ROMAIN KRONENBERG & BENJAMIN GRAINDORGE
Lafayette Anticipation, Fondation d'entreprise Galeries Lafayette, which has created a new institutional model, approaches art not as a product, but as a production, and in this sense it gives substance to the intuitions of sociologist Howard Becker, author of a remarkable essay Art Worlds (1982).
Becker’s use of the plural has that particular way of making a work of art into a vision of society. While the art world is a fairly vague metaphor that mostly refers to “fashionable people associated with those newsworthy objects and events that command astronomical prices”, art worlds describe the cooperation of professional networks — including the most discreet or anonymous — that work towards creating and distributing works. These sometimes competitive but always coordinated “worlds” are held together by shared values. This is the same meaning we give to the term “production”, which is so familiar to cinema’s ears, and is still so under-appreciated in contemporary art networks.
In this sense, the invitation extended to Romain Kronenberg and Benjamin Graindorge has a strong semantic dimension. In theory, directors and designers are total opposites. One makes a career out of moving images, the other out of stationary objects. One sees the world through projection, the other through contingency.
It was in Kyoto in 2009 that they met, and it was from the terrace of Villa Kujoyama that they observed Japan, its artisans and its rites. These opposites long discussed this shared experience, until they collaborated for the first time on Eldorado (2012), an installation that combined film, objects, drawings and music. Since then, other probes have followed, each of which has contributed something to a world that is always in production.
Romain Kronenberg and Benjamin Graindorge are always getting closer the work but they never touch it. They compile, write, annotate, disseminate and start again, without worrying about being ordered to make us see something. They see things coming; they anticipate. This is to say that the forms they create never belong to the moment and are always destined to be truly realised in the moment to come, the follow-up, the next meeting.
This method, which knowingly allows error, change and hesitation to enter into the creative process, interests Lafayette Anticipation, Fondation d'entreprise Galeries Lafayette for two reasons: first, because the institution defines itself in advance as a place of production, fundamental research and collaboration between all of the disciplines of art, design and fashion; but also because it views the creative act in its most open, transparent and convulsive state.
The film Été perpétuel [Everlasting Summer] has its roots in The Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse. The 1943 novel, which helped earn Hesse the Nobel Prize in 1946, presents exchanges surrounding a game with mysterious rules. Designer Benjamin Graindorge gives them form and life with the support of Lafayette Anticipation, Fondation d'entreprise Galeries Lafayette, so that they can receive rich and complete expression in the screenplay written by Romain Kronenberg.
In this fictional film currently in production, the 40-year-old main character Jeanne has to manipulate games to bring the memory of a deceased lover to life. Presented as relics of a time that has not yet arrived, these glass and wood objects acquire a fugitive status in the temporary space on rue Sainte-Croix-de-la-Bretonnerie. Neither principal nor accessory, they are potential forms whose reason for being is found entirely within the processual urgency that haunts their co-creators. Été perpétuel is nothing but a point in the unknown, which they probe until it gives rise to new avenues of research.
Territory and its vocabulary are always linked in the joint work of this designer and this director as they explore an incantatory logic that starts as a wandering and becomes a round-trip approach that follows the longest paths.
Graindorge and Kronenberg are the authors not of works but of projects, which obviously find their meaning in their reciprocal culture of design and projection. Their quest for an everlasting day unfolds in a non-place where art and ideas occur openheartedly so that the wound never has the chance to close. By rejecting the status quo concerning the finished nature of creative work, they alienate themselves. They deliver themselves from delivering the least certainty beyond the one that it’s better to change your desires than to change the world order.
A project presented as part of the 6th edition of the Centre Pompidou's Nouveau festival.
"L'élan", from April 23rd to 25th 2015 — An exhibition of game-sculptures produced by Lafayette Anticipation, Fondation d'entreprise Galeries Lafayette for Été perpétuel.
"La Détente", Tuesday June 2nd 2015 at 7:30pm — A screening of rehearsal footage, shot on May 2nd and 3rd 2015 at Centre Pompidou's Nouveau festival.