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Gerard Byrne
For example; a sketch of Five Elevations, 1971-72

Exhibition from May 5 – July 16, 2011
Opening on Wednesday, May 4, from 6pm.
Gerard Byrne, view of the exhibition <em>For example; a sketch of Five Elevations, 1971-72</em>, Centre d'édition contemporaine, Genève, 2011. Photo: © Sandra Pointet

Gerard Byrne, view of the exhibition For example; a sketch of Five Elevations, 1971-72

Gerard Byrne’s work is structured around documents – advertisements, daily papers, specialized magazines – dating from after the Second World War, generally from the 1960s and 1970s. After researching archives, Byrne uses these often fragmented and forgotten documents, transforms them and gives them a second life. The new images and settings that emerge from the joined processes of critical deconstruction and reconstruction, often dramatized, examine the codes of artistic or media images and those of representation.

The work of Gerard Byrne resonates between past and present, between our memories, our cultural references and our present time. It is a way of revisiting human history and mythologies through an archive made up of diverse mediums : articles, reports, documentaries, essays, films, tv-shows which constitute the artist’s basic material. This material can as well be borrowed from a discussion on sexual revolution published in a Playboy issue of the 1970s (New Sexual Lifestyles, b/w photographies, 2003) as from an interview with Jean-Paul Sartre on his relationship to women (Homme à Femmes (Michel Debrane), video, 2004), from the numerous accounts and inquiries on the Loch Ness monster published in Scottish local papers (Towards a Gestalt Image : Loch Ness & Fact, 16 mm film and audio CD, 2008) or, more recently, from the 1946 notes taken by American military psychiatrists during their interviews with Nazi leaders awaiting the Nuremberg trial (Untitled Acting Exercise (in the Third Person), HD video, 2008).

On the basis of these excerpts from our recent past, Gerard Byrne elaborates scenarios in which he recombines and exacerbates sociological, psychological or political aspects of the chosen events. In the spirit of Samuel Beckett, he wields the absurd and the discrepancy between things. He mischievously outlines ambiguities, waverings or even comical features of information and its treatment. In a temporal shortcut, and with an emphasis that sometimes recalls Brechtian dramaturgy, Byrne confronts us to memory and to our knowledge of our history, accurate or erroneous, but mostly manipulated by modes of representation and transmission that collide with our reality and our present.

For his exhibition at the Centre d’édition contemporaine, Gerard Byrne presents a new film referring to a 1971-72 piece by Richard Serra he had had access to in the parc of a private collection near London : Five Elevations. This film follows a series of researches on abstraction and minimalism, and among others a previous film installation A thing is a hole in a thing it is not (videos, 2010). This 2010 work has been produced and presented first at the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, then at The Renaissance Society in Chicago, at Lismore Castle Arts, County Waterford, Ireland, and at the 2010 Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art. A thing is a hole in a thing it is not is made up of several short films showing works from the collection of the Van Abbemuseum, which somehow represent the quintessence of American minimalism : with paintings and sculptures by Carl Andre, Donald Judd, Dan Flavin, Robert Morris or Frank Stella. Reinstalled in the Eindhoven halls by Gerard Byrne, the works replay their presence in the museum. The camera records the works as well as the context : museum workers, photographs, cleaners, attendants and visitors. The shots result from large scannings or a back-and-forth between the surrounding space, the apparently insignificant details and the art works themselves, objectified as well. The shift in point of view operated by Gerard Byrne is recontextualized in the field of minimalism by Penelope Curtis in her essay A local address, in Tuxedo Junction, 1960 (catalogue published on the occasion of the exhibition A thing is a hole in a thing it is not at Lismore Castle Arts) : « This means that we are left with the possibility of thinking of Minimalism’s project as both romantic and classical ; as a work of the imagination as well as of manufacturing ; an idea as well as an object ; a dream as well as a result. It is also made clear, however, that Minimalism is not just about us, and our experience, but also about how other experiences are mediated for us, whether in text, voice or imagery. » Besides, the epigraph introducing the catalogue reads : « Assembled and edited by Gerard Byrne upon the achievements of the Minimalists and their critics. »

Gerard Byrne puts the question of the historical or, as here, the artistic transmission of a well known reality, media-covered, phenomenological, or more : iconic. He puts this reality to the proof of its recording or re-recording (film, photography), of its diffusion and its reception : « The idea was to construct for each work a kind of self-awareness of being viewed. I am interested in how the camera tries to construct and elaborate those viewpoints in a filmic sense. I recall Beckett’s Film quoting our fellow Irishman Bishop Berkeley – ”To be is to be perceived”. »

In For example ; a sketch of Five Elevations, 1971-72, the film presented at the Centre d’édition contemporaine, the camera moves around Five Elevations. Through shots using a variety of standards of cinematic grammar, Gerard Byrne assembles a subjective image of this complex sculpture. In the background, the camera records simultaneously and partly a fashion shoot staged by the artist. Despite this double setting, the work of Richard Serra remains the principal character of this fiction, although the confrontation with the fashion shoot transforms Five Elevations in a kind of « Stonehenge », provoking a back-clash between these two temporal dimensions : eternity vs the ephemeral, an ever open question.

