– Autumn/Winter 2004

Une nouvelle archiviste est nommée dans la ville: Joëlle Tuerlinckx at the Renaissance Society

Matthew Evans Teti

Joëlle Tuerlinckx, Chicago Studies: Les Étants Donnés, (installation view), Renaissance Society, Chicago, 2003. Courtesy of the artist.

Joëlle Tuerlinckx, Chicago Studies: Les Étants Donnés, (installation view), Renaissance Society, Chicago, 2003. Courtesy of the artist.

Through her work of the last twenty years, Joëlle Tuerlinckx has been examining the situation of the art exhibition at the end of the twentieth century, tactfully exposing the site of artistic display to a challenging new self-reflection.

The site-specific piece composed for the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago in 2003, Chicago Studies: Les Étants Donnés, breaks down the presentation of visual stimuli to examine how meaning is constructed through modes of viewing. Tuerlinckx presents viewers with various vantages of the gallery space, the building it occupies and the surrounding city, offering them a recapitulation of the experience of the city and of coming to the gallery, as well as providing a take on their perception of the immediate past. Tuerlinckx transforms the gallery space into a laboratory for research into the way knowledge of what is seen is shaped by how we see it. For instance, it was not until I had left the gallery after viewing the exhibition at the Renaissance Society for the first time that I realised that what I was looking at in the hall was what I had been looking at in the installation. Unable to precisely associate the two experiences, I found I had to immediately return to the gallery to look again.

Re-Reading the City: A Textual Model

The use of video to capture the spaces of the contemporary urban world in Tuerlinckx's Chicago Studies recalls the treatment of the city in Jean-Luc Godard's 1967 film, 2 ou 3 choses que je sais d'elle (2 or 3 things I know about her). In this film Godard is concerned with the physical restructuring of Paris (undertaken the

  1. Author's translation: 'A new archivist is appointed in the city'. The quote comes from Gilles Deleuze, Foucault, Paris: Les Éditions de Minuit, 1986, p.11

  2. Godard's cinematographer was Raoul Coutard.

  3. Jean-Luc Marion, Being Given: Toward a Phenomenology of Givenness, Jeffrey L. Kosky (trans.), Stanford University Press, 2002, p.ix

  4. Ibid., p.1

  5. Ibid., p.5

  6. See, for example, Jean-François Lyotard, Duchamp's TRANS/formers, Ian McLeod (trans.), Venice: Lapis Press, 1990, p.4

  7. Susan Snodgrass, 'Joelle Tuerlinckx at the Renaissance Society', Art in America, vol.91, no.10, p.142

  8. Tuerlinckx displays affinities with the concept of the archive outlined by Derrida. See Jacques Derrida, Archive Fever, Eric Prenowitz (trans.),Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996

  9. Ibid., p.9