They are there. Always. At the centre of the “arrangement” and yet on the edge, they stay there, observing. Suspended in the interstice, underpinned by the desire to be somewhere else, they vanish in space. The space of boredom, self-abandonment, waiting, waiting for the end, for that moment when they will be able to re-find the world’s tempo, and their place in the group.
Facing them, the others advance, always in motion, When each one of them enters here, they accept the rules of this highly coded, scripted and choreographed place. Not stopping, not cluttering, always at the same pace, limiting their movements. Two seconds is from now on the time of the work, the average period of time that the gaze can allot it before moving on.
But here is another stopping, casting his eye on those we should not see. In the space of social, artistic and political conventions, Olivier Crouzel suddenly is not playing the game, and deciding to involve the body watching. Sometimes he is located. But he knows how to remain discreet. Armed with a smartphone, he could have looked like anyone else. But stopping, observing the observer, filming him, reversing the surveillance posture, all of a sudden this brings forth the performance hidden in the frame. In New York, Barcelona, Paris, London… this repeated, uniform frame shows the pace of the movements which are regulated and standardized. By juxtaposing places, by overlaying them, Olivier Crouzel reveals that we are to the “museum”.
So, revealing the arrangement, bringing it before the eye, is saying once again that this is not gratuitous, and is part of a line of thinking. By questioning the presentation of erasure, and even beyond the white cube concept, the artist questions the historical construct of the museum space, and its possible non-development as “inevitable architecture”.
And he knows what he is talking about. Forests, far-flung villages, abandoned buildings: this is where he likes experimenting. For Olivier Crouzel, the work, which invariably passes by way of captures and projection systems, cannot be separated from its presentational context. The images he projects owe their material quality solely to their contact with the environment which they occupy. Already freed from the frame of the canvas, the question of the exhibition space should one day impose itself. So questioning western formalism as a vehicle of cultural uniformity and domination seemed a good way into the subject.
The artist thus draws us into a dance with four tempos, a round. From now on, as involved onlookers, silhouettes gravitating into the projection system, he questions us in our posture of detachment. This urging us to become involved is, in the end of the day, what best conveys the deep-seated meaning of Olivier Crouzel’s approach: commitment.
Emeline Dufrennoy, 2018
Olivier Crouzel, lives and works in Bègles, France.
Since 2002, Olivier Crouzel’s work has been associating video with photography. This involves installations which use video projections as well as the places where they take place. Each stage incorporates the project. His studio, often outdoors, is a place which he explores.
“It’s all about scales—social and dimensional—in his work. The forgotten individual is projected onto the village square, the stifled word finds its voice in the chapter, the weed clings to the façade, the abandoned space is lit up. Micro becomes macro and the invisible spectacular. Perhaps, in the end, his work is a struggle against disappearance, and death—places like images, people like their customs, the traces they leave behind like memories that are erased”.[…] Sophie Lapalu, 2015.
Apart from chance encounters with his wild interventions, it has been possible to discover Olivier Courzel’s work at the Art et Architecture gallery in Paris (2002), at the Salon de Montrouge (2011), at PanOrama biennale du parc des côteaux in Bordeaux (2012 and 2014), at La Nuit Blanche in Paris (2013) and the Musée National de Préhistoire (2014), at the Biomuseo in Panama City (2015), in Calais and on Lesbos (2016, and in 2017 in the streets of New York, by the Black Sea in Ukraine, at the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan and at the Basilica of Saint Denis. The year 2018 started with the Bon Souvenir project at the Eysses detention centre.