The Mystery Spot
The organizers of this exhibition, which brings together pieces from the modern and contemporary collections of the Centre national des arts plastiques (CNAP), would like to acknowledge the support of the CNAP and the Fondation d’entreprise Ricard to contemporary creation in its diversity -through acquisitions and exhibitions, respectively. The attention of the CNAP to emerging artists, in particular, has made it possible in the past, and early on, to acquire works by artists who have now become internationally recognized. This prospective collection, unique by its range, totals 90 000 works today and follows the current artistic scene very closely. Through their strong interest for creation and its global developments, the Fondation d’entreprise Ricard and the CNAP bring their backing to a whole generation of French and foreign artists, contributing in a decisive manner to the ongoing development of an art scene.
« The « Mystery Spot » is located in California, in a wooded valley a few miles north of Santa Cruz. In this zone of about 150 feet in diameter, the laws of gravity seem completely out of order. On the hillside, the visitor enters a wood cabin inclined at 75º, which further emphasizes the sensation of a loss of balance. While the physical phenomenon tied to the place is undeniable, the means used to reveal it are what really amplifies this ambiguous sensation in which the real phenomenon and a completely fabricated illusion cannot be told apart. At any rate, all people involved become more aware of the presence of their bodies in a given, rather singular space-time.
Art, like some incongruities of nature such as this gravity hill, sometimes also tricks our senses. Artists do enjoy exploiting our gullibility. The relation established with the art work confronts us and may sometimes lead us to call into question our ways of thinking, at once generating an illusion and deconstructing it in an opposite movement. Each of the works presented in « The Mystery Spot » evokes this loss of bearings in its own way, disturbing visitors as they physically walk through the space, but even more in their intellectual progression. All the pieces presented here, which come from the collection of the Centre national des arts plastiques, play with our senses, repositioning our point of view in space.
Some thus play with a different hanging and occupy spaces that are typically not considered conventional (the ceiling, for instance, with Liam Gillick). Others question a metaphysics tinged with an evident poetry (Renaud Auguste-Dormeuil, Piero Golia, Guy de Sauvage…). Some sorcerer’s apprentices do not hesitate to experiment with science and the laws of gravity (Jeppe Hein, Nicolas Chardon). Finally, between Plato’s allegory of the cave and the myth of Zeuxis, other artists directly place the spectator at the center of a deceptive arrangement (Lars Fredrikson…). »
Marc Bembekoff, April 2012