Mark Dion’s supernatural exhibit upends visitors’ expectations with cunning, occasionally disturbing image trickery.
This supernatural exhibit could be described as at best enigmatic, at worse slightly dense. Curated by American conceptual artist Mark Dion, the show sets archive works from the Beaux-Arts de Paris against pieces from the school’s current students, as well as some from Dion’s own impressive career. Prints, sculptures, photographs and drawings all feature, with an overarching focus on the four natural elements (the exhibit is divided up into four rooms, Earth, Wind, Air and Fire), a motif that lends itself as much to legend and mythology as it does science. Conjuring up a bizarre alternate reality in which nymphs have hooves and horses wings, the show plays with visitors’ perceptions, distorting our conceptions of reality but only in incremental, barely detectable ways. Here, the images are expressly designed to deceive, like some formalin, which isn’t used to conserve the dead as it usually is, but instead covers up some sort of futuristic organic matter, or a fleshy eel that somehow continues to breath, despite being sliced into parts.
TRANSLATION: FLORA HUDSON