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No set of rules, no field of experimentation, no stated theme, and no possibility of naming the works or ascribing a status to them; not even an authorized account is allowed. Their explorations began in 1995 and were not originally intended to go out into the world. The question of showing them arose later. Marie Cool activates the works, but somebody else could fill the bill; the same goes for the video recording of her actions. The aim being to avoid any suggestion of systematization and to keep the perceiving subject's attention on the move.
These actions lead us to test out the concept of ownership. In other words they reveal to us the futility of trying to possess and achieve visual ascendancy over them. Mutual man/object enslavement dissects the identity of each, in accordance with a principle of reciprocity inherent in the concept of possession. The components used are all determined by normed industrial standards and the behaviors these call for. The hierarchy between the inanimate (A4 sheets of paper, adhesive tape, thread, light) and the animate—the human being—disappears, as does that between space and the action performed in it. Although we can recognize the object—it has not been tampered with or modified—it also reveals its constituent parts to us: its "enduring identity".
The insertion of the poetic element—the repetition of a gesture and the striking slowness of its execution—is a break with the production norms of any kind of object. The cycle including the moment of reception of the object—in this case the work—is alienated. Laid bare, these relational reflexes give way to an experience of the present. The viewer is testing out the present while in full-time contact with reality. A present that is no longer a representation, but exists through a form of analogy. The acts themselves exist only at the moment of their performance. They are embedded in the immediate. Each of them is a pointer to a contained violence in the context of our time. Negation of the outcome expresses a profound resistance to taking things further.
The actions are as they are displayed, and as we are ready to believe them. So when the viewer or critic seeks insistently, each time, to make them his own, "[it is] no more than if he were not."

Text: Mathilde de Croix

1 Arnaud Macé (ed.), "Introduction", in La Matière (Paris: Flammarion, 1998), 15.
2 See Marguerite Porete, The Mirror of Simple Souls, trans. Ellen Babinsky (Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1997), 173: "The truth of belief is in being what one believes … He who believes is he who is what he believes."
3 Ibid.

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