Victor Burgin. "Hôtel D"
from 25 September 2009
until 18 October 2009

The Printemps de Septembre—à Toulouse and the Jeu de Paume present an installation by Victor Burgin in two principle rooms of the Hôtel-Dieu Saint-Jacques.

The installation consists of digital images of the Salle des Pèlerins projected in the space in which Burgin made them, and a related ‘voix-off’ in the adjoining Chapel. Burgin offers the visitor an evocation of his own experience of the Hôtel-Dieu, and an invitation to allow their own impressions of the place to enter the play between words and images in the coming and going between the two rooms.

Born in 1941, Victor Burgin lives in Bruton, England, and Paris. This English and American artist and theoretician presents a particularly contemporary figure of the narrator. Like the world that surrounds us, the narratives that he develops by associating writings and images are exploded, full of holes, open to analysis, and to a diverse range of possible meanings.

What does the festival’s subtitle “There, where I am , does not exist” lead you to think of?
First of all it directs my attention towards the temporal dimension of a “spatial” experience. Heraclitus famously observed that you cannot bath twice in the same river—the place where I am now, even as I speak, passes perpetually into non-existence. The implied “I am there” also suggests the spatialization of the ego, and the self-alienation at the core of identity which Lacan noted in his concept of the “mirror stage”—so the implied “that’s me, over there” may also invoke Rimbaud’s “I is an other”.

According to you, what can art accomplish?
The answer to this question will differ according to history and geography. In the West, and during the 20th and 21st centuries, I think that the most important work that art can attempt is to provide alternatives to the hegemonic popular common sense created by industrialized mass culture and propagated by the media. That is to say, to support the exercise of one's own intellectual and sensual faculties, without ceding to pressures from outside.

The exhibition "Hôtel D" is funded by the Jeu de Paume, Paris.