ART ATTACK: André Saraiva kicked off Paris Fashion Week on an arty note on Monday night at the Hôtel Grand Amour with an intimate dinner celebrating a permanent installation in room 105 by French conceptual artist and painter Claude Rutault, in collaboration with Galerie Perrotin.
Titled “à vous de jouer” (“Over to you,” in English), the work is based on a set of rules that was established by the artist in 1973 called “definition/method 1” and described as where “a canvas braced on a stretcher [is] painted the same color as the wall on which it is hung. All commercially available formats can be used, be they rectangular, square, round or oval.”
Rutault placed a stack of store-bought canvases around the chosen hotel room, painted the same shade as the walls, that the room’s occupants can hang at will. The idea is that the person staying in the room becomes the owner of the work for the duration of their stay. Upon checking out, they are handed a small certificate.
Guests including Niele Toroni, Xavier Veilhan, Sophie Calle, Jean-Michel Othoniel and curator Jerome Sans flowed through the space, which was decked out with vintage furniture offset with a kitsch blue carpet and light pink walls. Greeting visitors, the artist, dressed in orange corduroys and a vintage brown utilitarian vest, blended in with the decor. “It’s actually from 1925 or 1930, it used to belong to [Alexander] Rodchenko,” he quipped.
“It’s such a perfect artist look from 1973, with those pockets to put the pens in. He has the best style,” said Saraiva, who has an arty collaboration with Uniqlo due out next month. “It’s funny, happy, colorful artist T-shirts with my drawings. We did a campaign with my daughter, which was lots of fun.”
“Claude’s work is important in terms of rethinking the perimeters of the gallery, the relation to the viewer, the collector and dealer. It is an extraordinary event, all these people here today are so impressed. It’s not just because it’s a hotel, and the cocktails are free, it is because the work is absolutely crucial and vital,” said Vincent Broqua, Rutault’s translator, and a professor of North American art and literature at the University of Paris VIII.
“That it’s happening here is part and parcel of Claude’s work, because his work also has a social dimension, or a civil dimension, where the art should mostly be in the urban space, in everyone’s space.”
Mingling in the bar area, Veilhan was enjoying taking a break from preparing for the Venice Biennale in May, where he’ll present an installation based on a recording studio. The idea, he said, is that musicians from around the world will come and record there. “Brian Eno was in Paris yesterday and said he’d be happy to take part in the recordings, and we have new people every day. They’ll all get to leave with their hard disk and do whatever they want with the material.”
Veilhan said he was tickled to see Rutault in such a trendy setting. “It’s a fun surprise for me to see him here with this crowd, as I associate Claude with more dry environments like the Consortium in Dijon,” he said, adding: “Art today needs to have a relation to all those artists that started in the Seventies. Some made it big, some also made it big, but silently, with more of an artist-to-artist connection.”