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21 August 2012

Monique Deregibus & Arno Gisinger, Everything seems to have been said

Alain Leloup gives us an exhibition of works by Monique Deregibus and Arno Gisinger in which the two artists question the current way of looking at the traces of History, and the status of their own photographic images.

Their works are hung from rails in the shape of an open figure of eight, which allows the various concerns of the show to come together, short-circuited, as it might be, into an encounter. One person’s images are thrown into a dialectical relationship with those of the other by dint of their complicity or, sometimes, of their disconnection. This desire on their part stems from reciprocal trust and a common sensibility, backed up by their stated wish to break with the idea of a single signature. A central alignment, acting as a kind of focus, is the means of achieving the spatial connection between these two remote geographies: the viewers of the series 12 Betrachterbilder (Image Observers) by Arno Gisinger find themselves opposite the portraits of sleeping Laotian children by Monique Deregibus. This confrontation raises the conceptual question of gaze. What does it mean to see? What is it to look? And what of the ontological illusion of the image’s surface appeal? What can the world observed by the photograph expect from our interpretation of it?

The re-appropriation of a moment from an incomplete story, restored to the present through an encounter with the photographic image, can occur for the viewer, giving rise to meaning, emotion and even memory.

This sharing of sensitive experience of a world watched over by war and destruction constitutes a vast open-air site for the gradual deconstruction of everyone’s own particular logic. The exhibition, in its seriousness and in its lightness, is a privileged chink of light in the general over-enthusiasm and extravagance of today. It plays on chance encounters and the multiplicity of opposing places, eschewing hierarchy and suggesting to the spectator a web of possible readings.

Monique Deregibus, Arno Gisinger, artists, and Alain Leloup, curator of the exhibition, former director of the ENSP.

Curator: Alain Leloup.

Exhibition venue: Grande Halle, Parc des Ateliers, Rencontres d’Arles 2012.