press release

Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes).*

With works from the FRAC Champagne-Ardenne collection of: Caroline Achaintre, Saâdane Afif, Sylvie Auvray, Eva Barto, Claude Closky, François Curlet, Natalie Czech, Honoré D'O, Michel Dheurle, Jimmie Durham, Latifa Echakhch, Robert Filliou, Dan Graham, Raymond Hains, Hippolyte Hentgen, Pierre Huyghe, Pierre Joseph, André Léocat, Elsa Maillot, Nick Mauss & Ken Okiishi, Allan McCollum, Arno Rafael Minkkinen, Laurent Montaron, Jean Noël, Emilie Pitoiset, Lili Reynaud-Dewar, Clément Rodzielski, Glen Rubsamen, Lara Schnitger and Joëlle Tuerlinckx.

Emmanuelle Lainé is making a new installation; a gigantic photographic trompe-l’œil which juggles with the collection of the FRAC Champagne-Ardenne and the history of the place. This immersive environment, made up of 1:1 photographs of historic rooms in the former Collège des Jésuites in Reims, enables us to temporarily delve into the spirit of the place and, for a split second, merge ancient and modern, patrimonial wealth and present-day culture. With its successive layers, the installation artificially pushes the walls of the FRAC, and creates a fourth dimension which opens up a new space-time to be discovered and explored.

By taking a quotation from the American poet Walt Whitman* as the title and starting point of her exhibition, Emmanuelle Lainé has conceived a hybrid project at the FRAC Champagne-Ardenne, at once a work never viewed before, a solo show, and the display of a public collection. The artist introduces herself through the work of other artists, in the space and in photographs, and questions the notion of authorship by incorporating otherness as a criterion of identity.

Photography has always been the medium of categorization. It can be used to justify an identity, provide proof, and construct the narrative of historical events. It is also the collection’s preferred medium: it documents and it classifies; it is often the first go-between in the encounter between the public and the work. Emmanuelle Lainé uses it in a contrary way to prolong perspectives, fragment space, and cast doubt on time-frames.

In her new installation, she transposes to the FRAC two rooms of the Sciences Po campus nextdoor: the refectory and the library. These historic spaces, designed in the 17th century, contrast with the FRAC’s recently renovated spaces. They are two time-frames of one and the same place, which are hybridized, and make it possible to highlight the different lives of a collection by using furnishing elements which call a household setting to mind.

The works selected by Emmanuelle Lainé echo this hybridization: they disturb the established gender boundaries, unravel the categories which differentiate the public from the private, and draw closer to the historical and living heritage through photographic montage. Among these works, those of Lara Schnitger, Hyppolite Hentgen, Nick Mauss and Ken Okiishi question the canons of beauty and the representation of women; those of Clément Rodzielski and Lili Reynaud-Dewar are fragments which combine disciplines without hierarchy; the classifications of Allan McCollum’s random forms try to rationalize what cannot be rationalized; and the photograph of Laurent Montaron is photographed anew, presented by two registrars, being installed.

It is by way of a process of photographic montage that Emmanuelle Lainé exhibits the in-between, installation time-frames rarely revealed to the public, the building’s historic part, the collection out of the storage, and the relation between public institution and higher education establishment. By appropriating the works from the FRAC collection, she gives visitors a chance to renew the way they look at art and imagine other ways of seeing the world, no longer by categorizing it but by accepting its multiple character.

The FRAC Champagne-Ardenne is grateful to Sciences Po Paris – Reims Campus and the Musée Saint Remi, Reims for their participation in the exhibition.

*“Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself. (I am large, I contain multitudes).”, in his work Leaves of Grass, self-published in 1855.