Elvire Bonduelle – waiting room #4: Elvire Bonduelle, Nicolas Chardon, François Morellet, Olaf Nicolai, Bernard Piffaretti, Amedeo Polazzo, Émile Vappereau
“What I dream of is an art of balance, of purity and serenity, devoid of troubling or disturbing subject matter, an art which could be for every mental worker, for the businessman was well as the man of letters, for example, a soothing, calming influence on the mind, something like a good armchair which provides relaxation from physical fatigue.”
Henri Matisse, Notes d’un Peintre, Editions Centre Pompidou, Janvier 2012
“The conditions for looking at art are miserable. Shows are often full of people, a few of whom are idiots. You can only stand and look, usually past someone else. No space, no privacy, no sitting or lying down, no drinking or eating, no thinking, no living. It’s all a show. It’s just information.”
Donald Judd, Complete Writings, 1959-1975
Fact is that we often don’t see a thing. We force our gaze to perceive what is here and now in three minutes, thirty seconds… Why can’t we sit in front of the presented works for more often?
waiting room #4 is the fourth edition of an exhibition series, which is based on the idea that a waiting room offers the perfect spatio-temporal framework to view art. Here we are not busy doing anything. We arrive, sit down and wait. And while waiting, the surrounding things may come slowly closer and unfold their effects without imposing on us. The relations of authority are reversed. It is not the spectator who wants to see, but it is the artwork that makes itself visible.
For the exhibition waiting room #4 I have chosen mainly large-scale works, which can be well viewed from the far and which do not have to be explored in proximity. The works hold a vibrancy and importance independently from the spectator. They show moments of ordering, repetition and uniformity, which mediate a feeling of relaxation and calmness. They are present with us in the exhibition space and just like them we, too, become part of the decorum. Somebody else has made the decision for us to sit in the place we are presently sitting. We make ourselves comfortable and wait uncertainly for a door to open.
We submit ourselves to this doubled authority. On the one side it is the authority of the person, who is letting us wait, and on the other it is the existing spatial condition. Our balanced attention wanders to each of the works. They communicate in a pleasant way with each other and with us. The shapes and colors interact and turn into a balanced mix, very appealing to the eye. The mind is freed by this pure aesthetic experience which lasts for some time and is likely to continue because it makes us feel good and because we are sitting.
At the end of the staircase, the door opens. A person descends, is greeting us and takes a canvas from the wall, rotates it, hangs it back on the wall, then leaves. We stay behind puzzled. Right, we are in a gallery. But why was the canvas being turned up side down? Shall we stay seated now or shall we leave?