September 4, 2020 – January 23, 2021
66 rue Notre-Dame de Nazareth, 75003 Paris, France
On the occasion of the season’s opening, and for the tenth year of the gallery, Michèle Didier will present in her new exhibition most of the editions she has been publishing since 1987.
Gathering a large part of the editioned works, the gallery will take the shape of a consultation room, in a staging that could be reminiscent of a café, a reading room, or the famous Wunderkammer.
The publishing house « Les Maîtres de Forme Contemporains », now known as mfc-michèle didier, opened in 1987 in Brussels, while the gallery opened in Paris in 2011.
Mainly dedicated to the publishing of works on paper, multiples, and artist’s books, mfc-michèle didier provides a reflection about the collection and production of editioned works in contemporary art as well as conceptual art.
Although the Wunderkammer is usually devoted to displaying unique and rare objects, and the reading room is generally reserved for archives and Incunabula, the exhibition will focus on presenting editioned works, in principle, bypassing the rarity of unique works.
However, the artist’s book has a peculiarity: it is not, as opposed to a simple print, just a reproduction, but an authentic, multiplied artwork, that keeps its « aura » despite being editioned.
This « work » in a literal sense, brings together the artist and publisher in the creative process, and each new publication appears as a « Wonder », culminating to constitute their Oeuvre and the catalogue of the publishing house.
The artist’s book is a medium that needs time to be understood, it is an object whose perception is not immediate, nor integral. It requires an encounter, a handling, and generally has its own complex internal logic.
Some works are long to read and some are more complex in terms of conception. For instance, On Kawara’s Trilogy includes more than 14,000 pages, One Billion Color Dots by Robert Barry comprises 25 volumes, and Double Bind by Leigh Ledare is an ensemble of three volumes, ten printed photographs, and one fac-simile letter.
In the framework of the exhibition, the gallery is thought of as a place outside of time, with its own rhythm, allowing the consultation of those “mirabilia”, those admirable and astonishing things that are usually presented under a showcase and out of sight of the general public.
The exhibition’s conception will allow visitors to satisfy their curiosity and to take the time needed for each work. The nature of the art object implies a permanent movement between the desire to know (libido sciendi) and erotic desire (libido sentiendi), which is all the more important in the context of artists’ books and anthological works.
Entitled Wunderkammer Café, the exhibition will also be accompanied by meetings and discussions about the artists and their works. We wanted to take the time for us to meet again, but also to continue to use the gallery as a space of reflection and not only as a merchant house or a showroom.
mfc-michele didier Press Release (french language)