At least, these programmed actions are about irony, about the derision to pursue to the absurd the functional logic of the objects. Previously, it was especially a question of withdrawing the value the use of an object to give him an artistic sense: now, it is Christian Barré who manufactures, starting from a certain conception of the art, objects being able to circulate in the sphere of the everyday life. Difficult to give them at this time an aesthetic autonomy, they are necessarily
dependent on a handling or tributary of a function. The absurdity of the thing comes especially from their rather unusual field of application, since these objects do not answer
The absurdity of the matter stems above all from their rather unusual scope of application, since these objects do not meet any demand and do not fulfill any marketing criteria in order to be really marketed. Itinerants or squeegees are not strictly speaking a target audience, wealthy enough to consume novel objects cleverly designed to embellish their daily life. It is not a question of inventing flexible drinking straws, cups with two handles or a soup bowl with a spout to compensate for the lack of dexterity of an elderly person.
Even if the objects created by Christian Barré have a use value, they testify above all to the exchange value that regulates most relationships between humans. Like paper money, his objects serve as intermediaries in a relationship based on trade or the exchange of symbolic goods.
symbolic goods. The beggar’s piggy bank stages a financial transaction that responds to the criteria of supply and demand, defined however by moral values: guilt, human dignity, altruism, etc. The piggy bank has also become the symbolic object to inculcate
The piggy bank has also become the symbolic object to inculcate in children the meaning of money and the accumulation of capital, a principle that does not respond to the emergencies and the immediate survival of a homeless person. The squeegee with an advertising insert continues this strategy of detour by taking up the principle of advertising which supposes that all public space can be covered with an advertising image. There have been public toilets, Internet sites, the truck whose only function is to circulate through the city with an advertising panel, so why not the handle of a squeegee? As a highly visible, if not cumbersome, element, the squeegee offers a perfect target to advertise a product to all motorists. In addition, the
squeegee could make extra money. Another device also allows to write, with the help of an ink pad, “thank you for legitimizing me”, thus regulating, in a somewhat perverse way, the solemn and so customary symbolism of a handshake. The object then becomes the concrete mark of a
The object becomes then the concrete mark of a financial, commercial and power relation, like this club with two handles which cancels the opposite relations of force (object of mediation I).
The perversity of the intervention is to put in contradiction as much the ideals of the art as the marketing of the ideals. In this sense, Christian Barré’s approach seeks to invalidate the usual process of image production. Even if he takes up the tools of the advertising display, he does not show anything that could solicit the desire of the eye. In his panel for the sandwich man, the image simply shows a closed eye, surmounted by an abscess obviously suggesting the disease of the gaze to always want to see more, even if there is nothing to show. Its advertising device amply demonstrates its ostentatious capacities, although nothing is revealed, except the image of a resignation, of an abandonment which does not correspond to the profitability of the emotions, subtly exploited in the true advertising images.
Since the beginning of the sixties, the performance as a creative gesture has taken a lot of importance. The stake was often to create a duplication between reality and fiction. Presented in real time, several performances played on the authenticity and spontaneity of the gesture, even if everything was organized in advance. Curiously, each performance requires a support, objects that testify to the act. Photographs, videos, objects give an account of what happened during an event. It is possible to follow, since these last thirty years, a constant transformation of the relations between the performative gesture and the iconographic support which accompanies it.
Transformed into objects bearing witness to an action, the latter become more or less substitutes or relics of an event that has already taken place and that is not likely to be repeated. Conversely, the Christian Barré’s objects are not designed for a single event; they can possibly be reintroduced in other circumstances without the artist being present.
Through this tradition of performance, it is possible to see once again a simple gesture of provocation. Except that there is no longer anything to transgress and Christian Barré organizes instead, at this point, a game where the exterior and interior space and the difference between simulation and reality are confronted. In fact, it is an intervention that is humanistic enough to believe in change and too cynical to assume that the interests in place want to change their position.
Hence the principle of inversion or annihilation in his latest installation at Plein Sud. Mediation thus offers a platform with a microphone that records nothing. Instead, it discloses the rights of the person to whoever wants to hear them.
The microphone is no longer a simple sound sensor, it has become sensitive to its entire environment.