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«FLOATING LAND» Dejode&Lacombe 2001

Floating Land developed as a reaction to the current real estate shortage, which prohibits the creation of independent art spaces. The essential idea was to build a sovereign, independent micro-nation intended for the diffusion of contemporary art which would also explore questions related to self-governance, survival, defence and the nomadic lifestyle.

This autonomous state will take the shape of a mobile floating island measuring approximately 150m2 which can be docked in the waters willing to accommodate it. Six artists will be invited to collaborate in the development of the island’s structure and functioning, and to adopt temporarily the nationality of Floating Lander. Floating Land will become a meeting and living space for a new artistic community.

Floating land, 2003 lightbox, 39.4 x 28.35

Floating land, project for the Contemporary Art Museum, Lyon October 2002-February 2003

The question of a definition of the nature of contemA POLITICAL FICTION: porary art can only be explored through an understanding «Floating Land» of the infinite aesthetic responses which, since the classical Daniel BAILLY prohibition of the mixing of genres (a proscription that wei2001 ghed both on art work’s internal limits and categories, but also on any attempt to spill from one discipline into another), have argued in favour of an extension of the boundaries beyond material and cultural limits. In this widened field of contemporary art, where interdisciplinary practice produces an effect of deterritorialisation, the nomadic micro-state Floating Land brings a scientific extension to this territorial approach to art by putting military and diplomatic science at its service. «According to the strategist, armament is neither the soldier, nor the means employed, but positioning first and foremost, the disposition and direction of the forces present.»(1) By defining the question of armament in such a way, primordial importance is given to a defensive surveillance position rather than an offensive strategy. The political operation of Floating Land adopts this position of armed defence by using its natural borders as both a strategic function and as diplomatic fiction. «Floating land», MAC Lyon «L’art contemporain est un sport de combat», 2002

If a diplomatic fiction exists, it is precisely within the limits of the island, in its very insularity that it can be found, its limits functioning like a foreign embassy with its protected enclosure inside

which the national laws are not in force. The island becomes a kind of enclave with prerogatives of immunity and inviolability which remain purely symbolic systems in the absence of any definitive legal statute. Floating Land thus assumes the right to create policies on dubious grounds (in a legal uncertainty which ambiguously places it in a position of infraction), rather than following rules determined in advance which would transform it from the start into a commodity obedient to the public and advertisers (i.e. promoted to the status of institutional information satellite). It is a hypothetical future of contemporary art, like a cultural exception detached from the ground of the institution (its architecture testifies to this in a very literal way), and it is exactly in this the proclaimed utopia that wishes to establish in the order of the things its own principle of reality, because: «a utopia is not an impossibility but a possibility which has not found a reality»(2) (1) Paul Virilio, L’ESPACE CRITIQUE, éd Christian Bourgeois, 1984,n p 164

(2) Robert MUSil, L’HOMME SANS QUALITE, Tome 1, éd du seuil, coll poche

«Floating land», MAC Lyon

«The submarine», 2001 lightbox, 34.65 x 25.6

«Floating land», MAC Lyon

ÂŤFLOATING LANDÂť Sovereign and Independent Nation Marie Guilhot-Voyant 2002

The work of Sophie Dejode and Bertrand Lacombe is integrated in a clearly defined artistic project: the constitution of Floating Land, a nomadic micro-state intended to facilitate, accommodate and promote contemporary creation

Floating Land is conceived as a new political, economic and social territory, populated by citizens concerned with the questions of creativity and self-governance. In the architectural construction of Floating Land, Dejode & Lacombe use their artistic freedom to respond to daily needs: eating, sleeping and travelling. For Floating Land’s residents, the artists create living spaces, user-friendly areas and poetic modes of transportation, both absurd and functional. From drawings, sculptures, installations, films to performances, the work of Dejode & Lacombe is not limited to any specific medium, scale or material. The elements do not occupy only space, but also time, changing with the movement of the micro-state and the desires of its inhabitants. Floating Land incarnates a subversive interface between realism and utopia.

«Floating land 1», 2003 Lightbox, 35.44 x 25.2

«The submarine», 2002

project «le terrier», 2002 lightbox, 39.4 x 28.35

«KIPPEN’S BURGER» Dejode & lacombe 2003

The exhibition « Kippen’s Burger » is integrated in the more global « Floating Land » project, a nomad micro state, an artistic place of co production intended to be assembled in network, a political fiction which signs its insularity among the vast field of contemporary creation and, excuse of fantasy to offer a territory, a reality for utopia. « We have put in place this banana republic so that there are no limits to our megalomania. »

More precisely, « Kippen’s Burger » presents certain new parts of « Floating Land », our next up and coming installation. The scale of this first inter artists competition of mini motorbikes on the grounds of Floating Land will be that of a true American show. The race will take place inside our creative landscape. The track will cross our artworks and those of the invited artists which for the occasion, will be put together such that it has the density of a toy city, whim of a spoiled child. « Floating Land » (Contemporary Art Museum of Lyon, 2002) enabled us to put in place the scenery and the base of the interactive project. « Floating Land » will allow its implementation through the creation of a network of artists collaborating in the making of the utopia. The playful aspect of the competition nevertheless points out the tacit rivalry which animates the microcosm of contemporary art. «Kippen’s burger n°2», 2003 lightbox, 35.44 x 23.65

« Kippen’s Burger » is a prototype of fast food in navy containers, for a chain of restaurants destined for places of contemporary art (in Flemish, kippen means chicken). It will be the official

restaurant of the “Floating Bowl”. This fast-food chain can be seen as the first economic account of the political fiction which is “Floating land”. However, the roots of this concept are to be sought in two exhibitions carried out in Strasbourg. In 1998, Bertrand Lacombe presented the history of a solitary character living at the heart of an Alsatian forest. Antitraditionalist, he fed his cats with meat of stork chopped by a lawn mower, hidden at the top of the roof of his hut, under an artificial nest. The «Kippen’s Burger» is a commercial extension. We like to maintain an ambivalent relationship with the public, so that our spectacular and playful installations take the forms of a trapped Disney Land. It is for us a way of questioning this slip of the contemporary art towards the popular culture of entertainment. Should we add that this project is a homage to the German artist Martin Kippenberger (the whimsical uncle of Bertrand), of which eclecticism, creative bulimia, is used as model. «My style, it is not to have some», «This life cannot be used as excuse for the next one», said this genius of the contemporary art.

«Régimes iconoclastes » Laurence Pérrillat 2003

Sophie Dejode and Bertrand Lacombe propose culinary art as a solution to the current representation crisis in contemporary art. Beyond contemporary fads such as ‘fooding’, the Thai restaurants, fugu bars and Kippen’s Burgers conceived by Sophie Déjode and Bertrand Lacombe over the last few years strive to bring contemporary art into a world of ambiguous user-friendliness, based on an exploration of the physicality of space and protocols of exchange.

Food Terrorism In the restaurants built at the heart of their vast installations the act of eating is anything but banal. Behind their apparent ordinariness, the menus are actually the ideological and fictional agents of an artistic programme designed by Sophie Dejode and Bertrand Lacombe.

«Kippen’s burger», La Chaufferie Strasbourg, january 2003

In these spaces, the act of eating takes on the form of an ambiguous impulsiveness and an unusual responsibility. How should we react when the artists propose the consumption of sushi made from Fugu, the poisonous Japanese blow fish, in their Fugu bar? What should one think of the burger made from stork meat, served in the region in which these birds are venerated as a symbol of local identity?

After a moment’s doubt, one realises that this food cannot really be on offer. Nonetheless, once the fictional nature of the menu is confirmed, a sensation of uneasiness remains. Are we not completely vulnerable in terms of the food we consume? Weren’t we always told not to eat food if we didn’t know where it came from? To consume poison, even in a fictitious form, is to consume poison all the same. And doesn’t the mere fact of wanting to poison us almost amount to committing the act? This attitude is purposefully unclear and breeds doubt at a time when food hysteria is rife. Beyond the physical danger, the simple act of accepting to consume stork meat, the flesh of the regional emblem, in the city of Strasburg symbolises the sacrifice of conventional symbols and the promotion of radical iconoclasm and the rejection of nationalist values. However in an apparent paradox, the various projects of Sophie Dejode and Bertrand Lacombe aim to determine and build territories, from Floating Land to the current Kippen’s Burgers, and to reinforce them with a strong visual identity, a territorial iconography, like a region seeking to put forward its local characteristics (or its superiority). The stork burger symbolically kills the traditional hierarchy in an attempt to replace it with a new type of independent political microstructure,

beyond the law. The allegorical symbols are thus rejected and replaced by a utopia and a fiction. Kippen’s Burger thus puts us in an ambiguous position between food heroism and passive, consensual terrorism. A Dubious, Unsettling Form of Conviviality And what about the protocol of exchange between the artists and their public? The various spaces conceived by Sophie Dejode and Bertrand Lacombe are zones of physical mobility and participation. But the physical confrontation is complex. At the end of an obstacle laden journey, the presence of a restaurant engages us in a process of introspection very rare in contemporary practice, since it invites us to question whether we want to eat or not. Few artists today build environments that test our body in such a way, that question our needs and desires. Admittedly the material and social constructions of Sophie Dejode and Bertrand Lacombe’s art links them to the relational aesthetics movement. Yet their work goes much further than that of most artists in this artistic current. First of all, the user-friendliness of their spaces is violently ambiguous, distorted by the rough installations. Secondly, the functioning of the installations depends on the presence of the artists who remain on site throughout the exhibition. Their presence as components in the work reinforces the relational ambiguity, as they observe us while we observe them.

Thus, Sophie Dejode and Bertrand Lacombe’s artistic programme, while removing the meditative dimension associated with art, introduces an element of participation and a risky, engaged protocol of exchange in the construction of eminently physical territories.

