Masses | Monuments

[Winter 2020]

In this issue’s thematic section, we look at collective action in society. Against a background of social conflict and war, the artists evoke the impact of collective actions on the common good by re-examining and recontextualizing images plucked from the mass of media images that form our relationship with the world.


What is a human life worth, and what is an artwork worth, in this era of globalization, unequal wealth distribution, and polarization of values? Dominique Blain asks this question in two recent works: Monument II, showing the preservation of artworks in wartime Paris, and Dérives, a video of small photographs of waves that lift to reveal frail boats filled with migrants.
With an essay by Louise Déry

Crowds, demonstrating or revelling, created from thousands of Internet images, are brought together in two tableaux. One, in black and white, accentuates the multitude and individuals lost in a flood of grey; the other, in colour, is a celebration, a huge gathering of citizens taking over the street, appropriating the city. The faces are cut out and recomposed into new, hybrid faces, in a virtually endless, global-scale human mass.
With an essay by Alain Paiement

A single photojournalist’s picture of the ruins of a luxury hotel in Alep, Syria, is transposed, on a monumental scale, onto the carpet of a gallery, on which visitors walk without being able to grasp exactly what they are witnessing. A second point of view, from a mezzanine, allows them to fully comprehend and confront the scope of the devastation.
With an interview of Gisele Amantea

Here, too, are images of crowds from all over the world and throughout the last century: compact masses of people, without information on contexts or reasons. Facing each other in a book, in a simple dialogue of images, they offer a sort of typology of the state of crowds in the modern period. What do these formless throngs and behavioural geometries of human action in society say?
With an essay by Claudia Polledri

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