Exposition du 4 septembre au 8 octobre 2010
vernissage le 4 septembre de 18h00 à 21h00
Devonian Press is an ongoing collaboration between Julien Bismuth and Jean-Pascal Flavien, initiated in 2005. Having already worked together on several performances in the United States and Europe, starting in 1999, Bismuth and Flavien had been interested for some time in the idea of making books. In July of 2005, they published a series of three books in Rio: "life Before the World", and "the World before Time", "A Hold!". In September of the same year, Flavien and Bismuth collaborated on a performance with the musician and composer Giancarlo Vulcano. Titled "announcement", it was performed on the streets of New York. A book with the text and score of the performance, "the announcement", along with two other books, "no drama house" and "Flotsam and Jetsam", were published in December of that same year. Along with this new series of books, Bismuth and Flavien also published a series of posters: "Fly by Night" and "A list of characters". In May of this year, four additional posters were produced, one of them of a text by Oscar van den Buogard. They also recently completed a new performative work, which took place on the 25th of July, a few miles off the coast of Rio de Janeiro.
The books are always produced in collaboration. Thus, for example, "A Hold!" and "Flotsam and Jetsam" consist of various texts written by Julien Bismuth; yet the layout and cover were designed by Flavien. By the same token, "life before the World", "the world before time", and "no drama house" consist of Flavien's texts and drawings, yet they also contain short texts written by Bismuth. Other forms of collaboration also take place, though they are perhaps more difficult to delineate. Each book is produced within a continuing dialogue between Bismuth and Flavien, so that even their individual works are discussed together, each serving as the editor of the other's works. "the Announcement" took this collaborative process even further, by bringing in Giancarlo Volcano, who not only wrote the music but also participated in all of the other aspects of the creation of the piece. The posters were also produced in the same manner. Some of them, such as "Fly by Night" or "sea-faring" are text pieces written by Bismuth, which were then designed by Flavien, the latter elaborating a visual and graphic concept to fit the text. The way in which the books and posters function as publications, from their physical properties, to their distribution and display, are an essential part of Devonian Press, one that continues to inform the dialogue between both participants. The fact that they are produced in Rio de Janeiro also has its importance, if only because of the openness and flexibility of the context and work situation. A list of three new titles was just recently published, "...", "starts and stops", and "viewer".
This recent performance, titled "Plouf!", was also composed by way of a series of exchanges between Bismuth and Flavien. The idea came about through a conversation between the two, and was then developed over a period of several months. The staging, like the text, was developed in tandem, Bismuth writing the text using concepts, elements, phrases, and scenes that had been developed with Flavien. The performance took place on two boats: a larger sailboat for the audience and a smaller dinghy on which Flavien and Bismuth stood. They recited a text to the audience, out at sea, near the Cagarras Islands, off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. When the text came to an end, the two boats drifted apart. The spoken text was also accompanied by a series of signals, from flares to flags and semaphore signals, which repeated elements of the text. For the occasion, a poster was printed.
Jean-Pascal Flavien is an artist, living in Berlin, currently showing at Michel Rein in Paris and is represented by Catherine Bastide in Brussels. His work includes drawings, architectural models, sculptures, and architectural works. Julien Bismuth is an artist and writer, living in New York. His work navigates between visual art and literature, his literary texts often linked to other more visual works such as drawings or performances.