«Floating Bowl» Appel à candidature Dejode&Lacombe 2003

«The Grand Theatre of Oklahoma is calling you! ( ... ) You all are welcome! May he who wishes to become an artist raise his hand! We are the theatre that needs everyone, you all have a place here». («Amerika», Franz Kafka)

Floating Land – a nomadic micro state, a growing artistic network of production, a political fiction that vaunts its insularity in the vast field of contemporary creation and who under the pretext of fantasy provides a territory, or a reality, to utopia – will very soon be the host of the first inter-artist mini-motorbike race: the Floating Bowl. The competitors will fight it out for the title of Best Artist. The race course will thus become a stage for the rivalry that exists in the contemporary art microcosm.

«Welcome to Floating bowl», 2003 lightbox, 35.44 x 29.95

The scale of this collective exhibition will be that of a real American bonanza spectacle: a big top tent, bleachers on the side of the island’s mountain, live TV coverage and retransmission after the event, sports commentators, kiosks selling artistic merchandise, trendy restaurants (the Kippen’s Burger) and customised caravans for the artist/ competitors…

The race will take place inside the Floating landscape. The course will run through the art work created by the duo and their guests which is shown together to recreate a dense ‘toy town, the whim of a spoilt child’. If the Floating Land exhibition (Contemporary Art Museum, Lyon) was the creation of the stage set and basis of our interactive project, Floating Bowl represents its completion as it will see the constitution of the first artist network working on the invention of a utopia.

This architectural project is designed to solve the problems related to our nomadic lifestyle. The idea is to propose the acquisition of the work free of charge to various art institutions on the condition that they pay the production costs and accept that we, and the artists in our network, be able to develop projects within it.


Sophie Dejode & Bertrand Lacombe For Sophie Dejode & Bertrand Relational Aesthetics, Snide Side Up Lacombe, each new exhibition Richard Leydier is an occasion to push the Art Press 293-2003 “Floating Land” project a little farther out. Floating Land is an independent and fictitious nation located on an artificial island. After the Musée d’Art Contemporain in Lyon (winter 2002) and La Chaufferie in Strasbourg (January 2003), the work of these two surprising artists is now at Attitudes in Geneva (August 29-October 25), just before their presentation at the Lyon Biennale. But the most outstanding event will undoubtedly be signaled by the starter’s pistol for the Floating Bowl, the highly anticipated mini-motorcycle race Dejode & Lacombe are organizing in Geneva in September. (For more information, visit 2002 was a big year for Sophie Dejode & Bertrand Lacombe. They simultaneously opened four shows in and around Lyon: at the Musée d’Art Contemporain, the Métropolis and NEON galleries, and the Maison de l’Image, du Livre et du Son in nearby Villeurbanne. On walking into the Musée d’Art Contemporain, visitors were plunged into a very special atmosphere: piles of sandbags, a sentry box laid lengthways on the floor and a machinegun. The museum reception desk was covered with a concrete shell, transforming it into a bunker and the women working there into sentinels. A little further on came a strange wooden cabin. On its roof, an upside-down lawnmower, camouflaged as a bird’s nest; inside, a chaise longue, refrigerator and TV showing a movie where Alsatians wearing traditional costumes marched through the woods toward the bucolic hut where Lacombe remained blissfully ignorant of this imminent danger. What had enraged these Alsatians? It turned out that the junk on the rooftop was a stork trap. If one of these birds happened to land there, the lawnmower would start up and chop it to bits. “It’s inhuman to feed our storks to your cats,” complained the

malcontents in this film, which revisited silent movies. After having passed the cabin and gone up the stairs, visitors found themselves on a wooden bridge hanging ten meters above the museum floor. Then, in order to come down again, you had to trustingly slide down a narrow tube of elastic fabric of the kind French firemen call a “sock.” Finally, you could enter a sort of pocket submarine, in reality a van transformed into a submersible. Inside, a monitor showed footage of a lovely tropical sunset, doubtless as a reward for your troubles. Like the old people in that terrifying film Soylent Green,(1) you could finally die before a peaceful image. For those who have served in the military this little series of exercises will probably revive painful memories of basic training. In fact, what we’re experiencing here is the defense system of Floating Land, a fictitious island nation that Dejode & Lacombe have been constantly updating for two years in one project after another. “Floating Land was born as a response to today’s real estate crunch which makes it very hard to open new exhibition spaces. The solution was to construct a sovereign micro-nation, completely independent of the whole art system as well as society itself (without necessarily rejecting the principle of barter). It is meant to popularize contemporary art oriented toward the problematics of self-management, survival, defense and nomadism.” “Punks are not dead” A maquette on view at the same time at the Métropolis gallery gave an idea of what Floating Land will look like: a floating island almost entirely covered with planking (like something between an improvised raft and a Swiss chalet), except for a small yard and a few buildings, including a dormitory/refectory and a shower. Another aspect of the micro-nation could be seen at the NEON gallery; its basement. When you opened the door of this small alternative space in Lyon, you entered directly into a sort of tunnel with wooden plank walls, like in a Hollywood gold mine. Bent over and sometimes even on all fours, visitors followed this narrow gallery as it rose, descended and turned, going from one room to another as if on a speleological expedition. On the walls of one of these rooms the artists had painted a trompe l’oeil cave interior. This cave motif appeared in their work previously in a piece entitled Don’t forget your balloon: at the entrance to a “magic cavern” was a stand with balloons inflated from a gas bottle, and candles to light the way when you descended into the entrails of the earth. The inscription “Free lollipops inside” was supposed to lure kids in. As was to be expected, thanks to the narrowness of the place, the balloons had to cross over the row of candles and… boom! This was, in fact, a trap for children. You might have thought that at the end of the journey through the big installation at the NEON you would come out on a savanna with roaming dinosaurs or a lake of molten lava. Oddly enough, after many contortions, you came to… a miniature Japanese

restaurant where the artists served up sushi to visitors on opening night. Readers will exclaim: yet another textbook manifestation of relational aesthetics. Maybe not. These artists had already tried the idea of this restaurant during a group exhibition (Camping 2000, at Romans), where they dug out a long tunnel that ended up in a Chinese restaurant. Instead of attending the opening night festivities, they opted to burrow into their hole and invite to dinner only four handpicked guests. A few months later, for the inauguration of another exhibition, contrary to all expectations the sushi bar was closed, and an inscription invited visitors to serve themselves from the fridge: “Down with conventional aesthetics, autonomous space welcome, this not a user-friendly space, sorry, we’re closed.” Whether with these meals that hijack Rirkrit Tiravanija’s favorite principles or by proposing to set fire to children and cut storks up into cat food, Dejode & Lacombe set up a kind of perverted relational aesthetics. The ambiance is definitely not peace and love. Floating Land is not a hippie commune open to all, but a private space for art and life initiated by a couple who invite only those they want there, mainly artists they want to work with. Dejode & Lacombe are certainly not latter-day hippie-dippies. They’re closer to punk, with all the cynicism and individualism that implies. Emblazoned at their recent shows was this inscription: “Punks are not dead.” Still, the hot links to art theory, self-management and nomadism notwithstanding, what is really remarkable about Dejode &Lacombe is their inexhaustible imagination and its formal expression. There is something very child-like about their perverted amusement parks, hanging gangplanks, log cabins and slides, something of a lost childhood, like Peter Pan’s island Never-Never Land in J.M. Barrie’s book. Further, islands and caves are theaters where children make up all sorts of stories and adventures. They are also archetypes that can be analyzed in a more psychological vein: island/individualism and cave/unconscious. This duo certainly leave a great deal of room for symbolism and marvels. At the NEON the experience was really disconcerting; you felt like you were wandering for hundreds of meters until you totally lost your bearings. The corridor wound back on itself like an intestine. It was like diving down the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland. There is a hint of Jules Verne in Dejode & Lacombe, with evocations of Fantasy Island and Voyage to the Center of the Earth. There is also a touch of Adolfo Bioy Casares, with the island mystery of his Invention of Morel and Plan for Escape, not to mention, lastly, Raymond Roussel’s Locus Solus and Impression d’Afrique for their ability to inject the marvelous and the unexpected—for example, in setting up a sushi bar a few meters underground.

The Alsatian Burger Their most recent restaurant was the Kippen’s Burger, shown last winter at the Chaufferie in Strasbourg. It was, of course, an homage to Martin Kippenberger, the couple’s idol and Bertrand’s fantasy uncle. Also, in Flemish “kippen” means chicken, which is the filling for the hamburgers prepared in this country eatery set up in a shipping container.(2) Actually, the meat comes directly from the lawn mower on the roof, or in other words any stork stupid enough to come to roost there. To inflict this kind of thing on the Strasbourgeois is not politically OK. The problem is that certain peoples in Africa, where these migratory birds winter, are particularly fond of the subtle taste of their flesh. Thus Alsatians do everything they can to keep their precious fowl to themselves and not let them fly away to the slaughter, going so far as to stuff their little beaks with farm-fresh frogs. Imagine how these people felt about seeing their noble work undone, right in sunny downtown Strasbourg! The Kippen’s Burger will be the official restaurant at the Floating Bowl, a mini-motorcycle race Dejode & Lacombe are organizing in Geneva in September. Contestants will be chosen from among people the duo wants to work with.(3) Each will customize their bike and their helmet. The winner of this race will be named “best artist.” Isn’t winning a race as good a criterion as any? The bikes turned out to be hard to handle and the two have taken the time to train. So they’re ready. What about the rest of the field? Dejode confides, with a smile, “It’s going to be a massacre.” Translation, L-S Torgoff

(1) Video by Arnaud Maguet. (2) The metal container is a module for these two artists. They plan to build a castle on the occasion of the Lyon Biennale using eight containers, four lying down to make walls and four standing on end to make towers. This castle is testament to Floating Land expansionism. These artists intend to colonize certain European contemporary art venues little by little, building a castle at each of them just like the Vikings who marked their territory in a similar manner when they send their expeditions upstream. This kind of “war games” also recalls video games of strategy such as Heroes. (3) Participants in the Floating Bowl: Gentil Garçon, Jean-Xavier Renaud, Bruno Peinado, Virginie Barré, Lang/Baumann, Petra Mrzyk and JeanFrançois Moriceau, Niels Trannois, Sophie Bueno, Olivier Millagou, Arnaud Maguet, Aïcha Hamu, Xavier Chevalier, Thierry Xavier, Stéphane Magnin and Emilie Maltaverne, Naoko Okamoto and Shingo Yoshida.

