The Expériences Pommery, monumental exhibitions of contemporary art, have been held annually since 2004 in the Domaine’s crayères (chalk pits).
The Expérience Pommery #6 has been entrusted to the French artist, Bertrand Lavier. For this occasion, he has called on the talents of the great theatre lighting designer, Gérald Karlikow and the renowned musicologist, Peter Szendy. In 1985, Bertrand Lavier exhibited a work entitled Varèse / Calder at the Fine Arts Museum in Nantes. This work of art comprised two “elements”: Ionisation by Edgard Varèse was played in the room where Alexander Calder’s Stabile was installed. This combination disturbed the nature of both of its components. It is this principle which underlies Bertrand Lavier’s Pommery Experience #6.
“Sons & Lumières” isolates and presents one object in each of the Estate's twelve crayères. Each one evokes a world related to Western civilisation: a combination of consumer goods and symbols. Hoisted up in the space of the cellars, each of them resonates to a different tune and radiates a light unique to it alone. The visitor can thus enter twelve different worlds, suddenly plunged into the heart of a fiction impossible to decipher despite recognising the codes in which it is expressed. What is going on when the huge French flag, similar to the one that floats under the Arc de Triomphe, is displayed bathed in pink light and accompanied by music by Philip Glass?
Since the beginning of the 1970s this self-taught artist has been exploring the relationship between art and the everyday, the major and the minor and the nature of art itself, by placing objects taken from daily life, either modified or hybridised in ways that question their very status, in an environment identified as an exhibition space. Bertrand Lavier’s approach has echoes of Marcel Duchamp’s ready made and of the Nouveaux Réalistes, and he does not hide his admiration for the work of Raymond Hains.
Born in 1966, Peter Szendy is a philosopher and musicologist, and teaches at the University of Paris X - Nanterre. He also is a consultant for the programmes at the Cité de la Musique in Paris.
Gérald Karlikow started his career in theatre with director Antoine Vitez at the beginning in 1974.