From August 30 to September 28 2019, during the telling time of Marseille’s 2019 Contemporary Art start of season and as part of the preopening of GAMERZ Festival’s 15th edition:
Organizations OTTO-Prod, Art-cade*, M2F Créations | Lab GAMERZ & D.D.A Diffusing Digital Art present a first monographic exhibition of works by French artist Paul Destieu at the Galerie des Grands Bains Douches de la Plaine.
As an artist, Paul Destieu takes an interest in the transformation of images, of their status, of the ways they are created, spread and consumed. He regards them at once as actions and flows, apparitions and codes. He takes them as moving fragments of our environment and addresses them as the sensitive outlines of our behaviors. Paul Destieu thus defines himself as an observer of the proliferation of technologies within our societies, but being an artist, he develops an active observation expending through various experiments, endeavors and explorations, questionings and shift of perception. The purpose here is to develop formal strategies to explore the media – either digital or analogical – so as to understand their limitations, to make light of the esthetic canons they produce and to reveal the political views they convey, if only in the simple fact that they are the sensitive matter of an era.
From system to matter
The images are here confronting with matter. Challenging the simplistic cliché reducing the integration in the flow of the media as a simple dematerialization, Paul Destieu harnesses the media process as a laboratory to investigate materials and temporalities. He uses various processes, mixing deconstruction, clustering, superimposition and interlacing. He aims at revealing structures, at organizing syntaxes, at exposing the organization of gestures, the structuring of actions. He attempts to uncover the activity through which we perceive, with our tools and codes, the data of our environment. The image, the sound, the movement are not simply separate from their medium or source here, but they form an organic whole. This whole is redefined by every era. It is its witness, it reflects its spirit.
A default metric system
It is in studying the sound productions and “clocks-mechanisms” of various machines (characterized by the notions of performance and productivity) that Paul Destieu got to understand sound as a dynamic architecture and to conceive rhythm as a subjective measure of time. Every machine, viewed as a medium and a creative tool, thus becomes a possible musical instrument whose morphology and sound potential are tested out in association with musicians. By assembling, distorting, dissecting or combining, the artist explores their means of rhythmical expression. Physicality of the instrument, body language, movement, listening orientation, notation systems and composition are so many patterns laying out the direction of his latest works.
Anachronisms and technical chaos
Paul Destieu is interested in the means of transmission of the signal – propagation of the information, live or pre-recorded… – and its transformations (through amplification, encoding, etc.), exploiting the transition between these different states (either mechanical, electrical or digital). His works display the resulting alterations in this transformation and adaptation process: loss or distortion of part of the information, visual or sound aberrations, reproduction defects. The notion of gesture (notably the gesture preceding the sound for the musician) thus becomes a central issue in his research. Using contemporary tools, he reemploys the techniques of sequencing and assessment of the movement inherited from modern artistic trends and from chronophotography. Marked by a tendency to anachronism, his works aim sometimes at measuring the capacity for propagation and resistance of the signal in its environment, sometimes at expressing its duration as a shape.
By linking together these hybrid compositions at the junction between listening and looking, Paul Destieu challenges the architecture of our perceptions and what makes “language”. He gives life to devices, installations and performances in which the structure – either sound or visual – strives to emancipate from the authority of formats to share an experience by literally bringing into play the concepts of time, space and movement.