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dAvID CRUNelle



A whole new collage series including : FOLK 1 • Lockdown • End Lockdown Fallout / Agartha • FOLK 2 • FOLK 3 Untitled • Selfie Styx • FOLK 4 • Untitled

Essays by : Morgan Daniels • Todd Tobias • Joseph Fazio Arnaud Laurent • Anthony Procaccino • David Salomonowicz Albin Wantier • Christophe Mincke • Ilyas Ahmed limited edition of 500 copies

Small Formats • FOLK 5 • How I Quit Being

Materially Happy • Time Machine • and a few more...

Crack the

outer shell & the future leaks out (a collage)

painted by children. Only later did it occur to me that this was a dissimulation, that the paintings were painted by adults to look as if they were painted by children – that this was a style, a technique, such as ‘naive painting.’1

dialectical conceit describing nothing less than that on which the stateliness of the state is predicated. I guess my own worries are (in the present case, at least) similar to those of Trotsky,

… [I]f you don’t know the peasant system of sowing, and the life that is based on it, if you don’t know the part the scythe plays … you will have only understood the outer shell of folk art, but the kernel will not have been reached.’2 These are not dissimilar power-plays. Those Venezuelan walls and formalist literary criticism alike take style as a plaything, ripe for appropriation or else ‘explaining’, which amounts to much the same. How might FOLK hope to lay claim to the folk tradition any differently? Is this exhibition just a power trip, too?

by Morgan Daniels History decays into images, not into stories.


Walter Benjamin

Who does David Crunelle think he is? That’s what I want to ask. Where does he get off calling his current exhibition FOLK? Is he, by extension, calling himself a folk artist, heir to Grandma Moses or Bill Traylor? Worse yet, it seems to me that it’s the style of (particularly American) ‘naïve’, ‘untrained’ art that is being mined here, not its (base) subject-matter, the overall effect being something akin to that produced by the pictures depicting Venezuela’s War of Independence adorning walls in the country’s towns and cities back in the ’90s, as witnessed by the anthropologist Michael Taussig: Bright red-coated soldiers and horses and machetes scattered across verdant plains, plus crude portraits in ornate frames, plus slabs of pulsing colors like jet streams skipping over bus stops and around corners … Without thinking, I assumed these childish murals ... were in fact

September -MMXVI-

For real: Who does David Crunelle think he is?


And what does it even mean to speak of a ‘folk’ aesthetic, anyway? If you’re putting your chips on proletarian revolution then this becomes a pretty urgent question, perhaps even a way of divining revolutionary consciousness – witness, for example, Fredric Jameson’s brief for a ‘reconstruction of so-called popular cultures’,

We’re in pre-ripped jeans territory now. Affected poverty, if you will. What Taussig cites above is as an example of what he calls the adult’s imagination of the child’s imagination, a

who in 1923 bemoaned approaches to folk art which were too academic. ‘The methods of formal analysis are necessary’, he writes, ‘but insufficient.

most notably, from the fragments of essentially peasant cultures: folk songs, fairy tales, popular festivals, occult or oppositional systems of belief such as magic and witchcraft. Such reconstruction is of a piece with the reaffirmation of the existence of marginalized or oppositional cultures in our own time, and the reaudition of the

oppositional voices of black or ethnic cultures, the word ‘fragments’: when you trawl through the women’s and gay literature, ‘naïve’ or past it’s the scraps you’re left with. The dominant form of historical representation, though, is a sort of marginalized folk art, and the like.3 contortionist’s act: collage which pretends not to be There are, I think, two main points here, the first collage. being that folk is surely at once both a style and not a style. On the one hand, plenty of art at This is why I am so drawn to Time Machine (p.3), odds to ‘official’ culture is – how shall we say one of the first works David created for this FOLK – weird for a reason, or several reasons, chief series of his. It’s a collage which makes you think of which, obviously, has to do with a lack of about collage, and about folk art, and about history formal (‘official’) training. Yet all the same, such and strategies for the derailing thereof. I mean, weirdness can become like a badge of honour, an have you ever seen anything like it? How many aesthetic in itself, and a per se critique of market- commodities do we count? Two, three thousand? organised society and its dominant art. Punk It might as well be a million. Maybe it is. Maybe music ought to be reminder enough that style is David has a crack team of ‘assistants’, working on neither a trifling matter nor separable from what zero-hour contracts and dedicated to cutting cameras is sometimes called substance. We do well in not and keyboards and laptops and all those other ten-aseeking to tease the two apart. Punk, of course, penny things out of magazines. Look at it too long has long since been subsumed into the aesthetic and you get woozy, such as would happen if we ever really stopped to think about the circulation of repertoire of very late capitalism.4 Point two is that implied in such ‘subsuming’ – we’re all Johnny Rotten now! – is a mainstream historical narrative into which one can be subsumed. John Berger put it like this:


