UNTEL is a group of artists consisting originally of three French artists, Jean-Paul Albinet, Philippe Cazal and Alain Snyers (Wilfrid Rouff replaces Alain Snyers when he leaves the group in 1978). During its short but passionate existence - from 1975 to 1980 - the group has led numerous actions in the public space. The common denominator of the group’s actions is the examination of the day-to-day life, a social and political questioning, very close to the revolutionary ideas of May 1968 and situationism.
The propinquity of UNTEL’s creation process with this idea of experience has led Ben Vautier to included UNTEL in the program of La Maison du Doute in Blois, France, in the spring of 2013. This way, he historically designated UNTEL as post-Fluxus. The idea of an art that first and foremost has to be experienced and lived, seems indeed in line with UNTEL’s considerations.
Furthermore, the group leads his actions as if they are investigations, inspired by the day-to- day life, and exposes the banality and the insignificance of our every-day life together with our contradictions and alienations. In order to express their ideas, UNTEL uses all possible supports and techniques they have access to: photography, film, sound, environments, gesture, corporal actions, objects, etc. In order to be able to preserve their interventions, they systematically have to document them. The photo or film archive created during UNTEL’s existence, offers a rich documentation that helps us recall their adventures, as concretely as necessary to understand their work. Therefore, UNTEL’s work can be considered through their video, photo or sound archive, as well as through the “accessories” they imagined and produced in order to activate their urban adventures in the most relevant way.
After LA BOÎTE UNTEL and LE SAC UNTEL and its amazing success at FIAC in 2013, mfc-michèle didier asked UNTEL to reactivate Touriste, its 1978 performance. For this performance, the three members of UNTEL were supposed to stroll in the streets of a city so people would take pictures of two of them, while the third one documented this action. All three members of the trio were dressed in a Touriste costume, a sort of two-piece construction painter suit, consisting of a white shirt and white pants and a tee-shirt, that were silkscreened, and covered with the word «touriste» (tourist) – in various types and colors – and badges. On October 16, 1978, during their Fashion Show performance in the Grande Galerie du Louvre, UNTEL presented the Touriste collection.
Today, a new limited edition is produced by mfc-michèle didier: UNTEL, LA CHEMISE TOURISTE (UNTEL, THE TOURIST SHIRT). It will complete the original clothing ensemble. A model for women and a model for men will be manufactured in three sizes (S, M, L). The shirts will be available for sale at mfc-michèle didier gallery, which will turn into a real boutique, and become the official supplier of UNTEL’s latest creation.
The tourist’s relaxed attitude is now to be considered as a motive Made in Paris, like an artistic attitude. The art of being a tourist... a posture that was thoroughly scrutinized by the three artists, who are true analyst-experts of the urban landscape. This ability to analyze the city’s day-to-day life can also by seen clearly in VIE QUOTIDIENNE – Environnement de type «Grand Magasin» (1977), an installation that interrogates the reality of the ordinary life in an urban context, by proposing an inventory of vacuum-packed samples and objects excerpted from a completely banal context, yet very revealing of the era, as a sort of archeology of the everyday life. An timeless look on the consumer society, that the current economic reality reactivates violently.
Series: Edition limitée à 100 exemplaires signés et numérotés
Signature: Limited edition of 100 numbered and signed copies 50 copies (S, M, L) for women and 50 copies (S, M, L) for men (EU sizes)
Image rights: ©2015 UNTEL and mfc-michèle didier.
Produced and published in 2015 by mfc-michèle didier.