17.10.2017 – 03.11.2017
Jardins de Tulieries, Paris
All photographs by A. Mole
The title of the exhibition is taken from the documentary of the same name by Chris Marker and Alain Resnais, which was released in 1953. It was commissioned by the magazine Présence Africaine, published by Alioune Diop, and instigated discussions, especially of intellectuals like Aimé Césaire, Price Mars, Léopold Sédar Senghor, Richard Wright or Jean-Paul Sartre. The ambition was, to create a space for the African discourse in which the most prominent figures of the African world from the postwar period could be revisited.
The exhibition The Statues Also Die invites to look at the work of Stefan Rinck, as the work of a sculptor, a craftsman and become aware of the material and the gesture- sharing an amicable new sensitivity „the artistic attitude“ and the process of creation.
«The folk of the statues is mortal. One day even our faces of stone will decay. A civilization leaves it‘s rudimentary traces behind, like the rock pockets of Tom Thumb, but history has engulfed everything. An object is dead when the vital glance at it has disappeared, and when we have disappeared our objects won‘t be there unless the ones of the artists: in the museum.»
The exhibition The Statues Also Die gathers around the sign for lost unity, respectively art as warrantor of the accord between man and the world. Three monumental sculptures from limestone welcome and guide us. In order to understand the theme of the exhibition, one has to go back to the origin of the Maladrerie . In the middle ages this architectural complex was a leprosarium. In this era the lepers were excluded, isolated from the world and declared dead by society. Their only possibility was to make friends within the Maladrerie. Behind the high walls this desease was misjudged in the 12th and 13th century and people would fable about lepra being a sign of evil.
Although a humble gesture resonates in Stefan Rinck‘s work at the Maladrerie , he contributes to unveil a world in the state of dormancy. «Guardians of the tombs. Keepers of the dead; watchdogs of the invisible. These statues of the ancestors – are they forming a cemetery? We lay stones upon our dead to prevent their elusion[…] It is the dead who lead the way to all wisdom and certainty. They are the roots of the living. And their eternal face sometimes takes on the form of roots.»
These roots flourish at the Maladrerie . The sculptures of Stefan Rinck are of unintentional beauty and borrow formal attributes from the animality, touching us on the premise of us knowing very well, that they‘re ignoring us- as they are of another world. We could see suffering, serenity, humour in them, but we know nothing.
«Colonists of the world, we want to speak about them all: the beasts, the dead, the statues»; and well, the statues of Stefan Rinck are mute. They have mouths that do not speak; they have eyes, which don‘t see us. «They are not idols, rather toys; serious toys, who don‘t want to imply what they portray. It is less enshrinement than with our eternal statues of saints. Nobody adores these severe puppets.» The statues of Stefan Rinck are not God, they are the prayer. Prayers of the artist, open to the world, the body, the female and the enjoyment of life. The statues of the artist are wild and formal as well as substancially conjoined with the ground.
Translation: Sonja Baeger