Joining Forces with the Unknown
The production of a work of art requires a particular commitment, as it is the expression of an original idea. It entails the conjunction of complementary forces working towards the completion of a project whose outcome is unknown in advance even to the artist. For three years, Lafayette Anticipations – Fondation d’entreprise Galeries Lafayette has been working alongside artists, architects, performers, product and fashion designers, making it possible for them to produce new works, experiment, take risks and surround their projects with shared trust and collective intelligence.
Lafayette Anticipations offers a unique kind of artistic production centre, providing technical, financial and curatorial support to the creators of our time.
From October 11 to October 23, 2016, Joining Forces with the Unknown occupied a temporary space located in the Marais. The works produced sculptures, installations, films, intermittent or ongoing performances have been commissioned by Lafayette Anticipations, and each of them demonstrates this unique commitment in its own way. This group presentation concludes the pre-opening programme begun by the Fondation in autumn 2013, while also heralding the autumn 2017 opening of its building at 9 rue du Plâtre, renovated by architect Rem Koolhaas’s agency, OMA. In line with the institution’s interdisciplinary and social missions, Joining Forces with the Unknown brings together international creators from the fields of contemporary art, design and fashion whose work demonstrates a commitment to change, whether social or cultural, tangible or symbolic.
Fourteen artists and designers are taking part in this presentation: some of them have previously collaborated with Lafayette Anticipations, while others have conceived their projects specifically for this presentation.
Joining Forces with the Unknown reflects the Fondation’s core missions: to produce and to anticipate. In many ways, artistic creation and the research, experimentation, transformation and materialisation of the thought process it entails is a journey into the unknown, an openness to uncertainty as a value. The term anticipate channels the idea of a near future and evokes the inventive apprehension of shifting horizons. Aligning this notion with an institutional approach, the Fondation understands its role in terms of anticipating the needs of those artists, thinkers and other singular voices who are searching for new forms of expression to give meaning to the complex era in which we live.
The invited artists are conspicuously linked by an interest in production processes, whether they practice or reference manual work (Mimosa Echard, Simon Fujiwara, Lucy McKenzie, Valerie Snobeck), use industrial or digital technologies (Camille Blatrix, Tyler Coburn, Yngve Holen, Oliver Laric, Rayyane Tabet), or incorporate other forms of know-how into their creative process (Perks And Mini, Slow and Steady Wins the Race, Studio Brynjar & Veronika, Cally Spooner, Anicka Yi).
These approaches on the modalities of production do not however constitute the primary themes of the works; instead they serve to foster thoughts on subjects such as heritage, archaeology, architecture, repair, reproduction, distribution, community, utopia and alternative futures.
Every project generates its own network of voices and contributors: historians, museum curators, master plasterers, industrial designers, watchmakers, stringed instrument makers and flutists. These allied experts play a game of intellectual speculation, carving around a meaningful unknown art the precious, essentially humane links that are severely lacking in today’s social and political landscape.
Joining Forces with the Unknown also provide the opportunity to revisit the moments leading up to the event/presentation (October 2013 - October 2016) which allowed the Fondation d’entreprise Galeries Lafayette to define its institutional and curatorial projects. A book was published in parallel to the exhibit, recounting the Fondation’s first years of existence and activity. This publication, composed of fundamental texts and production specifications, will gather written contributions by Howard Becker and Franck Leibovici, Anja Aranowsky Cronberg, Neil Cummings, Rem Koolhaas and Quinn Latimer, among others.
Joining Forces with the Unknown is the first project conceived by the Fondation’s inaugural curatorial collective, consisting of Charles Aubin, Anna Colin, Hicham Khalidi and François Quintin.