Maïs, courge et carotte: Jeu sur les rapports arbitraires du langage
The exhibition is curated by Florencia Chernajovsky.
This exhibition brings together for the first time in France a collection of works by different key periods in the career of the Uruguayan artist Luis Camnitzer. Taking the complex relationship between image and text as a guideline, the exhibition takes its title gesture both subversive and absurd Simón Rodríguez, who in the early nineteenth century had three children baptized with names of vegetables and not saints as was the Catholic custom.
Primarily recognized as mentor of the "liberator" of Latin America Simón Bolívar, Simón Rodríguez was, like Luis Camnitzer very engaged in the field of politics and pedagogy. Rodríguez (1769-1854) was an educator and utopian philosopher who, through a series of publications, developed a theory of pedagogy that still remains to this day revolutionary. In 1797, he was forced to leave Venezuela for political reasons, leading twenty-seven years of a life emigrated before returning to Latin America as "Director of Education, Science and Culture," in the Bolivian Republic.
Very concerned with education and learning in art, Luis Camnitzer deals, meanwhile, the role of academic advisor at different times. Born in Lübeck in 1937, he grew up in Montevideo, where he obtained his degree in art and studied architecture, before emigrating to New York at the age of 27 years, the city where he still resides today. Five decades, since the late 1950s, Camnitzer performs both as an artist, writer, educator, teacher, curator, theorist and art critic.
Camnitzer Luis says his interest Simón Rodríguez is both pedagogical and political. If willingly turns to European referents such as Magritte or Mallarmé in his practice, Camnitzer more emphasis on the importance of Simón Rodríguez as tutelary figure in historicizing conceptualism in Latin America. "Rodríguez helped me understand that I had a separate genealogy, one that helped me to understand Magritte and Mallarmé, without depend on them"  he expresses.
Visual text layout Rodríguez is also claimed by Camnitzer as a prototype of a work of conceptual art, graphic poems anticipating a Mallarmé. As Camnitzer, Rodríguez was concerned by the erosion process information made through communication. "Simon Rodriguez was interested in how to communicate without loss of information. It schématisait his thoughts with a graphic that allowed him to clarify his message, "explains Camnitzer.
From paper prints made with shoestring from 1960 with the "New York Graphic Workshop" to the works volume in recent years, the exhibition traces the historical path of Luis Camnitzer exploring how his work has ever addressed this so dear to the conceptual art of the relationship between art and language question. Camnitzer in the words and the things we are available to demystify and reconfigure the world around us freely. With works such as Envelope (1967) and the series entitled Dictionary (1969-1970), the artist multiplies, not without humor, the possible combinations between graphic sign and word. Thus, a circular symbol includes both a cylinder, a zero, a circumference, a dome or a balloon. "I discovered that a written description of a visual situation was as effective as an image, if not more," he wrote. Referring inevitably games free association between image and language in René Magritte's famous painting This is not a pipe to the illustrated text Words and Images (1929), among others, continues Camnitzer subversion arbitrary relationship between signifier and signified.
Initially, the choice of etching as a medium for representing Camnitzer political will to democratize art by editing. Provocative in the soul, it frequently attacks the values dictated by the art market, such as selling his own signature by centimeters or in installments or a self-portrait done mechanically using a fan. Photogravure technique allows Camnitzer link image and text at the same level in his vocabulary equating representations of oppression, torture and specific to the political situation of the time violence, especially in Latin America. The political dimension, so characteristic of his work is all the more effective it is only suggested.
As summarized so the artist: "The language I am interested as a means but also as a model. I was interested in the immutability of the nomenclature: why have things prescribed names that are superseded and thereby conceal a certain reality with a layer of literature? I know that there are practical reasons, but I liked this speculation ... In 1978, I combined arbitrarily small objects found with twenty twenty securities rated first on pieces of paper so. I proposed the chaos and the public has used his own power of symbolization to recreate a narrative order, while ironically accusing me of having imposed myself. This piece was important to me because it allowed me to discover the power of evocation. "
 All quotations are from a conversation with the author