2020 / PAVILLON VENDÔME
“I’m looking for a place where nobody ever dies” is a monographic exhibition by Laurent Pernot.
The works brought together for the exhibition revolve around time. Some hunt it down, others try to reject it.
While time is one of the few things over which humans will never have control, it also conceals a secret of which angels and the dead are the supreme guardians. A secret that even sculptures and the stars ignore, and without which time itself remains an enigma. The prophets were wrong about it and the church bells rang it out in vain. Only philosophers and poets have, perhaps, got close to it: eternity.
In Aristotle’s time ether was the matter of eternity, which corresponded to the heavenly world, encompassing all heavenly bodies. Then, moving closer to Earth and nature, Spinoza envisioned eternity as existence itself and in all its plenitude1, whereas the philosopher Simone Weil even confused it with beauty2. Getting much closer to us, Emanuele Coccia believes it could even spring from the substance of our bodies: “each living person expresses the life of the entire planet, past, present and future”3.
But what do the photographs, the flowers or the waves say about eternity? What do the legendary stories of the Pavillon de Vendôme, its telamons or its Baroque decorations, still say? Among these existing works and the creations imagined specifically for the museum, temporalities are multiplied, memories fusion and visual tricks play with our perceptions: images are evanescent, ice and fire are illusory, sculptures are ephemeral… Stability is only apparent, entropy slumbers and eternity seems to slip away. But basically, what if eternity is here, simply everywhere, so present that we cannot see it, just waiting to be contemplated by an enlightened onlooker?
1 Sentimus, experimurque, nos aeternos esse, translation We are and experience that we are eternal, Éthique V, 1677
2 Simone Weil, Conditions premières d’un travail non servile, 1942
3 Emanuele Coccia, Metamorphoses, Payot & Rivages Editions, 2020
Curators: Christel Roy and Mathieu Vabre
Co-production: Musée du Pavillon de Vendôme and CHRONIQUES, Biennale of Digital Imagination, a SECONDE NATURE and ZINC conception