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Cover photo: Still Stands, detail, 2016


Index Texts P2......Notes on a long Garden Leave- text by S. Wong P3....................Wohlfühlgeschäftsverkehr by D. Marinier P12................................................Interview extract, 2012 Works P4........................................................................The Men P8.........................................Lieblos Zusammengepresst P10.........................................................Accueil-Securité P13........................................................................untilted P14........................................Extended Abilities (project) P16..................................................................Still Stands P18 ....................................................................Offshored P19.....................................................................The Hitch P20.............................................................................Tanz P22............................................................Absurd Spaces P26..................................................................Angenagelt P27......................................................................Solarium P28............................................Was Kann Ich Für Sie Tun P29................................................................Perspektiven P30.....................................................................Timelines P32..............................................................Betriebsferien P33.....................................The Plane-crashs Monument P34...........................................20 Tableaux Inestimables P36...........................................................Legal Mentions P40....La société du spectacle- copy on the original itself P42..............................................................Erinnerungen P43........................................................................Back Of P44.................................................Implantation: BERLIN P46............................................................Taphonomy (II) P48 ...............................................................................CV

Photo: Still Stands, detail


Notes on a Long Garden Leave: The Work of Nicolas Manenti Sunshine Wong 

Leaving a job may not mean that all ties with your company are neatly severed. To ensure confidentiality of company information, you can be subjected to a paid but workless period upon resigning, a so-called «garden leave» during which you are only an employee by contract but do not render any services. Berlin-based French artist Nicolas Manenti worked the graveyard shift as a security guard, as if he were put on perpetual garden leave: a member of staff only nominally, without the opportunity to produce anything. To be in a place depleted of activity with only the traces of absent colleagues (empty chairs, mute telephones, tea-stained mugs) as company, Manenti began to perfect the art of killing time. Dressed in a clerk’s uniform of shirt and tie, he reclines on desks in seductive poses, answers a phone that never rings, and stomps down the fluorescent-lit hallway like a supermodel.

In a fell swoop of light, ironic gestures, he transforms the office – ordinarily regulated by hierarchy and constant performance anxieties exerted from the top down – into a parody of itself. Extending beyond the camp interpretations of our modern day work environs, Manenti also delves into labour as such, personally undergoing mindnumbing, repetitious activity as a method of contemplation. Company holidays stamped chronologically on an endless roll of fax paper (Betriebsferien, 2011) clearly hearkens to On Kawara’s iconic devotion to timekeeping. Where his grave statements of date and time betray Kawara’s concession to their exactitude, the stamped durations in Manenti’s piece are, despite his best efforts, prone to error, undermining the idea of precision by its very attempt. Similarly, Guy Debord’s La Société du Spectacle – a seminal text on mass media and the death of authenticity – is copied over by hand, reducing it to an illegible replica of itself (La société du spectacle copied over itself, 2008 - 2010). In it, he foretold the dominance of images and reproductions over the real. Representations would flourish, much like how the three office plants of Angenagelt (2008) is a cruel attempt to flatten and reduce reality. This is an artistic process that both relies upon and subjugates reality, a tension that reappears in many of Manenti’s installation pieces.

Les Interludes, 2001

The tragicomic white-collar antihero emerges for the first time in the video shorts, Interludes (2001 – 2002): «It’s what makes Clark Kent, Clark Kent. Not Superman,» Manenti insists. The bureaucentric vein has since become a staple his work, with an ever expanding cast of characters. Each of the 9-to-5ers in the Save our Jobs composites (2008 - ongoing) have been resketched by hand from stock photos and re-imagined in absurd or perverse professional situations.

Perspektiven (2007) shows a conference room in disarray, with every piece of furniture in a useless state: a legless chair, a teetering table with papers spilling onto the floor, and a flipchart used as a virtual dartboard for markers. The usual components found in a workspace are present but amok, believable but irrational. Summarising Manenti’s practice was never going to be a simple task. His work could be mistaken for being an easy punchline attacking our workaholic sensibilities when in fact it offers a layered, dialectical critique on social order. Parrying our perceptions on greatness, authenticity, and industriousness with wit, the joke’s ultimately on us.

