Paul Kneale, Raphael Hefti and their guests
By inviting Raphaël Hefti and Paul Kneale to the Lafayette Anticipation, Fondation d'entreprise Galeries Lafayette residency, we not only wanted to welcome two marvellous artists, but also committed actors of a young artistic scene in Europe. Thus the first invitation lead to ten more, bringing around fifteen artists, critics, poets, writers, composers and performers, born between 1971 and 1989, none of whom had yet exhibited in Paris.
From Zurich, London, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Frankfurt, Berlin and Toronto, the protagonists of “Pleasure Principles” came to Paris with no baggage except the desire to create, in total freedom, in a given context: the building at 9 rue du Plâtre, in the heart of the Marais. For a two week residency and presentation, they brought the Library + model and network to Paris, a collective creative space in London founded and managed by Paul Kneale and Rapahel Hefti, alongside Megan Rooney.
The presence of this international scene fully committed the building to paying particular attention to hospitality. The first week of the residency, in February, allowed the members of the group to undertake varied research projects. The pleasure of finding themselves together in Paris provided the unifying thread. During the evenings, in the Lafayette Anticipation’s kitchen space installed by ROTOR architects, banquets were prepared by Raphael Hefti which offered new occasions for festive meetings, reflections and exchanges.
The second week of the residency saw them return in March, loaded down with poems, works, instruments. The promise was confirmed by a very beautiful exhibition, by concerts, as well as by a memorable evening of poetry reading.
This impromptu festival laid the groundwork for the space on the rue du Plâtre, with an attention given to emerging creators on the international chessboard of art.
Paul Kneale and Raphael Hefti gained Paris as their subject for a collective tableau. Together, with a dozen friends, critics, poets, artists and performers, they sought ought what could still hold pleasure, that mainstay of a blissful life.
Thus Pleasure Principles, a vibrant collective that made enchantment a corporate name, transmitted to each of its members. This intuition doubtlessly presided over the first week of the residency, during which fifteen guests came to Paris — among them Bonny Poon, Sam Porritt and Jesse Wine — soon to be joined by several other artists from the Frankfurt School: Anne Imhof, Max Brand and Veit Laurent Kurz. Over the following days they were seen parading along the rue de Plâtre, in small successive waves, without knowing what was going on. The evening, when the spring light grew weaker on their strawberry baskets, their writings, their oysters, their cheese and their fine ham, they spoke together of their good young times.
When they came back a few weeks later to deliver the fruit of this prosperous leisure, their Parisian tableau suddenly fertilised our fecund memory. Is Paris still the place for the intellect, for love, for gastronomy and for art? Or is the city now nothing more than a dreamland, a touristic disappointment? Everyone had been working on this task. For the first time Bea Schingelhoff opened a passage between the rue du Plâtre and the rue Sainte-Croix-de-la-Bretonnerie on the ground floor of Lafayette Anticipation, Fondation d'entreprise Galeries Lafayette. By affixing simple plaques either side, it was as if she unearthed a forgotten Paris street. Paul Kneale mixed the Chanel logo, the essence of Parisian luxury, in an anagram of stolen neons, taken from the abandoned library he occupies in London. And on theevening of the opening Hefti was inspired by a technique for the renovation of the Eiffel Tower to solder a drawing onto a metal plaque.
Elsewhere, under the dome of the Galeries Lafayette, whose very existence attests to the femininity of the modern city, Megan Rooney’s sonic work offered a ramble towards Mount Athos, where no woman has the right to citizenship. The Spleen of Paris was dealt with during an evening of readings, held in dimmed lighting. Around Paul Kneale sat the American critic and poet Quinn Latimer, the very young Harry Burke, as well as Thomas Lawson, Dean of the California Institute of the Arts, and Jonathan Meades, acclaimed English writer, journalist and critic. Lafayette Anticipation lived a moment of the purest strangeness, it’s own rapture occurring within its walls.
Thus, for several days the “Pleasure Principles” company spread out over chairs, wine, literature, music and art, each free to affix their own label to what was beautiful, good and fine.
An exhibition from the 27th to the 29th March 2014, with the participation of Max Brand, Harry Burke, Jason Dungan, Raphael Hefti, Anne Imhof, Paul Kneale, Quinn Latimer, Veit Laurent Kurz, Thomas Lawson, Bonny Poon, Sam Porritt,Megan Rooney,Bea Schlingelhoff and Jesse Wine.
Pictures: Paul Kneale.