mfc-michèle didier is pleased to present "Une rétrospective, 1971-1998", a proposal by artist Hubert Renard, implemented using his "Kit de montage" (assembly kit).
This kit comprises a set of instructions for use and documentation allowing the completion of an exhibition which chronicles Hubert Renard’s work through the prism of three textual elements: a title, an informative text and exhibition labels.
The piece - which was shown for the first time in 2016 and interpreted by Laurent Buffet as part of the exhibition Légende at the Frac Franche-Comté - reacts according to the space where it is shown and evolves depending on exhibition conditions. At each new staging of the piece, the same retrospective exhibition takes on a new shape. It is designed to highlight tools of implementation and communication put to use in an exhibition space, all the while telling the story of art works.
While we not only catch a glimpse of Hubert Renard’s work created between 1971 and 1988 through the sole medium of exhibition texts, we are also confronted with a potential or latent work which fills the gallery space.
The installation will be accompanied by a press-book specially edited for the exhibition, bringing together the totality of articles which have punctuated Hubert Renard’s artistic career.
What’s more, we are extremely pleased and honoured to present a new text written expressly by Alain Farfall for this press pack.
The exhibition will be on view from 13 January to 18 February 2017.
The exhibition opening will take place on Thursday 12 January from 6pm to 9pm.
"ISSUES WITH ART"
Hubert Renard is an artist of international renown and has participated in the Salon d’Art Contemporain de Montréal (QC) and the Biennale de Charleroi (BE). His work has been shown on more than forty occasions in both galleries and museum exhibitions in Lisbon, Los Angeles, Verona, Lyon, Geneva, Sao Paulo, Saint-Etienne, Paris, Bremen, Parma, Dijon, Chicago, Cologne, London, Antwerp, Limoges, Nantes, Barcelona, Marseilles, Quimper, Bergamo, Krefeld, Balmieux, Pully, Renens.
In historical terms, we can associate Hubert Renard with the conceptual art movement of the late 1970s which revolutionized the way art was created and thought about. Indeed, in his early work, Renard began by questioning the interactions between language, writing and images. Despite this approach, he does not limit his practice to the boundaries of one unique artistic medium, using painting, photography, sculpture, books and installations to shape his body of work. Exploration is his guiding principle.
Conceptual art, more than a simple formal or visual revolution in modern art, actually constitutes a fundamental rethinking of the role of both art and artists in a constantly changing cultural context. Within this definition of a new approach to art Hubert Renard’s ideas and works represent a considerable contribution. The exhibition entitled Une rétrospective, 1971-1998 thus harks back to the sources and context of its original creation. Hubert Renard belongs to a generation for whom the artist’s role cannot be boiled down to the production of pure and simple consumer objects designed for the market. In his eyes, the artist’s position is closer to that of a researcher. In any case, art is a cause for concern for Renard. One of his concerns being the ability to make proposals that oppose a certain harmonious vision of culture proffered by society; proposals which reveal the contradictions and obstacles of such a vision.
Context has a great influence on Hubert Renard’s work, as does a certain habit he has developed in order to integrate himself into an artistic scene, wherein he identifies with what one could call “role models”. Although his sources of inspiration often lie in the writings of Derrida, Baudrillard, Borges, Levenson and Goodman, discussing and observing the work of fellow artists (such as Charles Addenby, Vincent Pérouse or Didier Lambert) also strongly influence his work.
By combining elements, Hubert Renard questions fundamental notions in artistic practice such as authorial status, the originality of the artwork, the value of an artist’s signature or singular gesture. His works allow us to experience a spatial synesthesia over the duration of a lecture or a visit to the exhibition. Renard’s proposals constantly question the space which exists around artworks, the space for which art is made.
Forty years after his first interventions Hubert Renard’s work feels ever more contemporary and extremely relevant, especially if we are to consider what he was criticizing at the time and compare it with our current reality.
ABOUT HUBERT RENARD
Hubert Renard questions art’s underlying narratives, which he then employs in installations in order to play on the codes of exhibitions or publications.
He likes to cast doubt upon the materiality of the artwork, all the while challenging elements which both surround artworks and allow them to exist: what we might call their “paratext”. In this sense, he constructs his own potential artistic career by accumulating the following (published and unpublished) documents: exhibition catalogues, posters, opening invitations, photographs of exhibitions, press cuttings etc. His archives recount the work of an artist named Hubert Renard who began his practice in the 1970s and who upheld his presence within the main art movements of the late twentieth century. The archives are presented as documentation during exhibitions or are published in catalogues and monographs, paradoxically establishing the reality of the work in question. We are dealing with an exemplary artwork which only exists in the real world through the prism of its own archival documentation.
“In theory, Hubert Renard complies with art’s rituals: in addition to producing artworks, like all artists, he participates in exhibitions, publishes catalogues, requests articles, updates his press-book and website and - lest we forget - has produced an impressive 112 page-long monograph. However, while most artists fully accept this little game, Hubert Renard refuses to play ball: while the others work within a system whose elements pre-exist (galleries, museums, art critics, art history, art schools, collectors etc.) Renard completely recreates the system with an inventive and creative attitude. Hubert Renard makes from scratch what others artists accept as a preconceived system; he works actively while the others remain passive. Therein lies his Copernican revolution, a revolution which further pushes the boundaries of the artwork. The production of an object is no longer required, only the act of placing an object in a context which is produced or invented. Hubert Renard frees himself from the system by fully accepting it and taking responsibility for it. His practice reaffirms the idea that the artwork constitutes a world apart (or as Kant would say “another nature”). For Hubert Renard, creating a piece of art literally means inventing a new world.“
Leszek Brogowski, Éditer l’art: le livre d’artiste et l’histoire du livre, Éditions Incertain Sens, Collection Grise, Rennes, 2016