Museum d’histoire industrielle (Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines 2001)

At the beginning of the twentieth Century a Society of Industrials was a place for the organisation of the production and the control of the working class, but it was also a kind of club for wealthy and enlightened individuals who, before their death, would bequeath their mineralogical, botanical, naturalistic or archaeological collections.
In an installation at the Société Industrielle of Sainte Marie aux Mines, in Alsace, I did set up three parallel disposals, according to a simple principle of displacement. Having had free access to the whole building, which, following the industrial crisis and the obsolete role of the Société, was undergoing partial demolition and reconstruction, I found under the roof and in cellars a large quantity of left over material: herbaria, archive files, fabric patterns and samples, fragments of statues, old portraits.
I displaced these various objects from one space to the other. I gathered portraits of the old Society presidents in the former meeting room – each one on his own chair. In a second meeting room, which is currently being used, I composed a circle of stuffed animals (somehow recalling a La Fontaine’s story). On the ground floor, in a space which is being demolished I reconstructed a modern meeting room furnished with iron and plastic tables and chairs – clean and ready to use.
In this way I experimented with different approaches to the question of creative displacement: I tried variations of it that would not be just simulative or utilitarian – as in the two previous examples of the vagabond’s shelter and the statues in storage- but, rather, estranging.

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