Benoît Maire - Art Basel Statement 2010

Le concept de Cordélia presented at ArtBasel Statement 41 is a dual work, composed of a film and a sculptural installation, the projects represents more than a years work. It is in keeping with the artist ongoing subject to demonstrate the plastic and emotional aspects of theory and philosophy.

Filmed in super 8 mm to evoke a memory and a certain timelessness, broadcasted in loop on two monitors the film is a classical cinematic sequence with two people conversing in a living room: a man of fifty and a young woman of twenty. The man, playing the part of philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, is explaining to the young woman that she is no ordinary young woman, but rather the concept of the young woman.

She is the concept of Cordélia, the concept that the philosopher created in The Seducer's Diary as a means of speaking about the aesthetic phase of existence.

The sculpture is a composite of several elements : abstract wooden objects, replicas of a Greek kouros, table legs cast from moulds  - referencing antique statuary and shot through with Surrealist asso­ciations.

Facing the monitors, its function in the film and in the exhibition space is to provide an image of the unconscious of the two charac­ters, given its optimal position in the  display.

The aim is a film that points up other potentialities for the sculpture, its structural contribution to the film's narrative balance who's topic remains duality.


The film Le concept de Cordélia is a reworked extract taken from his feature-length film called L'île de la Répétition.

" Søren Kierkegaard : You exist in yourself.

Le Concept de Cordélia : Ha, that gets me nowhere.

Søren Kierkegaard : Haven't you noticed that when someone speaks to you, it is a monologue ?


Le Concept de Cordélia : So what status does my existence hold with you ?

Søren Kierkegaard : You are our perpetual distress.

Le Concept de Cordélia : Which means?

Søren Kierkegaard : You represent, you embody, you are the sign - and John is much too blind to realise this - of our desire that is incapable of being realised. »

Le concept de Cordélia, extracts.