Key here is that historical writing, as popularly practised, so regularly reproduces the mystified version of history Berger describes in its mode of presentation. Big, dense, authoritative, multi-volume tomes, no authorial voice to speak of, and imperialist to a tee, quite regardless of intent or content. Yet it seems none too glib to say that history is a matter of collage. You stick that bit here, you cut that bit out, you swap those things around … A science? Hardly. For sure all writing is like this, but history, which has ‘material’, primary and secondary, as its motor, is especially montage-like. Note, indeed, Jameson’s use of 2

Is this folk art? I keep asking myself this question, and I think the answer is Yes. As Lorraine Morales Cox has observed, appropriation art might possibly be taken as a mainstay of the oppressed or marginalised: What a viewer or critic may see as revolutionary or radical in the development or employment of collage may in fact reveal, articulate, or meaningfully affirm the thoughts and experiences of more diverse viewers. Such viewing subjects may also relate the collage aesthetic not to some modern avant-garde practice but to practitioners of popular folk traditions or self-taught sensibilities[.]9 Hence Burroughs, his sexuality and wild writing absolutely mapped one-on-one (drugs helped). Hence our earlier concerns with the politics of style. The folk tradition offers up alternative (ways of doing) history: collage which has no qualms about being collage.


When we ‘see’a landscape, we situate ourselves in it. If we ‘saw’ the art of the past, we would situate ourselves in history. When we are prevented from seeing it, we are being deprived of history which belongs to us. Who benefits from this deprivation? In the end, the art of the past is being mystified because a privileged minority is striving to invent a history which can retrospectively justify the role of the ruling classes, and such a justification can no longer make sense in modern terms. And so, inevitably, it mystifies.5 This mystification works in strange ways. Take the ‘canon’, which is an imperialist concept: here truly radical art, long since stripped of radical meaning, readily co-exists with exalted bourgeois works: the exceptional and far-out become a part of what Berger calls the ‘culture of the ruling class’. Oil painting was Berger’s concern, but the experience of school, in which Shakespeare, for instance, is ripped clean out of time and rendered so sad and staid, lays bare the widespread mystification, meaning denial of history, that the canon breeds and requires. Shakespeare! Marx’s favourite writer! That great re-teller of popular myths! He who mined ‘the world of dream, fairy-tale, and the collective unconscious’!6 As Alexander Anikst suggested in a Marxist analysis, Shakespeare belongs not to any one class, and was certainly no feudal propagandist, but ‘is to be taken as a representative of folk art, popular theatre, popular drama.’7

waves of commodity culture – he appropriates bite-sized images of this culture so as to reveal it as appropriative in and of itself.

I have as yet failed to consider something which really ought to be considered, namely that, a few months ago, David was close to being blown up by ISIS. No kidding. Don’t you watch CNN? Tuesday, 22 March 2016, 07:59am. Brussels Airport. Checkin. Twenty metres to the right of our creator of beautiful collages, a bomb goes off. A second explosion follows, three seconds later, this time to David’s left, and a second after that he’s opened the camera app on his phone. He manages to get twenty-seven seconds of video footage from within the terminal building, which is quite the commodity in these days of rolling news. The art of being in the wrong place at the right time, David called it, in the very-widely circulated account of his harassment by news agencies the world over after the attacks.10

commodities, a process none of us understands all that much but go along with all the same. David gets this. ‘All the stuff in there is fancy, pricey, trending’ he writes to me. In six months or so – indeed, at the time of writing, most likely – ‘all that stuff will be oldish, outdated. In a couple of years this stuff will be so outdated that they will look ridiculous.’ Yet in two or three decades, ‘it will turn into sweet memorabilia, vintage, cool again, nostalgic, whatever.’ Whatever. The artist’s playing it down, but I think there’s something pretty important going on here. I cannot help but hear William Burroughs whispering seductively in my ear: When you cut into the present the future leaks out.8 Old Bill was talking about the startlingly prescient new combinations of words that seemed to arise in his experiments chopping up texts, not least his own. When the future leaks out of David’s cut-ups, meanwhile, it’s a result of almost playing the market against itself. What I mean is that, fresh out of ideas, fashion, which is to say capital, looks to the past for ‘inspiration’, refiguring trends of old for the here and now, and in capturing this here and now, in laying on a heavy swirl of things snipped from the glossies, all barging each other out the way so as to get attention, David rides the contradictory

In a way it seems crass or tasteless to ponder how David’s run-in with suicide bombers might have informed his work that followed, or, crasser and more tasteless yet, whether the FOLK collages that preceded the attacks ‘describe’ imminent crisis. But I’ve got to ask. Collage and the War on Terror. Is there a connection? For the Italian novelist Alberto Moravia, there was an explicit relationship between avant-garde art and terrorism, the shocking effects of both, so the argument goes, being informed by a bourgeois conception of history as linear, of progress as the passing of time, and vice versa, and a concurrent insistence upon ‘the unstable nature of values’. Put another way: terrorism, the invention of an inchoate, post-1789 bourgeoisie, ‘does not admit that there are such things as stable values’, the sort found in ‘the canon of the beautiful’. Instead, as David’s Time Machine makes clear, fashion rules the roost. Constant flux. New things. Newer-yet things. That’s one of the central contradictions of conservatism, of course: capital thinks next to nothing of tradition, its demands being met in the gobbling up of green space and the gutting or plain old demolition of cultural heritage sites, be that in the clearing of room for unaffordable housing or else as collateral damage in big-


insight’. This is Benjamin insisting upon the montage mode as something truly expressive of life outside that straight line of progress, a method of representation which shall make apparent ‘our task to bring about a real state of emergency’.17 He’s talking about the fostering of revolutionary consciousness, of course, the art of realising that you’re in the wrong place at the right time. If you will.

