Entre Deux

Musée Régional d'Art Contemporain, Sérignan, France

By Robert Barry

Musée Régional d'Art Contemporain, Sérignan, France

Bringing together classic works by Dan Graham and Gordon Matta-Clark with new pieces by Alexandra Leykauf, Tatiana Trouvé, and Duchamp Prize nominee, Farah Atassi; the theme is transitions – between worlds and between registers. A mixed bag overall, but three works in particular are oddly captivating.

On one wall are placed the left side only of the letters AND. On another wall, at a right angle but not adjoining, the right side of the same letters are positioned and underlined suggesting a viewpoint from which you might align the two halves. AND (2013) by Peter Downsbrough seeks to position the viewer in a place where meaning can emerge unambiguously. You discover, however, that there is no viewpoint from which letters and lines will join.

In 1974 Gordon Matta-Clark sawed a house in two. The filmed documentation Splitting is projected in the next room to Downsbrough's AND. Splitting was made in a New York in which gentrification was rendering community and habitation literally impossible for many citizens and like AND, proffers the opening of  impossible space.

Another house asunder is found among three films by Alexandra Leykauf. In the three-minute loop Hausbau (2009), a found photo is shown rotating, the same image on both sides. The photo depicts a house in the process of construction – recalling Buster Keaton – precariously held up by a group of men. The sense of tension and suspension between movement and stillness appears to open a rent between image and world.

Downsbrough's text pieces, of which there are eight throughout the museum in the form of short words (VERS, ET, AS, BUT), provide a connecting thread through alll the works in this exhibition as through the building itself. They could almost be mistaken for signage, directing you through the spaces; drawing attention to the way museums routinely manoeuvre the bodies of spectators. But the links they provide are riddled with gaps. Downsbrough, Matta-Clark, and Leykauf all present schisms and thresholds; at once critical and strangely magical.