M/M Paris Exhibition at Gallery Air de Paris
by Daniel Haim
Art as practiced by M/M (Paris) is a cumulative affair, spreading from medium to medium in a process of endless expansion. M/M’s concern is signs: their absolute plasticity and their persistence. Making play with scale and context, the work of this duo founded by Michael Amzalag and Mathias Augustyniak in 1992 is fuelled by transpositions of media and form that trigger corresponding effects of meaning. Thus M/M (Paris) exhibitions function equally as updates of their archive and as a pause allowing signs already produced to assume new forms and continue their trajectory.
C’est Wouf! is specifically a display of their three-dimensional output, featuring domestic items that are either functional or intended for contemplation. At the core of the installation, Infinitable (Mise-en-abîme) (2011) offers a miniature catalog raisonné of their artefacts set on a replica of the table in their studio. Around this scaled-down nucleus, the gallery is displaying works that are emblematic (Paravent, 2001), hitherto unshown (Left/Right Hemisphere, 2007) or specially created for the exhibition (Pouf (C’est Wouf!), 2013). Wouf, the character who gives his name to the exhibition, conjures up and extends the notion of The Agent (2000), drawn from a rejected project that has become a recurrent part of the M/M (Paris) oeuvre; we imagine him as “man’s best friend”, a paradoxical embodiment of an affective figure in a simplistic register of forms. He is sheltered – hidden away – under the presentation structures of The Carpetalogue (2012), a group of four carpets that provides a domestic-scale breakdown of M/M’s different registers of artistic language: drawing, geometry, photography and writing.
The limited edition publication accompanying the exhibition, a collection of 12 ephemeral transfers titled A Lifetime upon M/My Skin, investigates the temporality of signs in a mingling of indelible markings and fragile embellishment. This is a reaction to the spontaneous appropriations their signs were subjected to, and a recurrence of the mythic Tattoo show at Air de Paris in 1991 – another form of vectorization. So art as practiced by M/M(Paris) may be a matter not so much of space as of a certain temporality, residing not so much in the originality of its forms as in a very specific form of memory: ever ancient, ever changing, ever new.
Exhibition Details: April 12 – May 18th, 2013.
You can read the Bloginity.com exclusive interview with M/M Paris right here.