Bathroom tile prototype for castle bathroom Mosaic 9m x 4,50m Lightboxes, digital printings(different sizes) Lee 3 ceti tau Central Armory Show CNAP, Villa Arson, Nice

Floating Land is a «sovereign independent micro nation created for the presentation of contemporary arts, based on the issues of self-management, networks, survival, defence and the nomadic lifestyle.» Sophie Dejode & Bertrand Lacombe have been developing the idea of this autonomous territory, which takes the form of a mobile floating island suitable for various types of water, since 2000. Floating Bowl is the name of the event organised by Dejode & Lacombe in the context of Floating Land, for which they have invited other artists to collaborate on the creation of a self-formulated system. Floating Land is designed as a convivial living space for an artists’ collective. Floating bowl Jean-Paul Felley & Olivier Kaeser 2003

Accordingly, Dejode & Lacombe have invited fourteen other artists - or artistic duos like themselves - to take part in the exhibition at attitudes: Virginie Barré, Sophie Bueno, Xavier Chevalier, Aïcha Hamu, L/B, Stéphane Magnin & Emilie Maltaverne, Arnaud Maguet, Olivier Millagou, Petra Mrzyk & Jean-François Moriceau, Naoko Okamoto, Bruno Peinado, Niels Trannois, Thierry Xavier, Shingo Yoshida. They chose them as much for their artistic, as for their personal affinities. Yet their objectives push them in two directions at once: first of all, the invited artists will create in a territory designed by Dejode & Lacombe, and will all temporarily share the nationality of ‘Floating Lander’ which gives a communal character to the exhibition. Secondly, Dejode & Lacombe pour oil on the flames of the unspoken rivalry which animates the microcosm of the contemporary art scene, by organising a mini-motorbike competition in which the competitors will be the artists showing in the exhibition. Each rider will personalise the body-work of his bike before the race. The competition has no pre-set rules. A jury composed of art critics and representatives of artistic institutions will decide on the criteria by which the winner or the winners will be decided. Free reign is thus given to speeding, tricks, style, look, ganging up, cheating, elegance, humour… After the competition Dejode & Lacombe will create Robot Force, a sculpture representing a post human figure to be made out of the different motor bikes designed by the artists for the race. This work will then takes its place in the crowded exhibition space, which is

already occupied by a wooden mountain which can be entered into, a submarine made out of a VW bus, as well as a welcome unit made from an individual bunker and an industrial vat. Most of the Floating Bowl artists were born in the seventies, are French, but don’t live in Paris, and have often shown together. Some of them already have a rich and established body of work, while others are artistically young. On a general level, they all feed abundantly on popular culture (cinema, music, comic books, video games, graphic design) and derive many of their references from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Their art is often centred around citation, appropriation, mixing and re-mixing. Some, like Stéphane Magnin and Dejode & Lacombe, occasionally occupy the role of gatherer/catalyst - rather than curator - of projects. The group of artists formed in Floating Bowl provides an interesting panorama of young, contemporary art in France, be this in terms of their cultural references, working practice, or personal and artistic networks.

Emilie Maltaverne and Stéphane Magnin «Motorcycleboy reign» and «Blabla lounge»

Olivier Millagou «Thrasher», wall pins

«Le sous marin»

«Unité d’accueil»

«Floating land» (the mountain)

«Kippen’s burger», 2003 Wooden prototype


There was an atmosphere of excitement this Saturday evening August 30 at Attitudes, alternative art space of Geneva, where Sophie Dejode & Bertrand Lacombe organized the first Floating Bowl (see our September issue). The attraction was a race of mini motor bikes, event which is highly integrated with the Floating Land project, a fictitious nation imagined by the two artists. The duet invited a number of artists to display their work in the exhibition contiguous to the competition and at the same time to participate in this singular race. The demonstration was well framed by a prestigious, distinguished and especially incorruptible jury, brought together by Dejode & Lacombe, in order to prevent any act of fraud. Formed part of the jury, Laurence Perrillat (coed with l`Ecole du Louvre), Michel Ritter (directing of the Swiss Arts centre in Paris), Christian Bernard (directing of Mamco in Geneva), Samuel Herzog (art critic with the NZZ), Yves Tenret (professor with l`école d`art de Mulhouse) and Richard Leydier (myself). These highly skilled personalities had the heavy duty to come up with the prizes for the winners and to set the rules for the race: they were to judge as much the customisation of the vehicles - rewarded by the «esthetique de l`existence» award - as the driving style - the «struggle for life» award. The rules are such that the contestant who arrives first in a round was not inevitably the winner and the jury has to take into account criteria as various as the behaviour of the participants and, important also, the physique of the candidates. The race covered the inside and outside of Attitudes, and the rain had made the runway slippery. Before each round, the direction of the race was drawn at random, the number of laps was fixed at five, and the candidates competed in groups of three. The competition was hard and there were some falls, fortunately without gravity (by precaution, a doctor attended the race). After 2h30 of races and many deliberations, the jury decided to give the prizes: For the «esthetique de l`existence» award, that is the customisation, coming first is Shingo Yoshida, who had transformed his motor bike into a wheel, which made it not easy to handle. This deserving artist won a mysterious meal prepared by Samuel Herzog; arriving second, Naoko Okamoto, with his luminous motor bike which, because of all its electric connections, could not run. Naoko won a subscription with artpress (the lucky devil!) ; finally, Sabine Lang and Daniel Bauermann won a participation in a forthcoming exhibition at the Swiss Arts centre in Paris. For the «struggle for life» award, concerning how well the pilots controlled their vehicles, the jury decreed the first prize to Xavier Chevalier who won an article in artpress; in the second place, Aicha Hamu won a workshop with l`école des beaux-arts de Mulhouse; as for Olivier Michelard (on the moto of Dejode & Lacombe), he certainly won the most beautiful prize, a drawing by Richard Leydier, an artwork carried out in his youth which represents a sleeping dog in Moorea, in Polynesia. Lastly, the special prize of the jury went to the couple Petra Mrzykand Jean-François Moriceau: they won the priviledge to exhibit their work at Mamco. The winners have, as it should be, sprinkled the crowd from the top of their podium, then everyone went to have a taste of the delicious soup prepared by Samuel Herzog in Kippen`s Burger, the official restaurant of the Floating Bowl.


ROBOT FORCE, 2003 Pocket bikes unit, fibre glass, resin, metal 99 x 67 x 40


76 years after the first Grand Prix Inter Artists of mini motorbikes which took place in Geneva, (Floating Bowl 03), Floating Land, a micro sovereign nation, was transformed into a police-controlled state, under the body of an amateur police force, ready to abuse of their power to obtain some personal satisfactions. Floating Land is peaceful, out of this world, but we can feel that all can rock. The circuit which circumvents the exhibition is deserted, the motorbikes are there and the police keeps a discreet eye on the small racing cars. All the ingredients are joined together for an extreme raid around the crowd thirsty of blood and heroes and we know that all the blows are allowed in order to win the trophy of the mythical race. Kamikaze 1989 The title of the exhibition is inspired by Kamikaze 1989, a German B-movie with Fassbinder in the lead role. He plays an incorruptible police officer in a leopard skin suit and matching Mercedes, who fights tirelessly against the entertainment which is alienating the population via cable TV. His heavy fisted and unconventional methods make him an archetypal figure of the lone and misunderstood anti-hero. Floating Land Each new exhibition allows Sophie Dejode and Bertrand Lacombe to further develop the construction of Floating Land, a self-run artist residency and utopia for contemporary creation. Following several foundation events, this exhibition will form one of the first completed phases of the project. Kamikaze 2089 brings together previously existing work with new pieces. The exhibition is constructed around the model of an entrenched, military camp surrounded by metal fences. The architecture is made from raised marine containers, heaps of wood forming unlikely shacks, a space module, coloured benches, menacing robots and strange motorised machines: an armed, inflatable Mercedes, transformed mini-motorbikes. This strange park would seem to offer happiness and amusement, the shapes are attractive, the colours tantalizing, but the island is not immediately accessible. It appears locked, impassable. Only one entrance is available and to access the structures you have to outwit the traps laid by the fencing around each work. It resembles a labyrinth with false trails

and dead ends; it is also similar to a military assault course, as once you enter circulation becomes rigid, difficult and uncomfortable. The Kippen’s Burger, Floating Land’s official restaurant, takes on new dimensions with the attachment of a supplementary container. It covers 16m in length and floats at 1,8m above ground. A cistern transformed into a kitchen opens via waiter’s hatches into the two containers. The totality forms a restaurant complex with two rooms available. Lang and Baumann, two young Swiss artists, designed a total environment for the first one: a salon shaped from the rounded curves of minimalist art and 1960’s Italian design. In the second container Le Gentil Garçon presents a new piece inhabited by ghosts and a monumental bone. The mountain is one of the foundation pieces of the Floating Land environment. Wooden planks and casing are used to make a huge structure somewhere between a Swiss chalet and a burrow. A narrow entrance leads into a claustrophobic, winding tunnel which ends in a Japanese restaurant, then onto a bedroom in the style of a mountain shelter. An Artist Residency The couple regularly invites other artists to collaborate in their exhibitions. The Gentil Garçon designed a container and Roll’ywood was made with the Collective 1.0.3. This tube-like structure measuring 9,7m in length and 1,8m in height resembles a science-fiction style lunar-landing module. Inside it contains ten video monitors in a row showing rotating images taken from Dejode & Lacombe’s production and installation archive. Random combinations of images freeze on the screens in accordance with a pre-programmed rhythm: “The terms rotation et collaboration that we associate with some of our work relates to the exploration of participation, via documentation circulation devises.” Other collaborations can be found. A relaxation zone by Emilie Maltaverne and Stéphane Magnin is at the foot of a bleacher. This chill-out area allows those who have managed to reach it to have a much deserved break in a multi-coloured environment. Shingo Yoshido will show a strange motorbike which has been transformed into a large wheel inside which the driver sits. Cédric Tanguy will be the glamorous commentator of the mini-motorbike race to liven up the action. And finally, Arnaud Maguet has composed an original music which will be diffused throughout the exhibition.

