Hotel Dynamite

Group exhibition.
La Chapelle Saint-Jacques, Saint-Gaudens.

17th January to 17th February 2018.
David Michael Clarke with Valentin Alizer, Isaline Catteau, Cassandre Cecchella, Victor Charrier, Tiffanny Descloaux, Paul de Solan Bethmale, Quentin Fort, Mathilde Gréard, Lydia Guez, Becky Lewer, Amandine Mazé, Lucas Pastor, Arthur Saguez.
Hotel Dynamite Exhibition. La Chapelle Saint Jacques. Saint Gaudens. 2018. © David Michael Clarke ADAGP.
Exhibition / Workshop     

For the second time, the art centre, La Chapelle Saint-Jacques, continues to experiment the relation between « teaching art » and « the exhibition ». This year, it’s David Michael Clarke’s turn to lead us on an adventure. The artist’s proposition is to accompany a dozen artists from three different schools : l’ESAD Tours – Angers – Le Mans, l’ESA Pyrénées — Pau – Tarbes et l’isdaT Toulouse.

Bits of life, pieces of art, then a « melting pot » approach to research that starts as a dialogue between two voices, then three, then four, and so on and so forth… A concept that is purposely built from various multiplicities, in order to conjure up « the collective », a condition that tends to favour the creative process. For more than two weeks, the group confronted this question of process, as a possible way to imagine an exhibition in constant evolution, in other words, an exhibition in which the elaboration and fabrication of the exhibition become the exhibition itself.

In reference to the « Poïpoïdrome », the legendary project by Robert Filliou and Joachim Pfeufer in 1963, and conceived as a « centre for permanent creation », this young group does not propose to re-make the Poïpoïdrome, but rather to re-live it. David Michael Clarke and the students search for the necessary gestures to live as a community and to elaborate an original artistic universe at the heart of the art centre. Here it is the path rather than the destination that is privileged. The essential being the personal approach and the emotional intelligence of each participant at the heart of this collective activity.

Valérie Mazouin


Works by David Michael Clarke.

Hotel dynamite. 5 drainage tubes, straps, wooden sign, 4m x 6m.

Born out of the necessity to accommodate the human needs of over a dozen students in the art centre for a two-week period and made from Ecobox tubes of 1 metre in diametre and 6 metres in length, this sculpture occupies the main space in both a monumental and playful manner. It’s the central work in the exhibition and comes from my fascination with building sites and road works, which I tend to see as landscapes. Through its colours and its forms, the esthetic of this « hotel » brings to mind a packet of dynamite as represented in children’s cartoons, and with it’s commercial sign, it then announces a certain type of commercial architectural space. As a sculpture, it changes from one thing into another. It is an « idea in movement ».
The palisades. Sculpture, 2018. Woven Douglas. Variable dimensions.

In the same way, the palisades are also born of necessity, the need to be able to manipulate and transform a space, that the space can exist in a state of permanent evolution. Taking my inspiration from artists and architects such as Alvar Aalto, Michelangelo Pistoletto, or Claude Lévêque, I conceived these palisades as self-supporting curtains, capable of dividing the space into little corners, or to be used as a support for two dimensional work. Some of the students used the surplus timber for their own projects.

Social Housing for 24 Rabbits. Sculpture, 2014. Plywood, pine, polycarbonate, 1,86m x 2,44m x 1,56m.

In 2014, I was invited by Didier Lamandé to conceive of an exhibition at La Galerie du Dourven, Côtes d’Armor. The gallery is situated in the middle of a large park. I wanted to make something outside and decided to build a new home for the rabbits. I was inspired by the Hélios building, designed by the architect Roger Le Flanchec that can be found on the opposite peninsula, and also by the older « cités radieuses » designed by Le Corbusier. Sadly, the wild rabbits didn’t take to their new home. In 2016, I was invited by Yvan Poulain, then director of Musée Calbet in the town of Grisolles (82). I imagined an exhibition based on the idea that each generation has the tendency to reinvent the architecture constructed by their ancestors. Thus I decided to reinvent the « Unité d’habitation pour 24 lapins » as a museum. In this case, a museum within a museum. With a nod and a wink to Magritte, I chose the most enigmatic objects from the museum’s permanent collection, and installed them inside the « hutches ». At La Chapelle St Jacques, the sculpture was handed over to the students who could do with it as they wished. Projects were undertaken with kids from the local schools. Anything goes ! Each hutch hides a surprise.

