Exhibition curator: Fabienne Fulchéri

Denis Savary (Switzerland, 1981) lives in Lausanne. Whether videos, drawings or animation films, his works are characterised by visual discretion and restraint. “meilleurs vœux / d’après” echoes the invitation extended to the artist a few months ago by the Jenisch Museum in Vevey, Switzerland. For that solo show, Savary decided to twist the original idea by acting as an artist-curator, the better to understand the underlying issues in any such event, and to open it up to other artists.
Here the artist is questioning the artistic notion of working after, a notion which covers a wide spectrum from homage to reappropriation, via filiation, rereading and diversion. By trying to grasp the state of mind in which artworks were created, and by thus establishing a dialogue with other artists, both in his own generation and in past centuries, he explores the notion of authorship.
As the second “Playgrounds” exhibition, Savary’s proposition thus moves forward this cycle’s examination of the new approaches at work in contemporary art, approaches that are bringing together new kinds of actors and skills, although without totally abandoning the Romantic figure of the omnipotent artist.

On the staircase, multiple versions of the same sculpture, Astragale, made in collaboration with Aloïs Godinat, invite us to discover the mezzanine and foyer spaces.
On the mezzanine we find the doll that the artist had made, based on the one by Oskar Kokoschka. Fashioned by a seamstress under Savary’s direction, and following Kokoschka’s written description word for word, the doll is a likeness of the Austrian artist’s lost love, Alma Mahler. Like a musician, a one-man-band, Savary has reinterpreted an existing composition in order to see how a concept produced by an external source (often completely dissonant in relation to his own aesthetic) comes to take shape. Half sculpture, half fetish, this work highlights the impossible quest for an ideal representation.
For his work after Félix Vallotton, Savary draws on the artist’s pentimenti by using reproductions of the series of prints entitled Intimacy. Vallotton decided that he would keep only a fragment of each image from this series, in order to make an assemblage. Savary works in the opposite direction, exhibiting the residual composition, the one that the engraver discarded, and that constitutes the bulk of the original work.

In the foyer, the installation made with streamers, done in collaboration with Jean-Christophe Huguenin, is an adaptation of an existing pattern. Set out on the floor, where they form an abstract drawing, these party accessories compose a strange carpet in the fading colours of used ballroom decorations.
Visitors are also invited to watch a video, Les Assiettes, showing an installation at the Jenisch Museum being assembled. The still shots capture a part of the real, which is made strange by their framing and duration. Savary manages to make a seemingly banal situation seem incongruous, and to make viewers suspect that it has been staged.
The drawing presented here, a small pencil sketch in the middle of a standard A4 sheet, is characteristically economic. Savary has chosen just one of the thousand images in his collection, an image made after an existing subject, which is furtively revealed here.