“Describing his works as “filled with silence”, Dominique Petitgand seems most interested in the interstitial spaces between quiet and noise, the raw voice and the articulation of words–he focuses on the art of listening rather than simply the production of sound…
The narrative, like the melodies elsewhere in Petitgand’s works, is unresolved but rich with allusions to shared expressions, emotions, and actions. The words spoken in his works are never scripted–rather, they come from recorded interviews and conversations with friends and family. The artist’s works are dated to the year of the earliest recording and that of the moment he installs the gathered sounds in a particular place. But although Petitgand records all of the sounds himself–none are “found”– the origin of the sounds is less important than the memories and associations that these fragments can awaken.” Lillian Davies
“Life has its patterns and procedures, and so too does Conceptual art – Roman Ondak makes the two connect. His simple but carefully thought-out and symbolically charged acts and interventions are designed to scrutinize some of the institutions and practices that shape our daily life. It is the conceptual rigour with which Ondak approaches these practices that gives his works their imaginative power, enabling them to pinpoint hairline cracks in the surface of normality and to highlight their underlying instabilities. The minute displacements and subtle twists that he introduces into the nooks and crannies of quotidian life can be electrifying in their implications, demanding and at the same time defying interpretation.” Jan Verwoert. In this work, Ondak takes a generic dialogue used for basic language learning and adapts it each time to represent an interview with himself and the person who is presenting the work, in this case Jérôme Pantalacci, director of art-o-rama Marseille. The simple gesture creates a timeless, and endless exchange in which both speakers use a same language, metaphorically meeting at a same level of understanding to establish a new dialogue.
Text excerpted from an English language textbook for beginners
(Vinyl letters applied to the wall for a public collection)
Produced as a print on paper, Pigmentary print on Arches paper 120 x 100 cm, framed
Edition of 25 + 10 A.P.
Courtesy the artist and gb agency
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Jérôme: Hello, my name is Jérôme. What’s your name?
Roman: My name is Roman.
Jérôme: Can you spell that please?
Jérôme: How are you?
Roman: I’m fine, thanks.
Jérôme: Where do you live?
Roman: I live in a small city. And where do you live?
Jérôme: I live in Marseille. I work in an office.
Roman: I work in a hotel, but I do not live in the hotel. I live with my family. My home is near the hotel, so I walk to work every day.
Jérôme: We also walk to work every morning. We don’t work on Saturday afternoon or on Sunday. We have a three-week holiday in the summer.
Roman: When I walk to work I pass a small shop at the end of our road. I buy my newspaper there every day. This is the only shop that is open on Sunday, so it is always very busy. They sell milk, eggs, biscuits, tea and coffee. You can get aspirins, toothpaste or a writing pad there. It is a nice little shop.
Jérôme: I live in a small flat near the railway station. I have a sitting room, a bedroom, a bathroom and a kitchen. The building is old and dirty, but my flat is clean and the sitting room is very comfortable. I have a lot of books and records and a colour television. From my bed I can hear the trains coming into the station.
Roman: I have a cheap plastic camera. On a sunny day I can take good pictures with it. But I can’t take good pictures in bad weather and I can’t take pictures of moving objects, like a horse or racing car. The pictures I take indoors with a flash aren’t very clear.
Jérôme: My television is near the window. There are a lot of books on the shelves above the television, and there’s a chair between the television and the table. The table is against the wall, under the window. I cook my food in the kitchen and carry it from the kitchen to the sitting room. I eat my dinner at the table.
Roman: This evening I am going to the cinema. I sometimes go with my wife, but this evening I am going alone. My wife is nice, but she talks a lot and when I go to the cinema I like to watch the film. The film I am going to see is an old one, but it is very good. It is a Hitchcock film.
Jérôme: I think there is too much violence on television and in our society. There are too many war films on television, there is too much crime and too many murders. There was violence in the old cowboy films of course, but in the old cowboy films there was no confusion between good and bad. The hero was very good and the villain was very bad. Now there is confusion. The hero is often a criminal. I think the effect on children is very bad.
Roman: Everything changes. Once, a lot of people went to the cinema to see silent films. Then when talking pictures started nobody wanted to see silent films any more. But people still went to the cinema and everybody knew the names of all the great film stars. Now we have television. People sit at home night after night watching their favourite programme. But what is going to happen to the cinema?
Jérôme: Well, in our office we have a grey telephone and at home I have a black one. They both work very well and they are very useful. But last week I passed a shop and noticed that the window was full of telephones. There were green telephones, blue telephones, red telephones, big telephones, small telephones and one elegant gold telephone. ‘Why?’ I thought. ‘What are they all for? Are there people who have different kinds of telephone in every room?’
Roman: People often ask me for my telephone number. But I have not got a telephone, so I tell them to ring me at work. Why do I not have a telephone? I think the telephone is expensive and I prefer to write letters. There are not many people I want to speak to in the evening and I do not want to speak to anybody at breakfast time. When I want to use the telephone in the evening, I can always use the box at the end of the road.
(The conversation between Roman Ondák, and Jérôme Pantalacci was coincidentally recorded when they met for the first time at an English course for beginners)