“For I consider it vitally important that in the end an entire life with all its aspirations can be viewed in its entirety, that nothing gets lost, not even what was wrong or dull.”
— Kurt Schwitters, 1927
Galerie Chantal Crousel in Paris presents ReCycle – a reflection on the power of object recycling, bringing together a selection of works by seventeen compelling artists, created between 1942 and 2017.
Marcel Broodthaers, Tony Cragg, Abraham Cruzvillegas, David Douard, Robert Filliou, Isa Genzken, Wade Guyton, Thomas Hirschhorn, Ray Johnson, Jean-Luc Moulène, Carol Rama, Reena Spaulings, Clément Rodzielski, Kurt Schwitters, Wolfgang Tillmans, Haegue Yang, Heimo Zobernig
The exhibition traces the history of assemblage and the potential of recycling from Kurt Schwitters’ pioneering work, to the artists who have been articulating this practice through the 80s and until today. It does not only involve the idea of bringing new sense to everyday life material, but also investigates the relationship these artists express with the adopted objects.
Connecting the mixed media collages by Kurt Schwitters, Carol Rama and Ray Johnson from mid 20th century, with more contemporary works by Thomas Hirschhorn, Clément Rodzielski and David Douard, the exhibition explores the organizational hierarchy of recuperated material. These works also borrow common expressions and imagery found in magazines and medias, and seek unexpected dialogues in rigorously structured compositions.
In the same way as Marcel Broodthaers, Tony Cragg and Robert Filliou experiment and play with the physical characteristics of the materials used with humor and wit, Isa Genzken, Abraham Cruzvillegas, Jean-Luc Moulène, Haegue Yang and Heimo Zobernig –inspired by the search of the original purpose of the existing objects, assemblages and installations– reveal a distorted nature of the employed materials. In their own manner, these artists inquire the notion of a recycled object, its social, economic and political value, in order to offer new systems of vision and communication.
Finally, the exhibition builds around that which is echoed of the material’s physical aspects in its used, damaged, and transformed state. These alterations are carried out in the exhibited works by Wade Guyton, Wolfgang Tillmans and Reena Spaulings. The discarded is displayed as refined, creating a conversation beyond borders and a new definition of beauty.
Altogether, this way of creating art resonates with the ongoing problematic of our present world as environmental changes occur. The visionary idea of an artwork as integrity of things and expressions which Schwitters’ and all the other artists of this exhibition share, brings a positive and constructive gaze on a certain beauty and what universal language can offer us.
Introduction, Kurt Schwitters Catalogue Raisonné, Band 2 1923-1936, Edition Hatje Cantz, Sprengel Museum Hannover, p.19.