For their first large personal exhibition in France, Petra Koehle and Nicolas Vermot-Petit-Outhenin imagine a project in constant evolution in which architecture, photographs, and musical performances are united around the theme of the blue sky.
Set up as an installation extending out into space, the exhibition centers the notions of transfer, even transduction, at the heart of this particular project. Partitions transform the CACC into a space just as well suited for production as for exhibition and bring together outside figures whose explorations dialogue with those of the duo fleshing out this infinite work : the cellist Deborah Walker and the directors Silvia Maglioni & Graeme Thomson. There is a dual motif behind the inception of the exhibition And If… Just if…. On the one hand, the artistic duo draws upon the utopia and poetry of Saussure, who at the end of the eighteenth century attempted to quantify the intensity of the sky’s blueness and invented a cyanometer for this purpose. On the other hand, they look to the analysis of Central African fabrics reproduced in early twentieth-century books expressing a colonial vision of the world. These recollections from the field of science are put into tension from within a vast network of scaffolding that permeates the exhibition space. At the pair’s invitation, Silvia Maglioni & Graeme Thomson present a new video, Opening Address (Pending Removal Impeding Its Ending), that explores the possibilities of transfer and transduction active between different regimes of signs : a text written by the artists, its interpretation in sign language, and the sound of a theremin.
The cellist Deborah Walker is invited, for her part, to improvise this exposition-partition on two occasions, once as a private viewing and again at the end of the exhibition. Thus it is less a process of transfer than of transduction, that is, of a translation not into another medium but into a new energizing space. Following the exhibition, the two concert sound recordings will become the A and B sides of a vinyl disk reproduced into several copies. Through this collaborative and interdisciplinary work, Petra Kohle and Nicolas Vermot-Petit-Outhenin pursue their ongoing explorations into the impacts of systems of representation on our memories and perceptions. With a title allowing for all possibilities, the exhibition offers unexpected spaces of freedom and movement between recognition and feeling, idea and experience.
The exhibition participates in the Mois de la Photo du Grand Paris 2017. It is supported by the Pro Helvetia foundation and the Erna und Curt Burgauer Stiftung and the Annex 14 gallery – Zurich.
Biography of the artists
Born in 1977, Petra Koehle and Nicolas Vermot-Petit-Outhenin live and work in Zurich. Trained in photography during their art studies, the pair currently imagine this medium through the archive, the relationship to memory, and the possible futures yet to be invented. The artists are interested in the impact of systems of representation on our memory, as well as the importance of various media, photography in particular. Petra Koehle and Nicolas Vermot-Petit-Outhenin are represented by the Galerie Annex 14 (Switzerland). Their work has been shown in the Kunstmuseum of Thun, in the Piano Nobile space in Geneva, at the Pavillon Neuflize in the Palais de Tokyo, in the Nidwaldner Museum, and at the Wagenhalle in Stuttgart.