A Coté Reve un Sphinx Accroupi

2005

The Louvre Museum, Paris 

curated by Marie Laure Bernadac

catalogue text by Elin Jakobsdottir

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Through the process of reconstructing from memory the thread of a walk I lost the historical order, putting together images recorded here and there in free association.

The accumulation of masterpieces is saturating to the point of disorientation. I looked for places of refuge from the deluge. In one of the halls in Greek Antiquities a monumental roman copy of Athena towers over a group of life size sculptures of figures and heads. With one gesture her massive arm gestures towards the crowd of spectators gathering on the benches at her feet. ‘Athena Velletri’ wears a Corinthian helmet and drapes in the style of the cape of Zeus. She was found by Napoleon’s army amongst the ruins of a Roman Villa, in a vineyard several kilometres from Velletri, between Naples and Cori Attributed to France by the Treaty of Florence in 1801, she entered the Louvre in 1803. One Sunday afternoon, on a visit to view the .new acquisitions, Napoleon and Josephine fell in love with the statue and the Emperor ordered that a medal be engraved with the image of the goddess to commemorate the Civil Code.

In Oriental Antiquities I found clay models of houses from Syria and Jordan under the Hittite Dynasty (1600-1200 B.C ). These models are thought to have served a religious purpose in domestic worship. They still carry traces of decorative bas relief representing nude goddesses and birds, symbols of fertility. 

The film begins with an overhead view of a man seated at a table, in an undefined space that is not the museum. We only see the crown of his head, his upper body and poised gestures. He constructs a simplified model of the Louvre. He assembles small cardboard units like toy building bricks. Throughout the film, the person constructs and then deconstructs the model pieces which gather on the left hand side of the table. The scene is interrupted and then reappears at regular intervals during the film. The montage is the articulation of geographic and psychic territories, between the archaic model of the Hittite maquettes and the classical Roman of Athena, between vernacular art and high art.

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E.J. 2004