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The village starts in the city

Alo Paistik (1-2/2010)

Paul Bernard and Alo Paistik interview Eric Troncy, the director of the Dijon Contemporary Art Centre
In 1997 you wrote the article “There is still no art in France”. What is the situation today?
Firstly, it is important to emphasize that things have changed vastly during the last thirteen years, not only in France but chiefly on the international scene. The influential example, which everyone turned to at the time, was the Young British Artists. Concurrently, there was nothing in France. But looking at it more closely we see that YBA was not in essence a real collective, because in order to belong to it you merely had to be a young English person. The manners of self-expression vary vastly inside the collective – take, for example, Angela Bulloch and Tracey Emin.
By now things have changed significantly, because we are witnessing the formation of a transnational collective. You cannot really put a name to this collective, but we see who might belong to it: Angela Bulloch, Liam Gillick, Pierre Huyghe, Philippe Parreno, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Rirkrit Tiravanija etc. Has the formation of that collective changed the general situation? I don’t think so. In the end the individuals remain. Some have evolved very well, but they cannot be identified with any trend. Others, however, have become truly bad. Perhaps the formation of a collective no longer plays an important role in France, because in reality it no longer has any relevance in the artworld. The last attempt to form a collective was the one with the painters of Leipzig. We saw the outcome: nothing remains of it.
To me it no longer seems a decisive issue, as it was in 1997. At that time, the institutions and the press were plagued by a lack of information. In 1997, a magazine of such scope as ArtPress had no knowledge of Philippe Parreno. People had to wait until 2009 in order to see him on the cover of the magazine – in connection with his exhibition at the Pompidou.
Eric Troncy. Photo: Pierre Even < back

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