Documents rapportés d’un voyage au coeur de la civilization banlieue, 1973, 74 et 75

Jacques Lizène


Installation, variable dimensions.
Materials: mixed media

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. S0171).

Calling himself the “mediocre little master from Liège” – a Belgian twist to Filliou’s “genius without talent” – Lizène donated a key work to the Gordon Matta-Clark Foundation in 1980: Documents rapportés d’un voyage au coeur de la civilization banlieue 1973, 74 et 75. The work consists of two parts: a narrative framework on the one hand, whose rigorous black-and-white aesthetic resembles the standardized documentary tropes of much “information art” – more concretely Robert Smithson’s parodic travelogue [“A Tour of the Monuments of Passaic, New Jersey”], with Smithson’s original post-industrial wasteland here being replaced with the banlieue liègois. On the other hand, a crass reminder of the pertinence of the body in all overly intellectualized art – a quasi-monochrome white bed sheet displaying the near-invisible traces of the artist’s nocturnal masturbatory activity. When this work was first shown at the ICC in the late seventies, a local censor actually ordered the removal of the piece from the exhibition. Tellingly, censorship was no longer an issue when a far more graphic exhibition of Lizène’s work was organized at the museum in the spring of 2009.

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