43 rue de la Commune de Paris - 93230 Romainville
20 february - 26 march 2022

The story of Jeux de paysages [“Landscape Games”] started two years ago with a
visit to the Wellcome Collection in London. An exhibition was being held there
called Play Well 1 that explored the many evolutions to which play activities
led man and society. The visitor could see how it favored the development of
social links, emotion resilience and physical well-being. Of course, all sorts
of toys were displayed but also design objects and artworks The seriesArtificial
Landscape by Constant (1920-2005) attracted Patrick Corillon’s attention because
of their forms, the spontaneous interaction that they caused and the central
place of a narration in which the concept of a city extending to the world was
This comment is important: these three elements are founders of a substantial
part of Corillon’s work and, in particular, the narrative that his work has
centered on since the 1980s to deploy a scholarly and dense body of work. The
question of the reality of the imagination holds a privileged place in it. The
“genuine fictions” that he writes in the objective observation style is shown by
the production of tangible objects. In the same way, Patrick Corillon bases his
research on broadly shared common realities and experiences; here, toys that are
or were well-known. They share the virtues of obviousness and simplicity of daily
life and things that are readily available. All encourage interactivity: this
concerns undergoing a test; for the public, “intervening” replaces “looking.”
Consequently Les Yeux du paysage [“The Landscape’s Eyes”] follows a widespread
model according to which the player must balance a tray in such a way as the
marbles are inserted into the holes created for this purpose to provide a
character with eyes. The difference here is that the game doesn’t stop once the
marbles are immobilized.
20 february – 26 march 2022
GUIDED TOUR / PERFORMANCE SUNDAY FEBRUARY 20TH, AT 3 PMOne of them has letters and the other numbers.? Following the rules of the game,
the player must continue by creating associations elements relative as much to
the exterior world (since the names of a city, a river, etc. must be given) as to
spiritual or sentimental life. And then, there is the character using a cane. It
is the Wandering Jew with the group of meanings that he carries with him. Waiting
for the hypothetical return of Christ, he crisscrosses the Earth without respite
and appears here and there: Corillon prints his image on an old urban map or
“views” among which painting connoisseurs will recognize Hubert Robert’s style.
The exhibition’s title is explicit: it directly expresses a double anchoring, on
one hand, on games and, on the other, landscapes. Apart from joining two themes,
Corillon intertwines his proposals. The different pieces call out to each other.
Thus, the Wandering Jew reappears in Le paysage sans fin [“The Endless Landscape”].
Here, the player manipulates 10 watercolors composed according to the where the
continuity elements are placed – five in total including of course the horizon
line – in such a way that they are randomly juxtaposed… not really randomly since
each movement lets new combinations of motifs and therefore new stories appear.
As always in Patrick Corillon, the reading of his work has multiple thicknesses.
Beyond the play activity, we can let ourselves be carried into a labyrinth of
meaning. Moreover, the artist invites us into it by, for example, specifying
that the 10 paintings are “after”: after an anonymous artist of the Roman period,
but also after Patenir, Poussin and Giorgione, whose famous work The Tempest we
recognize in it. It also refers us to the Persian miniature through the palette,
the graphic style, the perspective system and the referential device of the
human figures and architectures. Among other things, the work therefore harbors
reflections on the construction of the imaginary dimension (how do we build
it? starting from what heritage?), on the capacity of our vision of the world
to be broadly communicated (how can it function in another culture?) and on a
reconciliation of civilizations.
Patrick Corillon’s work activates metaphors, symbols and archetypes. We see
it with the series of performances reprised under the title Dans l’amitié de
mes genoux [“In My Knee’s Friendship”]: four 50-minute travel tales, narrated
by an actress, that participants follow through game boards to be animated.
“this series proposes an intimate and sensorial experience,” the artist states.
“Its objective is to thrust the spectators into a story in which they become
the actors. The central question being: how do we physically and poetically
appropriate our landscapes, feel like a genuine actor of them so that we can
project ourselves into an environmental and climate future?” 2 There are cubes
to be assembled ( Cœurs de pierre [“Stone Hearts”]), fabrics to be unrolled ( Le
cirque des montagnes [“The Mountain Circus”]), disks to turn (Le voyage de la
flaque [The Puddle’s Journey”]) and for Le dessous-dessus [“The Below Above”],beads to slide along a thread. The latter trace the initiation journey of the
“metronome worm,” the depths of the Earth in open air, with its pitfalls – a pocket
of shale oil – its symbolic engagements – a skull evoking death, the vanity of
existence or of ancestors – and its encounters with different creatures such as a
mole, a blackbird and two children. There is a great deal to say about the materials
used and the meaning of the beads, which varies from one culture to another, or about
the educational value of play. “The metronome worm,” Patrick Corillon continues,
“learns to move, to think and to act by itself, breaking with the ‘regularity’
of its predetermined destiny to appropriate its own rhythm.” 3 It is therefore a
question of undergoing a test involving learning, transmission and emancipation.

1 Play Well, from October 24 2019 to March 8, 2020, Wellcome Collection, London.
2 Interview with Patrick Corillon, Liège, January 6, 2022.
3 Idem

Texte : Pierre Henrion, january 2022

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