Based on a true story : Spectre
Directed by Arthur Fouray
21 silkscreens printed at Doc!
composed in Franklin Gothic std
11 x 18 cm
Publisher: Tombolo Presses
Editor: Thierry Chancogne
Conception: Arthur Fouray
Design: Arthur Fouray
DISTRIBUTION: Printed Matter, les presses du réel, Motto Distribution
‘SCREEN’ is a multimedia artist book by Arthur Fouray. The title encapsulates his artistic methodology, which is predominantly expressed through two primary mediums: painting and silkscreens on cushions, as well as printed materials. This publication offers a comprehensive introduction to the research Arthur Fouray initiated in 2015 with his solo exhibition ‘Spectre’ at Espace Quark, Geneva. Delving into the annals of art and decorative history, Fouray examines the transition from pre-industrial revolution painting to the cinematic experience. He presents viewers with an artistic encounter that subtly alludes to the unspoken.
Special thanks TO Marielle Chabal, Thierry Chancogne, César Chevalier, Lauren Coullard, Philippe Decrauzat, Elise Lammer, Élisa Langlois, Christophe Lemaitre, Julien SIrjacq, Jérôme Valton, Alexis Zavialoff
CH – GE
The diamond-shaped Plainpalais Square prominently displays neon artworks on the facades of surrounding buildings.
The piece ‘Expodrome’ by DGF set the context.
Rue de la Muse serves as the conduit between the square and the exhibition space. It is noteworthy that Alfredo Aceto resided on this street from 2015 to 2016.
In that timeframe, the exhibition ‘Aristarco’ at Quark, Geneva, received coverage on RTS TV programs, featuring discussions between the artist Frédéric Gabioud and French humorist Élie Semoun.
Fouray in the video assumes the role of an Hitchcockian observer.
On the evening of the ‘SPectre’ exhibition opening, Frédéric Gabioud sported a cap inscribed with the exhibition’s title: ‘Spectre.’
A noteworthy handwritten note by John McCracken reads, ‘Okay, smart guy, explain this one.’
Elisa Langlois expressed a desire to employ this punchline as the exhibition title.
1. DAN FLAVIN
2. Kate Moss
Significantly, the 1993 Calvin Klein Obsession Campaign replaced the original right page from Harper’s Bazaar in 1968.
Influences for the exhibition included brands like Calvin Klein. Historical figures like John Calvin, primarily active in Geneva, and artists like Yves Klein, known for pioneering modern monochromes, also played a role.
At one point, John McCracken was speculated to be the creative force behind the ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ monolith and was known for his fervent belief in UFOs.
A poignant moment in film history is the scene wherein David Bowman encounters the monolith, a fusion of classical and science fiction elements.
This is reminiscent of what could be called ‘emotive minimalism.’
‘Untitled (Loverboy)’ by Félix González-Torres communicates a profound loss, represented only by a pale blue diaphanous surface.
Sketches by artists such as McCracken, Graham, and Torres laid the groundwork for the exhibition.
A significant piece in the exhibition, a 16-meter-long monochromatic painted curtain, was crafted but remained undisplayed. Instead, it was stored within a wooden box constructed from painting stretchers, forming part of the ‘Morel’ series.
MATHILDE DE FLANDRE
Historical artworks like the Bayeux Tapestry elucidate the curtain’s connection to other pieces in the exhibition.
Each artwork captures a distinct epoch in art history, designed to weave a spatial narrative, with the curtain acting as the narrative’s canvas.
Within the narrative, ‘Morel’, a fictional entity, creates a machine that duplicates human actions, continually powered by oceanic rhythms.
This concept, ‘The Invention of Morel’, is a cornerstone of the relational aesthetics movement.
A unique element of the exhibition, the 16-meter curtain, serves as a cryptic ‘legend’ to the few who observe it.
The exhibition, titled ‘Spectre’, debuted on November 12, 2015, strategically timed between the premiere of the 24th James Bond film in France and its subsequent release in the U.S.
The 1994 artwork ‘Obsession’ by Sylvie Fleury resonates with the Calvin Klein advertisement, propelling the idea of an unoccupied blue screen.
1. PHILIPPE PARRENO
2. Spectre Version 01
Inspired by the translucent works of Philippe Parreno, the exhibition’s curtain was transformed into a 7-meter-long screen painting, employing the polyvision film format (4:1).
Spectre Version 01
Fouray employed a DIY approach, stretching the painted fabric using 350 metres of rope on an aluminium framework, which was then ceiling-mounted.
Spectre Version 02
The exhibition underwent a second iteration.
In this iteration, the central polyvision screen underwent its final metamorphosis, giving birth to the series titled 000fff.
Three prominent blue incrustation wall paintings segmented the space, delineating the three individual aspect ratios intrinsic to the polyvision film format, harmonising the three exhibition rooms.
These paintings echo the foundational concept behind the 16-meter curtain.
By incorporating the film format and a specific shade of blue, the wall paintings definitively designate the space’s function.
1. DELPHINE SEYRIG
2. BRIAN DE PALMA
The piece ‘Inter’ from Interview Magazine No. 3 melds with the iconic face from Brian de Palma’s film ‘Mission to Mars’.
This bronze effigy, concealing extraterrestrial existence, forms the core narrative of the ’Zoodram 5’ aquarium by Pierre Huyghe. The design is intricate: a Martian context envelops ‘la muse endormie’ by Constantin Brancusi, which in turn houses a hermit crab.
