‘Keep your master channel sync’d with your master channel’ by Pierre Clement at Maison Salvan, Labège

Keep you master channel sync’d with you master channel, here is the title selected by Pierre Clement to introduce his new exhibition at Maison Salvan. It gives us information on how the artist has envisaged and realized the series of exhibited works made up of twenty pieces. A pre-established system – the main channel? – dictates how each piece was made: an image of nature, previously retrieved from the internet, is reproduced on an aluminum or white surface; It is then very regularly pierced then spiked with bolts which serve to weave a pattern with the aid of cord. The title also describes the experience of the visitor confronted with these pieces whose principle, at a time is both internal (their composition) but also external (hanging), is serial. How to organize or fix our gaze in the face of such a systematization?

However, it appears that each artwork is perfectly distinct for multiple reasons: the choice of the image; the addition of motifs from the graphic universe of the German scientist and philosopher Ernst Haeckel; the nature, the size and the weft of the nylon or natural fiber cords used. Behind the general title of the exhibition, the artworks have their own title, referring to animal figures (Slug, Urchin, Swan), to spaces (Underwood), to founding myths of the real and the virtual (Origin, Web). Through this association, perhaps the series also creates a kind of mythological pantheon, and that each work has a secret and sacred dimension. The cult, of which we are speaking here, is of course unknown and unset. But given the signals that the artworks give-off, it is certainly characteristic for the contemporary era to follow the great monotheist narratives downfall. It would combine a frantic belief in technology combined with heteroclite fragments linked to the idea of new-age and personal development, with elements borrowed from «exotic religions», a certain megalomaniac relation to nature (between the fantasy of intact purity and the age of the Anthropocene). The title of the exhibition can therefore be translated differently in French and may indicate that the works offer multiple readings, perhaps one more deviant: Garder votre canal maître synchronisé avec votre canal maître. The word “maître” could then bear a capital letter.

The works can be seen as one would classically look at an exhibition, by getting captivated, for example to their composition. They are seductive, perhaps playful, through the implementation of recurring principles and due to a certain repetitive and musical rhythmics. They are fascinating through the use of subtle variations, especially the grids produced by the weaving. However, the «layers», of which they are composed, also inform us metaphorically about the way in which their meaning may be deconstructed. They are certainly also traps with parts of shadow and buried dimensions perhaps even darker and more complex. It belongs to each one to determine and qualify the meanings that Ernst Haeckel drawn symbols produce. To each one to think about the effect on the idea of nature, produced by the thread work or grids that overhang the images. Finally, it asks each viewer to interrogate the intellectual property’s question, whereas what is given to us seems to derive as much from an algorithmic language as from the will of an artist.

Pierre Clement is updating the Arts & Crafts movement in the context of the third industrial revolution and the digital and instantaneous communication revolution. He questions the tensions between the virtual and the tangible: from a cloud of pixels retrieved from the internet, he proposes in fine «paintings» several centimeters thick. The antagonism between handcraft and the delegated gesture is also questioned. A disorder is thus present in the exhibition; It could be the product of a machine, although it comes from a long and laborious process. However that is to say, the artist generates works at the «borders of bad taste». The twenty pieces of the exhibition could all deliberately be described as decorative objects.

Keep your master channel sync with your master channel constructs the perfect mise en abyme of the ultimate pattern symbolism and the functional fantasy of our era (network, web, communication in permanent fluctuation). These artworks are literally some « peintures à la toile » as ones have produced some « toiles à la peinture ». Here, it is a synchronized (and vertiginous) loop that weaves webs from motifs that come from other webs. Many artists have taken up the question of the internet but using its own language to deconstruct it. Pierre Clement, he acts as a resistance fighter. He camouflages his intentions and his works under deceptive disguises or false-flags to, perhaps, install a better critical system.

Why stop here, if these artworks are created from a mechanical system ? After all, the combinatorial language used could be infinite. Pierre Clement does (could) generate a multitude of new works? Why not even consider a computer program that would take images from the Internet and make automated weaves and patterns, independently ? This series of work stops a twenty for today, because there is well and truly an artist behind this work. After all, what is given to see proceeds from fallible choices and the free will of an individual.

Paul de Sorbier.

‘Keep your master channel sync’d with your master channel’
by Pierre Clement
at Maison Salvan, Labège, France
22/02 – 01/04/2017