Furthermore, the beauty of the two subjects : the Serra and the models, elegant, strict, with geometric movements, is being reinforced by the slow and almost hypnotic back-and-forth of the camera. This continuous sweep, at walking pace, emphasizes the various effects of matter and the mirror-like reflections of the Corten steel, which is only punctuated by the camera crossing the sharp edges of the steel panels. The aestheticism of the piece is even intensified by the steady shots on bucolic details of the garden around – lawn, insects, leaves – until reaching saturation or even embarrassment. Gerard Byrne develops with this new film his research on the way we may perceive and receive historical art works today.

Gerard Byrne’s latest exhibitions include : MK Gallery, Milton Keynes, The Renaissance Society, Chicago, in 2011 ; Lisson Gallery, London, in 2009 and 2007. In 2007, he exhibited at the Kunstverein, Düsseldorf and the Irish Pavilion at the 52. Venice Biennial. He has participated in several group shows at Tate Britain, London, in 2006 and 2010 ; at MUDAM, Luxemburg in 2010 ; at Kunstmuseum Basel, at Malmö Konsthall and at the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, as well as the Biennials of Turin, Gwangju and Sydney in 2008 and Lyon in 2007. This year, he participates to the exhibition ILLUMInazioni for the 54. Venice Biennial.

LIST
OF
EXHIBITIONS
 

Complete list
of exhibitions
(pdf)
(1989—2019)
 


2019

TIMOTHÉE CALAME
ALTERA
Spring Sale Time
LE CEC à la LA Art Book Fair 2019
artgenève
Matthew Lutz-Kinoy
What to wear to a concert? Tips for concert outfits: wear your best punk jacket with the right patches !
“A patch meant to be fixed to the back of your jacket depicting relevant cultural affiliations”


2018

Matthew Lutz-Kinoy
The Meadow
Salon MAD#4 (Multiple Art Days)
Paris 2018
Entrelacs
Victor Man invites Navid Nuur
Valentin Carron, Marc Camille Chaimowicz, François Curlet…
artgenève


2017

Jonathan Monk
Directional Advice
Thomas Hirschhorn
Flashforward
Edited by the CEC!
Focus: Mélanie Matranga
Jean-Michel Wicker
#picturebook1
Book Launch c/o Section 7 Books, Paris
Jean-Michel Wicker
#picturebook1
Book Launch c/o SALTS, Birsfelden/Basel
Presentation of the edition
Jean-Michel Wicker
#picturebook1
Jakob Kolding
The Outside or the Inside of the Internalised Externalised
Jean-Michel Wicker
BBiblioteca ffanafffantastica
artgenève
Presentation of the edition
Jean-Michel Wicker
Belle étiquette


2016

Presentation of the book
Mathis Gasser
In the Museum 1 2 (3),
Regulators 1 2 n
Presentation of the edition
Artists’ Voices
Valentin Carron
Deux épaisseurs un coin
Mathis Gasser
Sept sont tombés vers le ciel
Works on paper
Artists’ Voices
Prolongation
artgenève


2015

Artists’ Voices
Extract
I Never Read, Art Book Fair Basel 2015
Jason Dodge
David Maljkovic
with
Konstantin Grcic
Negatives
artgenève


2014

WINTER SALE
AND
ALPHABET EDITIONS
Raphaël Julliard
Chromozone
Oriol Vilanova
Renoncer à te décrire
artgenève


2013

Artissima, Turin
Edited!
NY Art Book Fair
David Hominal
Through The Windows
Jonathan Monk
Egg
artgenève


2012

Posters
Salon Light #9, Paris
NY Art Book Fair
Oscar Tuazon
Salon des Dames
artgenève
Jeffrey Vallance
The Vallance Bible
Nouvelles éditions
Oscar Tuazon
Book Launch c/o Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zürich


2011

Aaron Flint Jamison
Philippe Decrauzat
Book Launch c/o Motto Zürich
Abstractions sentimentales et quelques éditions, Cneai, Paris
Philippe Decrauzat
NYSTAGMUS
Gerard Byrne
For example; a sketch of Five Elevations, 1971-72
Presentation of the book
Sgrafo vs Fat Lava