buck wars. But here’s the thing: for Moravia, the philistinism of terror rests not on the denial of history, but, indeed, ‘on the idea … that there is something called history’! He sarcastically continues: ‘In history, as is well known, nothing endures or remains fixed or stable; everything is in continuous movement, in a continuous state of development. … It is here, in the realm of historical change, that terror comes into play as an instrument of power.’11

appetite of capital. The canon is, it seems to me, a manifestation of the bourgeois historical narrative mode, not a challenge to it. It’s an order-bringing exercise. And just as avant-garde or folk art gets mystified or claimed by the culture of the ruling class, you might even suggest that progress takes in a ‘canon’ of acceptable terrorists now, too, comprising those who dared to make ruptures in history for the sake of advances which now seem so workaday.13

I think what Moravia is saying in this strange essay becomes clearer when he turns his attention to avant-garde art, which, he reckons, is ‘terroristic because it believes in time.’ When one Futurist whippersnapper scoffed that the Mona Lisa was nothing but a piece of trash, for instance, what he actually meant,

David’s Agartha (p.5) carries with it some important lessons in respect to all this. A little over a week after a series of ISIS-coordinated shootings and bombings across Paris on the evening of 13 November 2015, in which 130 people were killed, Brussels went into a security lockdown that lasted some five days, from 21 until 25 November: schools, public transport and shops alike closed, and public congregation was discouraged, allowing authorities to search for a Belgian-born man believed to have assisted in the attacks. David produced two smaller collages, Lockdown (p.1) and End Lockdown (p.22), which made direct reference to this emergencystate, but his first response was to harness the unmistakable FOLK aesthetic in order to burlesque the informational cartoons released by the French government advising civilians on what to do should they find themselves caught up in a terrorist incident.14 As we can see on David’s website, though, something went wrong.15 It just didn’t work. What was going to be called Fallout was painted over, providing a fresh canvas for Agartha, a noisy, obnoxious collage comprising hundreds of buildings jockeying for position, much like those commodities in Time Machine. It’s stunning, but I guess we all want to know how and why Fallout failed. Too close to the bone? Who does David Crunelle think he is? I Too soon? Or, I’m wondering, too obvious? wouldn’t like to speak for him. But I know William Burroughs once more has the answer here, something, for sure. He’s a folk artist. I suspect, an answer which speaks to Moravia’s concerns about terror and art, plus many other Walter Benjamin, Howard Eiland & Kevin McLaughlin (trans.) The Arcades things besides. Following his first experience with Project (Cambridge, MA & London: The Belknap Press of Harvard University the psychedelic drug yagé in 1953, Burroughs had Press, 1999), p.476 [N11,4]. M ichael Taussig, ‘The Adult’s Imagination of the Child’s Imagination’ a dream which would serve him well his whole in Pamela R. Matthews & David McWhirter (eds.), Aesthetic Subjects MN & London: Minnesota University Press, 2003), p.456. writing life – he dreamt of a composite city, part (Minneapolis, Leon Trotsky, ‘The Social Roots and the Social Function of Literature’ (1923) New York, he says, part Mexico City, and part in Leon Trotsky, William Keach (ed.), Rose Strunsky (trans.), Literature and (Chicago, IL: Haymarket Books, 2015), p.151. Lima, a city he had yet to visit. He describes yagé Revolution Fredric Jameson, The Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic as ‘space-time travel’, and as Oliver Harris notes, Act (London & New York: Routledge Classics, 2002), pp.85-6. It’s the dreariness or obviousness of that last sentence that makes me keep it in, this became Burroughs’s definition of writing, because that dreariness or obviousness is in turn shocking – I mean, this is punk 16 too. You stick that bit here, you cut that bit out, we’re dealing with! John Berger, Ways of Seeing (London: British Broadcasting Corporation & you swap those things around … You get the idea. Penguin Books, 1972), p.17. Incidentally, Burroughs wrote to Allen Ginsberg, These are John Wain’s words – see ‘Guides to Shakespeare’, Encounter, Vol.22 1964), p.57. you’re supposed to see a city when taking yagé, (March Quoted in John Elsom (ed.), Is Shakespeare Still Our Contemporary? (London and now I can’t help but wonder whether the city, & New York: Routledge, 1989), p.158. William S. Burroughs, ‘Origin and Theory of the Tape Cut-Ups’ (1976), Break such a source of inspiration for the surrealists, Through in Grey Room (Sub Rosa, 2001). or else something like the city, is the ur-collage, Lorraine Morales Cox, ‘Cultural Sampling and Social Critique: The Collage of Chris Ofili’ in Kembrew McLeod & Rudolf Kuenzli (eds.), Cutting glorious, reckless, born of the requirements of Aesthetic Across Media: Appropriation Art, Interventionist Collage, and Copyright Law our old friend capital. And now I can’t help but (Durham, NC & London: Duke University Press, 2011), p.200., further, whether Agartha, the composite endroit-au-bon.html?spref=tw. For an English translation, see https://medium. city par excellence, was a sort of retreat in crisis com/@emhub/the-art-of-being-in-the-wrong-place-at-the-right-time-behind-thescenes-of-social-media-3ee558630e93#.it4i34vx7 to appropriation art’s ‘core’ – a retreat informed Alberto Moravia, ‘The terrorist aesthetic. Of artists, stockbrokers and other Harper’s Magazine, Vol.274, No.1645, June 1987, pp.37-9. precisely by the loss of David’s own city to armed Jacobins’, Ibid., pp.39-44. soldiers, and all the claustrophobia and boredom In this ‘canon’ you would find, among many others, the suffragettes, sure-fire terrorists, whichever way you look at them; the African National Congress, who and time for self-reflection that implies. were formally removed from the United States’ terrorism ‘watch list’ back in

