En Attente

16 July 2005 - 18 September 2005

Casino Luxembourg - Forum d'Art Contemporain, Luxembourg, LU


en attente (in waiting) looks through the prism and specific experience of waiting at our relationship to time and how we perceive it. Guided by the artists' gaze, the visitor to the exhibition experiments with different approaches, from the most trivial, everyday manifestation to its existential dimension. The works on show invite us to pay attention to those in-between, transitional moments so often experienced as a source of stress or vexation.

Waiting is first of all the evocation of a vacant time, a synonym of counter-productivity, something almost subversive in our consumer societies driven by the 'time is money' credo with that abstract, immaterial entity time reduced to the objective dimension of money! In a salutary reaction to this all-pervasive search for profitability and rationalisation, the Zone d'attente gratuite (Z.A.G., free waiting zone) set up near the Casino Luxembourg for three days by Nicolas Pinier poetically and mockingly invites us to rethink our relationship to time. Faced with this work 'in praise of waiting' which we find raised to an art of living in the texts by Claire Noesen, written specially for this exhibition, the works of Sarah Jones, Sharon Lockhart and Hans Op de Beeck start out from waiting situations to refer back to the banality, boredom and alienation of man from his environment and from a system. Showing no impatience or nervousness, the characters brought into play wait passively for whatever is going to turn up and bring about change: the revolt of adulthood or fitting in with a certain conformism for the English teenage girls (Sarah Jones), the female wardens coming off shift at the Tokyo Museum (Sharon Lockhart), the arrival of the cash-desk assistants' first customers (Hans Op de Beeck).

On top of these individual views come questionings on the collective dimension of waiting. Somewhere between black humour, tragic derision or apparent light-heartedness, Roman Ondák and Rashid Masharawi explore its political, historical and sociological relevance. In the video by Rashid Masharawi, it becomes the catalyst that condenses and reveals one's everyday difficulties: waiting is experienced by the Palestinians as something unavoidable, as a metaphor of their plight. Meanwhile, Roman Ondák uses one of our collective waiting practices - his performance Good Feelings in Good Times (2003) (reactivated for the opening) involves creating artificial queues that question our individual and cultural representations of one particular reality or phenomenon, depending on how it comes about.

Whatever its scope or scale, whether it be personal or collective, linked to occupational duties, the indeterminacy of a period in one's life or a political context, waiting is not neutral. Depending on whether it is charged with languidness, indifference, anxiety, impatience or hope, it changes our perception and awareness of time. From the individual physical experimentation with time proposed by Santiago Sierra to members of the public volunteering to let themselves in for the experience of confinement, to Darren Almond's ever-present amplified tick-tock of passing minutes in the exhibition space, and including the at once sublime and vain attempt by Roman Opalka to inscribe and give tangible form to its passage through the design of a programme, the artists highlight the human and personal dimension underlying the objective and universal inevitability of time.

All of them use waiting and questioning of matters whether unimportant or existential to reveal to us individual or collective perspectives on the relationship we have with time and with life.