Déclassement, Château d’Oiron

Béatrice Balcou, Hélène Bertin, Tyler Coburn, Mathis Gasser, Mobilier Peint, Aurélien Mole, Jay Tan, Céline Vaché-Olivieri, France Valliccioni

© Aurélien Mole

Courtesy of the artists, CMN and CNAP (Galerie de Portraits: Les écoliers d’Oiron, Christian Boltanski; Salle de l’Espace-Temps: Dates Painting, On Kawara; Sans titre, Stanley Brouwn; Des emblèmes, Laurent Joubert; Chevaux d’Oiron, Georg Ettl; Couloir des Illusions: Carré au sol aux quatre ellipses, bleu, Felice VARINI; Brûlures Solaires, Charles Ross; Salle d’Armes : Les corps en morceaux, Daniel Spoerri; Chambre du Roi : Salle des plattes peintures, Claude Rutault; Tour des Ondes : Alebrije, Famille Linares; Salle de la Lévitation : Decentre-Acentre, Tom Shannon, Public Commission-FNAC inv., CNAP collection on permanent loan in château d’Oiron, CMN)

The Castle of Oiron is a monument out of the ordinary. A vestige of the Renaissance, it was saved from ruin thanks to its purchase by the State in 1941. Then, at the end of the 1980s, the decision was made to restore it; the project was led by Frederic Didier, chief architect of the historical monuments, in parallel with a commission of contemporary artworks under the artistic direction of Jean-Hubert Martin, the Curios and Mirabilia collection. These events have made the castle an important witness to the era of French cultural institutions after the policy of decentralization. Twenty-five years later, the collection has changed shape and status. Questions about how to conserve and activate this hybrid monument are being raised again.

The exhibition Déclassement engages the Castle of Oiron with a speculative glance towards the future of cultural institutions, as well as to the current protocols for the conservation and enhancement of heritage. It works as a living, collective entity in dialogue with its environment, from the architecture to the collection Curios & Mirabilia.

The artists Béatrice Balcou, Hélène Bertin, Tyler Coburn, Mathis Gasser, Mobilier Peint, Aurélien Mole, Jay Tan, Celine Vaché-Olivieri, France Valliccioni work with objects from the premises—and residue from previous exhibitions—as well as conjure new narratives and frames through which to consider the site. These interventions, which range from conspicuous to near-invisible, occur throughout the castle, creating resonances and dissonances, interpretations and reimaginings of works from the collection and elements of the architecture.

Barbara Sirieix