Cover of Haunt Belleville,
a book by Adrien Guillet and Camille Tsvetoukhine with contributions by Érik Bullot, Alexis Guillier, Patrice Joly and
Clémence de Montgolfier. Photographs:
Bertha Espinoza Leon.
Zéro2 Éditions, 2015.
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Patrice Joly —

The Fragmented Catalogue

— Instead of producing a catalogue
at the moment of the 2014 edition of the Belleville Biennale, which envisaged the notion of walking as an urban artistic
and aesthetic experience, Patrice Joly, its director, proposed to diffuse its content in time and in space through several publications. He thus renews the theme of demodulation and breaks free of the temporality imposed by this
kind of manifestation. Patrice Joly presents here the preface to this catalogue

------------------ (EXCERPT) ------------------ to read more buy the book: Shop                    Translated by Ana Iwataki

The third edition of the Belleville Biennale, which took place from mid-September to the end of October 2014 in various locations in eastern Paris and its neighboring suburbs, was in large part motivated by the desire to escape the disappointment that the artwork provokes in its most common form of presentation and delivery to an audience, namely as an isolated art object. It was not an attack on this latter form as “morally suspect,” as an object can not immediately assume this position, except in seeing it as a prisoner of determinants that reduce it to its worldly, petit bourgeois or simply decorative functions, precisely when it is supposed to contain other characteristics that draw it towards a reading or an astute understanding of these incapacitating factors. It seemed to us that the “art object” – thus designated to differentiate it from industrial or artisanal production – tended to focus its reputation on trends as contradictory as they are understandable, in a moment of the relative democratization of contemporary art and the multiplication of fairs and biennales. The most remarkable of these trends is that of the “consumerist” tropism that pushes the art object closer and closer to a banal product of wide distribution, delivering nothing more than neural stimuli without significant danger to a fringe group in constant growth, that of collectors, for whom the possession of artworks is more closely related to a benign addiction than a real intellectual or intentional approach. Without wanting to paint all collectors with the same brush, it must be acknowledged that owning artworks is often accompanied by motives that have nothing to do with the artistic or the aesthetic, and still less with any kind of militancy.

For several years, it has seemed to us that the most prestigious contemporary art biennales resembled more and more contemporary art fairs and that, inversely, the development of curatorial programs within art fairs tended to bring the forms of biennale and fair together, with the artists presented in one often miraculously being found in the other. This slow whittling away of the not-for-profit space by the market…