux’s exhibition
Sonnets for MJ, Grecian Highways
February 19, 2016
Les Resultats des Courses : WIN WIN, graciously made possible through the support of the FCA, brings together the work of Gregoire Bolay (1986, CH) and Paul Limoujoux (1989, FR) for their first collaborative show in a Swiss institution. The artists have made nine interventions in the space using varied mediums.
Limoujoux’s work uses simulacra and copies that prompt us to reevaluate our relationship to the real and the everyday while Bolay’s meticulously conceived and crafted paintings and sculptures operate on tropes of format and titling. Both artists are considered to be two of the most important artists of their generation.
Months ago, listening to the artists discuss their exhibition, I experienced a vertiginous sort of shitty Stendhal Syndrome, instead of Florence, I am in West Lausanne and I’m imagining giant potpourris, ghost chairs, and a string of other wild ideas, some of which are present at the Mouettes exhibition space. Genuinely ambitious and generous, the exhibition brings together pieces that operate on the space and each other through variations of banality, format, repetition, and absurdity.
The artists have stated the Resultats des Courses is WIN WIN: we can deduce that what has happened, has had no deciding significance, as the result is equal. No doubt many interesting and exciting things happen along the way, but we are always already back to where we started. Like a racehorse out of the gate running full tilt, urged along frantically, only to realize it has circled back to where it was in the beginning, breathless, thirsty, and confused. The more things change the more things stay the same.
The seemingly innocent equivocation evoked in the title is also quite malicious, because like many of the objects and ideas put forth by the artists, apparent ambivalence and indifference function only as fronts. I see WIN WIN as an acidic commentary on the exceptionalism that drives, among other things, consumerism and contemporary art, but also a deeply humanist affirmation of solidarity in the uncertain conditions of late capitalism. Their affirmation is this: that despite our differences we are in this together. As the social and emotional become more fractured and separated, it is still possible and necessary to share the psychedelic space of the imaginary.
Pas de Vacances pour des Vrais Gars which honors local traditions of wall paintings, albeit lazily, stands as a monument to the art world’s vigilance to careerism and the artists definition of work in a post Fordist, post studio economy. While others may come and go, the exhibition wall, like the pochtron of your local PMU, is the anchor, the rock. It alone has seen it all. The artists have generously decided to give the wall a bronze finish, a healthy post-vacation glow.
Dommage occulaire irréversible (fuck life), a junk minimalist wall sculpture occupies and illuminates a wall, a redneck’s Dan Flavin, sexy and dangerous. Through symbiotic and formal opposition to fuck life, the piece Toilettes et Salle de Bain operates as oversized poetic homage to beauty and memory; flies optional.
Transport en commun like the latin root of Resultats salire (to ride, tojump), is a conceptual leap from the eco-citizen’s / economic underling’s shared experience of taking the bus or metro to our most primal of shared experiences, contemplating the infiniteness of our natural world. This piece, as well as many others in the exhibition space could evoke our communal pleasures and dilemmas.
Spectral waiting rooms and spartan hospitality as harbinger. The space is haunted by office chairs covered with material designed to protect new cars from contamination by factory workers and those at the dealership. Protect me from where I work.
As tempting as it is to continue providing the artworks of this exhibition with speculative meanings, to propose different conceptual functions which the pieces fulfill in the exhibition space, and thus the exhibition functions as a whole, maybe it would be best to go back to the beginning, the title.
If we number the letters in the word WIN according to their place in the alphabet we get W=23, I=9, N=14 …thus W = IN (we in this? Within? Wein?) Can we understand Les Resultats des Courses through the Viennese Secession? Or the Actionists? No no. The answer is in the numbers. The answer is in the street. W. 23 is former NBA player Michael Jordan’s number. I. 9 (the number of pieces in the exhibition) represents perfection in eastern beliefs. N. 14 is the number of lines composing a sonnet. A divine sonnet for Michael Jordan, repeated? WIN WIN.
Further, If we total both wins (46) we arrive at (92). Thus the Resultats des Courses would be 92. A reference to the Hauts-de-Seine region in France? A banlieusard reflection on the contemporary? In an artistic context such as this, it is more likely a reference the European 92 highway that crosses Greece from west to east. An unfolding of the flow of goods and information across the birthplace of classicism? A reminder of the transformative influence that economy and nation states exert on everything, ourselves, and art?
More elegantly, If W=23, I=9, N=14 and we add the digits together 2+3+9+1+4 we get 19. WIN WIN is then 19 19 or 2 19… February 19, the date of the opening of the Resultats des Courses : WIN WIN. Things are what they are, like the racehorse tricked into hauling ass around a giant circle, just to get back to where it started. If you’re breathless, thirsty, and confused, no worries, it can happen to anyone. Have some complimentary coffee.