“Un autre monde/Dans notre monde” at the Frac PACA
#MARSEILLE Another world/In our world questions our relationship to reality in all directions through many sectors of creation and knowledge, at the frontiers of science, tradition, fantasy, science fiction and reality. It is based on the notion of “fantastic realism”, a movement born in the 1960s from the book Le Matin des magiciens by Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier, and which was extended in the magazine Planète, created in the wake of the two authors of this successful bookstore.
The Morning of the Magicians and Planet, the literary cornerstones of “fantastic realism”
Fantastic realism” consists in finding the fantastic at the very heart of reality. “Modern science teaches us that there is behind the simple visible of the complicated invisible” wrote Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier in Le Matin des magiciens. A certain look at reality, a kind of ultra consciousness close to Buddhism, bringing the prosaic closer to the fantastic. This movement constituted a strong counter-culture in the 1960s. This book is presented as an introduction to fantastic realism as indicated by the full title: Le Matin des magiciens, introduction to fantastic realism (1960).
It is a narrative, sometimes legendary and sometimes accurate, devoted to areas of knowledge that have barely been explored, at the frontiers of science and tradition. Its content covers topics as diverse as alchemy, secret societies, vanished civilizations, unusual recurrences, religions and occult sciences or esotericism. It is based on ancient testimonies, research and books by well-known or unknown authors, articles in specialized journals and science fiction or fantasy literature. This book, a true editorial phenomenon, with a circulation of one million copies sold, has brought fantastic realism back to life and inspired the magazine Planète.
The central theme of this book is based on the idea that a wealth of scientific and technological knowledge, some of it from extraterrestrial civilizations, has been kept secret during the great periods of history, and that man is destined to become a superhuman. For the authors, the fantastic is not “the appearance of the impossible” but “a manifestation of natural laws” when they are not “filtered by the veil of intellectual sleep, by habits, prejudices, conformism”.
The magazine Planète, published every two months in France between 1961 and 1971, covered fields as different as the history of science and science fiction (writers such as Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke and Ray Bradbury were published there.), fantasy (Lovecraft and Jorge Luis Borges), futurology, the arts, sociology, ethnology, ethology… The esoteric and unusual articles and essays of writers were aimed more at brainstorming than at encroaching on the beds of classical popular scientific journals. By combining creativity in form and layout, this object was a true precursor to today’s mooks.
Exciting and iconoclastic theories, pioneers in the mixing of genres and which have notably produced TV series such as Beyond Reality, the Fourth Dimension, or more recently X Files. These theories are sometimes questionable and resonate particularly today since these notions are the breeding ground for the most whimsical conspiracy theories. But they are also reflected in current scientific discoveries. For example, with the recent discovery of a way of communicating between trees and the plant world or the sounds emitted by the northern lights, two discoveries that have long been mentioned by animist civilizations with shamanic practices. All this remains in any case a fabulous material allowing all kinds of creativity. Whether in movies, novels, and all the arts.
An interdisciplinary, transversal and resolutely contemporary exhibition
The course is designed as an experience, no imposed traffic, each plateau of the Frac is an open space like the floors of a spaceship.
A video by Laurent Grasso gives the A of the adventure that is being prepared. A fog invades a street in Paris, a hostile fog heralds a threat to come. Ecological, earth anger, extraterrestrial invasion… reminds us of the film La Brume with Romain Duris. Then we enter a space that evokes the origins of fantastic realism, with a slide show presenting the different covers of the magazine Planète, a letter from Cocteau softening this movement, drawings by Jean Gourmelin, sails on which are printed photographs of Norbet Kisseland from the early 20th century, portraits with strange and fantastic accents between reality and fiction. But also more recent pieces such as a beautiful series of masks totally inspired by the covers of Planet whose eyes are mirrors inviting the visitor to enter into conversation with his own ancestors.
More than 50 artists participate in this tribute to fantastic realism with works that play on the supernatural, science, parallel spaces, such as this series of drawings created from photos of fires whose landscape has disappeared, leaving only a cloud of smoke with supernatural forms. Everything plays on black and white tones in this first set with the exception of the central work, a video in very 80’s colours.
Here everything is surprising, legendary references such as Abraham Poincheval’s knight’s armour, a souvenir of a performance in the land of King Arthur, are mixed together. The seaweed and shellfish that cover it are reminiscent of Damien Hirst’s giant presented at Palazzo Grassi, another legendary figure. Scientific references: In an installation by Véronique Béland, a software program generates random texts by interpreting magnetic waves captured in space, creating interstellar and cosmic poems with the help of a printer. Through an installation that uses sound, a stroboscope and a water jet, Alexis Choplain manages to make the sound wave visible. Immersive and vibrant, it seems to suspend time. References on the information and manipulation of Jackson who projects a stream of news images onto a mist and it becomes a catastrophic hologram.
On the second set, works talk about the manipulation of totalitarian languages or advertisers considered as a soft totalitarianism. There are many questions and the works in question question question the nuclear risk or ecology, the invisible world of the waves, an uchrony with a pharaoh, geology, a perpetual vortex, space, dark matter, the seabed in short a mixture of works and knowledge questioned that happily surfs with the strange and reveals a hidden face of our world or a magical part of ourselves.
On the last set, called experimental, one by Julien Crépieux: a visual installation composed of several slideshows projected on turned off television screens. The images extracted from the films show actors blinded by powerful light. We are faced with several temporalities: that of the narrative, that of the reality of the shooting and that of the device. Indeed, the characters seem dazzled by their own image. This work juxtaposes two works by Bertrand Lamarche, one of which projects us into the cosmos by a very simple process while the other, a video of a vinyl covered with wax on a phonograph, becomes an animation of characters trying to escape from the point of reading under the camera’s close-up.
Another world/In our world transcends reality to reveal it to us with a touch of fantasy, supernatural and a lot of poetry.
With works by Véronique Béland, Yoan Beliard, Abdelkader Benchamma, Valère Bernard, Rémi Bragard, Markus Brunetti, Alexis Choplain, Arnauld Colcomb & Bertrand Planes, Julien Crépieux, Julien Creuzet Fred Deux, Hoël Duret, Eric Duyckaerts, Jean-Louis Faure, Nicolas Floc’h, Aurélien Froment, General Idea, Norbert Ghisoland, Jean Gourmelin, Laurent Grasso, Giulia Grossmann, Martin Gusinde, Jackson, Louis Jammes, Magdalena Jetelová, Emmanuelle K, Bertrand Lamarche, Augustin Lesage, Corey McCorkle, Pierre Mercier, Laurent Montaron, Jean-Louis Montigone, Adrian Paci, Abraham Poincheval & Matthieu Verdeil, Bettina Samson, Robert Schlicht & Romana Schmalisch, Jim Shaw, Dennis Stock, Anaïs Tondeur, Agnès Troublé dite agnès b., Marie Voignier.
And editions of William Copley (SMS Portfolio: Nicolas Calas, Bruce Conner, Marcel Duchamp, Marcia Herscovitz, Alain Jacquet, Lee Lozano, Meret Oppenheim, Bernard A. Pfriem, Johnson Ray,George Reavey, Clovis Trouille), Yona Friedman, Rodney Graham, Jean-Michel Othoniel.
A collective exhibition co-produced by the Endowment Fund agnès b. and the Frac Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, in partnership with the Frac Grand Large-Hauts-de-France
Another world/In our world
Exhibition curator: Jean-François Sanz
Exposition from March 23 to June 2, 2019
FRAC Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur
20, bd de Dunkerque
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