FROM 11 JUNE TO 4 SEP. 2011


Michael Beutler, Dewar & Gicquel, Ida Ekblad, Vincent Ganivet, Hedwig Houben, Emmanuelle Lainé, Charles Mason
Curators: Zoë Gray & Sandra Patron


In Europe, in our “post-industrial” era, we are increasingly distanced from the production of the goods we consume. Our downing of tools seems linked to a change in our relationship with the material world, provoking a more passive attitude towards the things with which we surround ourselves. When they break we throw them away, unable to x them and unable (or unwilling) to understand how they work. In recent years, however, there has been a resurgence of interest in making, in notions of self-suf ciency and craftsmanship. While such notions may nd particular resonance in these times of economic crisis, they are also part of a larger school of thinking that is reconsidering our relationship to work and production.

This changing relationship with material production nds an echo in recent art history.
The dematerialization of the art object – triggered by Marcel Duchamp at the start of the 20th century and labelled by art historian Lucy Lippard in 1968 – led to an art where the idea became pre-eminent, often taking prominence over the physical realization of an artwork. There was also an increasing interest in the delegation of an artwork’s production to third parties. While this liberated artists from the obligation to produce physical artworks themselves and opened the door for a wide range of experimentation, it did not obliterate the desire of artists to produce physical works, nor their curiosity to use materials to explore and express their ideas.

The exhibition Manufacture at Parc Saint Leger attempts to reveal what “production” means for artists today, not only in relation to art history but also to the aforementioned shifts in working and production in our globalized consumer society. Descendants of conceptual art as much as of our industrial heritage, the artists in Manufacture do not hesitate to delve into craftsmanship, the recuperation of materials, and bricolage, employing a vocabulary of forms, gestures and techniques while avoiding the fetishization of perfect technique. In fact, several of them also share the practice of consciously “misusing” their chosen materials and techniques. Others explore the possibilities offered by the unknown, by failure, chance and accident. What inspires them all in their production processes that are often long, sometimes laborious, is the question of practice and how this practice entails a form of familiarity, complicity and emancipation towards the world. In this back-and-forth between artisanal and industrial process, between contemporary and traditional materials, between thought and form, the artists of the exhibition develop a shared approach based on experimentation and empiricism.

If the exhibition’s title is a nod to the manufacturing history of the site – formerly a bottling factory for Pougues-les-Eaux’s spring water – it also enables us to consider the centre as it is today: an art factory, a permanent building site where the question of art’s production is posed on a daily basis.

Sandra Patron & Zoe Gray


*Zoë Gray (b. 1978, UK) has been working for the past ve years as curator at Witte de With, Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam. There, she has curated a sequence of solo exhibitions with artists including Brian Jungen, Margaret Salmon, Gareth Moore, Geoffrey Farmer, Keren Cytter, Manon de Boer, Saâdane A f, Annette Kelm, Billy Apple and Cosima von Bonin. Her projects at Witte de With also include the symposium sequence Rotterdam Dialogues: Critics, Curators, Artists (2008-2009) and The Periphery Complex (2007). Alongside such projects, she has also curated Beton Belvédère, an exhibition with Cyprien Gaillard at Stroom in The Hague (2009), and writes for several magazines and publications. Manufacture is an expansion of the exhibition she curated at Witte de With, Making is Thinking (2011).


Sunday, June 26th, 3pm:
Exhibition tour

Wednesday, July 13rd:
Performative act & and exhibition tour
In partnership with the festival Les Zaccros d’ma rue

Wednesday, August 24th:
Parc Saint Léger’s exhibition tour
In partnership with the festival Les Conviviales de Nannay Full programme available soon on our website

Friday, August 26th, 7:30pm:
Exhibition tour with picnic & live music