MAC/VAL

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

  022/023  

Véronique Joumard

Notice

Light is ontologically associated with the
creation of the illusionist space of the
painting. In the classical tradition, it is
the most widely used way of composing a
space, of creating depth, and rendering
tangible the visual experience offered by
the picture. Véronique Joumard continues
the history of representation, but
sidesteps illusionism. Since 1985, she has
been producing light installations
(systematically titled Untitled), picturewalls,
and mirrors, all juggling with the
codes of Western painting. In them she
presents no longer just the retinal and
aesthetic effects of light, but the actual
conditions of its appearance.
With this Untitled (1993), nine glass
globes containing bulbs are connected to
adapters: all the elements in the
phenomenon of the arrival and distribution
of light – glass globes, bulbs, wires,
plugs, adapters – are exposed. She ‘sets up
a connection’, electrical and graphic,
between the motif (the nine light globes)
and the building housing it, a kind of
nurturing organism of the work. Of course,
the use of light is not something new in
the field of the visualarts. What gives
Véronique Joumard’s work its forwardlooking
dimension is the attention paid to
the phenomenon of artificial, industrial
light and the evolution in production
methods.
By calling all these ‘light’ installations
‘Untitled’, the artist is standing back.
In accordance with the famous statement
uttered by American abstract artist Frank
Stella: ‘What you see is what you see’,
Joumard seems to be refusing to load the
work, in any authoritarian and prescriptive
way, with a meaning not visible to the
naked eye. So is Véronique Joumard a post-Minimalist or post-Conceptual artist? The use of industrial light and neon actually
places her in the line of Donald Judd
and Dan Flavin. The tradition can be read
in the presentation of the work’s materials
and in its relation to the viewer. She
invites the latter to physically experiment
with space and reflect on the conditions
in which the image, or more specifically
light, appears. Yet she stands aloof
from the American Minimalists in so much
as the work becomes a ‘specific object’,1
whose function is no longer to reveal
the surrounding space, but to explore its
constituents differently through a
scientific and technological filter. Light
is no longer just a subject of study,
but the actual object of the artistic
work – its very material.
It is likewise this withdrawal of the
author’s single gesture that prompted her
to produce the Mur-tableau (at Benifallet
in Spain) in 2000 and the Maison-tableau
in 2009, a garden hut installed in the
Jardin des Tuileries, in Paris.
The Maison-tableau was a participatory work
in perpetual transformation. Covered with
a green classroom board paint, the work
became a surface for the public to write
or draw on. Traces of past visitors’
visits, drawn or written with coloured
chalks, could be erased by other
participants or by the elements. This
‘picture-house’, set up in a museum garden,
became a collective, precarious work, never
completed – a work in progress. It was a
slate-green monochrome, initally free from
any inscription. But by entering the public
place, it became a sort of social allegory
of art.
Through her work, and more
especially through this work, Véronique
Joumard perpetuates the relationship
between work, politics and the memory
of painting. In 2009, for his solo show
‘Léger vent de travers’ [Light Side Wind],
Noël Dolla, an artist whose work is
represented in the MAC/VAL collection,
installed in the museum’s garden a rickety
cabin, and created in the exhibition space
a ‘classroom board’ bearing the traces
(erased by the artist this time) of
the inscriptions of people working in
the museum (fitters, exhibition curators,
painters and staff) during the mounting
of the exhibition. The work stood at
the crossroads of all these dovetailed
memories: memory of the line, legacy
of classical art, present time of the
inscription, future time of the uncertain
development of the work exposed to
the whims of weather and visitors alike.

S.A.