SÉBASTIEN DE GANAY

TRANSPOSITION AND REPRODUCTION

2.7.2017 - 15.10.2017
Kunsthalle Krems, Dominikanerkirche

 

"From 2017, the Dominikanerkirche in the heart of the old town of Krems will be used by Kunsthalle Krems as an additional exhibition venue in the summer season. The first exhibition project is implemented by Sébastien de Ganay with an installation as a work in situ. In the center of his exploration of the site is the transformation of the purpose of the space, from church to profane event and exhibition venue. Now-disappeared components of liturgy like light, sound, word and image are made to come to life again. To do so, de Ganay appropriates existing elements which he translates into a mostly abstract minimalist visual language." (KUNSTHALLE KREMS)

 

 

Installation shots

           
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This is Not a Floor (Amiens Floor)

2017, cement tiles in metal frame,
1.6 x 440 x 1840 cm

The geometrical black and white pattern of the cement tiles is a detail of the floor tiles of the Gothic cathedral of Notre Dame d’Amiens in France. This famous floor labyrinth was a symbolic place for pilgrims who were not able to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. De Ganay’s work, which one can walk on with overshoes, is on one hand a huge, minimalist-geometrical “picture,” but it also refers to a centuries-old ecclesiastical tradition.

“This floor is also a painting of the temporary, the transient, the random, as Baudelaire expressed it with regard to one of the possibilities of art. It is also an act of the gaze, in which the person walking around on the tiles of Amiens will feel watched by other viewers, who for their part are working on their own way of seeing. We will find ourselves in a changing painting, in a theater-church.” Sébastien de Ganay

   

Columns

2016, painted aluminum, eight columns, 150 x 130cm each, various heights

“Because I refused to exhibit any of my own past or present works, which in the middle of a desacralized church would come across as a banal exhibition of idols, I again provide a basis for practicing meditation or contemplation. With the columns the matter is clear, as they create the impression – because they form a unified whole with the earth, with the building – of always having been here. In this way I facilitate the way of seeing that reveals “the silence of things in the frightening majesty of their simple presence’ (J. Darriulat).” Sébastien de Ganay

 
   

 

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Mondays, I Pray Fellini

2017, installation with 10 prayer stools and the video presentation of Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, 1960, opening sequence, slow motion 5:37

For de Ganay, the wonderful opening sequence of Fellini’s La Dolce Vita became a key work in the exhibition. He shows it in slow motion and without sound in order to support the deceleration, the contemplative viewing of this solitary – but transient – picture in the exhibition. For this work, Sébastien de Ganay combines ten “Prayer Stool Crates,” objects that resulted from his study of the Catholic liturgy and from the raw material of transport crates for artworks. Visitors are welcome to use these prayer stools!

“This figure of Jesus being transported through the air represents the cornerstone of this exhibition and also its common thread. The missing religious iconography of the church, the exile, the disappearance of the sacred symbol, the physical absence of any pictures, any objects, any liturgy that refer to religion or to the concept of God all acted as the point of departure for finding the foundations for the conception of the exhibition. This emptiness provided the opportunity to enter into a dialogue with this space.” Sébastien de Ganay

 
     

Avec le Doigt sur la Terre (Earth Installation)

2017, earth, 2 pieces of 3.45 x 2.45 cm each

“With this earth, which acts as a frame, we are confronted with the question “Where are we?” In order to answer this question we must create emptiness.” Sébastien de Ganay

 
   

 

 

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Holy Soap,
2016, 7 pieces, candle wax, 95 x 70 x 23 cm each

“The candle, created in true human dimensions, and whose flames can seemingly never be extinguished, invites us to worship the light. Even if the wax reproduction of the Dominican Church, a building originally devoted to religion, will some day disappear, the repetition in seven copies and the size of the sculptures offer the perspective of eternity. The candles also refer to the Christian tradition of physical light as a symbol of metaphysical light – the very light that is passed on, that spreads with no restrictions.” Sébastien de Ganay

 

 “Guarda! - È Gesu! Ma dove va?”

Prayer Stool Crate, 2017, birch wood, 95 x 70 x 62cm.

Art Handling Box, 2017, wood, sound installation, 58 x 73 x 26 cm

“For the Catholic Church, sanctity is a play, like a theater performance. The Reformation is a culture of the word to which people listen; the culture of the Roman Catholic Church is one of the image, the picture. I remove the word from the opening sequence of La Dolce Vita. What remains is solely the picture, the depiction of Christ, who floats above Rome and then above the Vatican. But I allow the wooden crate to speak, which contains the idol and keeps the sculpture out of sight.”
Sébastien de Ganay

Matthew 10:14,
2017, doormats, 72 x 200 x 125

In their exterior form the 30 piled-up doormats are reminiscent of a sarcophagus. The stamped-out outline of the Dominican Church brings to mind the absence of a formerly Christian space; it is an interplay between presence and absence, between abundance and emptiness, as with the Earth Installation opposite.

“The choice of door mats is a reference to, among other things, the Gospel of Matthew (10:14): ‘And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.’ The dark silhouette of the outline of the church with its repetition in numerous layers recalls time, which accumulates inevitably as a layer of dust.” Sébastien de Ganay