Coffee for Oppenheim
Exhibition: 31 Jan – 25 Feb 2017
Tue 31 Jan 18:00 - 21:00
Galerie Esther Woerdehoff
36 rue Falguière
+33(0)9-51 51 24 50
PUTPUT, Coffee for Oppenheim
31 January – 25 February 2017
Opening reception: Tuesday January 31st 2017, from 6 pm to 9 pm
Exhibition organized with Festival Circulation(s)
Coffee for Oppenheim is the only Swiss-Danish joke in the world. And for there to be a joke, there must be a relationship, a neighborhood, a hatchet to be buried, two versions of an original language whose use, when it is done by the other, is so colorful. A “us”, a “them”, and a fence to trap, to move, to degrade, in order to test the elasticity of what connects us and separates us at once. A joke is a tug of war. To make a joke, it takes intimacy. One must respect the formula found by the scientists at the Humor Research Lab in Boulder, Colorado: Humor = violation of expectation or norm + benign consequences. A joke is one’s finger placed on the cursor of the other’s reality. The Swiss army’s airplanes which flew only during office hours due to budgetary restrictions, is this a joke? The joke is a parallel reality, which admits the existence of the other in their mental space.
The photographic objects of PUTPUT are indeed juxtapositions which clash expectations and norms, without hurting. Wilhelm Tell, Meret Oppenheim, Giacometti, Alfred Neweczerzal and his invention, the Zena Rex peeler, are stolen from behind the fence by a facetious neighbor and remixed in Danish sauce. By paying tribute to these Swiss icons, by bringing Denmark into contact with them, the duo creates the conceptual and plastic intimacy between Switzerland and Denmark, and revisits the encounter of the sewing machine and the umbrella on the dissecting table imagined by Lautréamont. By cultivating bridges and building walkways, they stretched the notion of geopolitical and cultural hope like chewing gum. What is Switzerland, if not a patchwork of jokes? A linguistic pluralism that different mentalities put on like a same a pair of gloves. Or to quote the ethnologist Bernard Crettaz, a gigantic assemblage of heterogeneous regions, that continuously meet and delimit themselves, in a living surrealist linguistic group for whoever is not Swiss, a political science of compromise that echoes the delicate balance of PUTPUT’s plastic encounters. Like Monsieur Jourdain, Switzerland makes some PUTPUT without knowing it.
“For me, Switzerland is a successful miniature. And as any reduced model it gives an impression of fragility. In front of a miniature it is also difficult to determine whether it is of the order of illusion or truth. For it is both unreal and truer than nature. (...) Moreover, the Swiss landscape is an excellent illustration of this. Whether it’s the countryside or mountain landscape, everything is perfect. It is so “licked” it is, so tinkered, that we never know if there is a real strength or the fragility of a postcard.” (Bernard Crettaz for Le Courrier, 08-01-2000)
Or maybe it’s PUTPUT who makes some Swiss without knowing it. Switzerland is perhaps conquering the world, a vegetable peeler in hand. Maybe the negotiations to annex Denmark are under way. Maybe these two countries are part of the same continent, the same community of diplomatic relations, political exchanges, who knows? Would it be so crazy?
Text : Carine Dolek