*Sunshine Wong ( 1976, Honk-Hong, lives and works in Sheffield/UK) is an independent curator and art critic. (http://muiji.com)

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Wohlfühlgeschäftsverkehr Delphine Marinier

Nicolas Manenti’s works confront us with the paradoxes of modern working environment. Integrating an aesthetic and humorous approach, he critically deals with the highly hierarchical and repressive control agents of bureaucratic work institutions and spaces, which are characteristic for the neoliberal information society.

in the 60s: “In societies where modern conditions of production prevail, all of life presents itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was directly lived has moved away into a representation.” (Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle, 1967). Manenti´s artificial arrangement of the work world and everyday human relationships reminds us of Baudrillard’s anti-media theory of the simulacrum: the images of reality circulating in modern mass media become more important and powerful than reality itself.

Recurrent everyday objects, such as office plants, desk lamps or images of employees of the month taken from the Internet, appear frequently in his works and establish the absurd and artificial orchestration of the office world. Winners of this pointless, but globalized and standardized universe are revealed as being the losers of modern competitive society. The result is a culturally pessimistic view of reality that Debord already defined

Manenti plays with both the underlying strength and unilateral power of imagery and the cultural standardization it creates, which announces the end of the history of our more and more immaterial societies.

SHIFTS, exhibition view, April 2015 (photography: Marjorie Brunet-Vidit Studio)

*Delphine Marinier ( 1976, France, lives and works in Berlin/D) is an independent curator , co-director of Stattberlin Art Space. )

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Inside the Drawer

Drawing is the base of Nicolas Manenti´s artistic practice: nearly everything starts in a sketchbook. Since the beginning, series of large figurative works have been produced: mainly realized with media found illustration than art, such as marker or lacker paint, they explore the boundaries between photography, illustration, and even painting: drawn on glossy offset paper, Accueil SecuritÊ and Lieblos zusammengepresst take the apparence of posters, while The Men presents an ensemble or portraits as if they were sculptures.

Sketchbook page used for The Men, 2016 marker and pen on paper 29,7x21cm

The Men, 2016-2017 series of drawings, marker and pen on paper 39x54cm each The Men are composite images of men of a seemingly high social status. The suit is the main element of the series: encasting the figures, breaking perspectives and proportions, it creates grotesque sceneries.

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Lieblos Zusammengepresst, 2012-2015 series of drawings, marker, lack and pen on paper variable dimensions (from 60x30cm to 110x80cm)

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Accueil Securite, 2007-2009 series of 15 drawings, marker on paper 60x80cm each

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Accueil Securite reproduces press photographies of articles about security or crime. Some personal images, taken when the artist was a security agent, are added to the series.


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Anti-heroes in spaces

I am quite interested in the meaning of archetyps in what we call a “westernized” society and the values they tend to convey, such as competition, employment, profitability, standardisation. But i also look on the sides, at the absurdities we can find inside this heroic image: idleness and boredom, anomy, obsessions. My first works were absurd actions done at a workplace i had in france: I was a night watchman there, with basically doing nothing, in empty rooms i didn´t belong to. I felt like a sort of anti-hero, in a dialectical situation: being there and not belonging to the workplace, when nobody present, being a potential “hero” – the chefs told us we should be called “security agents” rather than “night watchmen”- but we had nothing to do, just waiting in case of... There was a big difference between the image and the everyday reality which we try to mold into our expectation. This creates a sort of frustrating tension, which is now the motor of many of my works.

For example, “The Hitch”, which i created while in Residency at the Seoul Art Space Geumcheon deals with two kinds of “heroic” figures, let´s call them the martial artist and the businessman. But the video is a kind of absurd running gag: you follow a man walking until another person ( each time the same) takes him down with an hapkido move. both characters then continue their path until the next move. I removed every spectacular aspects: in most of the looped 29min video you see the man just walking, you expect a kind of event, until the second performer comes. But even there, the move itself creates a frustration by its briefness and its meaninglessness, and because each character aren´t affected by it. But despite this, some spectators told me they enjoyed watching the Hitch, because their attention began to focus on the background, in every small events occuring in the street while i performed. It´s a very important thing for me: these spectators somehow escaped the pressure of their expectations to win a kind of freedom in their watching.

