Espace Culturel Louis Vuitton: Écritures Silencieuses

Tracey Emin’s “Not So Difficult to Understand.”

Easter Island or “Rapa Nui”, located 3500 kilometres off the coast of South America, was discovered on Easter Sunday in 1722 by a Dutch admiral and has since then remained an object of awe and wonder for the world. This tiny 165km² island, one of the planet’s most isolated territories, is the home of a number of immense statues called Moai. These statues are representations of ancestors turned into protective deities of subsequent generations. As part of the “Moai: Journey of Light” project, Louis Vuitton will support the establishment of a Rapa Nui Foundation for 2009, to protect and transmit the island’s heritage and to support sustainable development on Easter Island. In 2010, the culmination of the project will involve the spiritual odyssey of a Moai, restored on-site and selected by the Rapa Nui people, to central Paris. This Moai, the soul of the Rapa Nui, comes as a messenger of peace, transcending time and borders.

One of the Rongo Rongo tablets.

Espace Louis Vuitton, in association with the Moai project, is to inaugurate its next exhibit “Silent Writings”, which will present three “Rongo Rongo” glyphic tablets from Easter Island. Never having been deciphered to date, these tablets will be presented for the first time outside the Vatican Museum. With these silent writings as a focal point, Espace Louis Vuitton is bringing together the works of contemporary artists providing a series of different perspectives: Impression, Trace, Symbol and Writing.

Barbara Kruger’s “Untitled”.

Impression can be seen as the expression of a movement as used in the drawings/drippings of Ernesto Neto, or in the video choreographic performances of Robin Rhode. Trace is about the memory of a work, like in sculptures by Guiseppe Penone or the duo-created installations by Wade Guyton and Kelley Walker. Claude Closky lengthens the Latin alphabet with 74 new characters to re-explore the associative power of letters with respect to each other while Charles Sandison creates a both primitive and futuristic world through the projection of word combinations within a dedicated space. Barbara Kruger uses images and words intertwined one with another in a work created for the Rotund of the Espace Louis Vuitton. Lawrence Weiner puts together a statement of intent in the form of a wall installation. Ni Haifeng confronts the composition of a writing system from elsewhere with the writings of a predominantly western thinking. Marco Nereo Rotelli turns the mysterious Rongo Rongo symbols presented in the Espace’s outside window into poetry. Using graffiti, Sun7 invites into a new interpretation of these urban signs and imprints with a message that reflects society’s overall mentality. Writing, from a musical perspective, is evoked by Idris Khan’s relief sculpture which incorporates sheet music by Olivier Messiaen engraved onto metal plates. Writing can also be engaged, like the censored letters from Guantanamo prisoners put together by Jenny Holzer or it can create an intimate biographical testimony like the neon art and the watercolors of Tracey Emin. For Joseph Kosuth: art is simply language. A dictionary definition of the word is enough to explain the artistic concept.

Jenny Holzer’s “Confidential Paris (Blue)”

Artists participating in this exhibition curated by Hervé Mikaeloff are as follows: Claude Closky, Tracey Emin, Ni Haifeng, Jenny Holzer, Idris Khan, Joseph Kosuth, Barbara Kruger, Ernesto Neto, Giuseppe Penone, Robin Rhode, Marco Nereo Rotelli,Charles Sandison, Lawrence Weiner, Guyton\Walker, and Sun7.

If you are in Paris, be sure to visit the exhibition at Espace Louis Vuiton on the 7th Floor of the Louis Vuitton flagship store at 101 Avenue des Champs Elysées, Paris.

Images via WWD