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Olivier Cablat

2 July - 23 September

10H00 - 19H30

Olivier Cablat gives us here the results of an excavation campaign on Egyptian ground. Inspired by archaeological methods, he combed the landscape for objects, images and architecture that bear traces of antiquity. By creating a short-circuit between the present day and the historical past, Olivier Cablat pretends ignorance of the symbolic divide between the urbane world of research and the reality of contemporary Egypt. However, he maintains the attitude of the researcher, collecting, analysing, restoring, and classifying, but he works only with what might be termed the contemporary past. Although he focuses his attention on the shops that lie next to the official excavations, what he finds is not unconnected with classical archaeology. The sphinx and the pyramids are all there, but on crisp packets and telephone cards. By looking to one side and observing the dissemination of ancient motifs in the contemporary world, Olivier Cablat updates our representation of the Orient, offering us a critical version of Orientalism, that invention of the Western world, with its arbitrary interpretations that have more to do with fiction, aesthetics and fantasy. What we are shown, with rigour and with irony, is the massive commercialisation of knowledge; how, under the guise of history, a permanent recycling takes place: emptying yesterday’s dustbins to fill those of tomorrow.

Nicolas Giraud

Prints by the artist.
Framing partly by the Atelier Voies Off, Arles.
Exhibition venue: Forges, Parc des Ateliers.