Paul Paillet
fascination for fire

Exhibition from September 18 till December 12, 2020
Opening Thursday September 17, 2020, 2 PM – 8 PM

Paul Paillet’s solo exhibition at the Centre d’édition contemporaine was intended to open in March 2020, but was postponed due to lockdown until September 2020. For this exhibition, Paul Paillet has developed a proposal drawing on numerous references that insect and overlap, creating an ensemble of several pieces: sculptures and a mural work in porcelain, a newspaper, a radio and a publication. Each of these elements contains various cultural and personal indices that construct a kind of staged presentation. The theme of fascination for fire is partly autobiographical, linked to a reflection on a return to the artist’s adolescence, his adventures and darker moments in his past, which result in semantic shifts, from the private sphere to more critical and committed societal and political implications.

This display combines a cup, a few spoons, a newspaper and a radio, suggesting the everyday breakfast ritual. Yet this ensemble proves to be less mundane, innocent and reassuring than our usual coffee set and favourite morning music, bringing back memories that highlight the gaps between an experience and individual perception, and societal inconsistencies, drifts and injustices. While these white porcelain utensils recall the Burgundian style and the artist’s initial training, the relief motifs of flames, lightning or flowers are worked in a highly refined and elegant design and appear perfectly harmless, though the true source underlying the creation of these objects is of a completely different nature. In reality, this is an oversized replica of the small plastic teaspoon given out in the 1970s at McDonald’s, made famous at the time by cocaine dealers who appreciated the fact that it held exactly 100 milligrams. This implement that should have remained almost invisible became the famous “Cocaine McSpoon”, a symbol of a market much more powerful than that of the hamburger, forcing McDonald’s to withdraw it from their restaurants.

The newspaper Untitled (The Path), 2020, which accompanies this morning meal, with its aluminium foil pages, features text in relief (embossed), bearing traces of acetone transfer (chasing the dragon) and Chinese ink. These pages can also be associated with the use of heroin. The texts on each “page” offer a stratification of signifieds. In most cases, they make use of aphorisms or stock phrases taken from interviews with artists found in magazines. The subtitle, The Path, alludes to a US television series set within a fictional religious movement known as “Meyerism”, a thinly veiled reference to Scientology and the cabalistic deviations of certain sects. Between the superficiality of globalising statements and the mirage of misguided beliefs, Paul Paillet poses the question that torments our Western societies, that of the unrelenting search for the ideal place, for unconditional love or even for one’s “inner self”, those contemporary dictates of a perfect life. This quest for hope transformed into a marketing product fosters a voracious capitalism that commercialises everything.

Paul Paillet continues his exploration between the lines of this dictatorship of happiness in a more candid or vintage way with the song Coimbra (1930) by José Galhardo, one of the first international radio hits. The French version Avril au Portugal (1947) written by Jacques Larue, was sung by Yvette Giraud in the 1950s and was set to lyrics by Jimmy Kennedy (1947) for the English version April in Portugal. Some of its verses are reproduced in French and English in the publication BRUME BOURGEON BRISE SOLEIL (ed. CEC, 2020)[1]. This booklet is also inspired by the novel Les Météores (1975) by Michel Tournier, relating the separation of a pair of twins, one of whom sets off on a journey in search of his double and himself. Here again, we find the theme of initiation and the path towards the discovery of one’s identity.

This everyday scene is accompanied by a discreet soundtrack, emanating from a reproduction of the makeshift and royalty-free radio, the Tin Can Radio (1965) by designer Victor Papanek, which will be broadcasting Wings, an extract from a clip by the world-famous K-pop boy band, BTS. This extremely basic radio, made from a tin can and a candle, a kind of ecodesign ahead of its time, was used by UNESCO to help bring certain peoples out of their isolation, especially in Indonesia. Papanek wanted it to be free of design or any reminder of Western technology or aesthetics. This small DIY transmitter with its humanitarian aims, which came out of an era of illusions, will broadcast this famous BTS hit. The irony is in this crossover between the alternative spirit and utopia of the 1960s and the sanitised, futuristic look of this group, which by means of an intellectual somersault and a huge misunderstanding, maximises its influence and profits by exploiting the theme of adolescent identity crisis, going so far as to refer to the novel Demian by Hermann Hesse.