Floating Bowl The first Inter-Artist Mini-Motorbike Grand Prix organised by Sophie and Bertrand took place in Geneva in 2003. Ten riders, all artists, confront each another on a treacherous track, weaving between the art work and spectators in order to win the trophy of Best Artist. The choice of riders is given to five people who play the role of race organiser, jury and team managers. The five are made up of art critics, journalists or museum directors. They become the exhibition’s curators as they select artists, stimulate meetings and allow networks to exchange. The sports competition provides a caricature of the rivalry that exists in the microcosm of contemporary art. The race has no rules and anything goes in order to be the first over the finishing line. The sports racing world also presents the artists with a rich source of immediately identifiable imagery. The motorbikes are customised, traffic lights indicate the start of the race, each rider has his own outfit and defends one of the ten colours that make up the Floating Bowl flag. The jackets, helmets and badges are produced especially for the exhibition and will be shown in the show as art work after the race. The two bleachers facing each other have their back to the race course, giving a new perspective on the exhibition.

Welcome to Suicide Club Dejode and Lacombe’s visual references come from the world of video games and computers, B series and classic cinema, science fiction and serious literature, art and skate boarding…Just another example of today’s ‘cool’ art, or an unimaginative use of the precepts of relational aesthetics? Not quite. The proposed interaction is booby trapped and the ‘amusement’ park is more perverse and cynical than it first appears. What is so appealing in their work is their unlimited imagination and its materialisation, coupled with their formidable energy which knows no bound, and can even move mountains! «There is something very infantile in these parks filled with perverse attractions, in the wooden footbridges, the huts and toboggans, something of a lost childhood, like in JM Barrie’s NeverNever Land. The Island and cave are the stages on which the children invent all kinds of stories and adventures. They are also archetypes that one can analyze on a psychological level: the island as individualism and the cave as the unconscious.»Richard Leydier in Art Press Summer 2003

Yann Chevalier

ÂŤWelcome to suicide clubÂť, 2004 plexiglass, fibre glass, resin, speakers

«Kippen’s burger» Container made with Lang/Baumann(CH)

«Kippen’s burger» «Fantasma», Le gentil garçon, 2004

Roll’ywood 1.0.3 Version Dejode and Lacombe The terms rotation et collaboration that we associate with some of our work relates to the exploration of participation, via documentation circulation devises. For this second incarnation of the Roll’ ywood device we wish to, while following what we have learnt from the «rotation et collaboration» formula, reveal the ingredients which allowed this collaboration between Sophie Dejode and Bertrand Lacombe and 1.0.3. After removing from our first piece (Roll’ywood Version 1.0.3) everything that we considered freedom of spirit, scratches resulting from the action of our 40 fingers, we obtained by extraction a form of its previous existence nonetheless inextricably linked to its condition as a rotational system. Through discussion with the co-founders of Floating Land, we understood that following their invitation to participate in Kamikaze 2089, we were projected into a structure of our own. The perspective of floating that the name of their island introduces, appeared as an addition to our numerous terms for passive resistance. It is by alternating rotation and suspension that we came to understand the term to float. A growing feeling of entering a far off, but not unknown land, we escape into observations related to the different behaviour of Floating Land. The public is invited to a competition between artists. In this way, the concept itself responds to a necessity for analysis through participation. And even if the question remains, through the notion of a challenged ‘qualification’ of the artist, the concept implies an exploration of professional and human relationships between artists. Roll’ywood is presented for this exhibition, in a space module. On the top of the picture, «Pendant ce temps là, nulle part», Le gentil garçon Down in the picture, «Roll’ywood», Collectif 1.0.3/Dejode & Lacombe, 2004

The construction of this container responds to the search for representation through the ‘historic’, last bastion of legitimacy in a utopia enraged by existence or last puddle on which the wave is possible. It contains elements of a dubious memory, whose absence of temporal indications allows us to slide into the perception of documents between statements and hypotheses. To feed this video system based around the metaphor of ‘one-armed bandits’, we brought together all possible visual documents, principally from Jean-Paul Lacombe’s archive, then fixed them to a wheel with a pre-programmed rotation. From this came forth a second form of parody of election by a cocktails of images without orientation, as they have neither date nor title. Chance as a means of appearance for the document, communicating on possible representations of utopia, and what is utopia if it is not the rotation of images for projection, air pockets for the transmission of ideas. This system is a machine that counts the conquests, throws back the aspirations, opens future horizons, Aeneas’ shield on which the promise of the Floating Land utopia shall shine. “That which does not roll does not live, and that which stands not still says nothing”, to this the current collaboration may add “that which does not float, must roll”. 1.0.3 August 23, 2004 - Poitiers

«The happy end of M. Kippenberger’s happy end of Franz Kafka «America»», 2004 Skaï, metal, wood et wire netting

Robot force, 2004 Pocket bike units, fibre glass, resine, metal.

Floating land, 2003 Wood, metal, lawnmowner, fridge, furnitures and video player

Inside view of «Ce n’est pas humain de résister à bertrand», 1998 Wooden cabin, metal et fibre glass, furniture, videotapes...

Espace de résistance (ceci n’est pas un lieu de convivialité, désolé, nous sommes fermés.....), 2000

«Kamikaze 89», 2004 Mercedes 280 SE, machinegun MK2 Brem, LCD screen,plexiglass


In 2001 the French artists Sophie Dejode and Bertrand LaSophie Dejode & Bertrand Lacombe combe launched Floating Land, a fictional nation state occupied Katie Kennedy by the duo and an expanding 2004 network of artists, as a radical alternative to the production and exhibition processes that regulate the contemporary art world. Since then, this imaginary island is set adrift on the ocean of the art world, dropping anchor for each new exhibition in order to expand its physical and fictional borders. Floating Land operates as an independent state in the confines of the museum or gallery space. The laws and customs of the island are applied within this territory, subjugating the control of the host structure. When Dejode & Lacombe select the artists they wish to participate in the exhibition, they effectively undermine the institution’s role as an artistic authority. The duo take the place of the curator, substituting aesthetic or political selection criteria with that of artistic and human exchange. The invited participants join the community and take on the nationality of Floating Lander for the duration of their stay. Participation in the exhibition provides the artists with the opportunity to continue their own artistic concerns in an atmosphere of collective exchange. It offers a unique occasion for discussion and interaction between different artistic practises in an art world increasingly dominated by the commercial paradigm of rapid and lucrative production. The pieces produced by the invited artists are integrated into the super-structure of Floating Land’s ever evolving landscape. The duo use the exhibition process as a system for the production of the sculptural elements that form the island. Dejode & Lacombe negotiate the presentation of Floating Land in exchange for a production budget. Thus, they actively subvert the exhibition system by using the production money to further establish their independent state, which itself rejects the values of the host institutions. This process also guarantees the unlimited expansion of the Floating Land, whose elements multiply like a virus in the contemporary art machine. The plastic environment that constitutes Floating Land further establishes the anarchistic precepts that form the basis of Dejode & Lacombe’s work. The first manifestation of Floating Land, which took

place at the MAC Lyon in 2001, was a military installation formed from watch towers, sand bags and wooden bridges, while the museum’s information desk was transformed into a bunker. This set the tone for the future; Floating Land is not a welcoming island paradise open to all, but rather an independent state whose frontiers one crosses at one’s own peril. The following exhibition at the Neon Galley, Lyon, reinforced this idea of inaccessibility. The artists invited the public to explore the depths of Floating Land. Thus, a series of winding, tight wooden tunnels lead the visitor on a disorienting journey ending unexpectedly at an underground Japanese restaurant. Indeed the tunnel or path is a recurring feature of Floating Land. In the exhibition Kamikaze 2089 , the visitor was obliged to follow a pathway closed in by wire-fencing. This labyrinthine trail produced a feeling of insecurity and repression in the visitor accustomed to circulating freely in the exhibition space. In the same way that the viewer is confronted with an ambiguous environment, so to are the participating artists. Dejode & Lacombe cynically demonstrate the limits of their utopian artistic community through the mini-motorbike race/performance, Floating Bowl. Artists who have been working side by side to create an exhibition are forced into competition with one another on the opening night. Furthermore, a jury of art critics and museum directors are invited to judge the participants on randomly selected criteria. In this way, the duo vividly illustrate the inherent rivalry between artists and the arbitrary nature of success in the art world. Dejode & Lacombe’s Floating Land can also be seen as an acerbic response to the current trend in contemporary art for interactive installation pieces, known as relational aesthetics. What at first appears to be an adventure park of fun attractions and fast-food, an art world Disney Land, soon reveals itself to be an empty, consumer ‘unfriendly’ environment.

The fast-food stall proposing a dubious stork burger is permanently closed, while the space is devoid of any possibility of participation. The viewer is confronted with the vacuity of the proposed entertainment and an unsettling feeling of exclusion. Floating Land is not only a project that evolves physically and geographically, but also conceptually. The next step in the project will be an exploration of the possible relations between artists and the public as the Floating Landers will remain resident, working and living in the Floating landscape throughout the exhibition. In this way, Dejode & Lacombe continue their radical response to the established art system by reacting from within, just as a virus entering a computer alters the configuration of the mainframe from the inside.


