Objects : Stéphan Landry

Produced for the Nuits des Musées at Musée Jensich Vevey. One of two texts that addresses the exhibition Tout va bien – M2 & Stéphan Landry.


Psychedelic hucksters of capitalism and consumption appear against the striated space of ultimate reason.

The grid, an allover of cartesian coordinates, divine order, stacked squares symmetrically unfolding in all directions.

Rene Interruptus ; Donald Duck, l’omino con i baffi, Monsieur Malabar *, ghosts of commerce past, break through the geometric perfection of the page like the Kool-Aid man busting through a brick wall.

Products and their weaponized slogans, jingles, and mascots set sail on the high seas of commerce colonizing minds and bodies, and capturing desire along the way.

Subjectivity is reconfigured, Descartes “I think therefore I am”, becomes “I have therefore I am.” If you liked this, you’ll love this! And our current obsession with economic reason means that everything must be quantified and all other logics must bend to that of the economy. Tout va bien.

Dominant structures and the forms they inhabit can fascinate just as they can oppress.


In the Deep South, the Southern Baptist’s bad trip usually revolves around things that are most intimate and mysterious to them, good and evil, and their mot d’ordres. The panic that follows, like the larger than life figures and slogans of (super) markets, reach deep into our psyche, and if and when they leave, it is not without a trace.

Stephane Landry’s early drawings are at first a surreal, sometimes spooky, if not morose depiction of the quotidian. Later, flatter representations appear, strict dichotomies of image and background, content to context. A plane passing overhead, interior spaces, benches, beds, moka pots, ashtrays, and floating q tips give way to specific black and white forms de(re)contextualized against unified fields.

Naming is analogous to the operation of identifying. In the mythological tradition the power of naming is well known throughout folklore and creation stories. Abracadabra, the magical sesame, can be translated from the Aramaic to mean ‘I create what I speak’.

I say therefore it is. You create your own reality. Tout va bien.

Brand logos, and mascots when well designed and implemented, create a double disembodiment, first the brand into a logo, and then you into that logo. Cartesian dualism separates mind and body while the logos of logos brings person in alignment with product.

The act of repetition creates power for what is repeated but also gives ownership or agency over that thing. Religious mantras, like advertising function through repetition. When we see a product, the jingle plays in our head, the mascot jumps off the

box to guide the way to the promised land. Amen. Tout va bien