This paradoxical combination of sweetness, romantic songs and the immaculate whiteness of porcelain, and a hidden threat – drugs and commodification – seems to traverse all the artworks making up this breakfast, oscillating between belief and disillusion, pleasure and toxicity, in which each form of love or paradise turns out to be deadly, where every attempt at emancipation and autonomy is threatened by the voracity of the market, a subtle expression of the system of the creation of surplus values, the exploitation of desire and the fear that endlessly fuels an invasive, hysterical and perfectly irrational capitalism.

[1] Paul Paillet, BRUME BOURGEON BRISE SOLEIL, Before publication 2, booklet, 12 pages, published in the Before publication collection which will unite the pre-publications – unique pamphlets of 4 to 32 pages, 17.2 × 23.5 cm, offset, b/w, stapled binding, 250 copies – of texts by authors or inserts by artists, which will appear regularly and as a preview of their definitive publication in L’Effet papillon II (second volume of L’Effet papillon, 1989 – 2007, catalogue by the Centre d’édition contemporaine published in 2008). Graphics: Niels Wehrspann, Lausanne. Edition of the Centre d’édition contemporaine, Geneva, 2020.

GUIDED TOURS WITH PAUL PAILLET:
October 7, 2020, 5 p.m.
October 31, 2020, 3 p.m. (Weekend GENEVE.ART 2020)
November 1, 2020, 3 p.m. (Weekend GENEVE.ART 2020)
December 2, 2020, 5 p.m.
The CEC participated at
The CEC took part in Week-end GENEVE.ART 2020 Saturday October 31 octobre and Sunday November 1 2020, 11 am-6 pm, and in the Common openings of Quartier des Bains on December 11 – 12  2020, 11 am-6 pm.
Paul Paillet’s exhibition fascination for fire is sponsored by the City of Geneva, the Fonds cantonal d’art contemporain and the Fondation Bruckner, Geneva.

Artistes

Exhibitions

2023
artgenève 2023
Editions and Before publications
2022
L’esprit d’escalier
I Never Read, Art Book Fair Basel 2022
Paris Ass Book Fair 2022
Mai-Thu Perret
My sister’s hand in mine
artgenève 2022
Before et publications
Marie Angeletti
Ram
2021
Paul Viaccoz
ESPRIT ES-TU LÀ ?
Bridge the gap
Guillaume Dénervaud
Surv’Eye
Printed Matter’s Virtual Art Book Fair 2021
2020
Paul Paillet
fascination for fire
Metallica
artgenève 2020
Fabian Marti
Such a Good Girl
2019
Open accrochage, editions
of
P.A.G.E.S. 2019
TIMOTHÉE CALAME
ALTERA
Spring Sale Time
LA Art Book Fair 2019
artgenève 2019
ground
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 invite Navid Nuur
Valentin Carron, Marc Camille Chaimowicz, François Curlet…
artgenève 2018
Keren Cytter
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
Présentation de l’édition
Jean-Michel Wicker
#picturebook1
Jakob Kolding
The Outside or the Inside of the Internalised Externalised
Jean-Michel Wicker
BBiblioteca ffanafffantastica
artgenève 2017
Inside the Bubble-Booth
Présentation de l’édition
Jean-Michel Wicker
Belle étiquette
2016
Présentation du livre
Mathis Gasser
In the Museum 1 2 (3),
Regulators 1 2 n
Présentation de l’édition
Artists’ Voices
Valentin Carron
Deux épaisseurs un coin
Mathis Gasser
Sept sont tombés vers le ciel
Travaux sur papier
Artists’ Voices
Prolongation
artgenève 2016
2015
Artists’ Voices
Extract
I Never Read, Art Book Fair Basel 2015
Jason Dodge
David Maljkovic
avec
Konstantin Grcic
Negatives
artgenève 2015
2014
WINTER SALE
ET
ALPHABET EDITIONS
Raphaël Julliard
Chromozone
Oriol Vilanova
Renoncer à te décrire
artgenève 2014 FILMS – CORRIDOR
2013
Artissima 2013
Edited!
NY Art Book Fair 2013
David Hominal
Through The Windows
Jonathan Monk
Egg
artgenève 2013
2012
Posters
Salon Light #9, Paris
NY Art Book Fair 2012
Oscar Tuazon
Salon des Dames
artgenève 2012
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
Présentation de la publication
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)
Présentation de
L’Effet papillon, 1989-2007
à la Maison de la poésie, Bâle
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
Lithographies
1997
Multiples du 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
Éditions du Centre genevois de gravure contemporaine
Luc Tuymans
Le Verdict
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