Jack Greer and Walter Benjamin share the room at Bugada & Cargnel in Paris


Among the galleries that today are paying a particular attention to the relation between form and info, there is Bugada & Cargnel in Paris. After dedicating solo exhibitions to some of the Still House’s members such as Nick Darmstaedter and Brendan Lynch, a few days ago it opened a three-artists’ show, which includes Jack Greer, another component of the eight artists composing the renown New York based “art organization”.


As Claudia Cargnel told us during the opening, and as the exhibition’s introductory text clarifies, the frame that in this case links Greer together with Benjamin Horns and Afredo Aceto is Walter Benjamin’s “The Arcade Project”, that is an extensive, complex and uncompleted collection of writings dedicated by the German intellectual to the city life in Paris during the XIX century.


The Parisian Arcades (les passages) lie at the basis of these Benjamin’s writings, namely the typical covered galleries that, before the city’s renovation promoted by Baron Haussmann during the Second Empire, were the core of Parisian social life and, according to Benjamin, were also a perfect metaphor of the main philosophical, political, economic and technological characteristics of that fundamental period in the European history.


This “cultural element” that the gallery has chosen for introducing the show, but that is also introduced, or even re-enacted, by the artworks themselves, is more relevant for the method, than for the info that the book provides. What really helps the beholder in the reading of Greer’ sewn parts – in this instance taken from Nick Darmstaedter and Brendan Lynch’s artworks – is the approach of Benjamin to the idea of “Arcades”. The writer turns this architectural element, drawn from reality, into an extensive and pronged support which provides the starting point for his interpretation of that specific moment in the history of Paris. The Still House’s artists, Greer included, are acting in a similar way, that is employing metaphorical fragments of the reality to convey their own interpretation of the neighbourhood. And this is indeed the meaningful difference: the history this specific phase of the object-based art is looking at is nor the history of a certain city or a country, nor that of a certain character. It is the history “produced” by The Still House itself.

September 22, 2014