22 tools

Eloïse Guénard |
from 02 février to 02 avril 2019

A short time before the images are uploaded during an internet search, a checkerboard of colors fills the screen. From the most technological of telecommunication tools, Perrine Lacroix captures the movement of an appearance, a disappearance and a propagation, which she plastically transposes into the space of the Galerie Michel Journiac.
The pivotal work of the exhibition, the Google search video, Tools Tasmania (2017), combines in a crossfade the screenshot of the “Aboriginal tools of Tasmania” listed on a web page and that of contemporary tools from this same country, contrasting with the former by their relative aggressiveness.
According to an evolutionary conception of techniques, the tool constitutes the barometer of the advancement of a society, concomitant with the domination of nature. With their 22 tools, it did not take more for the Aboriginal islanders of Tasmania, immediately incapacitated and dispossessed of all intention by the settlers, to see themselves brought back to the age of childhood and savagery. The name given to them (from the Latin aboriginal, designating the primitive inhabitants of central Italy) serves the same ideology: the first inhabitants are referred to an original past which founds the evolution to come. Without renewing a contrario the tropism of a naturalness of happiness or good, the contemporary rereading of this story rehabilitates the human, sensitive and social dimensions, then relegated.
In an enigmatic way, a set of monochrome serigraphs displayed in the vicinity of the gallery echoes this and challenges passers-by with the questions: "WHO ARE YOU? "And" WHERE ARE YOU? ".

Through this reappropriation, the artist jointly designates the dissemination channels, transfers and projections specific to the construction of knowledge. The exploration carried out on the canvas spreads in situ in the gallery, each section of the wall of which recalls the checkerboard. It refers to another, historical one, recounted in Voyage de’Encasteaux. The navigator's diary, initially transcribed by the naturalist Labilliardière and then taken up by Rossel, describes the French expedition (1791-1793) which followed in the footsteps of Lapérouse who died shortly before. With the mission of jointly carrying out research useful to science and commerce, the voyage responds to the great scientific and maritime enterprises of the Age of Enlightenment. Contrary to certain dire tales which preceded it, stigmatizing the cruelty of the "Naturals", Le voyage conveys the imagination of the "good savage", simple and happy. This is evidenced in particular by the engraving from Jean Piron's drawing, Sauvages du Cap Diémen preparing their meal, which stages a most harmonious encounter. Although successive representations multiply the interpretations, the experience of these first contacts was nonetheless real and without comparison with the colonization which, in the 19th century, almost completely decimated the Aborigines of Tasmania. In a singular boomerang comeback, Jean Piron's drawings would have also been used by ethnographic museums in Tasmania to reconstruct the aboriginal tools that have disappeared.
At the right time, the image of this drawing which opens the Perrine Lacroix exhibition underwent an involuntary deformation during its reproduction, which changed its readability. The photograph of the engraving taken by the artist at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery in Hobart, once transferred to his computer, has compressed on the left side giving it a tapestry appearance, while horizontal lines streak the right side in an abstract landscape.

To the proliferation of objects and images, Perrine Lacroix contrasts the immateriality of projections of white light. In the second room of the university gallery, ghost works appear as the afterglow of several past stories. Taken from the artist's exhibition at the Kunsthalle in Krems (Austria, 2018), these rectangles of light and two of the films shown were already a trace: that of the museum's previous hanging, which brought together major paintings from the 20th century. century. The third film bears witness to this.
From footprints to revelation, Perrine Lacroix navigates from one medium to another, from one era to another, from one perception to another. His approach, which is based on preliminary surveys, is less about the archive than about an artistic handling of history and its transmission in a blurring of temporal sequences. Would she agree with Hans Jonas's assertion: "It is even more important to understand that every human present is its own end, and therefore it was also in any past"?