Projet masse-art Installation

Masse-art is an experimental project which aims to involve the participation of as many people as possible. The participants are not professional artists, the works are not judged, and the exhibition does not in any way try to put emphasis on aesthetic seduction or competition. The aim of the project is to explore the concept of ’abstract’ in the very widest sense.

The word ’abstract’ may not be in everybody’s daily use of the vocabulary. It is nevertheless a word most people have no problem understanding. Abstract thinking has been always part of our being and it is reflected from time immemorial in religious, philosophical, literary and artistic representations. We only need to look at forms, patterns and designs on early pottery, sculpture and painting. These can be as diverse as pre-Columbian potteries, Persian carpets or Australian paintings, some less and some more sophisticated and mostly executed by people of little education or training.

Therefore, is it pertinent to ask why is it that abstract art, still in the 21st century, elicits such negative reaction by so many people ?.

The first to be invited to take part in this project are the inhabitants of Cour l’eveque, a small village with a population of about 180 people. Guy Beguinot, the mayor of the village, and myself, we visited almost every house in the village. I provided the paper and the pencil, and explained to each household a little about the exhibition and the project. I asked the people to express themselves from something ’that came from their interior, and not the exterior’, and not to hesitate to give me works that they may consider as just ’nothings or doodles’. ’Doing art from still life or nature’ was strongly discouraged and we emphasised that works by children were not accepted. They were encouraged to express themselves in a spontaneous and free manner.

Throughout the visits, I avoided using the word ’abstract’. However, in a few cases, the word came up in the conversation by the people themselves.

The response is surprising both in quality and quantity. In its own way, each drawing tells a story...

The works are exhibited anonymously and the only distinguishing factor between the works is whether the work is done by a man or a woman. You will find that in fact the majority of participants are women. In the art world mostly dominated by men, we can ask why in a small community, apart from some obvious reasons, the domain of art is pushed to the feminine side ?

I plan to repeat this unique project each year in other villages as part of the annual exhibition of Maison Laurentine. I hope that a mass participation will encourage people to take more interest in exhibitions and in contemporary art. I hope the practice will entice the participants to discover an area previously unexplored, and for the visitors to the exhibition to discover something new, fresh and exciting.

I hope to be able to make an anthropological and comparative study of these works and publish photos and an essay based on relevant findings sometimes in the future.

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N 47° 57.948 - E 4° 58.606

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