Seven years after its showing at the Patrick Gutknecht Gallery, the Art Now Projects Gallery is bringing back the exhibition Monsieur Marcel Hass, 1931–2015, in collaboration with the Patrick Gutknecht Gallery.
“When I met Marcel Hass, he knew that death was drawing near.
He contacted me because he had heard about my interest in amateur films, and he wanted to pass his on to someone.”
Thus begins the story of the artist’s meeting with Mr Marcel Hass.
He died a year later, and Emmanuelle Michaux took it upon herself to exhume his memory.
Rather than show his films, the artist chose to extract photograms from them and to break up the movement, in an attempt to recapture the essence of their exchanges from this flood of images that represented his life.
A dialogue ensues between those stills and the fragments of memories that Marcel Hass shared with the artist during the films’ screenings.
The work is set amid Marcel Hass’s furniture, which is up for sale.
Seven years have passed. What remains of this encounter in the artist’s memory, and in the objects, films, and furniture that bear witness to it?
The change of name from Mr Marcel Hass to the simple first name Marcel serves to reveal the appropriation and dilution of this encounter in the artist’s own memory over time.
If, seven years ago, the question was whether Mr Marcel Hass really existed, today, one must add to that question the effect of time’s passage on the work and its concept.
As in One and Three Chairs by American artist Joseph Kosuth, Emmanuelle Michaux questions the relationship between reality and visual and narrative representations thereof, as embodied in the materiality of the furniture, and invites us to re-examine this conflict between truth and illusion through the lens of memory and the passage of time.
While the installation remains an attempt to reconstruct Marcel Hass’s life, the change of exhibition space, the disappearance of certain pieces of furniture, and the need to present the works in a concentrated and fragmentary way all serve to reveal the very workings of our episodic memory, as so well described by Marcel Proust in the “episode of the madeleine”, from his novel In Search of Lost Time.
Once again, whether Marcel Hass existed or not matters little. Through this reactivated exhibition, the artist refers each of us to our own memories and to the passage of time.