The exhibition finds its most literal correspondence in both the daily life and imagination of Pierre Clement. We visualise the artist in his studio, behind his computer, searching within survivalist sites, surfing on conspiracy theorists, among which: Above Top Secret «The oldest pessimists website. It talks about everything without any hierarchy, goes from biology through ufology, down to Donald Trump. Above top secret could possibly be the title of a film by Terry Gilliam, evoking a nightmare of a future nuanced by a hymn to love. An antiphony within which, Pierre Clement would unveil, to the apocalyptic sound of «The war of the worlds”, scenes of disasters and other lines of an anticipation novel.
A mixture of a dramatic soundtrack ; Clement adds, à la Jack Foley’s post-production style, the effects of a daily geomanipulation: photocopies, desert views, satellite imagery, jet-fighter holo-gun sights, hurricane eyes, 4G relay antenna’s shapes and other syringes. He integrates, in transparency, different overlays of fiction, from reconstitution down to drama. «I mix layers, I associate them. They are found in the gestures i am using, in the choice of materials. They escape from me, they organise themselves; there is a frame, a grid. I’m sampling, I’m sequencing»
In the exhibition space, six large formats on wood frames are facing six small sculptures, a pure and classic tradition’ display; small shrubs in levitation: corals composed of syringes stitched together and suspended on springs. Each of these pieces are worked as expansive organisms, they exist as juxtaposed elements that create a visual effect, a distortion. They givethe viewer the impression of movement or hidden images. Clement’s works point a form of traveler’s syndrome, evoking a temporary psychic disorder caused by confrontation to reality.
The titles of his works, such as, «4Ghudhurr2», combine the abbreviations of the different ingredients, hurricanes, HUD gun-sights (military enhanced reality system), 4G antennas. These become the passwords of a scientific fiction. We imagine Pierre Clement searching inside trash-bags of a certain future, or even those left by our ancestors, gradually build-up, layer by layer; temporary vestiges and material witnesses of eras in the making, or of the past, on which our present would be erected.
The exhibition, seems to continuously develop the artist’s discussion on the gap between artistic fiction, reality, and absurdity. By ruining the «cut-and-paste» aesthetic and/or hypertext references, Pierre Clement uses both the medium and its story, as a filter of his personal experiences. Above top secret, ultimately, is a subversive “home movie”; the low-tech way, a back and forth journey between ironic appropriation and political resonance. Pierre Clement, a.k.a Nanouk l’esquimau, plays and stages a certain future archeology and lays down the foundations of post-reality.
Text by Anissa Touati.
Pierre Clement - Above Top Secret
Galerie Escougnou-Cetraro, May 17 - June 17