Pierre-Olivier Arnaud
Josy's Club, Synagogue de Delme/FR
July 1 - October 1, 2023

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.[1] 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,[3] 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.

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