Michel Aubry

Michel Aubry

Centre d’art contemporain d’Ivry – le Crédac

Michel Aubry, Mise en musique du kiosque de Melnikov, 1925–2009. Painted wood, afghan carpets. Installation view, Le Parvis, Ibos, 2009. © Michel Aubry. Courtesy of the artist & Galerie Eva Meyer.

September 14, 2013

Michel Aubry
The Searchers
20 September–15 December 2013

Opening: 19 September, 5–9pm

Centre d’art contemporain d’Ivry – le Crédac
La Manufacture des Œillets
25-29 rue Raspail, 94200 Ivry-sur-Seine France
Hours: Tuesday–Friday 2–6pm; Saturday–Sunday 2–7pm

T + 33 1 49 60 25 06
contact [​at​] credac.fr


Michel Aubry (born in 1959, lives and works in Paris) has carried out a programmatic body of work for some twenty years now. It has him often interpreting objects or earlier artworks that are emblematic of modernity but using a formal idiom that springs from different handicrafts (including instrument and cabinet making, costume design and upholstery). The process of crafting the object is central to his art and is governed by a production protocol that subverts the relationship between the original and the copy. For his show at Crédac, Aubry has made reinterpretations of temporary architectures and a number of furniture prototypes that were presented by the Soviet Union at the 1925 International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts in Paris: Alexander Rodchenko’s Workers’ Club, Konstantin Melnikov’s kiosk and the USSR Pavilion. 

Now lost, these Russian Constructivist masterpieces are still rather unknown even today. Aubry has been tirelessly documenting the production conditions of these avant-garde projects (through rare photographs, layouts and Rodchenko’s letters to his wife, Varvara Stepanova) in order to put them into practice in a different context. Thus, starting in the late 1980s, the artist set up a system of equivalences between the Western musical scale and spatial measures, drawing his inspiration from a family of Sardinian wind instruments known as launeddas. (…) Once the artist had worked out a Conversion Chart (1992) between the musical pitches (low and high) and metric lengths, it was then possible to find for each sound composition “a geometrical equivalent in space, and vice versa.”

Aubry uses reeds as both measuring instruments and art materials, whether immediately visible or incorporated in the very structure of his sculptures. Transformed into potential musical instruments (and fitted out with the true reeds of standard reed instruments—the artist’s reeds can indeed vibrate then though this is never done), the original objects change status yet remain truer than nature. With his Mise en Musique du Club Ouvrier de Rodtchenko (Putting Rodchenko’s Workers’ Club to Music, 1925–2003), for example, the club’s eight reading chairs, originally all the same, have been resized to fit the growing lengths of the reeds making up a mounting scale, as if subjected to a forced “musicalization”.(…)

While it is indeed a question of “experiencing [the production process] anew,” Aubry’s art is also about rethinking the legacy of these works through the act of remaking them. Indeed, while they were once imagined as operating in social reality and have since been “smoothed over” by art history to become icons, out of synch with their social and economic context, the question remains: What status do these historical works of art enjoy at present?

(…) By drawing on the knowledge and skills of the historian, musicologist and craftsman, Michel Aubry continues to develop an original system of representing the history of forms, reflecting a contemporary outlook that is enriched by the various layers of its past.

–Excerpts from the press release

Press information : 
Axelle Blanc
ablanc.credac [​at​] ivry94.fr / T + 33 1 49 60 25 04

A member of the Tram and DCA network, Crédac enjoys the generous support of the City of Ivry-sur-Seine, the Regional Direction of Cultural Affairs for Île-de-France (Ministry of Culture and Communication), the General Council of Val-de-Marne, and the Regional Council of Île-de-France.

Media partners: Journal des Arts, cura. 


Michel Aubry at Centre d’art contemporain d’Ivry – le Crédac
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September 14, 2013

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