advises Moravia, is: ‘I am placing the Mona Lisa in time and myself outside of time. That is, I am placing my opinion into the sphere of the absolute. And I am placing the Mona Lisa, a masterpiece which is by all appearances absolute, inside the sphere of time.’ I guess Marcel Duchamp is guilty here, too. The formula seels to be : terrorists and avant-garde artists alike create moments underwritten by a (bourgeois) sense of history as a straight line, just one damn thing after another, if you’ll excuse my language, which allows for the destruction of cherished buildings, people, values, whatever, and the obstinate insistence on all-new ways of being and seeing that stand proud outside of said straight line.12 Where to start? The Time-Terror-Art connections feel so right, but Man! It’s got to be more complicated than this! No doubt the bourgeois conception of history is the undialectical, straight-line one. Let’s go along with that. But surely the canon, the home of absolute values whose necessity Moravia is so insistent upon – surely it’s here that the spoils of the steady march of progress are collated and codified. This is what I mean when I say that the canon is imperialist: like the British Museum, which is a storage space for plunder, it represents claims made not only on the past but on the marginalised, too, claims analogous to those made in the never-ending quest to satisfy the rapacious, boundless 4

Living under lockdown, a state of emergency if ever there was one, David shunned the immediate topic of terrorism – too obvious, I suggested – and instead turned in his composite city. It was collage per se that was needed at that moment in time, not a topical ‘response’ to the latest episode in the War on Terror. Not that representing terror has any real rules. In fact it’s a terrifying task. I realise, now, that this is why I put off mentioning David’s brush with ISIS until the last.6 I’m scared. I’m convinced I’ll put a foot wrong. I probably have done. Taussig described writing about terror as a ‘question of distance … a matter of finding the right distance, holding it arm’s length so it doesn’t turn on you’.19 All very well, you want to say, but what use is this advice when you’re trying to write about collages such as David’s, the like of which you’ve never seen before, which suck you in, which wordlessly express not the specifics of terror but the surrealism of life accepting of imminent and immanent violence? The point is that David was working in something close to this FOLK style before lockdown, before the Brussels attacks. I’m willing to call this the tradition of the oppressed.












12. 13.

In a famous essay written a short time before his death, Walter Benjamin asserted something really radical and scary: the ‘tradition of the oppressed’, he said, teaches us that the state of emergency in which we live is ‘not the exception but the rule’. The kicker is that we should therefore angle for ‘a conception of history that is in keeping with this

2008; and, just about, the comrades of the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland (Note: Sylvia Pankhurst, Nelson Mandela, and James Connolly all read Marx.) 14. 15. 16. Oliver Harris, intro. to William S. Burroughs & Allen Ginsberg, Oliver Harris (ed.), Yage Letters Redux (San Francisco, CA: City Lights Books, 2006), p.xxiv. 17. Walter Benjamin, ‘Theses on the Philosophy of History’ (1940) in Walter Benjamin, Hannah Arendt (ed.), Harry Zorn (trans.), Illuminations (London: Pimlico, 1999), p.248. 18. And why this text was submitted two weeks after the initial deadline. 19. Michael Taussig, The Nervous System (London & New York: Routledge, 1992), p.11.


