Le catalogue Out of place

Édité par Yasuaki Matsumoto et Masayuki Towata, le catalogue Out of place 2011 est paru. Outre des documents sur les œuvres exposées (Boissier/Leccia/Wilmouth), il publie un texte introductif par Hiroshi Yoshioka, philosophe, professeur à l’université de Kyoto.

Télécharger ce catalogue en pdf : http://www.vigilambule.net/blog/wp-pdf/outofplace.pdf

Le texte de Hiroshi Yoshioka (version anglaise) :

The Art of Being Out of Place | Hiroshi Yoshioka

The Daikakuji of Daitakuji Temple in Kyoto, the venue for Out of Place 2011, may be translated literally the temple of great enlightenment or great awakening. The Buddhist sense of reaching enlightenment, of entering a state where you are freed finally from all worldly passions or sufferings (allegorically, freed from the cycle of endless reincarnation), often has been compared to the process of awakening. This means that most of us, as long as our mind is attached to daily affairs, may be understood to be lingering in a state of sleep. We may be walking around, desiring, competing, fighting for things which can never be our own, rejoicing, lamenting, and foolishly believing we are fully awake, but in fact, we all are asleep.

Awakening occurs not only through silent mediation. Sometimes we are forced to wake up from the slumber of daily routine by an abrupt convulsion of nature, which needless to say may cause disastrous circumstances for human beings. One such occasion for awakening took place in Japan on March 11, 2011. In contrast to spiritual enlightenment, however, we have unfortunately little control over ourselves in this painful sort of awakening. Perhaps we need more time, a more tranquil place to think things over, but finding such a place in our contemporary society is difficult.

The power of art does not always consist in enlivening people. Art sometimes helps us console ourselves in difficult times, with our effort to cope with the difficult realities we face. The works by three French artists exhibited at Daikakuji Temple are quite different from each other. Few directly refer to the Great Earthquake and tsunami in Tohoku (the exception is the performance by Jean- Luc Vilmouth, which unfortunately I missed). But all the works nonetheless have something in common. It is perhaps the power of art to enable us to share an experience of tacit mourning and empathy.

This does not mean that we should ignore the aesthetic aspects of the works. I was deeply impressed by Jean-Louis Boissier’s Les Vigilambules du Daikakuji. I admired Boissier’s introspective use of media and his sophisticated sense of humor. I was fascinated by the image of La mer by Ange Lecccia, which is far from any normal view of waves at a seashore and seems instead to resemble an eternal oscillation of the universe. I also liked the sound installation by Jean-Luc Vilmouth, at one of the open rooms in the temple, where we can hardly distinguish the recorded sound from the real sounds we were able to hear at the place.

The impression I had is that all these works, while not losing their own aesthetic qualities, are transformed and combined through a certain moral quality they all come to reveal. This is partly because they found themselves in a large Buddhist temple in Kyoto instead of in a normal white cube space in a normal gallery or museum. This is partly because the show took place in Japan, in June, 2011, only three months after the devastating disaster. But I believe it is also because of an encounter of the works by these particular artists at that particular time and that particular place. I won’t call the works site-specific, as site-specific art normally attempts to put itself in place, so to speak. The works on the contrary seem to look toward the opposite, as the title of the exhibition tells us.

I understand being out of place in a fully positive sense, both for works of art and for ourselves as a human beings. I would assert that being out of place is not a tragedy, but a state in which we are being awakened, being made to understand what and who we really are. The process of growing up, in the spiritual sense, is equivalent to the process of coming to feel yourself as a foreigner in the world. I remember the famous quote from Hugo of St. Victor, an Augustinian mystic of the twelfth century, which found its way by way of Erich Auerbach into Edward Said’s Orientalism. It reads: ’The man who finds his homeland sweet is still a tender beginner; he to whom every soil is as his native one is already strong; but he is perfect to whom the entire world is as a foreign land.’

For me, however, this admirable spiritual highness of Hugo is a bit too transcendent to describe the actual state of mind of one suddenly awakened from dormancy. Rather, I would like to appeal to the term vigilambules, which Jean-Louis Boissier borrows from Gilles Deleuze’s Cinema 2: The Time – Image, in which Boissier employs the word to explain Robert Bresson’s idea of a model. Vigilambules are those who are (apparently) awake, walking around with eyes wide open, in a state of automatism, but, unlike an actor in the theater, they are controlled neither by mind nor by any emotion. This image is much more important for me when I seriously think about awakening at all. The stereotypical scene of Buddhist monks meditating in a dark temple room, as you find in any number of ’Welcome to Kyoto’ posters, is nothing but a tourist attraction.

We will be suffocated in a world where everything is put too strictly in place. Here is exactly the space art finds its own prospect for the future. If art retains any possibility to change the world, not just adding an aesthetic flavor to it, it is in putting us out of place, making us feel more foreign to the world, and urging ourselves to walk around like machines, but fully awake, with eyes fully open. Art is necessary for us to survive – this is the conviction I have come to hold more firmly than ever after experiencing the year