Opening: Friday 20 January, 6-9pm
If your hands slip into my shoes our walk will quickly become unsteady. Here we are, one third into the exhibition “Your hands in my shoes” which lasts for almost a year. We’ve often used this title as a useful metaphor for the project: if we think of the art centre as a pair of shoes, as a functional object which “goes forward”, and if we think of the people who pass through it – artists, the art centre team, the public – as hands that slip into these shoes, we soon notice that we are all deflected from our initial route. This image of a stumbling and comic walk seems to us to be the most appropriate in thinking of the exhibition as an experience of instability, a game of reciprocal adjustments.
The image of walking also describes a way of searching: by trial and error. At this stage, this exhibition has disrupted all our usual roles and habits. If it is too early to measure the effects, we can at least recap on several of the starting points: the artists are invited to the art centre for an indefinite period, and so they are not limited to the scope of the exhibition itself. That is to say that the usual conditions for artist invitations are opened up to include the whole house and its inhabitants – the team, the visitors – who thus become participants in the invitation, and who create improvised and surprising connections between themselves. The project attempts to play with the more or less explicit rules that link the art centre with artists and the public, and if it appears to be a game, it is concrete, daily and is life size. For the team an important question is asked of them every day: how to mix a diligent personal implication in a professional context during actual work time? How to react to these complex intimate public relationships and how to blend them into an experimental dynamic? How far should they take the aspect of hospitality, specific to this project? Here an ambiguous rule prevails: work normally in spite of everything and don’t overplay the relationship.
Up until now this project has been a lot about looking after the artworks and guiding the visitors through the specific relationships at the heart of the exhibition. This aspect of care and attention is never unilateral and for it to exist and be renewed it needs to be reciprocal. In this way, the art centre is aimed at people who are willing to participate in the game or at least to observe its effects. Because the exhibition is a series of scattered experiences, this journal recounts a few of them through three conversations, fragmentary accounts which complete in part the pictures of the show. It only remains now for you to return; you are most welcome in our old shoes.
Vanessa Desclaux and Emilie Renard