2010

Présentation de l’édition de Pierre Bismuth Something Less, Something More – DIY
Sgrafo vs Fat Lava
Céramiques et porcelaines Made in West Germany, 1960-1980
“Encadrées”
Susanne M. Winterling
They Called Each Other Horses
Changement d’accrochage: Heimo Zobernig
Fröhliche Gesellschaft,
Parrotta Contemporary Art, Stuttgart


2009

Editions vs. objets
Erik van Lieshout
The Assistant
T. Quelques possibilités de textes
EDITIONS (suite…)
Présentation du catalogue
L’Effet papillon, 1989-2007,
castillo/corrales, Paris


2008

EDITIONS (2004-2008)
Presentation of
L’Effet papillon, 1989-2007
at Maison de la poésie, Basel
Trisha Donnelly
L’Effet papillon, 1989-2007
Olivier Bardin
You belong to me I belong to you
Editions récentes


2007

Gianni Motti
Perpetual Channel
Anne-Julie Raccoursier
Wireless World, BAC, Genève
Otra de Vaqueros (Redux), BAC, Genève
Habitat/Variations, BAC, Genève
Markus Schinwald, BAC, Genève
Andreas Dobler
In Deep Ink, BAC, Genève


2006

The Missing Evidence
Accrochage des éditions 1995-2005
Marie Velardi
Futurs antérieurs, 20006


2005

Christophe Rey
Ocean Bluff
Quelques éditions…
No More Lights On My Starguitar


2004

Florian Pumhösl
Héliogravures et film
M/M (Paris)
Pour hoM/Me,
printemps-été 2004
Mai-Thu Perret
Love thy sister like thyself
Haroutioun Simonian
Performance (à huis clos) & installation vidéo


2003

Filière papier – Filière expo
Monica Bonvicini
Accrochage de l’édition
Eternmale
Finger No. 12
conventions/
Konventionen/
conventions
Jakob Kolding
Amy O’Neill et Emmanuel Piguet
Dm-melkenburg


2002

Karl Holmqvist
Soirée tropicale
Animation: Vidéos
Rosemarie Trockel
Edition, eaux-fortes, 1996
KIOSK (V)
Monica Bonvicini
Bonded Eternmale


2001

Affiches/Livres
Social Hackers
Editions
Fabrice Gygi
VITRINES et PITON UNIVERSEL
Vidya Gastaldon & Jean-Michel Wicker


2000

Editions 2000
Bring the Noise
Bourse du CGGC 1997-1999


1999

KLAT
Evil Talk: Beyond the pleasure principle
Thomas Hirschhorn
Elke Krystufek
In the Arms of Luck
Editions


1998

One Step Backwards: Books,
prints, videos, 1998
LISTE 98, The Young Art Fair,
Usine Warteck, Bâle
lithographs


1997

Multiples of the Centre genevois de gravure contemporaine
Elena Montesinos
Tune out, Turn off, Drop in
Eté 97
Stan Douglas
Photographies
Hinrich Sachs

B. Toguo Tamokoué
Gravures et Multiples


1996

Heimo Zobernig
Alexandre Bianchini,
Nicolás Fernández,
Jérôme Hentsch
et
Alain Julliard
Kristin Oppenheim
Rosemarie Trockel


1995

Thomas Hirschhorn
Les Plaintifs, les Bêtes, les Politiques
Karen Kilimnik
Tiger
Editions of the Centre genevois de gravure contemporaine
Luc Tuymans
Le Verdict
Claude Lévêque
Sans titre
Estampes et photographies
Yves Gevaert éditeur, Bruxelles


1994

Olivier Mosset
Claude Closky
Alexandre Bianchini

Hubert Mean
Alex Hanimann
Peintures, édition


1993

Giuseppe Penone
Images de pierres
Sigurdur Arni Sigurdsson
Peintures, dessins
Gerry Schum
Fernseh und Videogalerie
John M Armleder
Ian Anüll
Dessins, sérigraphies et éditions
Claude Gaçon


1992

Éditions, 1986-1992
John M Armleder
Parkett
Jean Stern
Panini alle melanzane
Stephan Landry
Marie Sacconi


1991

Laurence Pittet
Suzanne Lafont
Photographies
Marcel Broodthaers
Œuvres graphiques, 1964-1975
Jean-Michel Othoniel
¡ Capotes !


1990

Roman Signer
Installation hélicoptère, 1990
Jean-Marc Meunier
Sapins de Noël, 1988-1989
Anne Pesce
Pêcheur, c’est lui qui devient un poisson
Andreas Hofer
Installation – édition


1989

Henri Michaux
Encres, gouaches, aquarelles, lavis
Emmett Williams
Multiples
Andreas Gursky
Photographies
Stéphane Brunner
Mori Shigeru
Estampes