Dancing in paradise Anne Bertrand 2007

“To all the fish who fled boredom and jumped out of the bowl.” Camille de Toledo

Skol has teamed up with Centre Est-Nord-Est to present Dancing in Paradise, a bold new production by the French artist duo Sophie Dejode and Bertrand Lacombe. Dancing in Paradise is a more complete sequel of Singing in Paradise, organized in 2004 by Joyce Yahouda and shown on the 51/2 floor of the Belgo. Assisted by composer Merlin Ettore and choreographer Andrew Tay, the artists reappropriate the spectacular medium of musical comedy, leaving troubles and woes behind to produce something beautiful, light, dreamy. Set within an installation/decor, the show will only be presented once, the night of the opening: a crack corps of rats perform a dance in the icy atmosphere of a giant fridge, an allegory representing a struggle against the refrigerate dreams of human beings anaesthetized by mass consumption and mass media. Subverting the ritual of art openings, the artists expose the art world’s tacit complicity with the very system it presumes to criticize. In this new ramification of Floating Land — a nomad territory of encounter that evolves from one exhibition to the next, involving in their successive productions, an ever fluctuating community of participants — the “modern” work of art is replaced by a setting that invites spectators to complete the project, to imagine its sequel, transforming visitor inertia into action, cynicism into enchantment. The decor will remain in place for the duration of the exhibition, allowing spectators to invest the space and to extend the work in unforeseeable ways. The artists wish to thank the following people for their generous support: Caroline Andrieux, David Armstrong Six, Alexis Bellavance, David Bettan, Nicolas Bougaieff, Pierre Bourgault, Guillaume Briand, Jean Brillant, Patrice Caron (from BANG BANG), Raphael Ettore, Emmanuel Galland, Pierre Giroux, Joannie Labelle, Nathalie Lafortune, Maryse Larivière, François Maes, Aude Moreau, Geneviève Nobert, Denis Raby, Jean-Michel Ross, Laurent Teissier, Marie-Ève Tourigny, Chang Wee, Fondation pour l’art contemporain Claudine et Jean-Marc Salomon, Galerie Metropolis, Manufacture de matelas Sélection Inc. and everyone else who got involved. They are also especially grateful to the dancers for their exceptional contribution. This interdisciplinary project is part of Skol’s 20th anniversary As If All

Were Well programming, which also celebrates artists’ capacity to act locally, in a truly self-run project. Biographical Notes Sophie Dejode (Lyon / Berlin) and Bertrand Lacombe (Berlin) have been collaborating on the Floating Land project for four years. Always seeking out new opportunities to expand the project in surprising and serendipitous ways, the duo has shown earlier incarnations of the project in Montréal (Singing in Paradise , 2004) Geneva (Floating Bowl, 2003) and Lyon (Floating Land, 1999). More info @: http// and: With his enigmatic, in-your-face-and-ears drumming wizardry, Merlin Ettore (Montréal) mystifies his listeners with an eccentric yet organic stage presence. Genetics were also good to Merlin: he began playing drums before he even stood or spoke. Today, after 500 concerts in the US, Canada and Europe, his numerous projects and contributions still titillate the entire globe. Amongst his latest collaborations: Guy Nadon, Don Preston (Frank Zappa’s ex-keyboardist), the eclectic bass and drum duo MetriK and the Floating Land project in collaboration with Sophie Dejode and Bertrand Lacombe. More info @: and: Andrew Tay (Montréal) was born in Windsor Ontario where he attended the Walkerville Centre for the Creative Arts. Since finishing his B.F.A in contemporary dance at Concordia University, Andrew has had his work presented at Espace Tangente, Studio 303, the National Theatre School, Festival Vue Sur La Releve (Montreal) and the Square Zero Dance Festival (Ottawa). Residencies have included the Foundation Jean-Pierre Perrault, the summer artist in residency program at studio 303, and a week long, intensive workshop with Kathy Casey and her dance company Montreal Danse . He is currently working as artistic director of Wants and Needs danse, a new dance company in Montreal which he formed with choreographic partner Sasha Kleinplatz. They will present their new full length work Because We Can in April of 2007 at Espace Tangente. More info @: and:

Espace Kugler, Genève

Dancing in paradise, CASH, MontrĂŠal


Bandits cosmiques, Metropolis, Paris

32 Fingers,Program, Berlin

Le rêve du pantin, Halle Nord, Genève


Vitamin LSD, Koganecho Bazaar, Yokohama

VITAMINE LSD ou l allégorie de la caverne ビタミンエルエスディー<洞窟の寓話> Ces vives clartés que le soleil projette, comme un jugement sans indulgence sur les créatures, sur les objets - elles entrent par mes yeux ; elles m’éclairent, au-dedans par une lumière insoutenable.Trop d’éclat. Ma rétine est un prurit, cette vive démangeaison se prolongent le long du nerf optique, pour exploser en cataracte au creux des sillons qui tapissent de taupinières la surface de mon cortex.Au mur, il y a un trou blanc.Il me faut fuir.Fuir ces reflets tourbillonnaires qui m’ensablent.Creuser, crevasser le vernis illusoire du réel. Fuir. Et me replier dans le creux de mes rêves.Mais la perspective de fuite est illusoire; il n’y a pas de fin. Les anfractuosités débouchent sur un nouveau regard. L’orbite s’ouvre sur un globe blanc. Il n’y a pas d’écran sur le monde. Le monde est derrière, devant, et au-dedans. Et le monde sensible est halluciné. Il tient en réclusion mon entendement.Je ne peux plus rien faire qu’attendre la nuit.

生物に太陽の光が情け容赦なく照らされる、 モノの上にも..そして、光が私の目の中を光り照らす、 その光のな かはとてつもない耐え難い苦しみがある。凄まじい閃光によって私の網膜に深いかゆみが視神経に沿って伸び る、 白内障のごとく飛び散り、皮膚の表面の溝はモグラの巣のようにはり巡る。.....壁には白い穴が一つある...そ の穴は私を逃がそうとさせるのか...逃げ道は私に渦を巻きを映しながら塞いでいく、 エナメル状の幻想的な現 実にひびが入りそして、 うつろな夢の中に迄うねり込んでいく。逃げ道の光景は幻想であり、終わりがない。 曲 がりくねった洞穴、 くぼみ、掘って行き続けてもあとには再び新しい光景が現れる。 白い眼球の上に軌道を乗せ る...前にも後ろにもそして中にも...映画のような銀幕はこの世界にはない。 この敏感な世界は幻覚症状を起こ されてしまい、 それらは常に私の常識を監禁する。 もう私は何も出来ない、夜を待つ以外には..

«Off the wall», 10th biennale, Lyon

Dancing in paradise, Hotel dieu, Lyon (retour expo Village-Yokohama)


«The World, the Flesh and the Devil» 2009 ICCA 2nd Biennal for Young Art Moscow

Project for aTree house, Grenoble, France


ÂŤThe World, the Flesh and the DevilÂť 2011, Gallery Metropolis, Paris

Project for A Giant Robot Studio 2011, Berlin

ÂŤHoley GloryÂť

Summer 2011 Sextant et plus, la Friche Belle de Mai Marseille


ÂŤMichelle, le rat aveugle, rejoindra son roi borgneÂť 2012 Gad Gallery, Marseille/ Gallery, Tator Lyon

«The great gold rush» 2012 Chez Néon Lyon

«BOIRE Bar» With Abake and students 2012 Villa Arson, Nice

«Le Trou» 2012 Villa Bernasconi Geneva

Holey Glory, 2011 et La Chatte, 2012 Dejode&Lacombe

La Chatte, 2012 Dejode&Lacombe

Freedonia, 2012 V. Guillermin et Laurène Vernet

Black Whitehole, 2012 KLAT

Holey Glory, 2011 Dejode&Lacombe

La Danse du cerf, 2012 Remi Voche

The Great gold rush, 2012 Dejode&Lacombe

True Spirit, 2012 Needle, 2012 Harold Bouvard

Vol sans éffraction, 2012 Carl André a tué sa femme, 2012 Chris, Sera, Charlotte, 2012 Abake

Bleeding Tiger Temple, 2012 Alexandre Joli

True Spirit, 2012 Harold Bouvard

Vol sans effraction, 2012 Abake

Bleeding Tiger Temple, 2012 Alexandre Joli

Dream catcher, 2012 Q. Euverte et T. Teurlai

Form from morf, Espace de dĂŠperdition du language et SCEPTRES, 2012 Lucille Uhlrich

Form from morf, Espace de dĂŠperdition du language, 2012 Lucille Uhlrich

Elsa Lefebvre et Remi Voche, 2012

Elsa Lefebvre et Remi Voche, 2012

Elsa Lefebvre et Remi Voche, 2012

Marotte, 2012 Elsa lefebvre EGG’S, 2012 Philip Vorwald

Atelier TRSTNDBRTL, 2012 Tristan de Bartolo

Atelier TRSTNDBRTL, 2012 Tristan de Bartolo

Comme d’habitude, 2012 Thomas Teurlai

Dream box 1, 2012 J. Cejudo et M. Fages

Pot de dĂŠpart, 2012 Quentin Euverte

Freedonia, 2012 V. Guillermin et Laurène Vernet

Freedonia, 2012 V. Guillermin et Laurène Vernet

«Ulysse Pirate» PROCHAINEMENT Pont du Guard/FRAC LR


2013 Proekt Fabrika, Moscow Appartement Interface, Dijon (solo) “Ulysse pirate”, Frac and Pont du Gard, Région Languedoc- Roussillon, Montpellier (solo) “30 ans des FRAC”, Les Abattoirs, Toulouse 2012 «Le Trou», Villa Bernasconi, Le Grand Lancy, Geneva (solo) «Résidence Holey Glory», with Michaël Stauffer and Pascal Janovjak, Aude Seigne and Noëlle Revaz, Geneva. «BANG BANG», Galerie La GAD, Marseille «Welcome to Floawing land», with Ben Collet and Pierre Gaignard, Chez Néon, Lyon «Cadavre exquis épisode 2», Galerie Roger Tator, Lyon (solo) «Boire Bar» with Abäke and students, Villa Arson, Nice (solo) 2011 «Supervues», Hotel Burrhus, Vaison-la-romaine “Fais gaffe aux biches”, Maison Pieuvre, St Etienne «Lage Egal»,Lage3:20 *4, Berlin «Cadavre exquis épisode 1», La GAD, Marseille (solo) «Capsule project», Mobile institute at Kibla ,Maribor, Slovénie «Holey Glory», Sextant et plus (production), Marseille (solo) «The World, the Flesh and the Devil», Galerie Metropolis, Paris (solo) 2010 «Vis-à,vis», Enba, Lyon «Capsule project», Mobile institute at Biennale de design, Saint Etienne «Le drame de Mayerling», Galerie Metropolis, Paris «Vis-à,vis», Biennale for young art, Ncca, Moscow «Dessin aujourd’hui et demain» , Espace Kugler , Geneva 2009 «Dancing in paradise», VILLAGE NowHere, Nowhere, Somewhere, Le grand dôme, Lyon «Off the wall», 10ème biennale de Lyon  «Vitamne LSD», NowHere, Nowhere, Somewhere, Koganecho Bazaar, Yokohama «Floating land», City switch, Galerie Roger Tator at Ciac, Bucharest(solo) 2008 

