Annie Vigier & Franck Apertet (les gens d’Uterpan)

Annie Vigier & Franck Apertet (les gens d’Uterpan), Parterre (re|action) (2009), performance, Maison des Métallos, Paris, photo: Steeve Beckouet

Annie Vigier & Franck Apertet (les gens d’Uterpan), Imposteurs, 2013, from the re|action process (2009– ), print on fabric and box, Athens Conservatoire (Odeion), Athens, documenta 14, photo: Mathias Völzke

Annie Vigier & Franck Apertet (les gens d’Uterpan), Library, 2017–
, wooden bookcases and books, installation view, Torwache, Kassel, documenta 14, photo: Mathias Völzke

Annie Vigier & Franck Apertet, born respectively in 1965 and 1966, have been working out of Paris since 1994 under the name les gens d’Uterpan. They are choreographers who construct a critical dialogue between performance contexts, live spectacle systems, spaces, and plastic art practices. By intervening in different exhibition frameworks or adapting their work to them, they formulate new modalities of appearances, production, and interpretation of dance (les gens d’Uterpan term it the re|action process). Their interpretation of physical presence questions the positions occupied by both the spectator (Parterre, 2009) and the choreographer (Caster, 2009) in this process. Further, by initiating collaborations between cultural workers from different sectors, their approach also integrates economic structures as an artistic component of the work.

Consider Imposteurs (2005–12), for example. The project is an artistic response to the retrospective monograph. A book object, it is also a critical apparatus for conveying information, with access to the work conditioned by a protocol that transforms the publication into a “living” archive. Printed on a long, continuous piece of fabric (260 × 305 cm), the publication includes critical commentaries and notes written by different authors, actors, and witnesses from the worlds of dance and the visual arts, as well as elements linked to the artists’ working process and the les gens d’Uterpan organization itself. Consulting the text involves unfolding the whole length of fabric; this immediately gives the work a particular spatial quality. The possible functions for this object, apart from being read, are numerous: mat, tablecloth, curtain, sheet, cover, wrapping, clothing … As the fabric cannot be washed, every time it is used a trace is left, layering another presence of a living body, and placing us back, once again, into the terrain of dance. The relationship to the body is further reinforced by the conditions of the work’s acquisition. The owner can conserve the publication as it is or set up a meeting with the choreographers to carry out the performed monograph. The iconographic dimension of the work is thus accessible via a direct relationship with the artists who temporarily embody the visual material, thereby transforming the document into an event.

—Pierre Bal-Blanc

Posted in Public Exhibition
Excerpted from the documenta 14: Daybook
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by Annie Vigier & Franck Apertet (les gens d’Uterpan)

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