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M. Couturier : Echo : statement (En)


Works by Erwan Maheo, Marc Rossignol, Guy Woueté, Marie Zolamian

Artist-curator: Michel Couturier


The nymph Echo was punished by Hera and deprived of her speech. All she could do was repeat the words she had last heard. She became a sound with no presence. Echo implies continuance, recurrence, difference, distortion, repetition. An allegory then? Undoubtedly, as it involves the act of registering, decontextualising, refraining from comment, merely designating and naming. An allegory is a sign that is static, waiting. For Marcel Duchamp the ‘allegorical appearance’ was the ‘instantaneous state of rest’, the ‘extra-quick exposure’, the keen, quick eye of modernity, straining between past and present and preserving the space in between, however slight, however transient. The works in the exhibition Allegory/Echo relate not only to the world as it is but also to its poetic reiteration, its echo.

The work of Erwan Maheo is never static, nothing is final, and any part of it may reappear at some point in the future. The installation Anonymous Busts by Marie Zolamian consists of a series of cast-iron busts placed in voting booths where they tell their turbulent tale. The totem-like sculptures of Guy Woueté made from carved wood and industrial objects constitute a cultural crossover between tradition and readymade. In his performance Marc Rossignol draws a series of joined-up motifs and recites a poem by François Cheng, his way of linking the individual here-and-now with the immemorial and the universal. Michel Couturier presents a series of posters showing photographs of parking lots and shopping malls on which he superimposes fragments of text, creating ambiguities and collisions between word and image, time and space.

An echo – of the invisible, of something far away or close at hand – not only represents an outline of the world but also recounts the route it has taken, from point of departure to destination. It provides the artist ‘engagé’ – actor, witness or seismograph – with a space-time configuration in which to operate. So there are different movements, different routes between the world, the era we live in, and dream, memory and history.

What echoes are reverberating between these works, between the paths chosen by their artists and the world of today? The echo is a presence reflected back. If we want to tune into these echoes, then let us imagine the presence of the eponymous nymph concealed in the river or the leafy glade.

Michel Couturier

Translation : Anne Buckingham

Published in texts