“La dégelée Rabelais”, Frac Languedoc-Roussillon, Montpellier «Le rêve du pantin», Halle Nord, Geneva(solo) «32 fingers», with Philip Vormwald, Program: Initiative for Art + Architectural Collaborations, Berlin (solo) «Bandits cosmiques», Galerie Metropolis , Paris (solo) 2007  «Dancing in paradise», Centre des arts actuels Skol, Montréal(solo) 2006  «Kebab trauma», Galerie Metropolis, Paris (solo) 2004  «Kamikaze 2089», Le Confort moderne, Poitiers (solo) « Singing in paradise», Galerie Joyce Yahouda, Montréal (solo) 2003 « Floating Bowl», Attitudes - espace d’arts contemporains, Geneva (solo) «Kippen’s Burger», La Chaufferie, Strasbourg (solo) «Lee 3 Tau Ceti Central Armory Show», Villa Arson, Nice  2002  «Floating land» , Musée d’art contemporain, Galerie Metropolis and Le Néon, Lyon (solo) «Tiger land», FRAC Basse Normandie, Caen 2000  «Air Air», Grimaldi Forum, Monaco 1999 “Restau Thai”, Le Faubourg, Strasbourg (solo) RESIDENCES: 2012 ProektFabrika, Moscou 2012 Villa Arson , Nice 2010 CIAC, Bucharest 2009 Koganecho Bazaar, Yokohama 2008 Taipei artist village, Taiwan 2006 Est Nord Est, St Jean port joli, Canada 2004 Villa Arson, Nice

UNE FICTION POLITIQUE Daniel Bailly A la question d’une représentativité possible des formes de l’art contemporain correspond la multiplicité de ses réponses esthétiques, lesquelles après l’interdit classique du mélange des genres (interdit pesant à la fois sur les frontières internes à 1 ‘œuvré et à ses typologies, mais aussi sur toute tentative de débordement territorial d’une discipline sur une autre), ont plaidées en faveur d’une re-conduction des limites de l’œuvre d’art au-delà de ses frontières matérielles et culturelles. Dans ce champs élargi de l’art contemporain où la pratique interdisciplinaire et transversale opèrent un travail de déterritorïalisation, Floating land, architecture flottante micro étatique apporte une extension scientifique aux stratégies territoriales de l’art en mettant la science militaire et diplomatique a son service. «Selon le stratège, l’armement ce n’est ni le soldat, ni les moyens employés mais d’abord : la position, la disposition et la direction des forces en présence «(1)


Doter ainsi la problématique de l’armement d’une telle définition, c’est lui attribuer en premier lieu une position défensive de surveillance plutôt que les moyens d’attaque de sa mise en service offensive. Floating land dans son fonctionnement politique adopte cette position armée sur la défensive en utilisant ses frontières naturelles à la fois comme fonction stratégique et comme fiction diplomatique. Si fiction diplomatique il y a, c’est précisément dans les limites objectives de l’ile dans son insularité même qu’elle doit être trouvée, ne fonctionnant pas dans cette limitation autrement qu’une ambassade étrangère en tant qu’enceinte protégée, à l’intérieur de laquelle les lois nationales ne sont pas en vigueur. L’île devient une sorte d’enclave avec des prérogatives d’immunité et d’inviolabilité lesquelles demeurent symboliques en l’absence d’un statut juridique définitif. Floatinq land s’arroge ainsi le droit de créer du politique sur des terrains incertains (sur une incertitude juridique qui la place équivoquement dans une situation. d’infraction), davantage qu’en suivant des lignes déterminées par avance qui la transformerait d’emblée en une proposition d’obédience publique et publicitaire (c’est à dire promu au rang de satellite institutionnel de l’information). Elle est un devenir hypothétique de l’art contemporain comme exception culturelle détachée du sol de l’institution (son architecture en témoigne de manière pour le moins littérale), et c’est là sa part d’utopie proclamée qui veut établir dans l’ordre des choses son principe de réalité, parce que :» une utopie n’est pas une impossibilité mais une possibilité qui ne trouve pas de réalité «(2) (1) (2)

Paul Virilio, L’ESPACE CRITIQUE, éd Christian Bourgeois, 1984,n p 164 Robert MUSil, L’HOMME SANS QUALITE, Tome 1, éd du seuil, coll poche

Bienvenue à Floating Land Richard Leydier

Chaque nouvelle exposition est pour Sophie Dejode & Bertrand Lacombe l’occasion de développer un peu plus le projet de Floating Land : une nation indépendante et fictive qui prend corps dans une île artificielle. Après le Musée d’art contemporain de Lyon (hiver 2002) ou la Chaufferie à Strasbourg (janvier 2003), c’est Attitudes, à Genève, qui accueille aujourd’hui (du 29 août au 25 octobre) les projets surprenants des deux artistes, juste avant qu’ils ne participent à la Biennale de Lyon. Mais plus encore, l’événement, c’est sans doute le coup de sifflet qui donnera le départ de la Floating Bowl, la très attendue course de mini-motos que Dejode & Lacombe organisent à Genève en septembre (informations sur 2002 a été une année importante pour Sophie Dejode & Bertrand Lacombe, car ils ont inauguré simultanément quatre expositions dans l’agglomération lyonnaise : à Lyon au Musée d’art contemporain, à la galerie Métropolis et chez NÉON ; à Villeurbanne à la Maison de l’image, du livre et du son. Dès l’entrée du Musée d’art contemporain, on était tout de suite plongé dans l’ambiance : des sacs de sable empilés, une guérite couchée au sol, une mitrailleuse. La banque d’accueil du musée était coiffée d’une coque de béton, ce qui la transformait en bunker et les hôtesses en sentinelles. Plus loin, on tombait sur une étrange cabane de bois : sur son toit, une tondeuse à gazon renversée, camouflée en nid ; à l’intérieur, une chaise longue et un téléviseur qui diffusait un film où des Alsaciens en costume traditionnel marchaient dans les bois d’un pas menaçant sur la bicoque bucolique où Lacombe ignorait tout de ce danger imminent. La raison de cette colère ? Le dispositif installé sur le toit de l’abri se révélait un piège à cigognes : si, d’aventure, un de ces volatiles venait à s’y poser, la tondeuse se mettrait en marche, et l’oiseau serait haché menu : «C’est pas humain de nourrir ses chats avec nos cigognes !», se plaignaient les mécontents dans ce film qui rejouait le cinéma muet… Après avoir dépassé la cabane et emprunté les escaliers, on s’engageait sur un pont en bois suspendu qui traversait le musée, à dix mètres au-dessus du sol. Il fallait ensuite, afin de redescendre, se laisser glisser avec confiance dans un étroit boyau de tissu élastique que les pompiers appellent une «chaussette». Enfin, on pouvait accéder à une sorte de sous-marin de poche – en réalité une camionnette transformée en submersible –, à l’intérieur duquel un moniteur vidéo affichait l’image d’un beau coucher de soleil tropical, sans doute une récompense après toutes ces péripéties. Comme les vieillards dans ce film terrifiant qu’est Soleil vert, on pouvait enfin mourir devant une image apaisante (1). Entrez dans la magic cavern Pour ceux qui ont effectué leur service militaire, cette petite série d’exercices aura sans doute ravivé le douloureux souvenir du parcours du combattant. En fait, on a éprouvé ici le système de défense de Floating Land, une île, une nation fictive que Dejode & Lacombe ne cessent de faire évoluer depuis deux ans, au gré des projets : «Floating Land est né d’une confrontation à la pénurie immobilière actuelle, rendant problématique la création d’espaces d’exposition. S’est imposée l’idée de construire une micro-nation souveraine, indépendante de toute subordination aussi bien envers le système de l’art que la société (sans forcément refuser le principe d’échange). [Elle est] Destinée à la diffusion de créations contemporaines orientées sur des problématiques d’autogérance, de survie, de défense et de nomadisme.» Une maquette exposée au même moment à la galerie Métropolis donnait une image de ce que sera Floating Land : une île flottante presque entièrement recouverte de planches (entre le radeau de fortune et le chalet suisse), hormis un carré de pelouse et quelques bâtiments, dont un dortoir/réfectoire et une douche. Chez NÉON, on trouvait un autre aspect de la micro-nation : son sous-sol. Lorsqu’on poussait la porte du petit espace alternatif lyonnais, on s’engouffrait directement dans une sorte de tunnel aux parois de bois, comme dans les mines d’or nord-américaines. Fortement courbé, voire à quatre pattes par endroits, on suivait cette étroite galerie qui, montant, descendant, effectuant des virages, desservait plusieurs salles, comme lors d’un parcours spéléologique. D’ailleurs, sur les parois d’une de ces «chambres», les artistes avaient peint l’entrée d’une grotte en trompe-l’œil. Ce motif était apparu précédemment dans une œuvre intitulée Don’t forget your balloon : devant le seuil de la «magic cavern», on trouvait un stand avec des ballons gonflés au butagaz, et des bougies pour s’éclairer lors de la descente dans les entrailles de la terre. En toute logique, l’exiguïté des lieux aidant, le ballon devait croiser le chemin de la chandelle et…boum ! Il s’agissait bel et bien d’un piège à enfants… On aurait pu croire que le périple de la grande installation chez NÉON se serait achevé

