#407 Sous les pavés, la plage!
84x64 cm | Filler, oak panel, pavers
The work consists of a painting and 47 pavers placed in a rectangle on the floor in a 6x8 pattern. One slot to the right from the middle is left empty.
The title is taken from the protest movement in Paris in 1968. It means "Under the pavers, the beach!". The events are interesting because they led France to the brink of revolution. The protests against the consumer society, imperialism and American culture started at the universities but gained great sympathy. Soon, wildcat strikes broke out, which gathered large population groups. Trade unions and socialists negotiated significant wage increases and better working conditions to curb the protests and stabilise the country. But the Communists at the forefront wanted a system change and preferred new elections. They wanted a democratic takeover instead of a coup. But when the election was finally held, the incumbent de Gaulle won by a wide margin. Maybe they had underestimated the people's need for security and familiarity.
But perhaps it is instead that a radically new order is not possible as a natural/logical change from the pre-existing? The current institutions may never be fit to carry out their own dismantling. That the paving stone must be lifted for us to reach the beach - the utopia whose contours we can only imagine. Whose content we can not know because it must be built when we are already in the new, with our feet in the sand. That it takes a small, but still necessary, step into the unknown to get there. If democracy is to be based on all humans' equal value, and truly transcend the rights of the mighty, then perhaps something more is needed other than free elections.
The series features works with an appendix placed on top of the work or close to it. This object is exterior to the image plane, the illusionary "window" in the picture, but is still an intrinsic part of the whole. It connects or makes visible the two dimensions of an artwork - its inner logic and the relation to its surrounding.
The title references both the famous campaign by Coca-Cola and Immanuel Kant's notion of the thing in itself. It means that subjects can only experience the phenomenons as they present themselves, through perception. It is always fundamentally different from what the things are outside the barrier of language - in themselves.
Res Ipsa is a compilation of works made by an act shaping the filler once it is prepared inside the frame. The works thus function as a recording device and give a statement of the event taking place while the filler was still wet.
Res Ipsa is Latin for "the thing itself" and is part of the juridical term "Res ipsa loquitur" (the thing speaks for itself), used when an injury or accident in itself clearly shows who is responsible, such as an instrument left inside a body after surgery.