Micheline Szwajcer

Liam Gillick

21 Mar - 18 Apr 2015

Exhibition view
21 March - 18 April 2015

“Let us proceed slowly in order to fully grasp the originality of Tarde’s position. The notion of value extends first of all to all assessments of belief and desire.” Bruno Latour and Vincent Antonin Lépinay, “The Science of Passionate Interests: An introduction to Gabriel Tarde’s Economic Anthropology.” 2009, Chicago, Prickly Paradigm Press.

In 2004 Liam Gillick presented his first exhibition at Galerie Micheline Szwajcer in Antwerp. At the center of the exhibition was an updated version of the English translations of Gabriel Tarde’s utopistic fiction “Underground Man” (1905) [“Fragment d’histoire future”, 1896].

Ten years later and 100 years after the publication of the original “Underground Man” Gillick returns to Tarde.

Crudely put - at the heart of Tarde’s work was the idea that economic - and therefore political - analysis should always include a psychological component - that there is a difference between exchanging a book and a nail and that discussion is at the heart of such processes. Economics and politics are therefore emotional and engaged - not scientific and separate.

This exhibition presents new wall based works and one video. The new structures combine powder-coated aluminium structures with graphic elements. In the first room - these graphic elements anthropomorphize the works with eyes and ears. In the second room a further series of wall based works combine structures with secondary anthropomorphic elements such as moustaches and glasses. The video work “Heckle” (2014) was shot in Greece in 2014. The focus of the film is an old concrete jetty near to a beach. The camera examines this slumped structure as the water laps at its edges. The soundtrack comprises three different forms of heckling. The first is the sound of a Wall Street Banker heckling a group of protesters - reverse heckling. The second is a “plant” in the audience of a stand-up comedian - fake heckling. The third is the sound of a group of young musicians grinding to a halt under the pressure of an enthusiastic heckler - positive heckling.

Each work was developed while reconsidering the ideas in Latour and Lépinay’s short book. Remembering Tarde and his specific view of the world:

“It is useless to dream of a development of economics such that politics would no longer be necessary; it is useless to dream of a development of politics such that economics would no longer need to play out. There are only different ways of organizing and dividing up passionate interests. In the intertwining of desires and beliefs, everything has to be the object of an artificial organization. We cannot leave it in anyone’s hands.” (Latour and Lépinay)

Tags: Liam Gillick