January 10, 2003 - Galerie Jousse Entreprise - Philippe Meste at Jousse Entreprise
January 10, 2003

Philippe Meste at Jousse Entreprise

Philippe Meste
11/01/2003 - 22/02/2003

Galerie Jousse Entreprise
24 rue louise weiss
75013 Paris
phone +33 (0)1 53 82 10 18
fax +33 (0)1 53 82 13 63


open : Tuesday-Saturday 11am – 7 pm

Philippe Meste himself defines his work as a succession of tests. Each
one of his pieces is an experience and an experiment. Each one is also an
ordeal that he forces upon himself, and to which he subjects both art
and the viewer’s stamina. Testing also means measurement and checking. His
pieces become visible after a process of slow maturing, a period of
mulling things over and private use, during which he makes sure that
they are operational.

For his new exhibition at Jousse Entreprise, Philippe Meste will be
showing a series of large sperm-spattered mirrors. Because mirrors are
involved, one’s thoughts stray to Pistoletto, but over and above the
material, there is no relationship, if we may so put it, between the
two. They are probably closer to Warhol’s Piss Paintings, by way of
their formal features, and their mixture of provocation and indifference.
Duchamp’s Paysage fautif [Faulty Landscape] also comes to mind,
with its drops of seminal fluid forming a pattern on a scrap of black fabric,
which was dedicated to a woman he was in love with**. As soon as women were
involved, Duchamp turned sentimental. Meste is made of quite different
stuff. Take his Aquarelles, for example. Forty glossy magazine
pages, covered with top models, all in turn covered with sperm. A tribute to
their beauty, at once crude and cruel, transparent, greenish, violent,
and moving. For the “Mirrors” do indeed come from Meste himself, and from
the dynamic peculiar to his work.

Their surface is hard and smooth. They are made flat, so the sperm falls
straight down onto them, drying there in pale, ovoid daubs. It does not
cover the whole mirror, rather a more or less broad and dense strip,
irrefutable once on the wall, at eye level. The force lies in the fact
that all that counts is the arrangement and the milky way-like form; the
details barely matter. Each one of these forms, like puny explosives,
might echo Bossuet, saying: I have only been sent to make more.

A mirror and a stain and a stain etc. Or alternatively, a mirror and
stains and reflected bodies. In front of these mirrors you find yourself
thinking about what Deleuze called repetition. About this repetition of
the and, aptly named a copula, which joins things and beings together in
a boundless and infinitely empirical freedom. Meste’s pieces are neither
acts nor actions, but rather latent, future activations. Encounters
linked by the and. The mirror has this power to transfigure the first-come into
Kate Moss, face divided up by the stains, and turn it for a split second
into a living Aquarelle.

This is a cliché of the fantastic, of not seeing your reflection in
the mirror. On the whole, though, the mirrors work well, they easily get us
not to be able to look at them without seeing ourselves in them.
Strictly speaking, and incidentally, the mirrors do not exist, they are merely
filled with what is in front of them. To get away from them, you just
have to take a step to one side. This is when Meste’s mirrors have nothing
pictorial about them any more. They turn into screens, motionless cameras, fields which you go in and out of. I’ll Be Your Mirror/ Reflect What You Are, In Case You Don’t Know…

Daniel Lesbaches

Philippe Meste was born in 1966. He lives and works in Paris.

Galerie Jousse Entreprise
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