90 artist are exhibiting at CREDAC
Exhibition's curator:Claire Le Restif
In mathematics, a multiple is a number that may be divided by another with no remainder; in art, a multiple is a work that exists in several copies, playing on their identical character. Once it has been multiplied, the work sheds its status of original but gains in turn that of an “accessible” object.
Indeed, the aura of the work of art that Walter Benjamin analyzes is tied up with the work’s uniqueness. Its utilitarian value, however, can expand with its reproducibility. By growing in number, the work approaches mass culture, slipping into the day-to-day world and the life of the city. Thus, the reproduced work of art attains another status, a “practice” that Benjamin calls political (1).
It is in this spirit then that Carillon de Big Ben (Big Ben Carillon) is being organized. In keeping with a program of art events that is connected with its context, the artists who have taken part in Ivry’s Contemporary Art Center project since 2003 are now being invited to exhibit multiples of their own.
With Carillon de Big Ben we might speak of an unexhibition the way Lewis Carroll speaks of an unbirthday in his Through the Looking-Glass. As Benjamin once again puts it, “In works of art, that which is borne along… with the decline of the aura is a formidable gain for the space of play,” (2) as if the rarity of the object imposed its own rules and new freedom sprang from multiplicity. The multiple work of art has the potential to be financially accessible to many.
This is the reason why in the show we are emphasizing works that are available from the invaluable distributors that are the galleries and art centers in France and abroad.
(1) See Walter Benjamin, Works, “The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technical Reproducibility” (the final version dating from 1939).
(2) Walter Benjamin, Écrits français, ed. Jean-Maurice Monnoyer (Paris: Gallimard, 1991), 188-189.