Nicolas Manenti, Interview at Seoul Art Space Geumcheon, August 2012

Untilted, 2010 Digitalprint on Airtex magic B1 (330g/m²) Unique copy, 285x190cm (Photography: Marjorie Brunet)

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Extended Abilities (project) 2017 Videoperformance, wood, metal 70x200x20cm Extended Abilities is a performative project in which the performer wanders in the streets of Daejeon, carrying a prop made of office furniture: a set of giant, useless wing-like arms.

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Sketches for Extended Abilities, 2017 watercolor and pencil on paper 10x15cm

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Still Stands (I) 2016 Digital print, 4 pictures 39x18 to 39x65cm unique pieces

Still Stands (II) 2016 Digital print, 3 pictures 40x60cm each unique pieces (Photography: Maria Vazquez-Castel ) Still Stands I and II are two separate photographic works made in a single shooting, during an unreleased video performance. The locations are abandoned shops in Busan in their original state.

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Offshored, 2015 Video HDV, looped 11:00min Camera: Ece Yildirim

Offshored is a videoperformance filmed in Incheon, South Korea. A character, dressed as an office worker, carries a table through the streets, in an endless search for a place to «stay»... Offshored on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJBseIefzwM

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The Hitch, 2012 Digital Videoprojection, looped 29:08min Camera: Michael Harvey The Hitch is a looped performance video, shot in Yeouido, the business district of Seoul. A man walking in the street is continuously being struck down without resistance by another performer, who practices Hapkido.

The video´s repetitive and unspectacular staging, frustrating the viewer´s climax expectations, is an ironic contradiction to the traditionally heroic businessman and martial artist characters. With the kind help of Sangmukwan International training Center Ko Se-Hwang and Kim Chan Su. The Hitch on Youtube (extract): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVYtu0NkKcU

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Tanz, 2013 serie of 3 silkscreen and marker on paper 150g/qm, edition von 20+3 A.E each 70x 50 cm Prints: Adeline Meillez

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Tanz is an ensemble of 3 images made for an exhibition project of Yujin Lee, Connecting the Dots, that brings together 2 writers, 2 musicians, 3 dancers and 10 visual artists in a creation chain. After becoming the dance video of Liza AlpĂ­zar Aguilar (without the music which inspired it) i realized Tanz, where i mimic her poses in a parodic manner.


Absurd Spaces, 2014-2016 series of 220 drawings, marker, pencil on paper 14, 5 x 10cm Absurd Spaces is a large ensemble of drawings from two sketchbooks: the principle is to imagine nonsensical installations of office furniture.

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Angenagelt, 2008-2010 plants, pins. variable dimensions

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Real plants were methodically pinned to the wall with white paper pins, leaf by leaf, disembodying them into an absurd fresco.


Solarium, 2008 metal, wood, plastic ca.160x100x110cm

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Was Kann Ich FĂźr Sie Tun, 2009 inkjetprint on Post-its, Ventilators, variable dimensions. Was kann ich fĂźr sie tun deals with the idealized image of women in corporate world. A very large amount of

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call-center girls and businesswomen photos, produced to illustrate various articles or ads in corporate websites, are collected, printed on post-it notes and pasted all over the walls while two ventilators blow in different directions from the middle of the room.


Perspektiven, 2007-2009 table, paperboard, prints, video DV Pal 5min (loop), variable dimensions In the video, markers are thrown continuously on a white sheet like darts and hit the paper with a violent sound.

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Timelines, series of works, 2001- present stamp on fax paper roll Various dimensions ( pictured: Timeline (1977-1988), detail, 2003 ) 21x 300cm

the workplace, including date-stamps which he used to parody conceptual artists of the 1960´s such as On Kawara or Roman Opalka, in a «bureaucratic» reenactment: unlike On Kawara´s works, the dates do not reflect the artist´s lifetime, but the validity of the stamp he uses, which is often limited to 12 years.

Timelines is one of the first series of works Nicolas Manenti created: working as a night-guard, he began fighting boredom by using the material he found on

Over the years, Manenti collected different models of stamps, some dating back to the 1930´s, and some special formats, like the one used in Betriebsferien.

