August 26, 2011


image: designboom

Enzo Mari was brought in to design the exhibition at the Fondation Cartier, Vaudon-Vodun, African Voodoo Art from the Collection of Anne and Jacques Kerchache. It's simple and spectacular, and designboom has, as usual, rather comprehensive visual coverage of the project.

Above, a "film set" Mari calls The Village, autoprogettazione-esque backdrops to evoke the original context in which Kerkache would have first encountered the impressive household guardian figures. At least that's how Mari explains it in the exhibition's making-of interview video:


Holy smokes, filmmakers having Mari manhandle one of the guardians! Whether it's our aging Maestro or the conservators, your insanely staged B-roll stunts are gonna give someone a heart attack!


You don't bring in a legend like Mari for his finesse at grouping sculptures. You bring him in to fill your glitzy Nouvel folly of a museum with endearingly humble-deluxe, purpose-built pine furniture!

image: designboom

For the major autoprogettazione moment in the film/lecture/reference/public event space, with EFFE tables and SEDIA I chairs. Mais, qu'est ce-que c'est ca? New additions to the series? What's that wood-framed flatscreen?


And are those DIY display vitrines ringing the room?

images above via

Because the laborer should be able to knock together his own home theater--autoprogezzione?--and a case for his ephemera collection in a weekend using just the most humble materials from the corner hardware store. Or as designboom puts it, and quotes Mari:

the showcases, designed for this exhibition, partake of the same vocabulary.

"'autoprogettazione' has been a project for making furniture that the user could assemble simply from raw planks of wood and nails. a basic technique through which anyone with a critical mind could address the production of an object."

So it's for the [vitrine] user with a critical mind. Autoprogettazione as Institutional Critique. Can I have my show now, please?

Let's go to the tape: "There's a display stand."

No no, no pressure, just Enzo #$()%ing Mari watching you build his iconic chair there.

"It must be simple." Oh no, you B-roll knucklehead don't do--


"A stand without the arrogance" YOU DID IT! YOU MADE HIM PICK UP THE HAMMER!


Oh, the horror. Why not just take him to a computer and make him fake type something for you? Or walk faux-purposefully down the Boulevard Raspail? How could-- No.


You did not just ask Enzo Mari to hammer something while he was holding it. If you can't get your $#)(%ing shot, that's your problem, don't take it out on a great man like Prof. Mari. "It needs a carpenter's hammer"? It needs a revolution. Langlois did not lose his job at the Cinematheque so that museum marketing video directors could wrap their late capitalist tyranny in the honorable flag of auteur theory. To the autoprogattazione barricades!

Right after we lock down the salvage rights to those 30 chairs, four tables, eight vitrines--and one flatscreen.

Here's a shot, though, from Comrade Elena Vidor's flickr.

UPDATE woo-hoo, and here's an update from Venice, where Bruno Jakob has installed Breath, a very similar-looking, seven-part series of invisible paintings in and around the Arsenale.

Breath, 2011, via peterkilchmann

Vaudou-Vodun, runs through Sept. 25 []

Since 2001 here at, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting that time.

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