– Spring/Summer 2001

Reims by the Banks of the Dead Sea

Pierre Leguillon

I began taking photographs of exhibitions in 1992. I tried to question the ways in which space and time are structured to suit the exhibition, putting them to the test of reproducing them. How can you: render an individual experience of an exhibition when both market and media have standardized the forms in which the work is shown, in the ever more specific context that is the exhibition?

Uri Tzaig is the artist who's remained most attentive to this practice - which I've always felt to be integral to the continuation of criticism or organisation of exhibitions - probably because it assumes a further process of translation, a phenomenon that unites almost all his work.

Criticism has become more descriptive than polemical, when it's not purely promotional. Even more than the text, photography now seems to embody the system of legitimising the work, because of the courtesy automatically accorded it. Photography tends to emphasize its most material, most saleable aspect, to the detriment of an arrangement that is right for the exhibition, which for many artists is the work itself. To take up this supplementary tool, one within everyone's reach, supposes a critical form deriving from description, in a sense a 'hyperrealist' criticism, its focus and format very close to vision (if we leave out distorted perspectives), but in which, perhaps as in Félix Fénéon's texts on impressionist painting, syntax might play a decisive role.

I've often tried to record the movements of the exhibition's viewers, the way their bodies are outlined

  1. Hannah Arendt: 'Qu'est-ce que la philosophie de l'existence' in La Philosophie de l'existence et autres essais, Paris: Payot, 2000, p.119