The whispered history of art by Robert Filliou (extract read by Brice Martin). Video.

In 2015, I undertook a residency in a home for mentally handicapped people near Castres. This experience marked me and above all lead me to consider « the public » in a wider manner, and to ask questions about to whom my work was addressed. At the end of the residency, during my leaving party, some of the permanent residents helped Isabelle Vasilic, (psychologist) to prepare a surprise. They read texts written by artists. Speaking in public is never easy, and no doubt even harder when you have other handicaps to handle. But through reading texts, it is possible to reach beyond one’s limits. During the workshop in Saint-Gaudens we were very happy to welcome Isabelle and three residents Castres to our temporary home. Brice wanted to read an extract of « The whispered history of art » by Robert Filliou, written in 1963. This video bears witness to his courage in the face of his difficulties.

Barcelona Suite, All-Weather Version. Sculpture (after Mies van der Rohe), 2017. Douglas, galvanised steel.

Last year, I reworked Mies Van de Rohe’s famous chairs and foot-stools to see how they could work in an outdoor urban context. I thought that the students might appreciate a little lounge, a place to relax after work.

Holophane Judd. Sculpture, 2015. Recycled lamposts. Variable Dimensions.

The series «Holophane Judd» was made for the exhibition «Outside-In» with Anabelle Hulaut, at La Chapelle du Genêteil in 2015. Since then, I have reused the works in differing manners, as sculpture, as lighting, as plinths.

Artists of the future.     

Valentin Alizer. Inclusion. Participative installation.

The artist enjoys an ambiguous relation with his free time. Playing with this ambiguity, I propose a autonomous ‘play area’, where the participant is invited to intervene with the very function of the game, developing new rules while following the rules that have been established by previous players. Thus the work of art becomes a social space that each individual can shape as they see fit ; each player takes his or her turn in a game that is simultaneously a simple first past the post game / a mystery game / a money game and / or an alcohol game etc.

Isaline Catteau. Worlking clay. Performance-Video.

Performance played out by six people. Each participant is charged to replicate a precise yet minimal gesture, repeated over a duration of 8 hours, following the standard factory rhythm of «three-eight». The performance shines a light on the alienation of the body-machine through the mechanical gesture and the exhaustion of the human being.

Cassandre Cecchella. Series Nitroglycerine. Acrylic paint on wood and cardboard.

The title is a reference to the explosive chemistry used in the production of dynamite, but also in médecine as a vasodilator. This contradiction between destruction and reconstruction can be found throughout our daily lives, through the products, events, gestures that we can’t seem to escape. Through painting I can observe our everyday realities in a poetic manner. My work is thus a witness to our shared lives and experiences.

Victor Charrier. The way things go. Installation, wooden planks fixed to the wall.

David Michael Clarke is interested in the importance of the concept of collectivity to the processes of research and creation. I wanted to take on board these ideas about sharing and participation, through a game, a ball-run course that would also accentuate the verticality of the exhibition space and other view points that are specific to La Chapelle St Jacques. In a similar manner to Der Lauf der Dinge (Le cours des choses) by Peter Fischli and David Weiss (1987), the movement and the result are unpredictable, random, remain often unfinished, they form a line, a path that is different for each ball, that one can see the path and observe the descent of a solitary ball or indeed many.

Tiffany Descloaux. Porcelaine plaques, engraved by the residents of the foyer, La Planésié.