sur une forêt de stalagmites, une prairie peuplée de dinosaures ou un lac de lave en fusion. Curieusement, on parvenait, après maintes contorsions… à un restaurant thaï en miniature où les artistes servaient des sushis aux visiteurs le soir du vernissage. Punks are not dead Vous me direz : encore une manifestation de l’esthétique relationnelle la plus canonique. Pas si sûr. Car cette idée du restaurant, les artistes l’avaient déjà jouée dans une exposition de groupe (Camping 2000, à Romans) où ils avaient creusé dans le sol un long terrier qui s’achevait sur un restaurant asiatique. Loin des festivités de la soirée du vernissage, ils avaient choisi de se terrer dans leur trou et de n’inviter à dîner que quatre hôtes triés sur le volet. Quelques mois plus tard, pour l’inauguration d’une autre exposition, le sushi bar, contre toute attente, était fermé, et une inscription invitait les visiteurs déçus à eux-mêmes se servir dans le frigo : «Non à l’esthétique conventionnelle, espace autonome bienvenue, ceci n’est pas un espace de convivialité, désolé, nous sommes fermés…» Qu’il s’agisse de ces repas qui détournent le principe cher à Rirkrit Tiravanija, ou bien qu’ils envisagent d’enflammer des enfants et de découper des cigognes en rondelles, Dejode & Lacombe mettent en place une sorte d’esthétique relationnelle pervertie. L’ambiance n’est pas à la fraternisation béate. Floating Land n’est pas une communauté beatnik ouverte à tous, mais un espace privé de création et de vie initié par un couple qui y invite qui il veut (principalement les artistes avec lesquels il désire collaborer). Dejode & Lacombe ne sont certainement pas des «néo-babs», leur approche serait plutôt punk, avec tout le cynisme et l’individualisme que cela suppose. D’ailleurs, l’inscription est présente dans chacune de leurs récentes expositions : «Punks are not dead». Cependant, à côté de ces aspects très actuels qui touchent à la théorie de l’art, aux thématiques d’autogérance et de nomadisme, c’est surtout leur inépuisable imagination et sa mise en forme qui retiennent l’attention chez Dejode & Lacombe. Il y a ici quelque chose de très enfantin dans ces parcs d’attractions pervers, dans ces passerelles de bois, ces cabanes et ces tobogans, quelque chose d’une enfance perdue, comme dans l’île de Peter Pan, le Pays du Jamais-jamais imaginé par James Matthew Barrie. L’Île et la caverne sont d’ailleurs le théâtre où les enfants s’inventent toutes sortes d’histoires et d’aventures. Ce sont aussi des archétypes qu’on peut analyser d’une manière plus psychologique : l’Île/l’individualisme et la caverne/l’Inconscient. Ainsi les deux artistes ont-ils su garder une grande place au symbolique et au merveilleux. L’expérience chez NÉON était vraiment déconcertante, car on avait la sensation de parcourir plusieurs centaines de mètres et de perdre tout repère, le corridor se repliant sur lui-même à la manière d’un intestin. C’était comme plonger dans le terrier avec le lapin blanc d’Alice au pays des merveilles. Il y a du Jules Verne chez Dejode & Lacombe, de l’Île fantastique et du Voyage au centre de la terre ; il y a un soupçon d’Adolfo Bioy Casares, du Plan d’évasion et de l’Invention de Morel dans leur mystère insulaire ; enfin, on distingue également du Raymond Roussel, du Locus Solus et des Impressions d’Afrique dans leur inventivité, dans leur capacité à injecter du merveilleux et de l’inattendu, par exemple en allant installer un sushi bar à quelques mètres sous terre. Le burger alsacien Leur plus récent restaurant est le Kippen’s Burger, il a été exposé cet hiver à la Chaufferie, à Strasbourg : c’est un hommage bien sûr à Martin Kippenberger, idole du couple et oncle fantasmé de Bertrand ; aussi, «Kippen» signifie en flamand «poulet», et c’est ce qui est censé garnir les hamburgers préparés dans cette guinguette installée dans un container de transport maritime (2). Or, la viande, en réalité, provient directement de la tondeuse fixée sur le toit de la cabane, c’est-à-dire des cigognes qui ont eu l’imprudence d’y faire une pause. Infliger cela au public strasbourgeois, ça n’est quand même pas très correct. D’autant que certaines populations d’Afrique, où les oiseaux migrent chaque hiver, apprécient particulièrement la chair très fine des cigognes ; c’est pourquoi les Alsaciens font tout leur possible pour retenir les précieux volatiles et éviter ainsi le génocide, allant jusqu’à les gaver de grenouilles d’élevage. Et voilà qu’on vient leur saper le travail, qui plus est chez eux ! Le Kippen’s Burger sera le restaurant officiel de la Floating Bowl, course de motos miniatures qui se tiendra à Genève en septembre : les participants sont des artistes choisis par Dejode & Lacombe (3). Chacun customisera son véhicule et son casque. L’enjeu de la course est le suivant : le vainqueur sera nommé «meilleur artiste». Après tout, c’est un critère comme un autre. Ces petites motos s’avérant peu maniables, le couple a eu le temps de s’entraîner longuement. Eux, donc, sont prêts. Mais les autres ? Sophie Dejode, avec un

sourire, confesse : «Ça va être un massacre !» (1) Vidéo réalisée par Arnaud Maguet. (2) Le container métallique devient un module chez les deux artistes qui projettent de construire, en marge de la Biennale de Lyon, un château fort, et ce à l’aide de huit containers (quatre couchés pour les remparts, et quatre dressés pour les tours). Ce château fort est sans doute la première manifestation d’une volonté expansionniste de Floating Land, car les artistes désirent ainsi «coloniser» peu à peu certains lieux d’art contemporain en Europe en y construisant à chaque fois un château, à la manière des Vikings qui marquaient ainsi leur territoire lorsqu’ils remontaient les fleuves. Cette manière de «jouer à la guerre» évoque aussi bien sûr les jeux vidéos de stratégie comme Heroes. (3) Participent à la Floating Bowl : le Gentil Garçon, Jean-Xavier Renaud, Bruno Peinado, Virginie Barré, Lang/Baumann, Petra Mrzyk et Jean-François Moriceau, Niels Trannois, Sophie Bueno, Olivier Millagou, Arnaud Maguet, Aïcha Hamu, Jean-Luc Verna, Xavier Chevalier, Thierry Xavier, Stéphane Magnin, Naoko Okamoto et Shingo Yoshida.

Kamikaze 2089 Yan Chavalier

76 ans après le premier Grand Prix Inter Artistes de Mini-Motos qui s’est déroulé à Genève, (Floating bowl 03), Floating Land, micro nation souveraine, s’est transformée en état policier, sous la coupe d’un corps de police un peu dilettante, prêt à tous les abus de pouvoir pour obtenir quelques satisfactions personnelles. Floating Land est paisible, hors du monde, mais nous sentons bien que tout peut basculer. Le circuit qui contourne l’exposition est désert, les motos sont là et la police n’a qu’un œil discret sur les petits bolides. Tous les ingrédients sont réunis pour un raid extrême autour d’une foule assoiffée de sang et de héros et nous savons que tous les coups sont permis pour emporter le trophée de la course mythique. Kamikaze 1989 Le titre de l’exposition est un emprunt à Kamikaze 1989, un film allemand de seconde zone avec Fassbinder dans le rôle principal. Il y campe un policier incorruptible, en costume léopard et Mercedes assortie, qui lutte sans répit contre le divertissement spectaculaire qui aliène, par le canal TV, une bonne partie de la population. Ses méthodes viriles et peu conventionnelles en font une figure archétypale de l’anti-héros solitaire et incompris. La voiture et certains éléments graphiques qui distinguent la police floating-landaise sont en référence directe à l’univers kitsch et rétro-futuriste du film. Floating Land Chaque nouvelle exposition permet à Sophie Dejode et Bertrand Lacombe de développer un peu plus la construction de Floating Land, résidence d’artistes autogérée et utopie appliquée au service de la création contemporaine. Après plusieurs évènements fondateurs, les deux artistes réunissent pour l’exposition une première base aboutie du projet. Kamikaze 2089 regroupe des développements de réalisations antérieures, augmentées de nouvelles productions. L’exposition se construit sur le modèle d’un camp retranché, grillagé, composé de conteneurs marins surélevés et habillés, d’amas de bois dessinant d’hypothétiques bicoques, d’un module spatial, de gradins colorés, de robots menaçants et de curieux engins motorisés : une Mercedes gonflée et armée, des mini-motos transformées. Cet étrange parc semble promettre bonheur et amusement, les formes sont séduisantes, les couleurs aguichantes, mais l’îlot n’est pas accessible immédiatement. Il paraît verrouillé, impraticable. Une seule entrée est possible et pour accéder aux pièces, il faut déjouer les pièges que constitue le réseau de grillage qui contourne et enserre chacune des œuvres. Le parcours emprunte à la figure du labyrinthe, avec ses fausses pistes, ses voies sans issue ; il tient également du parcours militaire, car une fois l’entrée trouvée, la circulation s’avère rapidement autoritaire, difficile et peu ergonomique. Le Kippen’s Burger, restaurant officiel de Floating Land prend une nouvelle dimension avec l’adjonction d’un conteneur supplémentaire. Il se déploie sur plus de 16m de long et repose à 1,8m du sol. Une cuve transformée en cuisine s’ouvre par des fenêtres/passe-plats sur deux conteneurs. L’ensemble forme un complexe de restauration avec deux salles possibles. Lang et Baumann, jeunes artistes suisses, ont designé un environnement total pour le premier : un salon aux courbes arrondies qui emprunte autant au minimalisme qu’au design italien des années 60. Dans le second, Le Gentil Garçon propose une nouvelle pièce, peuplée de fantômes et d’un os surdimensionné.

