“Read and rediscover the meaning of what is essential,” we were told at the start of the lockdown. That sounded like good news and I was pretty motivated to kill time in that particular essential, which I practice daily, i.e., books and works of art. I didn’t think there was something fishy perhaps going on or just an unfortunate series of coincidences. Yet no sooner had I begun the lockdown than I quickly grew disillusioned, completely losing my fondness for novels, which I’m usually the kind to devour, along with my fondness for looking at artwork on Instagram, pretty compulsively as well. Everything seemed so obsolete, off the mark, and as for so many others it was impossible to connect with fictions other than the unreal one of this moment (I’ve read since that the faculty that enables us to project ourselves was probably censured by the hold the event has had on us). It was long and no fun. Impossible to kill time positively. In the gloomy flow of statistical disease rate, hand sanitizer, and news 24/7, a ray of sunshine finally broke through. I once again stumbled on the path of art and the click by following Christian Robert-Tissot’s account and (re)discovering his works in this stupefying context. Can one be completely enchanted by the spatial power of literalness (Social-distance, AVOID CONTACT)? Tremble before the painting of a word (PANIK, NERVOUS)? Delight in the obviousness of the present circumstances (WHERE ARE WE? WHICH WAY NOW?) and the joyous pictorialness of our new mantras? These offer nothing new obviously, unless it is this, that they are generally relegated to the conventional margins of language yet the exceptional situation lends them unhoped-for vigor. Robert-Tissot has always managed to put to beautiful use the strong visual/existential potential of the seemingly flattest, dullest set phrases. They remain so despite the context, and rather than be subjected to an alarming topicality without a safety net in the utter obscurity of COVID-19, thanks go to the artist for having highlighted them front and center for years now with all the clear-sightedness and humor that is needed in essential works of art – YES TO LESS but no to nothing
This summer La Villa du Parc has invited at the last but not least minute the Swiss artist Christian Robert-Tissot to show VERANDA, a work bearing the name of the space in which it is installed. In conjunction with Chloé Delarue’s TAFAA exhibition, which has been extended to the end of July.