Montbéliard | ArtRegion: Basel - Oberrhein

Le 19 – Centre régional d’art contemporain

Nils Alix-Tabeling / Julien Creuzet: Se souvenir du présent, esprits de l’assemblage

The assemblage paradigm

24. September 2021 – 16. Januar 2022

In David Lynch’s The Straight Story, the protagonist, traveling across the United States on a lawn mower in order to visit his dying brother, tells a runaway girl about the importance of family. He takes a wooden stick representing an isolated individual, easily breaking it in two. He then ties together a dozen small twigs in a bundle and fails to break it, illustrating his notion of the family as an elective or “natural” collective. In doing so, the character uses the “technique of assemblage, an artisanal technique of solidity aiming at creating a single block out of several ones”2. Using only a few words, and through this act of juxtaposing or agglomerating various elements in order to construct a new entity that by itself provides a genuine consistency to each of the members, he unveils what is at the core of every intensive practice of assemblage: a process of individuation through collective experience, revealing a symbolic (as well as psychological and even spiritual) dimension boundto a powerful social sense.

The art of assemblage is indeed infused with the principle of building off a new reality out of the cobbling-together of distinct, heterogeneous elements while preserving the singularity of each constitutive component. Inclusive in essence, this process lays at the crossroads of materialist empiricism and of the spiritual, the artistic, the popular and the political, and occasionally accommodates several temporalities (the sporadically quaint temporality of waste as well as the Zeitgeist of the time of its creation). This exhibition will thus feature works from different periods (from the 1950s to now) and continents (Africa, America, Europe), and include various fields of activities identified by the artists as foundational to their practice (popular objects and environments, ritual and votive objects). Hence the presence of several temporal offerings (anniversary presents), as well as African-American culture and the African sources that have informed it, with a focus on vodoun, a religion whose aesthetic has relied on assemblage for centuries, originating in Benin (formerly Dahomey) before traveling tothe Americas and the Caribbean with the slave trade.

In light of the previously described principles and characteristics, assemblage becomes paradigm that largely exceeds the mere technical process. This “expanded field”3 of assemblage will be highlighted by the variety of media used by the invited artists (collage, sculpture, painting, writing, installation) as well as by its manifold ramifications(found footage, cut-up, mixing and sampling).


Di-Sa 14-18
So 15-18

Besondere Eintrittspreise

freier Eintritt

Le 19 – Centre régional d’art contemporain
19 avenue des Alliés
25200 Montbéliard

Öffentlicher Verkehr

Bahn: Montbèliard / Belford-Montbèliard