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Matthieu Laurette

Matthieu Laurette : Une Monographie Dérivée (1993-2023)


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Matthieu Laurette Une Monographie Dérivée 1993-2023 – Matthieu Laurette’s first monographic exhibition in a museum in France, this is an opportunity to look back at the work of an artist who has exhibited on several occasions in the institution’s spaces as part of collective projects. Five works from his I AM AN ARTIST series are also part of the museum’s collection. Retracing some thirty years of artistic production, “Matthieu Laurette: Une rétrospective dérivée (1993 – 2023)” brings together a range of pieces of various typologies (installations, videos, Apparitions, interventions, sculptures, photographs, contracts, works on paper…) while elaborating several “dérives”, in other words ways of thwarting and diverting the codified exercise of the retrospective exhibition; approaching the retrospective itself as a derivative product.

This marked the beginning of a conceptual practice which, in the years that followed, would seek to think about the exhibition as a medium and the spaces in which art is defined, the modes of enunciation that enable us to call ourselves artists (between recognition by others and self-proclamation), and to make the boundaries between the worlds of art (of representation) and the real world (of action) more porous. At the time, Matthieu Laurette was already deeply influenced by Guy Debord’s thinking, as developed in La Société du Spectacle (1967). He even used it as material for several of his works. Rejecting the term “performance”, he would later qualify his practice as Institutional Criticism IRL, adding to the name of this artistic modus operandi whose beginnings were identified as early as the late 1960s (Institutional Criticism) the acronym of the expression “In Real Life”, originally used by various online communities to designate the “real world” (as opposed to the virtual world and fiction).

To make this Institutional Criticism IRL possible, Matthieu Laurette deploys a range of modes of action and strategies: infiltration, appropriation, detour, neutralization. He uses all channels of visual information circulation (print, television, internet, social networks…), developing an aesthetic that feeds on advertising and the press (as does Pop Art), perverting the clinical and administrative coldness associated with conceptual art. In the 90s, he produced a body of work based on Produits Remboursés (Refunded Products): the idea was to turn marketing operations (“First purchase refunded”; “satisfied or refunded”; etc.) aimed at selling consumer products in supermarkets against themselves, in order to live “refunded” or, in other words, free of charge. Based on this gesture, Matthieu Laurette created a buzz (as we would later say): he appeared on TV, on the cover of magazines, published a website, and toured several French towns with his window truck and his “Comment manger remboursé?” conferences to introduce audiences to this genuine lifestyle. From Les Produits remboursés onwards, his work, both in its modes of communication and its content, becomes intrinsically political.

Matthieu Laurette: une rétrospective dérivée (1993 – 2023)” was conceived not as a linear chronological narrative but, as the title suggests, a drift, in all its polysemy. This drift is both spatial and temporal: high up in the retrospective space, hanging advertising posters contain images of Matthieu Laurette’s exhibitions. Both souvenir photos and archives of the artist’s practice, they serve as an anchor point for the retrospective, seeking to resituate the contexts in which the artist operated and to which his works are intimately linked. Four works previously shown at the MAC VAL will be installed exactly in their original locations. These “remakes” will sometimes be a source of conflict with the scenography of the previous exhibition (retained for the retrospective), or even between different works. They are also an opportunity to invite other artists into the exhibition, past neighbors of Matthieu Laurette’s works in other venues. In this way, the retrospective is conceived not just as a retrospective of works, but as a retrospective of exhibitions (in which the gestures of linking works by curators of projects that have included Matthieu Laurette are replayed, to varying degrees).

  • design : Syndicat
  • date of publication : 2023
  • language : EN / FR
  • pages : 336 p.
  • format : 31 x 21.5 x 3
  • impression : Offset
  • tirage : 800 copies
  • binding : Bound, hardcover with jacket
  • ISBN : 9782900450161
  • publishers : Mac Val
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