Lucie Fontaine: t-a-l-i-s-m-a-n-i-c

“t-a-l-i-s-m-a-n-i-c” is the result of research initiated by Lucie Fontaine and her two* employees in 2008. The starting point for this project is The Talisman, the famous painting by Paul Sérusiuer. Painted in 1888 in Pont-Aven “under the influence” of Paul Gauguin, The Talisman is one of the most intriguing examples of a visual artwork that redefines Western notions of authorship, signature, and creativity. Following this assumption, Lucie Fontaine explores other examples of artworks that share this quality: artworks that belong to the traditional categories of visual art, yet when analyzed more deeply reveal scenarios in which multiple signatures are intertwined without solution of continuity, where the authorship is “plural” rather than “singular” and where creativity is disjointed from the myth of authenticity.

Among the objects presented in the exhibition are thirteen prints and an artist’s book. It is important to underline that there is no hierarchy between the prints and the book, they are equal results of Lucie Fontaine’s practice, which is based on the intellectual labor of her two* employees. The prints all
feature a Google-found image of The Talisman. Each image is enriched by a sentence, which is an adaptation of Sérusier’s signature made on the retro of the painting. While the original signature says “Fait en Octobre 1888, sous la direction de Gauguin par P. Sérusier Pont-Aven” [Made in October 1888
under the direction of Gauguin by P. Sérusier Pont-Aven], Lucie Fontaine’s adaptations—each of them written with a different typeset—direct the viewer to a series of individuals that she researched during the conception of the artist’s book The Nine Talismans, which includes an essay by Lucie Fontaine
and illustrations culled primarily from Google. The book presents nine “new” talismans preceded by an analysis of the work of Giovanni Battista Boetti, Ylva Ogland, Corrado Levi, Édouard Manet, Giovanni Morelli, Filippo Brunelleschi, Jiří Kovanda, Babette Mangolte,Björk, David Robbins, Luther Blissett, Félix
Guattari and Fia Backström.

Lucie Fontaine is an art employer who lives and works in Colmar, France, and Milan. Describing herself as an “art employer,” Lucie Fontaine avoids harnessing her practice to a specific figure of the art field, preferring to cultivate a modus operandi driven solely by her relationship with her two* employees, a concept of self-generated labor similar to the Master-Slave dialectic presented by Hegel in his masterpiece, The Phenomenology of Spirit. In 2007, Lucie Fontaine opened a space in Milan—a storefront in the gallery district near the city’s first Islamic school—, which was intended as a meeting place for the artistic community. In 2009, she exhibited her entourage at “No Soul For Sale” at X-initiative, New York and brought Performat to Performa09 in New York (with Marcella Vanzo and Jennifer Walshe). In 2010, she moved to a new space, a music school located a few steps from “il Duomo,” the city’s cathedral and participated in the second edition of “No Soul For Sale” at the Tate Modern in London; in 2011 she curated “Domesticity,” a section of the Prague Biennale 5. She has presented her own artwork in solo exhibitions at T293 in Naples, The Front Desk Apparatus in New York and The Promenade Gallery in Vlöre, Albania.

* “L’Anti-Oedipe was written by the two of us, and since each of us was several, we were already quite a crowd.” Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: 1. Introduction: Rhizome.