On Psychedelic Constructivism by Todd Tobias


hen David was building art for his Psychedelic Constructivism series, he sent me photos of his work in progress, stage by stage. Two of the finished pieces would become album covers for music projects of mine. I related to what I saw in the work-in-progress images because for me, making music is building music, layering on sounds until the thing decides to come alive. When this happens, it’s okay to step back and say “voila.” Judging from David’s work, I suspect he does not stop there. He keeps adding more until the thing is not simply alive, but blazing with life in a maelstrom of unearthly highlights. This is true even with human figures without faces. There is a human presence, but the lack of a face allows the figure to serve as a sort of mirror and reflect something unseen going on in or around the beholder. Or maybe we are looking at figures as seen through the trans-human eyes of an alien, or perhaps the spirit of ayahuasca. As we gaze at the image, that alien spirit is gazing back and telling us things – maybe things we prefer not to know. Or maybe things we need to know. To me the images suggest the human being as a source of secret or hidden emanations. 6


Ces humains par Arnaud Laurent


a terre est peuplée d’humains. Des êtres intelligents, dit-on, dotés de membres fonctionnels et d’un libre arbitre fondamental qui leur permet de se mouvoir parmi les leurs, d’interagir et de construire.

L’absurdité du modernisme à son nirvana par David Salomonowicz


absurdité du modernisme à son nirvana, le comble du vide neuronal de nos sociétés, la métaphore parfaite de l’égoïsme et de la self esteem malsaine poussée à son paroxysme : le selfie stick, invention coupable de tant de maux par sa simple existence peut donc également être source de mort. C’est désormais avéré, apparemment expérimenté et du coup averti dans des milliers de gares au Japon. Après les gens qui tombent dans des trous ou ceux qui se font écraser car ils ont les yeux rivés sur leur écran, après la recrudescence des accidents domestiques parce que les parents sont plongés sur leur tablette, voici que ce nouvel objet de mort cérébrale peut par ailleurs lui aussi provoquer l’étincelle mortifère. L’homme 3.0 vit dans un univers interconnecté à l’obsolescence programmée digérée et acceptée. Il ne se rend même plus compte que ces gadgets qui lui prémâchent tout le boulot finissent par le lui voler, provoquer sa perte. La procuration de l’image rejetée en permanence sur les écrans finit par l’aveugler sur les priorités du réel. Snapchater est devenu un verbe d’usage. Notre présence dans la vie de l’autre ne dure plus que quelques secondes avant de s’effacer définitivement. Le souvenir est notre dernier atout. Jusqu’à l’algorithme capable de l’effacer. C’est pour bientôt… 8

Les humains sont des animaux, sur le papier. Papier qu’ils ont inventé, et sur lequel sont imprimés ces mots. Mais des années d’évolutions tant intellectuelles que biologiques les ont écartés de ces vulgaires bêtes qui se content de vivre dans les bois et de s’abbreuver au lac le plus proche. Non, eux, les humains, vivent dans des maisons et s’abreuvent dans des endroits où ils échangent du travail contre ce breuvage tant désiré. Les humains sont intelligents, se pensent intelligent, et vivent dans un monde qu’ils construisent, batissent. Mais ils font des dégâts sur leur chemin, l’évolution est trop importante pour prendre en compte celle des autres. Les humains ont fait de grandes choses. Du haut de leur courte période sur terre, ils ont créé des chefs-d’oeuvre, reconnus par d’autres humains; ils ont accompli des miracles, reconnus par d’autres humains; ils ont construit d’impressionnants monuments, reconnus par d’autres humains; imaginés de nombreux langages, parlés par d’autres humains. Aujourd’hui ils regardent avec intérêt le fruit de leurs efforts passés, et profitent d’une vie bien méritée, ou du moins, ils essayent. Ils regardent beaucoup de choses d’ailleurs, pour passer le temps. Des panneaux lumineux de toutes tailles, des grands, des petits, des très grands, des très petits. En moyenne, l’humain d’aujourd’hui passe 30% de sa vie devant ces panneaux lumineux, et en possède au moins trois. Il l’accroche parfois au bout d’un bâton télescopique pour mieux se voir, et le pointe aussi vers des objets du quotidien, comme une assiette remplie d’une nourriture gagnée à la force brute, ou des récipients en carton blanc contenant des graines moulue passée à l’eau chaude. Les panneaux lumineux leur indiquent toutes sortes d’informations utiles à leurs vies quotidiennes, comme le rappel permanent de leurs besoins primaires, notamment celui de changer ces petits panneaux lumineux par d’autres petits panneaux lumineux, encore plus lumineux. Quand il se déplace, parce que l’humain se déplace beaucoup, il continue de croiser ces panneaux lumineux, il en emporte même avec lui, en permanence et les utilise au long de la journée. Il semble accorder beaucoup d’importance à ces objets qui l’entourent. Parfois, alors que d’autres humains interagissent avec lui, l’humain va accorder son attention à son panneau lumineux. En plus des rappels de besoins primaires, les panneaux lumineux sont également utilisés comme source d’information. L’humain se tient au courant de la vie des autres humains via ces objets. Parfois quelques humains ne sont pas d’accord avec d’autres humains, alors ils discutent et le reste les regarde discuter. Parfois ces discussions tournent

mal et débouchent sur des conflits entre humains. Quelques humains utilisent alors des machines pour faire comprendre aux autres humains qu’ils ont raison, et ces autres humains ripostent en faisant comprendre encore plus fort que ce sont eux qui ont raison. En fait, quand l’humain veut manifester un avis négatif, il peut le faire de plusieurs manières. Soit via des mécanismes de grande ampleur qu’ils ont déployés au sein même de leur système social, une structure complexe que finalement peu d’humains comprennent. Il peut aussi exprimer son avis en élevant le son qu’émettent ses cordes vocales, ou en utilisant une interaction physique avec d’autres humains, parfois à l’aide de machines bruyantes.