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Timeline (1995-2006), 2011 stamp on fax paper roll 21x3500cm

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Timeline: Betriebsferien (94-05), 2011-unfinished chop on fax paper 4000 x 30 cm (May 2011) The stamp used in Betriebsferien prints time intervals (in a ÂŤfrom dd/mm/ to dd/mm/yyÂť format ).

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The listing process of all the possible time intervals would produce a ridiculously long roll of about 5 km. The work is left unfinished.


Plane-crashs monument 2003-2008 ink on Notepad paper 9x9cm, variable height Each note paper is marked with a date and in chronological order, like a calendar.

When a plane crash happened on the written day, a picture of the wreckage is printed on the corresponding sheet. Seeing the picture is possible and puts the work at risk of collapsing.

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20 tableaux inestimables, 2014 Digital prints on Hahnemühle Bamboo 290g/m² 20 images, 24x30 cm This work reproduces an annotated photo from the French newspaper Le Monde, showing a billionnaire whose «20 priceless tableaux» has been stolen.

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The photo is repeated 20 times, each time with different date and place, which refers to historical events such as riots, wars, or assassinations.four examples of the prints- the texts in french reads: «Esther Koplowitz has been stolen of 20 priceless tableaux on ( day ) at (place)».


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Labourious laziness

Many authors, in litterature and Philosophy, questioned the sense of labour in modern society: in their essays, poems, or novels they celebrate idleness as a mean of resistance against the moral of work: they are as diverse as Bertrand Russel, Paul Lafargue, Lessing... Legal Mentions is an hommage to idleness taking the form of a happening: Beforehand, an extract of the enployment law texts of the country in which Legal Mentions is pasted on the exhibition wall. During the process, the participants have to write citations about laziness using the letters taken from the law. To form their words, they must dismantle the paragraphs until they can´t find any usable letter. Legal Mentions is a paradoxical project in which idleness is praised by a long and labourious process: however, the work can turn into a game as soon as letters disappear, forcing the participants to craft letters by tortuous means: using an upside-down «h» to form a «y», or building a «d» with a «c» and a «l»....

Study for Legal Mentions, 2013 cut-out and collage on paper, framed diptych 24x18cm each

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Legal Mentions (german version), April 2015 Installation in situ, Adhesive text on wall 2-days happening, installation: variable dimensions (exhibition view, before and after event.)

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Legal Mentions (korean version) November 2015 Installation in situ, Adhesive text on wall happening, installation: variable dimensions

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The self-destructive copy

Copy is usually a mean of conservation , but in some of Nicolas Manenti´s artworks, originals are degraded in the process of making imperfect duplicates, with agressive methods: overwritting the same spot with different document, (Implantation series), using too large pens or ink spreading through paper (Erinnerungen, Back Of) or more recently, by the use of metal points to engrave texts, letter by letter, on the surface beneath. ( Taphonomy series ) The randomly overlapped texts become unreadable: details are lost, but a generic picture subsists, in which we can see the marks of its nature: the signs of a map, the forms of an official document: what remains is a picture, the portrait of the transcripted documents, but also a testimony of the long, absurd work hours the copist imposed himself.

La société du spectacle- copy on the original itself, 2008-2010 marker on printed book 18x11x1,5cm, 212 pages Right Page: La société du spectacle- copy(...), scan published in BOOK, Lendroit ed., 2008 Guy Debord´s text is re-written by hand on one exemplar of the book itself, causing the ink to leak through the pages.

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Erinnerungen, 2007 – ongoing serie of drawings: marker on paper towels, 40 x 40 cm each. Unpaid bills, dismissal letters and other «undesirable» papers are copied with markers on paper towels. The German word „Erinnerung“ means both remembrance and admonition.

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Back Of, 2015 edition von 15 + 4 A.E signed and numbered 31,5x21cm bound on the top Back Of is a collection of invoices used in the work Erinnerungen (2007-2010), a serie of drawings made by copy with permanent markers. The ink penetrated into the paper and stained the back of the pages, which are reproduced here in the form of a facsimile portfolio.

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Implantation Berlin: work documents, 2011

Implantation: BERLIN, 2012 wood, metal, carbon paper transfer on table, 150 x 100 x 80 cm The principe of Implantation is to randomly copy different historical plans of the same city, using carbon paper, on the same ground.