Student at L’école d’art des Pyrénées, Tarbes, I made my project in the school’s ceramics studio. Some residents of the Planésié, were on visit to La Chapelle St Jacques, and I invited them to draw and to engrave some fresh porcelaine plaques that were subsequently fired.

Paul de Solan Bethmale. We are eternally thankful. Installations.

Steeped in references, both religious and artistic, the four works presented combine the ancient and modern history of the chapel. Each work was devised as part of an ensemble, creating relations between the sacred and the secular. An infinite convolution of imaginary and rational spaces.

Quentin Fort. Fishing rod, bamboo, string, bicycle wheel.

Leisure actives are for me a way of testing the idea of permanent creation. This fishing rod is of very bad quality and does not allow the user to fish correctly. A bicycle wheel is suspended. Two ordinary objects connected by some string. One was fabricated during the installation of the exhibition, the other is a ready-made, a reference to Marcel Duchamp (Bicycle wheel, 1913).

Mathilde Gréard. Sample. Wooden planks, linen tape, paint.

Through the extraction of raw material, taken from the one of David Michael Clarke’s wooden screens that structure the space, I created a breach that can be presented in a variety of manners. The depth of this object is accentuated by the blue paint that underlines the edge of each hole.

Lydia Guez. And we wanna have a good time. Perfo-dance.

Viens faire la fête / Comme and party
On dansera sur la tête / We dance upside down
Tarte au myrtille / Blueberry pie
Sur le Pic du Midi / On the Pic du Midi

Becky Lewer. Step-ladders, adhesive tape, glue gun, various crockery, cellophane.

The objects bear witness to a moment, a presence in a space, in a given context : in this case, the week that I spent at La Chapelle St Jacques. With basic adhesive packaging tape, I tried to preserve, to conserve various forms, to leave a trace, a three-dimensional souvenir, the « ghost » of an object made material. These objects, emptied of their substance, are moulds of a sort, or 3D prints, of typical essential objects found in all art centres. What is born is in a way the image of an object, drawn, installed or dispersed in the exhibition space, playing between illusion and absurdity.

Amandine Mazé. Swipe. Performance

Using a gesture associated with smartphones and more specifically a ‘lonely-hearts’ application, this is a performance that guides visitors to the left or to the right as they enter the exhibition space. Thus the visitors are separated into two groups, one side or the other, without explanation, inducing questions about the criteria of selection, that each individual is victim and that governs inexplicably the sense of the visit. The performance questions algorithmic devices, their influence on our lives and the treatment of people in their masses.

Lucas Pastor. Making of Hotel Dynamite (video).

Restitution of our daily lives during the installation of the exhibition, oscillating constantly between work and play. Showing how one field can influence the other.

Lucas Pastor. Sleeping pill (sculpture, painted earthenware)

Suffering from chronic insomnia, I discovered that sculpture tired me. I decided to make a self-portrait asleep, in order to sleep, always in this desire to work on the relation between one’s personal life and one’s artistic practice.

Lucas Pastor. Drawings

This project is an outlet. I draw continuously for over an hour. Nourrished by that which surrounds me, my emotions or my memories, I create drawings that are somewhere between a private diary and a Rorschach test.

Arthur Saguez. Topography. Installation

Using leftover pieces of wood and a detailed geographical map, a three-dimensional relief is drawn out on the floor, creating a landscape, a mountain, a crest.

Arthur Saguez. Decor / Drawing on tracing paper

Bodies taken out of context, suppression, a digital gesture applied to painting. subject forms are separated from their background and lose themselves in the layered mist. Skiers and the occasional cable-car push us to fantasize about a landscape that has disappeared.

 An exhibition produced by La Chapelle Saint-Jacques, in partnership with L’école supérieure d’art et de design Tours-Angers-Le Mans, L’école supérieure d’art des Pyrénées — Pau-Tarbes, L’institut supérieur des arts de Toulouse, et Les Abattoirs, musée – FRAC Occitanie Toulouse.

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