Martine Feipel & Jean Bechameil. Mechanics of Tomorrow’s World
Working as a twosome, Feipel & Bechameil produce installations where there is a mix of illusion, imagination, instability, and illogicality within gridded and controlled places in the contemporary world. As sculptors but also amateur researchers and engineers, informed by a great sensibility with regard to the theatricality of the world and its various forms of beauty, they create works within a socio-historical, aesthetic, political and technical approach. In combining their many areas of know-how in various fields - drawing, sculpture, engineering, directing and presentation, and sets -, they are producing an oeuvre that is as formally accomplished as it is powerfully engaged.
As artists, they have no certainties about ideal social and cultural models, but they are forever questioning human life by way of themes such as the social and collective setting, lifestyles, the forms of architecture people occupy, and the objects which accompany us in our daily round, the landscape that is presented to us, and the areas of freedom we are given, as well as the future being traced out for us.
As robotics hackers Feipel&Bechameil propose a re-appropriation of the realm of technology in a sensitive way, using an eminently political gesture: taking possession of the expertise and know-how of industrial robotics, to apply them to the creation of artworks which describe our world in a different way.
Anybody interested in the work of Feipel&Beachmeil soon realizes that the notion of space is central to it. The observer is presented with a single idea: the obvious necessity of finding a new type of space.
At the root of their work is an awareness that sensorial perception has physiological limits – and that our conception of space is historically dated. Henceforth, in the wake of the philosophy of Jacques Derrida, it is a case of trying to go beyond the limit of a place to find a new one. This comes down to thinking about the meaning of the limit and the meaning of space which is mainly the result of tradition. The important thing is not to overstep or transgress the law by crossing the limit but to ‘‘open’’ a space at the very heart of the former space. This opening does not create new space to occupy, but rather a sort of pocket hidden inside the old meaning of the limit. It is about an opening in space according to the principle of slippage. This internal slippage and the recreation of space always implies the destruction of an institution. The meaning of the word “space” is profoundly destabilized. In this, our two artists are very topical because the management of space is in crisis. This space we think of as living space is simultaneously a space of action, orientation and communication. The development of science and technology, the erosion of particular visions of the world and traditional value systems, the structural crisis of the economy and the exacerbation of the issue of logic question a traditional conception of space and management that only thinks in terms of fields of competence and is obsessed with the constraints of growth and valorization. We live in a period of mutation in which past models of orientation and action no longer work.
Certainly, the situation still seems open, but we lack concepts of action capable of responding to the ecological crisis and the crisis of civilization we are currently experiencing without endangering democracy, human rights and the physical necessities of life. Today, there is no doubt that it is more urgent than ever to consider any reflection on the question of space as a work of civilization, as a remodeling of civilization. Modifying the everyday completely remodels our world, and that is what this is all about.
The artwork can be understood on various different levels that touch as much on philosophy as on art history or society.
Exhibition is a part program of Kaunas - Capital for Culture 2022.
Partners of the exhibition:
Kaunas 2022 European Capital of Culture; Esch2022 European Capital of Culture
Media partner: LRT