void setup () {

Mathieu Schmitt
Un Air de Grand Verre. At the invitation of Alexandre Dufaye, as part of Bruits de couloir, « Un artiste | un projet », Nice, 2016
February 2017
© Anthony Lanneretonne

As part of  “ Un artiste |un projet”, the art collector and publisherAlexandre Dufaye regularly invites artists to use his apartment in downtown Nice.

With Bruits de couloir, between November 2015 and June 2016, Xavier Theunis, Charlotte Pringuey-Cessac and Kristof Everart interpreted the invitation extended to them, to wit, three variations on one and the same surface: a long corridor outlined by glass partitions, which had to be mastered.

In December 2016, with Un Air de Grand Verre, Alexandre Dufaye gave carte Blanche to Mathieu Schmitt who, for this exercise, here uses the vocabulary of artwork transportation and setting-up exhibitions in order to make use of the “grands verres” (large sheets of glass) lending structure to the spaces of the salon and corridor.


So the crates, maintenance suction cups and straps all play a part in hanging the pieces, be it at a technical or visual level. The treatment of these “boxes” here makes it possible to give them a hybrid status, sometimes stand, sometimes container, some complying with the rules for making transport crates, others, freer in their conception, flirting with minimal sculpture.

In what he calls his “serendipitous systems”, Mathieu Schmitt analyzes the electrical activity of plants using electrodes. This activity is then interpreted as a self-consciousness and a desire on the part of the plant world to alter its environment. Different cacti are as a result free to compose poems and control their own relation to light, interacting accordingly with the apartment and its occupants.

Views and details of the installation
Photos :  © Anthony Lanneretonne
Views and details of the installation
Photos :  © Anthony Lanneretonne
Views and details of the installation
Photos :  © Anthony Lanneretonne

The title of the installation "void setup () {" is borrowed from the beginning of all the programmes used in the different pieces, a part which defines the bases of the computer programme...”

See also Self-Consciousness #1, #2 et #3 2013-2014 and Cadavres exquis, 2014

Also presented, in or on these hybrid objects, are thus by-products of existing pieces, created specially to respond to Alexandre Dufaye’s proposal.

On the floor, a vase has undergone a treatment of destruction/reconstruction inspired by the kintsukuroï, a Japanese art designed to repair pottery with gold and silver, highlighting the break and repair of the object, and making it more beautiful with its imperfections.

Kintsukuroi #1, mixed technique on vase, 43 x 35 x 37 cm, 2016 – private collection
Photo :  © Anthony Lanneretonne

Lastly, set on a piano, the model of the “snow mill” reveals its environment to us through its blades.
Here again this is a hybridization of the architecture, somewhere between real functionality, hypothetical function, and fictional world: the illustration of a fictionality.

Snow mill, electronic TV screen, wooden model, 55 x 44 x 44 cm, 2016