Direct subsidies

Work: Direct subsidies

Action performed with the coordinated effort of the eponymous collective whereby a visual art adviser from the DRAC was taken hostage in exchange for a ransom rather than a government grant.
At the same time in a street adjacent to the building, a demonstration was organised by associates to press for his release.
This action was conceived on the model of guerilla warfare and offered an alternative way of considering the relations between the artist and the institution.

Location : Montpellier, 2005

Reference text :

Montpellier, June 7, 2005.

We recognize the sequestration in his office, from 5 p.m. to 6:05 p.m., of the person in charge of plastic arts of the D.R.A.C Languedoc-Roussillon. The person concerned was released a few minutes after the administrative closing time of the premises thanks to the intervention of demonstrators carrying “Free Rousseaux!” signs. Located in the main courtyard of the building, they notably paid part of the ransom set at 300 Giga euros.

Our intentions were to:

– Switch from a banal grant request to a ransom request.
– Thus starting from a moment of confrontation between project leaders and an institution supporting creation, a moment often heavy with emotional charge, to give rise to a situation of discrepancy and accident.
– Take advantage of this situation to take a unique look at the environment in which we operate by playing with its codes:

o Use cultural institutions as a basis for experimentation.
o Physically take over the office space of the plastic arts manager as a field of action.
o Divert the institutional function of Bernard Rousseaux into the practical function of creative material.
o Reduce the meeting to present a project, the submission of a grant application, the time for its completion, the opening, communication and display in a single moment – A unit of time and space.

– Make a sequestration planned by a meeting and giving rise to a snack shared with the victim an element of reflection on the validity of a critical position of the artist within public institutions supporting creation or private, and on the possible possibilities of recovery of any subversive discourse by the latter.
– In a broader sense, propose a moment of negotiation supposed to result in a new contract, symbolized by the ransom, intended to question the role of the artist in society and his possible means of remuneration.
– Emphasize the special links that unite artists and money in a social context where the ability to adopt commercial strategies and the ability to earn from them tend to be the sole elements of appreciation.
– Draw attention to the potential consequences of this value system and put them into perspective with the conflicts of interest, sometimes violent, generated by a situation of globalized market and mass individualism.
– Simulate one of the most radical instruments of struggle to evaluate, in the social environment of reference, the political and ethical, but also geographical and financial limits of the artist’s “participatory impulse”.
– Aware of the issues and contradictions revealed and drawing inspiration from Oppenheim, propose as an artist any subject wishing to define themselves, through a singular practice, in this desire to identify their limits.
Other people will follow



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