Forms of Affects

The programme at La Galerie is now based around annual themes, each covering an entire season and embracing the gamut of the Art Centre’s activities: exhibitions, events, cultural mediation, artists’ residencies, publishing, etc. Focusing on “forms of affects”, the upcoming season is bookended by two mutually echoing group exhibitions – Hello Sadness, Desire, Boredom, Appetite, Pleasure and Farewell Sadness, Desire, Boredom, Appetite, Pleasure – with Laura Lamiel’s solo show and Nicolas Momein’s nine-month residency occupying the intervening space.


“Affects” refers to an emotionally charged interior state: affects mobilise – or immobilise – the subject and in either case change him. They determine a capacity to touch and be touched, and so to act or react – to influence the world. The season’s three exhibitions comprise works in which the artist’s affective and subjective involvement is clearly perceptible; in which affects take shape and point up real proximities – sometimes exclusive of other relationships – between the artist and his explorations, the artist and his oeuvre. To approach art from this angle is to work at understanding affects as factors for immersion and to make point of view a core part of the resultant relationship; this
because affects are a way of ascertaining both the author’s stance and the viewer’s position.


“WORK HERE!” says John from Cincinnati (in the TV series bearing his name), striking his heart with his clenched fist and looking his interlocutor straight in the eyes. This is the
gesture I’m looking for in the works in this exhibition – or at least its direction, its intention and its intensity. A gesture that situates the starting point of the work in the heart. The heart is not necessarily love; more simply, perhaps, it is the place where an intimate relationship between the artist and his work can be located, a relationship underpinned by a form of inner experience and stated in the first person. I’m looking for manifestations of the artist’s presence on the physical, emotional and discursive levels: signs of his involvement, indications of a close relationship – one which can even be too close, impeding critical distance and sometimes generating a sense of exclusion on the part of the person considering the work: the spectator. While the works are testimony to the artist’s involvement and display an affective charge, what place do they leave for the viewer? Does not approaching works through the prism of affects open up the possibility of addressing the viewer through his feelings, of affecting him, at the risk of excluding or manipulating him?


Ressources text