March 2008: Section 7 Books

Section 7 Books, 2008, Kadist Art Foundation, Paris

Société Anonyme

Kadist Art Foundation
Castillo/Coralles Gallery
through March 16, 2008

Société Anonyme is a collaborative project/exhibition in the form of bookstore and public events, on view through March 16, 2008 at the Kadist Art Foundation, an independent art space and residency in Montmartre. Société Anonyme was originally conceived for Frac Île-de-France/ Le Plateau, a Paris-based, French cultural institution, in the spring of 2007, by curators, Thomas Boutoux, Natasa Petresin and François Piron. The objectives of this first installation were to invite artists and collaborative groups to Le Plateau for a two-month residency/workshop/exhibition that would essentially show the process of working, researching and developing an artistic project. All of the invited artists had a working method that appealed to the curators and which they felt conveyed unique and alternative perspectives to the French cultural scene. Participants included What, How and For Whom, (Zagreb), b_books (Berlin), 16 Beaver Street, (NYC), and tv-tv (Denmark). These artists proposed ideas to be developed in Paris during this two-month time frame and then worked on independently afterwards. Results took the form of books, magazines, films, lectures and performances. The curators helped facilitate these projects both financially by providing materials and housing, and by set up connections to people and locations around Paris for the length of the artists' stay.

From the beginning Société Anonyme was envisioned as a two-part project. The first engagement at Le Plateau would be the “pre-production,” and the second part would be the “post production,” whereby the results of the residency/workshop would be presented. Some of these projects continued in the second phase, others disappeared, and others still grew so large as to take on a life of their own apart from the original concept.

Section 7 Books, 2008, Kadist Art Foundation, Paris

The second installment, organized by Thomas Boutoux and François Piron, along with artist Oscar Tuazon and art critic, Benjamin Thorzel, began first at Castillio/Corrales, a small gallery operated by some of the organizers, in December 2007, and then moved to Kadist Art Foundation, which could provide a larger space and longer time frame. By creating this second engagement, the curators hoped to further develop the possibilities and opportunities for the artists and participants (AKA viewers).

Acknowledging the fact that the original artists were invited not out of any curatorial similarity, but out of respect for their individual approach to art and art making, the curators realized that a traditional, group exhibition would not make sense. Therefore, taking inspiration from one of the projects begun at Le Plateau by b_books, and from a concept previously realized at Castillo/Corrales, the idea to construct a bookstore as “exhibition,” was developed; however, because it is participatory, (people not only can touch the installation they are encouraged to do so, and can buy from it as well), the typical agenda of an exhibition has been altered. Titled Section 7 Books, the bookstore has an appealing window display that draws you in off the street. Shelves have been placed on the walls, a small office area has been created with cash register, computer and assistant (typically one of the curators), who are pleased to answer any questions. All sales support the ongoing events connected to Société Anonyme and Castillo/Corrales. In order to maintain momentum and interest, new books and publications are added and replaced during the course of the show, bringing attention to some interesting, independent projects happening across the globe. Included among them are Dexter Sinister (NYC), Chto Delat/What is to be done? (St. Petersburg, Russia), and Vitamin Creative Space (Guangzhou & Beijing).

Section 7 Books, 2008, Kadist Art Foundation, Paris

In addition to Section 7 Books, Société Anonyme hosted an ongoing series of public programs including: lectures, screenings, dinners with a special guest or selected subject, and discussions that revolved around the core issues of this exhibition, such as hospitality: new institutionalism, self-organization, and methods of circulating and sharing ideas and information.

Société Anonyme was the name of the group founded in New York in the 1920s by Marcel Duchamp and Katherine Dreier. The group’s objectives were to host exhibitions, events and lectures to help spread the word and works of Modernism to the American public. Through this unique two-part project the organizers of the current Société Anonyme, have done justice to their predecessors. Rather than remaining exclusive in its unique presentation of materials, Société Anonyme seeks to expand opportunities for greater knowledge and open up ideas for discussion. According to Thomas Boutoux, this name was an obvious decision. Their goals were to bring in new outlets and other options of art production to the Paris scene, just as Duchamp and Dreier sought to do in the United States. Fortunately for Parisians, after the closing at Kadist Art Foundation, Section 7 Books will live on in a scaled-down version at Castillo/Corrales Gallery.

Blaire Dessent

Blaire Dessent was born in La Jolla, California and settled in Paris in 2008 after ten years in New York City where she worked in contemporary art. She was formerly the Director for the Art Omi International Artists’ Residency, a non-profit arts organization based in Columbia County, New York. Her current project is The Vitrine,, a creative platform for talented makers and thoughtfully designed objects. She holds a Masters in Art History from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.

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