Erich Weiss featuring Anna Dot, Teresa Estape, Toyen, Otto Tschumi
‹LES BIJOUX INDISCRETS›
15.8. – 19.9.2020
The Indiscreet Jewels (French: Les bijoux indiscrets) is the title of the first novel by Denis Diderot, published anonymously in 1748. It is an allegory that portrays Louis XV as a sultan owning a magic ring that makes women's genitals ("jewels") talk. One of the main characters in the story is no doubt Madame de Pompadour. But Erich Weiss discovered the title of this fascinating story because of a work of Belgian surrealist René Magritte bearing an eponymous title.
The artist is known for his obsession with two avantgarde movements who influenced deeply contemporary thinking and artistic creation : dadaism and surrealism. So it is no surprise he decided to choose again to hang a small selection of the Swiss artist Otto Tschumi’s work as part of his exhibition at the gallery. He is the kind of ’shadow figure’ Weiss is interested in.
This strategy of inviting ‘guest stars’ characterizes the personal artistic strategy of the artist: his background being that of dance, theatre and music, he considers artmaking a process that is based on exchange and collaboration. Erich Weiss sees a museum or a gallery as a stage, where he constructs a subtle performance, where the visitor often is invited to play an active role. Two Spanish artists he invited to share the scene with him, have in a certain way a similar approach.
Teresa Estape, a well know craftswoman and designer based in Barcelona, creates a particular body of work entitled ‘Unjewelry’. It consists of a series of almost invisible, but precious and expensive jewels, that only are visible for the one who is informed about their existence. This specific information will be given to the audience by the artist herself during a private presentation at the opening night.
This magic border between the visible and the invisible fascinates also the other Catalan artist in the exhibition. Anna Dot too invites the visitor to interact physically with her installations: by moving a curtain, listening to a soundtrack or touching obscure text works, she seduces us and sets our imagination and our mind in motion. Like Weiss’ work hers refers to literature: in this case she caught as inspiration Maurice Maeterlinck’s theatre piece ‘Les aveugles’.
Full of mystery and hidden messages is also the work of the Czech surrealist guest: Toyen. An ambigious and fascinating figure, but like Tschumi little known to the public in general.
But surrounded by these guest presences and forgotten shadow figures, Erich Weiss clearly remains the Master of Ceremony. The selection of recent collages, objects, photographic works and drawings he presents are completed by one main performance for the opening night. It will consist of an action with a female protagonist. Complex references to Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray and Tristan Tzara served the artist as inspiration for the piece entitled ‘In advance of a broken arm’. Because we all know very well: ‘Accidents happen…even in a perfect world’.
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