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Arles 2012: Alexandre Maubert


Alexandre Maubert’s work plays with a process of permanent deterritorialisation. From film to installation, photography to new media, his images constantly oscillate between diverse boundaries (geographic and aesthetic), as though to better invalidate or affirm them. The important element of these forms is that they function like so many contortions allowing the artist to approach a complex and diffuse subject, which is that of our utopias, their limits, and the manner in which these utopias resist reality. But the utopias that he questions are troubling in that they often flirt with the limits of imprisonment, and sometimes even those of legality. From Nordelta, a gated community near Buenos Aires, to the ubiquitous city of New Songdo, located in South Korea, his works never stop tracing the moving outlines of a collective dream and its reverse. To grasp hold of these dreams and illusions, the artist relentlessly explores new modes of representation made possible by current technologies. The critical distance with which he questions these communal fantasies is often doubled by a second issue, artistic in this case, that of a different representation, capable of showing the implicit. GPS coordinates that allow the demarcation of the symbolic enclosure of an open-air prison (Casabianda), seismographic curves that allow the inference of a natural disaster (Cutting Plane), interactivity that allows the spectator to be immersed in a strange place to which he will never have access (Monade) Here, each new subject seems to be the opportunity to imagine new ways of capturing the transformations of our society. What is enduringly affecting about these works is that, although his intention has a commitment as subtle as it is steadfast, we nevertheless find the jubilation of produced fiction, a mise en scène. In fact, where we could expect a kind of documentary rigour, Alexandre Maubert manages to inject into our actuality an allegorical questioning about past mythologies and those to come.

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