La montagne est une des pièces fondatrices de l’environnement du couple. Bois brut, planchettes et bois de coffrage forment un amoncellement entre le terrier et le chalet suisse. Une entrée étroite permet d’accéder à un tunnel, qui nous emmène après diverses contorsions dans une petite salle de restauration japonaise puis dans une chambre au confort très montagnard. Une résidence d’artistes Le couple invite systématiquement d’autres artistes à collaborer à ses expositions. Le Gentil Garçon dessine un des conteneurs tandis que Roll’ywood est une collaboration avec le Collectif 1.0.3. Une structure de 9,7 m de long et de 1,8 m de haut forme un tube qui rappelle les modules lunaires des récits de science-fiction. La structure accueille dix moniteurs vidéo alignés qui présentent un défilement rotatif d’images tirées des archives de montage et production d’œuvres de Sophie et Bertrand. Des combinaisons aléatoires d’images se figent sur les écrans selon un rythme établi: «Le terme« rotatif et collaboratif » que nous associons à certains de nos travaux correspond à une expérimentation de ce qu’est le participatif, via des dispositifs de circulation de documentations.» Autre collaboration, au pied d’un des gradins, nous trouvons un espace de repos dessiné par Emilie Maltaverne et Stéphane Magnin. Un chill-out qui permettra à ceux qui ont réussi à l’atteindre de goûter à un repos collectif bien mérité dans un environnement coloré. Shingo Yoshida présente une drôle de moto, transformée en roue unique à l’intérieur de laquelle se place le pilote. Cédric Tanguy joue les commentateurs sportifs glam et survolté pour nous faire vibrer pendant la course. Enfin Arnaud Maguet a produit une bande son originale qui est diffusée dans l’exposition. Floating Bowl Le premier Grand Prix Inter-Artistes de Mini-Motos organisé par Sophie et Bertrand s’est déroulé à Genève en 2003. L’épreuve fonctionne comme une compétition de sports mécaniques. Dix pilotes, tous artistes, s’affrontent sur une piste sinueuse contournant les œuvres et les spectateurs pour remporter le trophée du meilleur artiste. Le choix des pilotes est confié à cinq personnes qui jouent le rôle de commissaire de course, jury et team manager. Ils sont critiques d’art, journalistes ou directeurs d’institutions et agissent comme commissaire sur l’exposition, en sélectionnant des artistes, en activant des rencontres et en permettant le croisement de réseaux artistiques. La compétition sportive propose un modèle caricatural de la concurrence qui anime le microcosme de l’art contemporain. Il n’y a pas de règles pour cette course, tous les coups sont permis pour arriver le premier. L’univers de la course automobile donne également aux artistes un réservoir visuel très riche et immédiatement identifiable. Les motos sont customisées, des feux de signalisation indiquent le départ de la course, chaque coureur arbore une panoplie et défend une des dix couleurs qui compose le logotype de Floating Bowl. Blousons, casques, patchs sont produits spécialement pour l’exposition et constitueront autant d’œuvres réparties dans l’espace d’exposition par la suite. Deux gradins qui se répondent de part et d’autre de l’exposition sont dos à la course et aménagent un nouveau point de vue sur les œuvres. Welcome to Suicide Club L’univers référentiel de Dejode et Lacombe est constitué de jeux vidéos et d’ordinateurs, de séries B et de grand cinéma, de science-fiction et de littérature classique, d’art et de skate….Encore une manifestation d’un art cool et pop, une application sans invention des préceptes de l’esthétique relationnelle ? Non, la relation proposée au spectateur est piègieuse et le parc est bien plus pervers et cynique que ce qu’il laisse entrevoir au premier regard. Ce qui retient l’attention chez eux, c’est l’inépuisable

imagination et sa mise en forme doublée d’une formidable énergie qui rend tout possible, même déplacer des montagnes.

« Il y a quelque chose de très enfantin dans ces parcs d’attractions pervers, dans ces passerelles de bois, ces cabanes et ces toboggans, quelque chose d’une enfance perdue, comme dans l’île de Peter Pan, le pays du jamais-jamais imaginé par James Matthew Barrie. L’Ile et la caverne sont d’ailleurs le théâtre où les enfants s’inventent toutes sortes d’histoires et d’aventures. Ce sont aussi des archétypes qu’on peut analyser d’une manière plus psychologique : l’île/individualisme et la caverne/l’inconscient. » - Richard Leydier in Art Press été 2003

«Floating Bowl» Appel à candidature « Le grand théâtre de l’Oklahoma vous appelle ! ( ... ) Vous êtes tous bienvenus ! Que celui qui veut devenir artiste lève la main ! Nous sommes le théâtre qui a besoin de tout le monde, chacun à sa place « («Amerika «, Franz Kafka).

« Floating Land «- micro-état nomade, lieu de coproduction artistique destiné à se monter en réseau, fiction politique qui signe son insularité parmi le vaste champ de la création contemporaine et, prétexte au fantasme avec pour objectif d’offrir un territoire, une réalité à l’utopie - accueillera très prochainement le premier championnat inter-artiste de mini-motos : la « Floating Bowl «. Les compétiteurs se disputeront le titre du meilleur artiste. La scène du jeu sera ainsi le lieu de transfert des rivalités tacites qui animent le microcosme de l’art contemporain. L’envergure de cette exposition collective sera celle d’un véritable show à l’américaine : chapiteau, gradins encastrés dans la montagne de l’île, télédiffusion avec rediffusion de la course, commentateurs sportifs, stands de vente de produits artistiques dérivés, restaurant trendy (le « Kippen’s Burger «), caravanes customisées pour accueillir les artistes compétiteurs... La course se déroulera à l’intérieur même de notre paysage créatif. La piste traversera nos œuvres et celles des artistes invités qui, pour l’occasion, seront amalgamées de sorte qu’elles aient la densité d’une «ville jouet, caprice d’enfant gâté. « Si l’exposition « Floating Land « (Musée d’Art Contemporain de Lyon) nous a permis de poser les décors et les fondements du projet interactif, « Floating Bowl « est son aboutissement parce qu’il permettra sa mise en application par la constitution d’un réseau d’artistes collaborant à la réalisation de l’utopie.

«Régimes iconoclastes » Laurence Pérrillat À la crise de la représentation de l’art contemporain, Sophie Dejode et Bertrand Lacombe proposent aujourd’hui de répondre par l’art de la restauration. Au delà des tendances actuelles du fooding, les restaurants thaï, fugu bars et Kippen’s Burgers conçus par Sophie Dejode et Bertrand Lacombe cherchent depuis plusieurs années à mener l’art contemporain sur le terrain d’une convivialité ambiguë ancrée dans une recherche de physicalité des espaces et des protocoles d’échange. Terrorisme alimentaire Dans les restaurants construits au cœur de leurs vastes installations, l’acte de manger est tout sauf anodin et quotidien. Les menus, derrière leur apparente banalité, sont en réalité les agents idéologiques et fictionnels de l’appareil artistique conçu par Sophie Dejode et Bertrand Lacombe. Dans leurs espaces, le fait de manger engage alors une témérité ambiguë et une responsabilité inhabituelle. Quelle attitude adopter lorsque les artistes nous proposent dans leur Fugu Bar de consommer des sushi à base de fugu, poisson dont la consommation est toxique ? Comment réagir face à la proposition d’un vulgaire burger renfermant un steak de cigogne sur la terre même où elles sont vénérées en tant que symbole d’unité régionale ? Après un moment de doute, on ne peut croire à la véracité de ces aliments. Mais une fois admis l’aspect fictionnel concernant le contenu des aliments, le malaise demeure. Ne sommes-nous pas totalement vulnérables face à ce que nous avalons, ne nous a-t-on pas appris qu’ingurgiter un aliment de provenance inconnue était potentiellement dangereux ? Absorber un poison, même fictif c’est absorber du poison tout de même. Et le fait de vouloir nous empoisonner ne revient-il pas en quelques sortes à le faire réellement ? Cette attitude prône volontairement l’opacité et génère le doute à l’ère de l’hystérie alimentaire. Au-delà du danger pour mon corps, le simple fait de consentir à avaler de la viande de cigogne, la chair même d’un emblème régional, de surcroît dans la ville de Strasbourg, revient à consentir au sacrifice du symbolique et à prêcher un iconoclasme radical et un rejet des valeurs nationalistes. Or dans un paradoxe apparent, les différents projets de Sophie Dejode et Bertrand Lacombe se situent dans une volonté de délimiter et bâtir des territoires, de Floating Land aux Kippen’s Burgers actuels, et de renforcer ceuxci d’une forte identité visuelle, d’une iconographie territoriale, comme en possèdent les régions cherchant à faire valoir leurs particularités (ou supériorités) locales. Les burgers de cigognes permettent de tuer symboliquement les tendances régionalistes actuelles dans le dessein de les remplacer par un nouveau type de micro-structure politique indépendante et au-delà des lois. Les emblèmes allégoriques sont ainsi rejetés au profit de la mise en place d’une utopie et d’une fiction. Kippen’s Burger nous transporte ainsi dans une position ambiguë entre un héroïsme alimentaire et un terrorisme passif et consentant. Une convivialité trouble et inquiétante Qu’en est-il alors du protocole d’échange entre les artistes et leur public ? Les différents espaces conçus par Sophie Dejode et Bertrand Lacombe sont des zones de mobilité physique et de participation. Mais la confrontation physique est double. Au terme d’un parcours plus ou moins encombré, la présence du restaurant nous engage dans un processus d’introspection très rare dans les pratiques contemporaines, puisque cette présence nous invite à nous demander si l’on désire ou non manger. Peu d’artistes aujourd’hui construisent de tels espaces de mise à l’épreuve de notre propre corps, de tels espaces de questionnement sur ses besoins et ses désirs.

Certes les constructions matérielles et sociales de Sophie Dejode et Bertrand Lacombe se situent dans la lignée de l’esthétique relationnelle, mais les deux artistes vont beaucoup plus loin que la plupart des artistes inscrits dans ce mouvement. D’une part, la convivialité de leurs espaces est férocement ambiguë, altérée par des aménagements bruts. D’autre part, le fonctionnement des installations est dépendant de la présence des artistes qui assignent aux lieux leur assiduité pendant toute la durée de l’exposition. Cette présence renforce l’ambiguïté du rapport à l’œuvre, les artistes en étant les éléments constitutifs, nous regardant autant que nous les regardons. Ainsi, l’appareil artistique de Sophie Dejode et Bertrand Lacombe, tout en évacuant la dimension contemplative associée à l’art, introduit une dimension participative et un protocole d’échange risqué et engagé dans le sens de la construction de territoires éminemment physiques.