Benoît Maire - 1929


1929:   a crisis?

I really wanted a title that was a year, I was reading a novel by Alberto Moravia, « The indifferent », and since it was published in 1929, I thought it was a good enough reason to pick that particular year. I also played on the ambiguous reference of 1929: the economic crisis, and the real reason why I chose this title for the exposition, who really just settles a certain equity, because 1929 represents the ?indifferent?. In History, I enjoy underlining the less important details, for example, what happened in 1515 other than Marignan? Furthermore, in between 1929 and now, we have an increase in the expectancy of women?s life.


Your work is filled with scholarly references towards literature, history, art history, philosophy, psychoanalysis, math? How important is the notion of knowledge and theory in the process of creation?

It is impossible to create art from nothing. Even if men draw on walls the things that they want to eat, allegorize mythology, represent sacred stories of different religions, historical facts, or even simple landscapes, they will always search for a mean of reference in order to create their object of art.

It is only when modern times arrive that finally art is considered an object in itself, returning to its roots, it is then the era of formality, where personalities like Greenberg theorise it.

I?m exaggerating, but to sum it up, in our current era that I still see as a post modern time, the issue of the object of art is still at the center of all debates. For me, you need a strong object that is living outside of art in itself; that is why I am in a relationship with all these different references.

What makes an individual an artist is to me the object of his research, that he constructs and by which he is modelled as well. To sum up really, mine is the object of affection linked with concepts, which generally produces images, whether it be a text, a sculpture or a performance?We?re still in the idea of images that paint intern functions, meaning that it portrays its allegoric process. Therefore there is a lot of transparency in my work.


The 1929 exhibition is exposed throughout 3 rooms in the gallery, it is in a certain manner 3 exhibitions in one. ?Prolégomènes à toute image pliée? enables the public eye to see a series of silkscreen prints of ancient images that fold on themselves; ?Le salon de Ferenczi? represents the environment of a psychoanalysts cabinet, and in ?Le coin de la Méduse?, a bronze sculpture of the head of a jellyfish that is contemplating her own figure.

These pieces seem to question the notion of self improvement throughout the object of reflexion?

Yes, all of these images describe narrations that have constituted the subject of creation of the West. After the end of these stories: more stories and narrations.


At the CAPC, right opposite de gallery, is hung, in the object of the exhibition ?Trahison, un monochrome noir?, from the series ?La coulure Constance Mayer?. All these pieces reunited in this exhibition have a point in common which is the fact that they are filled with references and that they develop this meaning, without really formulating it. Does that constitute one of the strong characteristics of your work?

 By definition a full meaning is never really given because it generates hermeneutics which is a process of interpretation. It then confronts literally the information. It is then the question of reference that comes back; a very referenced piece of art does not need, in order to be appreciated by a viewer or the artist himself, a total master of the presented references.

A reference is a sort of starting point, the incision of an exterior object which will be treated and read in the object of the production of a piece of art. A reference is not an object, the art object is constructed by events that occur at cross points of references of bodies and materials. But a reference is always linked to a body, a material and a date, never ending. Well I am already a body, that?s for sure.


In the different fictional worlds that you built around your work of art, the issue of impossible love comes back often. Isn?t there also a kind of romance to come and confront knowledge?

Yes, full knowledge is impossible, however, love is always possible; it is simply because it does not happen that it is possible, otherwise it would simply ?just be?. Love is not of the same essence as ?being? it lives because of the possibility of it happening.

Knowledge has only interest for affections and emotions that are linked to it otherwise knowledge is completely blind in itself.