Mais l’humain sait aussi vivre en harmonie avec ses semblables. Il se regroupe généralement, de manière assez étrange, pas groupe ethnique, en mettant en avant une identité commune. Certains humains se créent donc une sous-identité, en fonction de leurs ethnies, de la quantité de moyens dont ils disposent et de plusieurs facteurs culturels et sociaux, assez complexes à appréhender. Parfois l’humain semble oublier, ou mettre de côté, son identité d’humain au profit de sa sous-identité. C’est l’un des points qui nous fait douter de l’intelligence réelle des sujets étudiés.


Let’s get lost


by Ilyas Ahmed

par Christophe Mincke


avid Crunelle’s fever dreams come at you like a hurricane, unrepentant and unyielding. They exist at the intersection between brain & body, the real and unreal, rendering such distinctions meaningless. These works are beacons to the viewer to enter the proverbial corner of Crunelle’s mind, a place which is at once familiar and alien. They exist as miracles and catastrophes, dreams and nightmares, night and day. These images are visions of imagined landscapes that mirror our own, inside and out, over & over again. It’s next to impossible to lose oneself these days & Crunelle’s collages are, thankfully, invitations to do just that. So to this I say, “Let’s get lost”.


Qu’est-ce que la vie, sinon un infini chipotage ? Certes, il est mal vu de chipoter – dans son assiette, dans son nez, au lit, dans les comptes – mais ce rejet est-il rien d’autre que la volonté de nous masquer la dure réalité : nous ne faisons jamais rien d’autre que chipoter ? Sale temps pour les candidats au titre d’homme providentiel. Dans une réalité trop complexe, face à un monde incompréhensible, lors de nos interactions avec des humains impénétrables, nous chipotons. Au boulot, en famille, à la scène comme à la ville, de même. Dire qu’il est des langues qui ne connaissent pas le verbe « chipoter » et n’offrent dès lors aucune prise sur la vérité fondamentale de la vie ! Que peut faire celui qui cherche à se faire une idée du monde, si ce n’est chipoter ? Le scientifique, ainsi, chipote pour approcher d’un modèle réaliste, d’une explication plausible d’un réel qui lui échappe toujours. Ses équations impressionnent, ses livres savants en jettent, sa méthodologie écrase… pourtant il chipote. L’écrivain, lui, chipote les mots, tentant mille combinaisons pour rendre la complexité de ce qu’il cherche à dire et qu’il n’arrive pas lui-même à appréhender, si ce n’est au travers d’un langage bien pauvre. Le chipotage est-il au fond autre chose qu’une tentative pour tirer de maigres ressources plus que ce qu’elles ne peuvent ordinairement nous donner ? Peut-on traire le réel autrement qu’en chipotant ? Le plasticien aussi, chipote, bien entendu. Ou bien il ennuie, évidemment. Car quoi de plus navrant qu’un artiste qui ne chipote pas, qui pense avoir trouvé, qui se rengorge de sa trouvaille, qui proclame, qui toise, qui tutoie le réel ? Quel imbécile ! Il n’y a rien à dire de son travail, sauf ce qu’il y a à dire de l’ennui, cet ennui qui nait lorsque nous n’avons sous la main rien à chipoter. Car le spectateur chipote aussi. Mais que faire avec un canard de bain géant ou un plug anal gonflable ? Chipoter un monochrome ? Un arbre-à-chat ? Que peut-on chipoter dans ces déserts, si ce n’est soi-même ? Ce n’est pas que ce soit désagréable, il y a toujours beaucoup à chipoter en nous, mais nous n’avons pas besoin d’un monochrome pour ça. L’arbre-à-chat encombre. Le spectateur ne peut chipoter que ce qui le titille. Face au chipotage de l’artiste, il se demande par quel bout prendre le bazar. Il tâtonne et trouve sa manière à lui, qui n’est

pas celle de l’artiste. Il est l’auteur de son propre chipotage, banalité que de le dire… Cela étant tous les chipotages ne sont pas agréables, et l’on peut détester celui suscité en nous par un artiste parce qu’il est douloureux ou amer ; mais tout vaut mieux que l’ennui d’un triste chipotage frustré par l’inanité d’une œuvre. Faut-il préciser que le chipotage est une activité conviviale ? On discute de son chipotage avec l’artiste ou avec d’autres spectateurs-chipoteurs. Il en naît une complexité chipotéale considérable qui « enrichit l’expérience », comme on dit aujourd’hui. Ce qui est intéressant, avec l’œuvre de David Crunelle, c’est qu’elle est le fruit d’un intense chipotage. On a donc beaucoup d’occasions d’en faire autant à sa suite. Pas mal pour du papier, de la colle en bâton et de la résine.

