BigMinis and Robert Breer’s Floats

BigMinis and Robert Breer’s Floats

CAPC Contemporary Art Museum Bordeaux

Robert Breer, “Float,” 1970-2004.
Collection Frac Franche-Comté, Besançon, exhibition Robert Breer, CAPC Bordeaux.*

November 25, 2010

Robert Breer The Floats
Nave of the CAPC

BigMinis Fetishes of crisis
Ground floor gallery

19 November 2010 – 27 February 2011

Musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux

Entrepôt, 7, rue Ferrère
F- 33000 Bordeaux

This autumn the CAPC is to play host to the collection of Floats by American artist Robert Breer. In the nave of the CAPC, the first ever meeting of thirty-odd of these pieces imbue this experience with a quite exceptional intensity.

On the museum’s ground floor gallery, the exhibition BigMinis brings together 182 works by 72 artists. The idea, which originates in the present-day economic state of affairs, unfolds against a backdrop of recession, and questions, in particular, the notion of “fetish of crisis.”

Robert Breer The Floats

The Floats, these quasi-minimalistic and historic floating sculptures by American artist Robert Breer are to have the run of the museum’s nave, triggering the stirring vision of an unfixed exhibition between mobile-sculpture convention and silent debutants’ ball.

The Floats—or motorized mollusks—that Robert Breer took up producing again at the end of the 1990s, emerged in 1965. Primary shapes, neutral colours and, for the most recent, an industrial aspect, the Floats were then made with polystyrene, foam, painted plywood, and, more latterly, out of fibreglass. At first glance, these simple structures appear immobile. In fact, they are moving, imperceptibly, within the space they inhabit. They glide unbeknown to the visitor, following random paths that are interrupted by the slightest obstacle that they encounter. The Floats produce what should be named ”mechanical uncertainty”.

BigMinis Fetishes of crisis

Are the mini and smallness a portent of crisis, or a reflection, a consequence thereof ? Might they also be an effective and off-kilter response to THE crisis? With the exhibition BigMinis, the CAPC’s idea is to explore the special fascination wielded by the “scaled-down” object in a period of recession.

While miniaturization may conjure up lower costs, less time, and less space, the production of the mini is, for its part, strategic. The mini resists reduction and scaling-down. It exists because of its small size.

A cheeky smallness which reveals, in the current economic and cultural context, some of the capitalist pathologies in which the mini originates, and to which it responds.

Is the mini a regulatory object?

Bearing in mind the maximalist proportions of the CAPC, to which the exhibition makes a partial response, an arrangement had to be invented, with the bigminis not really being exhibited as standards. The ground floor gallery looks like a mental playground. And it is sometimes necessary to look for the works amid a forest of stands with a post-Tetris look about them.

Exhibitions curator: Alexis Vaillant,
Chief curator at the CAPC

Publication: BigMinisBook

10.5 x 7 cm
320 pages,
Edited by Alexis Vaillant
With contributions by Bruce Hainley, Jennifer Higgie, Claire Moulène, David Musgrave, Aaron Schuster, Alexis Vaillant
Co-published and distributed by Sternberg Press, Berlin, New York

*Image above:
Photo by Frédéric Guy.
© Mairie de Bordeaux.

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CAPC Contemporary Art Museum Bordeaux
November 25, 2010

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