It was through an exchange of artworks that Denis Savary and Pierre-Olivier Arnaud first got in touch and started a discussion. These exchanges continued during the Ballard in Albisola exhibition held in late 2021, organised by the MAMCO at the home of the artist Asger Jorn in Italy. There, the artists created a collaborative artwork, a kind of collage that almost assumed the form of a garden sculpture, by bringing together objects found on the exhibition site. In other words, the encounter of a viscous vase the colour of “Heineken” glass; bunting in shades of grey; black and brown earthenware tiles; the base of an armchair; and a limestone concretion, as the origin of an entire exhibition project, held sometime later. […]
At the Synagogue de Delme, Denis Savary and Pierre-Olivier Arnaud invite the visitor to Josy’s Club, a space plunged into a half-light, becoming the receptacle of these finds taken from various wanderings and constituting a true reappropriation of urban space by the imagination. Inspired by the works of J.G. Ballard such as the Concrete Trilogy or The Burning World, the exhibition reveals itself like a dry garden, in which each sculpture or pictorial element is symptomatic of grey areas. This arid, drab landscape reflects the peripheral variants of a modern, mapped-out thought, but in a spirit that is truly alive, because it is not ghosts or ruins that are up for discussion here. The artists highlight a very lively and proliferating tendency of this early twenty-first century. Without falling into nostalgia or a certain fetishism for modernism, this project focuses on its deformation and traces within the present age; on its state of advanced decay, from which no alternative exists capable of resituating it within this world that, while living in an eternal present also cultivates a certain appetite for retro-futurism. The artists are interested in modernism’s aesthetic deployment in urban space, based on what people do and create with it, from indistinct foundations, using apparently non-artistic gestures, more akin to DIY, but contributing to modifying and evolving the forms and aesthetic of the city.