MAC/VAL is opened every day of the week, except on mondays:
tuesday to friday, 10 h to 18 h
week-ends and holidays, 12 h to 19 h.

Closed on january 1st, may 1st and december 25th.

phone: 01 43 91 64 20
fax: 01 79 86 16 57

Access map

Place de la Libération
94400 Vitry-sur-Seine


Éric Hattan


Éric Hattan’s creation, in place from 26
June to 1 November 2009, followed on from a
previous proposal by Alain Bublex, which it
was intended to echo. So the sculptural
stands were re-used for the installation of
Béton liquide [Liquid Concrete], a series
of video captures, all of which set out to
frame poetic and unexpected elements in
urban reality. This work takes on the form
of an accumulation of micro-events,
broadcast in a loop on televisions set up
on stands. In a similar echo-like dynamic,
the principle of moveable modular
structures present in Alain Bublex’s
architectural plug-in pieces recurs in
Pendant (Ghosttown), an ephemeral
installation made up of crates used for
transporting artworks hung from the
ceiling, as if in transit and in evolution
in space. The overall title of this carte
blanche, Into the White, also conjures up
the counterpoint to the previously
installed night-time atmosphere, with Éric
Hattan re-illuminating the white walls that
epitomise the modernist and contemporary
museum architecture of the MAC/VAL.1
For this hanging, the artist has taken from
his studio certain pieces to do with the
context and theme of the journey, a meeting
point between ‘Parcours #3’ and his working
method. The artist has decided to show some
fifteen works, in a sort of personal
retrospective,2 ranging far and wide,
including interactions with works by
other artists. Working from the context
and always trying to cast on things a naive
and novel eye (like a traveller), he
incorporates this praxis through powerful
gestures, such as reversal and
displacement, with the works at times
seeming to be traces, the leftovers of
an earlier process mentally recreated
by the visitor.
Thus Autoportrait (Insideout) as well
as Coin coin de loin en loin (Pêcheurs
d’Islande) [Icelandic Fishermen] play on
a fragile, ephemeral sculptural form,
produced by one and the same procedure.
One focuses on the precarious aspect, with
clothes worn by the artist supported by, or
suspended from, the museum’s architecture,
supports, abandoned by intermingling them
all together and turning them around. The
gesture of inversion from front to back and
vice versa creates a form where the trace
of the body comes across as an oxymoron,
somewhere between absence and presence,
void and packed, softness and firmness.
The strong connection between sculptural
work and space is invariably conveyed
in a mobility and through the question
of adaptation.
The artist thus describes his knowledge
of interstices, of the space in-between:
‘Look at the architectural plan; re-measure
the walls, be present in the rooms, examine
the details, understand the history of a
space, understand what the architect’s pure
space might have been, and what the
elements added through the use and function
of the place managed to modify.’ As its
title indicated, Déplacement, an
installation acquired by the MAC/VAL for
this carte blanche, is the product one of
Éric Hattan’s recurrent gestures, intended
to thrust objects into a sculptural
dimension.3 In the rooms, a streetlamp,
wrenched out of its natural setting,
leaning on and supported by a picture rail,
traces a visual bridge between two normally
separate spaces. Always on, so working, it
plays a twofold role: lighting the museum
space, and being sculptural. The shift from
outside to in gives rise to a series of
tensions of scale and axis, bringing volume
to the fore instead of void.
The use of an item of urban furnishing
implies, over and above any spatial
reflection, a relation to landscape. In a
quite particular way, we find this problem
explored in the video works. All the
While,4 an installation of eight monumental
video projections, which is also part of
the MAC/VAL permanent collection, is made
up of captures of landscapes in Iceland.
Ice, snow either falling or melting, sea,
puddles, clouds – water every which way,
all weaving a common point between frames.
Each one, held fixed without any editing
other than the loop that gets them to start
all over again, endlessly, and includes
these landscapes over time. Recording
changes of light and more or less
perceptible shifts, plunging the onlooker
into a contemplative dimension.
These two cartes blanches lend substance
to the constant coming and going of the
institution, between living creation and
heritage, which we might think to be
antithetical. The forming of a museum
collection is an act of memory and the
openness to in vivo interventions on this
latter seems to have two consequences:
making the hanging porous and sensitive
to the issues of living art, to the most
current ways that artists look at things;
in tandem, this confrontation gives rise
to works finding their way into collections,
and thus in osmosis with them.


1. We could also round off the title: ‘Into
the white cube’, a term used in the history of
modernity to describe the minimal, standard
museum venue.
2. Made between 1988 and today, the works
stake out the artist’s whole period of
Éric Hattan
Wettingen (Switzerland), 1955
lives in Basel and Paris
3. In Faites du neuf avec du vieux,
the artist proposes the creation of a new
space in a gallery or apartment by arranging
the objects present in the place in
a different order.
4. All the While was kept for a longer time
than Éric Hattan’s other works in the rooms,
until 11 April 2010.