The Fountain Archives
Fountain, the most controversial artwork in modern art history, didn’t exist for a very long time. Rejected at the Salon des artistes indépendants in 1917, it disappeared the same year, after being shown during a short time at Alfred Stieglitz’ gallery. In fact, the original artwork has become famous thanks to the photographic reproduction Alfred Stieglitz made before its disappearance. It’s this same image that was used to make the ten replicas under Marcel Duchamp’s supervision, between 1950 and 1964.
“No one has ever looked at art. Make artworks that are supposed to be directly reproduced into magazines. As far as we know artworks thanks to their reproductions, we should only conceive artworks for reproduction. Remove the intermediaries in art.”*
This « reminder » formulated by John Baldessari appears to be absolutely pertinent in regards to the posterity of Marcel Duchamp urinal, which, despite its disappearance, has still become one of art history most important masterworks.
It is not by chance that in 2008 Saâdane Afif decided to make Fountain the object of a very special collection – a collection of all the publications in which the famous ready-made has been reproduced.
The Fountain Archives consist thus of a multitude of torn pages on which appears the reproduction of Fountain, each framed individually. Because of the repetition of this motive, the complete series becomes a new artwork on its own, of a contemporary view on how art history and myths of art are created.
Saâdane Afif gladly calls The Fountain Archives a “hobby artwork”, but it requests however an unfailing attention. Today the archive counts almost 600 entries and strives to attain 1001 in order to be complete. Just like the famous collection of tales, the corpus must be read as a legend gathering one thousand and one histories relating the Fountain work.
The presentation of The Fountain Archives at mfc-michèle didier is a highlight of the process started by Saâdane Afif since seven years. The artist supplies his collection during his travels, his research on the internet, leaning on a series of websites that list all the books in the world. A network of experts and collectors have brought over the years a significant contribution by suggesting or sending rare publications, and local or vintage editions. Progressively, the collection will be extended each time with new findings that will be included in the grid previously drawn by the artist on the walls of the office at the gallery.
This exhibition prefigures the publication of the entire Fountain Archives by Saâdane Afif by mfc-michèle didier in 2017, for the Centenary of Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain.
So for now, it’s a work in progress.
*John Baldessari, Art conceptuel, une entologie, under the direction of Gauthier Herrmann, Fabrice Reymond and Fabien Vallos, éditions MIX, 2008
It is not a coincidence that mfc-michèle didier has invited the artist Jazon Frings in parallel with the presentation of The Fountain Archives by Saâdane Afif. Frings’ questioning of the nature of art goes beyond the one formulated by the ready-made.
Who is Jazon Frings?
The artist works under the identity of JaZon Ex. of which he is the founder and the president. JaZoN Ex. is a scoring system created from the artist’s life.
“JaZoN Ex. the most human stock market on planet earth...!!» uses the mechanisms of the stock exchange market in order to re-interpret the idea of value, and particularly to transpose the stock market to a human scale. His work deprives the economical world of the question of the interpretation of value, something that until then was exclusively reserved for this world.
In order to realize his project, Jazon Frings created completely new financial instruments: an exchange currency, stocks, bonds. These express the diversity of his life in all its complexity.
The concept of the stock market is called into question, opening greater perspectives than its current status of a playground for a select few. By putting into place his proper value systems, he directly confronts the rational ideas of contemporary economics.
When quantifiable economies are discarded, when life’s absurdities become the crucial point for determining value, more doesn’t always have to be better than less. JaZon Ex.’ objective is to generate value in contradiction with the notions of rational economies.
This work needs a constant implication from the artist, which kind of reminds us of On Kawara’s work, who recorded all the founding events of a universal day: the hour of the awakening, the travels (or non-travels), the meetings, the readings. On his part, Jazon Frings is interested in the consequences of these events that On Kawara factually recorded. To get up in the morning, to travel and to meet other people, it all entails a series of chain reactions: love, anger, fatigue, stress, laughter...
Jazon Frings’ work will take place in the main room of mfc-michèle didier gallery, and cover the walls with a wallpaper that records the fluctuations of his very personal stock market, displaying this way the various companies that regulate his life: SARL Zo Creative, Zo BUSY INCORPORATED, ZARL Lover, JZON Drunk Company, etc.
During the exhibition, the interactive platform JaZoN Ex. will also be broadcasted in live, in order to follow in real life Jazon Frings state of emotions and health. The financial and exchange products will also be available.