Magazine article Artforum International

Denis Savary: GALERIE XIPPAS

Magazine article Artforum International

Denis Savary: GALERIE XIPPAS

Article excerpt

Featuring works in video, installation, and sculpture created between 2006 and 2011, this show emphasized contemplative aspects of Denis Savary's art, rather than the straight-facedly humorous, cool side for which he is also known. Perhaps more important, it reaffirmed the Paris-and Lausanne, Switzerland-based artist's interest in exploring simple pleasures in his own "backyard," in the bucolic yet cultured French and Swiss farming country, evocative of the region around Lake Geneva where he is from. For Savary, it is an emotional and, to a certain degree, physical "stillness" in such places that deserves to be recorded and remembered. This ordinariness, which is derived from staging or noticing everyday situations and occurrences around him just when not much out of the ordinary is happening, is reinforced through a deliberately restrained use of technical means. The depicted world appears familiar; nonetheless, without claiming any overt individuality, it is neither generic nor banal. Various little idiosyncrasies constitute its uniqueness: a sudden shift in scale, an awkward movement in space, an unexpected noise. These happenstances are supposed to communicate more than the eye can sec, and they do.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The French hamlet of Saint Erme and a pathway in the natural park in Les Arques, which appear in one of Savary's videos, are hardly-extraordinary, but they are not devoid of charm or mystery. In this work, Prau, 2006, a woman visible from behind walks through a wooded area, speaking (though we do not see to whom, as her voice is almost drowned out by the sound of chirping birds). Her movements are slow, implied by the movement of the foliage in the foreground rather than by her body. The same work was played on six identical low-tech monitors placed on traditional pedestals facing a tall canary-yellow wooden fence (Untitled, 2011). …

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