Inspired by Chantal Crousel and Jean-David Cahn, the Replica exhibition will take place at the residence of Cahn at 2 rue Jean-Baptiste Clément in Bagnolet.
To the question—who does this statue represent, how and why did you get it?—Hassan Khan replied that it was given to him (along with two others in the series) by his mother. 'She knew it would play an important role for me. The statue doesn't represent any particular figure but was the centre of an intense teenage meditation, and the first image in one of the very first VHS videos I made myself at 16 was this statue responding to the sound of my guitar. The statue is African. My mother gave me various statues, without commenting on them, but I think it was subconscious education'.
This is one key—among all the other works—to experiencing the Replica exhibition. The word can be interpreted as 'reply' or 'response'. The intention of the Replica exhibition is to share with visitors the encounters with archaeological objects of various origins, times and cultures—which have challenged me through the direct and meaningful form of their presence and expression—alongside the highly varied works that reflect the questions contemporary artists ask themselves, or us. It would seem that our 'being in the world' has not changed that much. And that all these objects are contemporary expressions of just a few thousand years apart.
Replica is thus an invitation to each visitor to imagine answers, to formulate questions, in particular: where does the sublime begin?
—Chantal Crousel (2021)
Curiosity makes us wonder why objects from ancient civilizations resurface in the hands of contemporary artists. Objects such as these exude sensual power through the eyes, the touch and memory. They grip people, artists in particular, and trigger a responsive desire to incorporate them in their own space and time. This movement is fascinating to watch.
Many objects of the past had precise functions: practical, political or ritual. They lived their lives. Then rested, sometimes for thousands of years, in silence. Artists, seismographs of the now, call on them to integrate the present. In contrast to an archaeological approach, in other words scientific, or through extensive methodology, we try to reconstruct a buried past that remains forever fragmentary to us. This play of artist with objects of the past enriches our awareness of the present.
Replica is not a 'response' in the archaeological sense. But a contemporary reply, an echo of the past.
I opened the doors to my reserves of archaeological objects—essentially Mediterranean—to Chantal Crousel, who came to call upon these souls of the past. The result is an eye-to-eye meeting of contemporary minds. And, for all, an increased awareness of our world.
—Jean-David Cahn (2021)
Cellist Sonia Wieder-Atherton will compose a series of concerts, as an interpretation of the work 3 by Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla, on three occasions, October 17, November 7 and 20, 2021.
Press release courtesy Galerie Chantal Crousel.