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Stretched Moment

An exhibition of Pierre-Étienne Morelle


The works and performances of Pierre-Étienne Morelle examine the relations and tension arising between the given space and the bodies, objects and materials appearing in this space, this way creating extreme situations. The momentariness of these situations cannot easily be maintained, hence they are risky.

The starting point of the exhibition is the deconstruction of both classic gallery-spaces and the mode of presenting the artworks. The white cube – the archetype of modernist gallery-space – from an untroubled space where we meet works of art has become the focus of statements concerning art, therefore a point of intersection of conflicts. The praised, then questioned, offended, and destroyed gallery-space has itself become the primary carrier of artistic messages. Similarly, an independent life and a significance in content has been given to the frame of the artworks, and different parts of of the space that define it (corners and flat surfaces). These are borders the bursting of which at the same time confirms the impossibility to evade them.

The frame and the glass protecting the artworks ensure the special status of the work, they highlight and surround that area where peculiar rules operate, rules that are different from everyday reality. The exhibition reflects on these two crucial elements of being an artwork, and does so by disassembling them. The presented constructions are not held together by nails, screws, or gluing, but the components are organised by the way they are wedged against each other. The metal tip piercing from the wall and the strap-hinges bend the glass only until its flexibility allows it; it is on the verge of breaking. On the other side the laths of the wooden frame are joined with clamps and at the same time strained by iron drills, however, the state realised this way seems to be a lasting equilibrium – at least we like to assume that the frame suggests permanence.

By undoing the traditionally joined relation between the frame and the glass, the artwork „leaks away,” while the work and the way of presentation switch roles: the frame and the glass, while they do not cease to challenge their own roles, simultaneously become artworks themselves. There is nothing to do, the gallery-space, the white cube fulfils the expectations and turns the critical gestures into artworks.

This seemingly necessary transformation, however, is spectacularly contested by the installation of the inner space. The construction, held and strained by rubber straps, through the deconstruction of the elements – now outside the frame and over the glass – forms a new, objectless picture: the interplay of shadows cast on the walls.