Anne et Patrick Poirier: La Fabrique de la Mémoire

28 March - 3 May 2008 Galerie
Installation Views
Press release

The multiform character of their work, composed of herbariums, drawings, notebooks, photographs and models, appears for the first time in the work Ostia Antica (1969) following their stay at the Villa Medici and particularly the discovery of the ancient port of Rome. It is through the realization of a model of the archaeological site that the artists manage to express most clearly the problematic of their artistic approach.

"I was also interested in discovering the architectural side, how things were organized, how a theater or a temple was built, why there were so many columns [...] we had really created an archetype. From Ostia we became interested in the city as a brain [...] because it is not only mechanical but it is completely mental.[1]"

This research becomes the fundamental axis of important works that follow, such as Domus Aurea (1976-1977), Jupiter and the Giants - Landscapes Foudroyés (1982-83), Mnémosyne (1990-1991).

Since the 2000s, their exploration of memory no longer focuses solely on archaeology but also materializes in more conceptual architectural installations. In the Soul of the Sleeping Traveler (2002), the Casa Memoria (2005) and the Fabbrica della Memoria (2006), the visitor enters devices that schematize the organization of memory. Through inscriptions in boxes, written on walls or on the floor, the mechanisms of memory are identified and classified in order to understand its functioning. Whether it is an aviary in the shape of a giant cone, a compartmentalized oval space or a concrete pavilion in a park, these recent works manifest a more marked psychoanalytical reflection.

For their new exhibition at JGM. Galerie, Anne and Patrick Poirier present a spectacular installation that extends their more recent research. It is a pavilion built entirely of mirrors with inscriptions evoking the "mechanisms" of memory. When entering, the visitor sees his image and the inscriptions superimposed and multiplied infinitely. The Memory Factory thus acts as a heterotopia, as a "place outside of any place"[2], to quote Michel Foucault. A place that from the outside is the reflection of what surrounds it but that inside is an abyss where we are confronted with the infinite complexity of self-understanding.

[1] « Anne et Patrick Poirier » in Paris-Art, propos recueillis par Audrey Norcia, 2006

[2] Michel Foucault, Dits et écrits 1984 , Des espaces autres (conférence au Cercle d'études architecturales, 14 mars 1967), in Architecture, Mouvement, Continuité, n°5, octobre 1984, pp. 46-49.