“Johan Parent develops a multi-faceted body of work that highlights the changing status of objects in our society since the advent of automation.
Following in the footsteps of Marcel Duchamp and his bachelor machines, he creates what he calls “object performances”, which consist of installations, videos, drawings, or everyday objects, which, as they are set in motion, begin to function autonomously with no specific end purpose. In doing so, the artist considers objects through the deconstruction of their functionality and of their dependence on human presence. Machines that were initially man-made prostheses find themselves symbolically impersonating and caricaturing their creator or mimicking physical situations. Thus personified and endowed with a strange energy, objects become absurd and counter-productive machines.
Johan Parent’s work also addresses the spaces we live in by using these reappropriated and dysfunctional objects to produce a disturbing atmosphere.
By deliberately saturating or blurring the visual and acoustic properties of a space and orchestrating compulsive mechanisms in closed circuits, the artist creates self-sufficient devices that embody symptoms of our times (anxiety, breakdowns, discordant senses…). It is almost as if extreme technicity and its limitless mastery generated dehumanised worlds and environments that escape us.”
Text for the exhibition Asphalt, La Serre, Saint-Étienne, 2012, on the occasion of the Galeries Nomades event, Institut d’art contemporain, Villeurbanne/Rhône-Alpes
Translated by Lucy Pons, 2019