Into the void by Joseph Fazio


e doesn’t know it, but David Crunelle makes heavy metal.

In his art, we witness giants, bricolages of guts and bone, float in a cosmic void that Cthulhu would find homey. They are foregrounded, these figures, confronting us and crowding out what we understand to be an infinite black. Tentacles of man-made debris assail them, while elsewhere the subjects emanate rays of the same with explosive vitality.

To put it another way: Fuckin’ A. Heavy metal recognizes that death and life are two sides of the same LP— experiences to revel in, to embrace, and to rage against. Crunelle’s work does all of this, too. And like any heavy metal worthy of the title, it makes walls shake.

What the folk? par Albin Wantier


ans « Manhattan Folk Stories », le guitariste Dave Van Ronk livre un récit indispensable de la scène folk américaine telle qu’il la vécut dès la fin des années 30. Le mythe du beatnik de San Francisco, le business autour du foisonnement de Greenwich Village, le snobisme avilissant des joueurs de banjo à l’égard des joueurs de guitare - un trve folk qui n’est pas sans rappeler les fondamentalistes du trve black metal - y sont restitués minute par minute, avec une précision digne de la meilleure des télé-réalités.

que personne ne jugeait pourtant nécessaire d’étiqueter comme tels. Chaque musicien puisait allègrement dans le répertoire populaire, qu’il réinterprétait à sa sauce en l’agrémentant de ses arrangements personnels ou en réécrivant l’un ou l’autre couplet. Le talent se mesurait à la capacité de réveiller une vieille ritournelle pour lui donner une nouvelle dimension émotionnelle. On aurait parfois tendance à oublier que la culture populaire est le premier et le plus puissant des logiciels open source.

Parmi les nombreux témoignages de Van Ronk, il en est un qui est particulièrement éclairant pour mieux saisir l’ancrage « folk » du travail de David Crunelle : l’idée qu’à l’époque, l’interprétation était autrement mieux valorisée que la composition en tant que telle. Les meilleurs musiciens folk des années 60 n’étaient pas ceux qui s’épuisaient à vouloir composer la nouvelle ballade à succès autour des sempiternels trois mêmes accords, mais bien ceux qui étaient capables d’injecter leur touche personnelle en se réappropriant les standards de leurs prédécesseurs. L’âge d’or de la musique folk américaine coïncide ainsi avec une pléthore de disques de reprises,

Voilà sans doute pourquoi les tableaux de David Crunelle sont profondément « folk ». Ils puisent leur matière première dans le socle-même de notre culture populaire contemporaine : l’image. Qu’il s’agisse de l’image abrutissante tirée du récit publicitaire, de l’image sensationnaliste issue de la presse grand public ou de l’image prétendument rigoureuse que revendique la littérature scientifique, David Crunelle en extrait la moelle qu’il amalgame dans un nouveau récit personnel. A la manière des musiciens folk des années 60 qui, en le pillant sans honte aucune, assuraient la pérennité du répertoire musical populaire en le sortant de l’oubli, le travail de David Crunelle se lit comme un témoignage de notre culture pop actuelle. Voilà l’essence-même de toute démarche « folk ». Now sit down, enjoy and folk off. 11

Spurts like vomit by Tony Procaccino


avid Crunelle spurts like vomit, restless to grip your hair and shoes and anything else in proximity to the point of discharge. Whether he’s gratuitously overstepping his allotted environmental footprint with deluxe packaging on his Navalorama label, demanding more napkins to soak up the grease in his beard during a visit to a Bushwick pizzeria or tapping into a collagist delir-

ium with pencils and blades, his is a junkie’s trip. Unbeknownst to me, a United States citizen who only knows David from his periodic iron man pizza excursions, he has been conjuring visions of 21st century Johanna in his back room since who knows when. Holding a copy of Psychedelic Constructivism, Crunelle’s 201 catalog of varnished dope, I am overwhelmed with the regurgitation of fantastic collage, like Ghédalia Tazartès come to life in my eyeballs. Boomboxes, 19th century damsels, birdies, intestines… Crunelle’s fabrications are manifestations of social media feeds sculpted into mirror images of our vulgar selves making stuff, digesting stuff and leaving it to rot so we have room for the stuff we missed the last time around. His shapes always speak to the human form and its consumptive imperative: MORE, as if Crunelle’s telling us that as soon as we wash out the vomit from our hair, he’ll be ready to meet up with us for another round. I look forward to it, always.


“Towns of mirrors have shattered your picture” par David Salomonowicz


es visages sans regard, des regards sans fin, sans fond, hagards, absents comme robotisés, désarticulés, insensibles à la lumière, des idoles éteintes, fanées. La fashion week permanente nous livre ses icônes à chaque coin de rue, chaque page de nouvelles bibles en papier glacé. Mais les nouveaux saints sont tous pareils, formatés, équilibrés, lissés voire liftés pour entrer dans les mêmes cases standardisées. On aime l’image plus que ce qu’elle représente. Dès lors, S’aimer à distance est devenu une forme de norme. On se voit, on se voit pas. On se skype, on se WhatsAppe, on se renvoie notre image en permanence, par vagues, par habitude, par besoin. Je t’aperçois tous les jours, mais finit par ne plus être touché. Je te sais de l’autre côté du miroir mais ai peur, en risquant la traversée, de me noyer dans cet océan de vide. L’amour virtuel rend aveugle. Ne fermons plus les yeux sur cette réalité.










