Underneath the Museum

Free tags: 
Marche
Souterrain
Creator: 
Jean Mas
Serge III
José Ferrandi
Performer: 
Jean Mas
Serge III
José Ferrandi
Bibliographical sources: 
in Jean Mas, trente ans de Performas, Alain Amiel, 2008, p.71
Producer: 
Jean Mas
Serge III
José Ferrandi
Occurence: 
Starting date: 
11 07 1991
1 journée
Topology: 
Background: 
Reaction to the artistic choices of the MAMAC.
Adress: 
souterrain, lit du Paillon de l'Acropolis au MAMAC
Nice
France
Documents: 

Procès-verbal de "prise de possession du dessous du Musée d'art contemporain de Nice"

Type: 
Imprimé
Technique description référence: 
Procès-verbal de "prise de possession du dessous du Musée d'art contemporain de Nice"
MAS_JE

Nice Matin, 24 novembre 1991

Type: 
Presse
Technique description référence: 
Nice Matin, 24 novembre 1991
Jean Mas, Serge III, José Ferrandi | trace de la performance "Les dessous du musée", 1991 | © DR | courtesy Alain Amiel
Description: 
The three artists crawl into the underground bed of the Paillon River and walk 1200 meters until they are under the Musée d’Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain, established one year earlier. Once they reach their goal, they take possession of the place through inscriptions and paintings. Serge II explodes an LED light spray that is reflected within the vaults of the foundations. This act can be read as a metaphor for the artists’ situation. Jean Mas wrote, “Attack or baptism of the place, both interpretations are valid… At a later date, we propose inviting the public to a guided tour of the site. What’s more, we intend to lend this place with our compliments to our fellow artists who have neither studio nor working space.”
STATEMENT OF TAKING POSSESSION OF THE SPACE UNDERNEATH THE MUSÉE D’ART MODERNE ET D'ART CONTEMPORAIN IN NICE

On this Thursday the 7th of November in the year 1991, we, José Ferrandi, Jean Mas, and Serge III, have followed the Paillon River down to the space underneath the Musée d’Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain in Nice.

We entered the Paillon riverbed at the level of the rear of the Palais des Expositions and followed it down about 1200 meters, sometimes walking on concrete, sometimes on large concrete pavers, sometimes wading through water over pebbles.

Along the way, we were accompanied by a bulldozer whose noise in the vaults was deafening.

We recognized the foundations of the museum at a slab of flat concrete replacing the vaulted ceiling of the Paillon.

Under the museum, we took possession of the place through inscriptions and paintings. Serge III exploded an LED light spray whose silent movements were reflected for a long time in the vault. Attack or baptism of the place, both interpretations are valid.

Photos and a video were taken.

At a later date, we propose inviting the public to a guided tour of the site. What’s more, we intend to lend this place with our compliments to our fellow artists who have neither studio nor working space.

José Ferrandi, Serge III, Jean Mas
SYMBOLIC MARKING (DISCOVER THE SPACE BELOW THE MUSEUM AND PAINT IT)

- SQUAT IN THE GALERIE DU PAILLON AND DECLARE IT AN ART STUDIO

- ORGANIZE AN EXHIBIT OPENING UNDER THE MUSEUM

- Traversing a city in this now underground world prompts the discovery of many values.

Last thought of the sea, last blue horizon slowly blocked by the curve of the path.

Small disappearing point of light. We follow the river upstream to the vault underneath the museum.

- Beneath the Promenade des Arts, I say, “We’re under the art.”

Strong odors, drafts, icy water: we make our way through the belly of the city.

Fragments of history that share a trend in art, a possible mine for whoever dares to walk down here and weave a new history into the foundations.

Presence of chthonic forces within this world of sewer rats. A taste for Art to shake up the humanities and throw words at the meaning.

- Finally, we have arrived. A stirring moment of intense meditation. Surrounded by the hostility of the place we’re confronting, we pause for a long moment of silence.

Everything is ready. The lighting throws our shadows on the vault at last. We can begin our work.

Last photo and video shoot. Now we have to find our way back to the living world.

- Long walk up to the surface to take our performance, present the action, and turn this gallery into a new space for contemporary art.

We will squat in this place, organize guided tours, and time will forever remember the autumn day when three men went to paint underneath a museum.

JEAN MAS – SERGE III – GESTE ARTISTIQUE
>- This act is produced as a pure spirit of evolution, that is, pre-philosophical.

- Coexistence of planes creating a field of immanence unique to conscience, in this case, that of an artist subject in the treatment of a work of art.

- A-conceptual comprehension that tends to place this act somewhere short of painting; degree zero in a hesitant experiment. It’s an exercise in thought—that is, in danger!

- In the margin and the proximity of the possible concepts by their relevance, a new area is defined, a territory—in this case, the riverbed becomes art-bed.

- Creation of a sense of Art: we’re going back to the source! It’s no longer a matter of following the tracks, of inferring rather than grasping, to undermine instead of being seized (by a museum!).

- Act of thinking, act of creation, we work at the limits of possibilities, of language that begins with an act, this act.
Jean Mas, Serge III, José Ferrandi | photographie de la performance "Les dessous du musée", 1991 | © Jean Mas | photographie : © DR | courtesy Alain Amiel
Jean Mas, Serge III, José Ferrandi | photographie de la performance "Les dessous du musée", 1991 | © Jean Mas | photographie : © DR | courtesy Alain Amiel