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«The French term „implantation» means colony or settlement. Its temporal component becomes obvious by the layering of the plans. (...) In the centre, the carbon copies accumulate into an agglomeration, which seems to render the traces of human settlements.» (...) Claudia Schönefeld, extract from: Schwerinblicke, Künstlersichten, exhibition catalogue.


Taphonomy ( II ), 2015 Korean immigration law carved on melamine, wood 70x60x80 cm In Taphonomy, the pages of a document is randomly engraved with a metal point on a wood table.

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Taphonomy - from the Greek taphos, meaning burial, and nomos, meaning law- refers to the study of accumulation processes and preservation of fossilized remains.


Nicolas MANENTI *19.August1980 in Albertville, France. Lives and works in Berlin, Germany.

Solo exhibitions

Selected group exhibitions

2015 Suit-Tie Wanderer, Cyart Gallery, Seoul/ROK Legal Mentions, IAP, Incheon/ROK SHIFTS, Meinblau, Berlin/D 2012 Black Monday, Cyart Gallery, Seoul/ROK Wohlfuhlgeschäftsverkehr, Stattberlin, Berlin/D 2009 Was kann ich für sie Tun, FMAB Galerie, Berlin/D Solarium, AFThotwt..., Berlin/D 2007 Galerie Artport, Kolonie Wedding, Berlin Langjh. Unerfahrenheit, Atelier Seinfeld, Berlin/D 2006 Lange Weilen, Galerie Cat Food, Berlin/D

2016 All Times And Places, ICC, Iksan/ROK The Final Cuts, Art District_P, Busan/ROK Crosswords 3, Lage Egal, Berlin/D IAP year-end exhibition, IAP, Incheon/ROK 2015 Non Parallel Evolution (…), IAP, Incheon/ROK #TABS Bookstore, Lage Egal, Berlin/D 2014 Drawing Show II, Leroy Niemann New York/USA In diesen Themen(...), Atelier Fichtestr.3, Berlin/D Connecting Dots. aquabitArt Gallery, Berlin/D 2013 #Cluster, Galerie Thomas Crämer, Berlin 2012 The Road Not Taken, Lage_Egal, Berlin/D Nervus Rerum, Galerie Thomas Crämer, Berlin/D Continuous Art, (...) SASG, Seoul/ROK Millefeuilles, Institut Francais, Berlin/D 2011 Prospektive, Galerie Thomas Craemer, Berlin/D Why we walk, 91mq, Berlin/D 2010 5e Panorama de la jeune création, Bourges/F Schwerinblicke, Staatl. Museum, Schwerin/D. 2009 Ma valise à Berlin, Institut Francais, Berlin/D Ich komme später, 91mQ, Berlin/D 25P, Niagara, New York/USA XIVth BJCEM Biennale, Skopje, MK. 2008 Missverständnisse, Communicat. Mus. Franfurt/D Die Zahl, Der Zufall, Das Spiel, Kunstv. Rügen/D No Admittance (...) Gal. Tmp. Deluxe, Berlin/D Anyway the wind blows, Galerie Artport, Berlin/D

Residencies and awards 2017 2016 2015 2012

TEMI Residency, Daejeon/ROK Art District_P, Busan/ROK Incheon Art Platform (IAP), Incheon/ROK Seoul Art Space Geumcheon, Seoul/ROK

Curatorial projects (colaborations) 2011 2010 2008 2006

Why we walk, 91mq, Berlin/D Das Schönste im Leben, Pilotenküche, Leipzig/D Anyway the wind blows, Galerie Artport, Berlin/D Switch on the light(...), GDK,Berlin/D

Collections

Selected publications

2017 Space Beam, Incheon/ROK 2010 Staatliches Museum, Schwerin/D.

2011 Dans l´ordre, in Dégradés, Ed. 36 du mois, Lyon/F 2008 S. du Spectacle(...), in BOOK, Ed.Lendroit, Rennes/F

http://nicolasmanenti.blogspot.com

Tel Germany:+49176 8465 3598 / Mail: nicolasmanenti@yahoo.de

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Š Nicolas Manenti 2017

NICOLAS MANENTI  

Nicolas Manenti´s Works updated 2017

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