François Aubart

The Protagonists

The Protagonists is a collection of translations and newly commissioned texts edited by François Aubart in parallel with two projects: the lecture cycle Laissez-vous séduire par le sex appeal de l’inorganique, from September 26, 2015 to February 25, 2016, at Passerelle—Centre d’art contemporain in Brest; and the exhibition De toi à la surface, from January 21 to April 10, 2016, at Le Plateau—Frac Île-de-France, in Paris.

François Aubart, “You Lamp! You Towel! You Plate!”

This introduction presents the texts composing the collection as well as the insights behind them. It focuses on the ways to develop a less rational relation with the objects.

Barbara Bloom, “The Space Between the Lines”

Barbara Bloom’s text approaches the distinction between an idea and its production. Without trying to put forward a definitive theory, the artist takes pleasure in formulating anecdotes, historical facts, and personal experience from which she learns several lessons. A similar approach is to be found in most of her works, where objects and images are presented in such a way so as to generate associations that the viewers are invited to discover.

Vanessa Desclaux, “Attending to Forms of Drunkenness”

In this text, Vanessa Desclaux uses Matt Mullican’s experiments as a starting point to blur the distance between objective reality and subjective reality. She finds a similar distance in the writing of Gertrude Stein and in the installations of Geoffrey Farmer. Each in a distinct way, the three practices distort our apprehension of reality by complicating the distinction between objective apprehension and subjective interpretation.

Judith Hopf, “Contrat entre les hommes et l’ordinateur”

In search of the post-capitalist self, Judith Hopf offers a short text she wrote and presented as a performance for the “Kopie Theater.” It is an attempt to inform our understanding of “declarations of independence,” necessary in light of the possible new relationships to be had with the intelligent apparatuses and image-making machines we are invited to use for “free” to communicate.
An english version of this text can be found on

Camille Pageard, “To Cease or Continue”

In this text, Camille Pageard considers various “speaking objects”: those archaeologists discovered in Greece, inscribed with engravings informing on their function or their owner; the poems Mallarmé wrote on various objects for carefully chosen addressees; and Marcel Duchamp’s Unhappy Ready-Made. These productions, stemming from separate contexts, are associated through the art historian’s reflection on the object as the vehicle for a language in which the address becomes a crucial factor to be considered. Indeed, in order to make an object “speak,” it needs to be enclosed within a threefold relationship—the speaker, the vehicle-object, and the addressee—with the particularity that the roles of each participant are not truly independent.

Bérénice Reynaud, “Wrestling with Angels and Demons—A Passion in Three Acts”

In a text written in the first person that also recounts the story of a friendship, Bérénice Reynaud recalls the way Stuart Sherman, then actor, having decided to create his own pieces, turned away from language in order to use of what was at hand in his everyday life: trivial, common objects. From then on, these objects would become his letters and words. They constitute a vocabulary—that of a practice, the ritualising of which allows the repression of language and its replacement with another form of syntax.

Published on <o> future <o>, April 19, 2016.

The Protagonists is published with the support of Le Plateau—Frac Île-de-France in Paris, and Centre d'art contemporain Passerelle in Brest.