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crédit photographique : Régis Grman et Hélène Agofroy

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LAH is constructed from exchanges by mail over the Internet between three artists, Hélène Agofroy, Lindsay L Benedict and Antoine Proux, according to each of their manners of expression and different writing styles. The texts, printed in red, black and white on a narrow strip of tarpaulin measuring 300 meters by 15 cm, are juxtaposed on three lines. They are apportioned in sixteen chapters rolled out along the fence that surrounds Le Cyclop de Tinguely in Milly-la-Forêt. These accounts in their distinctive narratives pose questions inherent to the unique situation: the invitation to the collaboration by the director of the Cyclop, François Taillade, the conception of one artwork made by three people, the confrontation with a utopic monumental artwork from the 1970s and the relationship with the environment: the forest.

The visitor is led to move away from the center, to read while walking at the boundary of the property facing out towards the forest. In a physical experience of the space (along the edges, away from the cleared paths, return to the center, come back), the public engages the work by crossing it and reading it at his or her own pace, according to his or her own walking path (linear or arbitrary).

The three-colored band recalls the signage used around the city for construction work, the marks from of the Grande Randonnée, a network of long-distance walking trails in Europe, the ribbon of a typewriter and the gauge of Raynaud that measures the height of the Cyclop.

Production Le Cyclop 2012


« To write is also to keep quiet. It is silence. It is to scream without noise. »

Marguerite Duras

De toute façon ils recommenceraient demain*

A red and white banner encircles and circumvents the Cyclop. At first glance, it seems like a sign has been affixed to the security fence to reaffirm not to exceed the perimeter. Unrolled like a movie film horizontally, the banner becomes, when approached, an invitation to read the staggered three texts. This text-based sculpture with the coded title of the LAH, takes the initials of the first name of three artists.

In the framework of the prefiguration of the residency at the Cyclop, conceived by the director François Taillade, that Hélène Agofroy, Lindsay L Benedict and Antoine Proux were invited to question and experiment with the idea of working in common. This encounter is the echo of the indefatigable collaboration that Jean Tinguely initiated from the beginning of the Cyclop, the collective oeuvre situated in nature and came about by the involvement of 15 artists (including Arman, Soto, Niki de Saint Phalle, Spoerri...). It took many hands to build this architecture, both sculpture and museum: a head symbolizing the act of reflection and sharing among these artists. Made of several entities, the work was envisioned by Jean Tinguely in 1969, a fateful period that carried new beliefs and progress. The Cycop is a vibrant and active structure that exists like a huge walk-in sculpture which you enter to experience and contemplate various works. Reassured by these means of correspondence that Tinguely was able to implement over the years, this meta sculpture or "cultural station" shows the idea « to monumentalize" the creative process of sharing and exchange. How to query this historic work without entering a game of references or allusive interpretations related to working together? How to make together without interfering with the utopias most agreed upon relating to collectives?

The challenge is daunting. It is by drawing a parallel with one of the works adjacent to the Cyclop, the measurement scale of Jean Pierre Raynaud, gauging the 22.50 meter height of the Cyclop, that the LAH has found a key to its emergence and its formal intent: it clearly borrows its color-coded red and white, from the gauge of Raynaud. The phase of research and production of the LAH found its rhythm and materiality through working sessions via email. Through such invitations of exchange, reflection and writing, these texts have become the raw material for common work between Helen Agofroy, Lindsay L Benedict and Antoine Proux. The writing experience, as a process, reveals the crossing states, disturbances of the text, the space-time discontinuous or shared. This use of the correspondence via the Internet seems to move the cumbersome utopian collective work towards a possible assemblage of feelings and biases: each having their own space, temporality and language. The LAH was formed, throughout these exchanges over a period of 6 months. By the plurality of and connections with possible words, the LAH contains within it the power of the encounter and integrates all expectations related to the other. At the heart of the working process, the 16 narratives overlap quotidian elements with explanations of methods of production of the artwork.

At this site-artwork, the LAH and the Cyclop interact and preexist inevitably together. But it is on the margins of the Cyclop, that the LAH shapes its posture of observer and also finds its autonomy or objections that perform with the Cyclop. Playing with relations of scale, exteriority and enclosure, the LAH questions the masterful verticality of the Cyclop, erecting itself around trees "carriers" practically of the environment. The LAH sets in motion a phantasmagoria around the Cyclop and its context in the forest. Referring to the marks of the Grandes Randonnées (a network of long-distance footpaths and trails in Europe) by its form and color, the LAH constitutes an evocative periphery and a poetic going towards a "beyond" of the forest. The incessant presence of the Cyclop innerves, at one moment or another, the exchanges and the intentions of the three artists. Through these 16 groups, 16 chapters and 16 time frames, the assemblage of these texts form a unified block in which certain phrases emerge from the typewriter ribbon such aphorisms. Forming a whole with these stratifications, the LAH is a "traceability" of the work done in several different styles of writing and overlap to be partially grasped. As a journey of several stories, the LAH also recalls the route described and lived by Jack Kerouac that materialized in a road. Between the 2nd and 22nd of April, 1951, Jack Kerouac wrote in three weeks a novel of 125,000 words on a substrate 36 meters long, cobbled together on sheets of paper with neither margins, chapters nor paragraphs. « I passed it through the typewriter and therefore there are no paragraphs, I unrolled it on the floor and it resembled the road. » wrote Jack Kerouac in May 1951.

The wandering and the relation to the other are also the motors and brightness of the LAH. By the desire to do something more, the difficulties in finding common ideas have been elucidated by the process of correspondence and exchange at a distance. Some sentences adjust our reading and allow a better understanding of the permanent entanglement between the desire to do it with or without the other, with or without the Cyclop: « on ne touche pas au centre »/ « we do not touch the center »; « I had a million things to say »; « être si petit devant l’immensité »/ « to be so small in the immensity »; « nous nous surveillons, mais pas avec suspicion »/ « we monitor, but not with suspicion ». The use of different tenses and pronouns gives a taste of ambivalence to the whole situation. Reading in motion as it involves the movement of the spectator-reader-speaker, the LAH is a polyphonic writing that materialized giving its place to the silence of words written facing the Cylop that embodies, at the highest point, the sound and the fury of Jean Tinguely and his friends.

De toute façon ils recommenceraient demain*

* Anyway they would resume tomorrow.

Marianne Derrien      december 2012