Claude Rutault & Allan McCollum Collection of Four Perfect Vehicles on 43 Canvases, 2016

InquiryClaude Rutault & Allan McCollum - Collection of Four Perfect Vehicles on 43 Canvases, 2016
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Sculpture, mixed materials, 145 x 58 x 56 cm

Collection of Four Perfect Vehicles by Allan McCollum
Enamel on plaster, circa 1990
Each 49.5 x 22.9 x 21.6 cm
43 Prepared canvases by Claude Rutault
Each 58.4 x 55.9 cm


Unique piece
Certificate signed by the artists
Produced and published by mfc-michèle didier in 2016

©2016 Claude Rutault & Allan McCollum and mfc-michèle didier
NB: All rights reserved. No part of this edition may be reproduced in any form or by any means without written permission of the artist and the publisher.

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In the beginning a proposal was made. To paint over the already painted. To cover­up plaster and enamel. To re­apply colour so that the substitute for the frame, the mounting board and what seems to have once been an image all disappear only to better resurface, to become surface again.
So, in the beginning there was a proposal. Made by Claude Rutault to Allan McCollum. To paint over the collection of Plaster Surrogates by Allan McCollum in the same colour as the wall where it hangs.

This first painterly gesture which Rutault executed over a work by McCollum was to be completed by two more actions in the course of the preliminary exchanges between the artists. These procedures inverse the initial concept wherein one work is superimposed upon the other. The first consists of a pile of primed canvases which serve as a pedestal for Allan McCollum's Collection of Four Perfect Vehicles. The second action follows the same procedure yet differs in two ways ­ this time the canvases are unprimed raw linen and the work which sits atop them is Collection of Three Natural Copies from the Coal Mines of Central Utah (1994­ - 1995).

The proposal can therefore be summarized as follows : Claude Rutault on Allan McCollum then Allan McCollum on Claude Rutault. But in reality it's much more than just a proposal; we are actually dealing with a new form of Claude Rutault's définitions/méthodes, a term used by the artist to designate the texts which establish the "existence conditions" of his works.

With À VENDRE, EXPOSITION, at mfc­-michèle dider gallery, Claude Rutault pushes painterly gesture to the extreme, questioning the limits of a collaborative work and flouting the concept of artistic paternity in order to widen his scope of possibilities. Subsequently, original and individual titles seem no longer relevant. Although the exhibition consists of three parts (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3), it forms only one single, individual work. Indivisible. This is incidentally what the sticker on the gallery's windows announces to the visitor and potential owner:

Claude Rutault s/Allan McCollum
Allan McCollum s/Claude Rutault
du 1er avril au 10 juin 2013

This "advertisement" fully accepts its commercial nature whilst humorously reminding us of À VENDRE, Rutault's series of paintings which hinted at an estate agent's sign taken down by the artist after purchasing his house in rue Clavel. The work shown here is for sale, it is waiting for a buyer. Its status as a marketable object is by all means intrinsically linked to the conditions of its existence as a work of art. One could even say that without a purchaser, the piece in question cannot truly exist.

À VENDRE, EXPOSITION allows Claude Rutault to mischievously defy the art market and its players once again. However, beyond a certain desire to cast off the works ("in a way I'm doing everything I can to make sure the paintings slip out of my grasp") hides perhaps a strategy for consolation. With "Une toile tendue sur châssis peinte de la même couleur que le mur sur lequel elle est accrochée" (A canvas mounted on a stretcher painted the same colour as the wall upon which it is hung) we are given the promise of reactivation, of a work in perpetual transformation, painted afresh with each move and new hanging, going against its otherwise certain death.
But Claude Rutault is not only interested in preventing the death of his own works; he's also concerned with the perpetuation of other artists' pieces, and more precisely, Allan McCollum's.

Consequently, Rutault's decision to include Collection of Three Natural Copies from the Coal Mines of Central Utah is far from anodyne. After all, doesn't the imprint solve the question of loss, of absence, of that which no longer exists? Doesn't the deceptive reproduction of Collection of Four Perfect Vehicles aim to avoid the dangers inherent to the artwork's uniqueness?

In À VENDRE, EXPOSITION Claude Rutault and Allan McCollum jointly attempt to counter the effects of time upon their respective works.

So, in the beginning there was a proposal. Made by Claude Rutault to Allan McCollum. An agreement followed. An agreement which reveals a profound respect of one for the other but also, and ultimately, of the other for one.

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