“The Peter Pan in me wants to stay involved, but it feels weird to go out and not know anyone any more.� -Tim Furnish



d Index d

d Biography d

d Publications d

“Lockdown” - p.1 David Crunelle is a multidisciplinary artist from • “Kaiju Superstar” photocollage, painting, resin on stock Brussels, Belgium, mainly developing his work in 2015 - two editions of 45 & 400 copies • “Psychedelic Constructivism” 24x33cm visual art, photography and graphic design. “Untitled small formats” - p.2, 7, 18 photocollage, painting, resin on stock 24x34cm “Time Machine” - p.3 photocollage, painting, resin on stock 100x140cm

He has been teaching visual communication and photography in higher education for nearly 10 years. He works as art director in a communication agency and he is also a stock photographer for Getty. Winner of several graphic design competitions between 2009 and 2013, he is the author of many artworks for which he was recently nominated by the Music Industry Awards.

“Fallout / Agartha” - p.5 Jury’s favorite of the Parcours d’Artistes in Saintphotocollage, painting, resin on stock Gilles in 2014 with his project “Stapletown”, he 100x140cm was then noticed for his exhibition “Psychedelic Constructivism” the same year. “FOLK 2” - p.6 photocollage, painting, resin on wood panel The House of Cultures opened its doors for his 120x60cm “Kaiju Superstar” series in May 2015 . “Selfie Styx” - p.9 photocollage, painting, resin on stock 100x140cm

David was born, lives and works in Brussels. d

David Crunelle est un artiste multidisciplinaire de “Untitled” - p.12 Bruxelles, Belgique, développant principalement photocollage, painting, resin on wood panel son travail dans l’art visuel, la photographie et le 60x60cm graphisme. “Towns of Mirrors Have Shattered Your Picture”- p.13 photocollage, painting, resin on wood panel 60x120cm

2014 - edition of 1000 copies • “Stapletown - Where everybody is happy by default” 2013 - two editions of 100 copies • “Pizza is the moonwalk of food” 2012 - edition of 66 copies

d Exhibitions d 2016

• “FOLK” - Mixed media Galerie Art Nomade Solo show • “preFOLK” - Mixed media Parcours d’Artistes de Saint-Gilles Solo show • “Oneshot show” - Mixed media Eugène Chimères Solo show • “Hyperlapse” - Animation Online show - 2015

• “Kaiju Superstar” - Mixed media Maison des Cultures de Saint-Gilles Group show • “Cerebrum Crumbs” - Collage, painting The Brooklyn Loft Solo show

Il enseigne la communication visuelle et la 2014 photographie dans l’enseignement supérieur depuis • “Psychedelic Constructivism” - Mixed media Empty Space Gallery près de 10 ans. Il travaille comme directeur artistique Solo show au sein d’une agence de communication et est • “Stapletown” - Mixed media également photographe pour Getty. Parcours d’Artistes de Saint-Gilles

“How I Quit Being Materially Happy” - p.14 Group show photocollage, painting, resin on stock Ayant remporté plusieurs concours de design et 70x100cm de graphisme entre 2009 et 2013, il est l’auteur de 2012 nombreux travaux pour lequel il fut notamment • “Pizza Is The Moonwalk Of Food” - Graphic design Parcours d’Artistes de Saint-Gilles “Towns of Mirrors Have Shattered Your nominé récemment aux Music Industry Awards. Group show Picture” • “Punk Quotes” - Graphic design photocollage, painting, resin on wood panel Coup de coeur du Parcours d’Artistes 2014 avec son Parcours d’Artistes de Saint-Gilles 60x120cm projet “Stapletown”, il fut également remarqué lors Group show de l’exposition “Psychedelic Constructivism” la même “FOLK 4” - p.15 année. La Maison des Cultures lui a ouvert ses portes 2011 • “Ninja” (Excerpt) - Photography photocollage, painting, resin on stock pour la série “Kaiju Superstar” en mai 2015. Théâtre Marni 70x100cm David est né, vit et travaille à Bruxelles. Group show “FOLK 5” - p.16 photocollage, painting, resin on stock 70x100cm “FOLK 3” - p.17 photocollage, painting, resin on stock 100x140cm “End Lockdown” - p.22 photocollage, painting, resin on stock 24x34cm

• “Ninja” - Photography Espace OP Group show


• “Evil Pin Ups” - Graphic design Parcours d’Artistes de Saint-Gilles Group show 2007

• “NYC” - Photography Parcours d’Artistes de Saint-Gilles Solo show 23

September -MMXVI-


David Crunelle - "FOLK"  

Catalogue of the "FOLK" 2016 exhibition.

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