Aquariums are becoming recurrent motifs in the modern art landscape, as seen in works by artists like Hans Haacke, Damien Hirst, and Jeff Koons.
Upon entering the second iteration of the exhibition, attendees are greeted by a painting of a toy aquarium truck, leading to a hyper-realistic portrayal of Walt Disney’s Cinderella Castle.
These two pieces set the exhibition’s rhythm.
Both the Takicardie castle from ‘Le Roi et l’oiseau’ and the Cinderella Castle reflect postmodern renditions of existing European castles, offering an archetype of castles in contemporary culture.
L’époque et son style
‘L’Époque et son style’ designates Fouray’s gouache reproduction of the Walt Disney Castle and is paralleled by the title ‘Authentic Decor’, a decor encyclopedia by Peter Thornton.
Both the castle and the encyclopedia provide insights into the research underpinning the exhibition.
Fouray embarked on a six-month quest to answer a question: How were paintings historically displayed before the advent of picture rails?
This question remains unresolved.
Historically, paintings were embedded within wooden walls, similar to frescoes but on wooden panels.
The evolution of the painting display saw the painting’s moulded edge transform into a frame, with artworks suspended from silk-draped picture rails embellished with trim.
Fouray’s focus then shifted to another classical decor element: the monochromatic surface, a staple in interiors since the Renaissance.
Historically, wood mouldings encased figurative paintings and highlighted monochromatic planes.
The monochrome’s origin is not anchored in Giotto’s celestial fresco in the Arena Chapel but is traced back to prevalent interior designs spanning the Renaissance to Classical eras.
Classical interiors faded in the 19th century, giving way to wallpapers and subsequently painted plaster walls.
Artworks like Kazimir Malevich’s’ Black Square’ would have been incongruous in a classical milieu; it required modern interior aesthetics.
Andy Andy Andy
The monochrome, rather than signifying the decline of painting, represents an age-old innovation.
The connection between paintings and films is their intertwined themes.
The film rapidly assumed roles previously held by paintings in society.
The film ‘Napoleon’ by Abel Gance from 1927, which introduced the polyvision format, exemplifies the transitions in early 20th-century art.
Using three screens, this silent film offers varied perspectives of a single scene, each screen vividly coloured.
1. ANDY WARHOL
2. ELAINE STURTEVANT
Video Art’s emergence in the ’60s was marked by Fluxus experimentations, Jonas Mekas’ Film-Makers’ Cinematheque, and Andy Warhol’s cinematic endeavours.
In Warhol’s 1965 exhibition ‘Wallpaper & Silver Clouds’ at Leo Castelli, the Silver Clouds cushions were posited as an allegory bridging painting and film, a concept later reimagined by Elaine Sturtevant in 1987, the year of Warhol’s demise.
Conversely, film personalities like Sylvester Stallone, David Bowie, Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Adrien Brody, and James Franco have explored art production.
The TV series ‘Melrose Place’ transformed into a conceptual art endeavour under the Gala Committee between 1995 and 1997.
A notable piece, their ‘RU-486’ plaid pattern, echoes the molecular design of mifepristone, a key ingredient in abortion medications.
The artwork ‘Grande Surface’ by IFP conveys a political message juxtaposing advertising, manifested as a green monochromatic wall painting paired with a foldable seat.
Artistic introspection is evident throughout.
… an object …
Brigid Berlin’s ’25 Flushed American Flags’ captures a moment, immortalised photographically.
SOLOMON R. GUGGENHEIM Museum
… a gesture …
Maurizio Cattelan’s ‘America’ stands as a tangible artefact accessible to the public.
SOLOMON R. GUGGENHEIM Museum
… a decor …
‘The Cremaster Cycle’ by Matthew Barney functions both as an exhibition and a backdrop for ‘Cremaster 3: The Order.’
Spectre Version 02
The exhibition ‘Spectre’ transformED the space, designed as an interface and ambience, accentuated by curated pieces that engage visitors.
Spectre Version 02
A – LA FEMME BRUNE
‘L’Année dernière à Marienbad’
A large international hotel …
… immense and baroque …
… with sumptuous but frigid decor
A stranger wanders from hall to hall …
… down endless corridors …
… in search of a woman
He tells her they met …
‘Last year …’
Try to remember,
… that they had a passionate love affair …
… that she herself set this rendezvous …
… and that he is going to take her away.
But she claims she does not know him.
Impossible, I tell you. I have never even been to Frederiksbad.
He insists, but she protests even more.
What room? l have never been in any bedroom with you
You will not remember …
… because you are afraid
And you do not recognise this photo either?
The young woman cedes ground.
The stranger – serious, confident – gathers more and more proof.
Who is right? Who is lying?
Is he a mere seducer? A madman?
Or has he just confused two faces?
What really happened ‘last year’?
You, the viewer, must answer these questions.
… an object …
… a gesture …
… a decor …
QUotes from Brigid Berlin and Andy WArhol in ‘Warhol’ by David Bailey, in 1973:
– And I did a Jasper Johns I flushed out twenty-five American flags.
Got them during the flush.
I am doing FLUSH ART for a long time.
– The ocean is the biggest abstract thing around. There is a lot of rocks here too.
– I like rocks.
Oh yeah, my favourite art is the ROCK ART.’
– What’s that?
– Oh people just dig up land and move the rock,
something like that.