Le monument vivant de Biron

The Living Monument of Biron

CR 120. Year 1995

Wv 120 Le Monument Vivant De Biron 104
Wv 120 Le Monument Vivant 008
Wv 120 Le Monument Vivant 007
Wv 120 Le Monument Vivant 009

La vie est incroyable. Les guerres n’ont rien apporté. Pour moi, ce qu’on a vécu pendant ce siècle est une honte. Mon frère a été arrêté: il est allé en taule le lundi, au poteau le mardi. Certaines choses se sont arrangées depuis. Mais je plains les jeunes. Ils doivent faire du vandalisme, essayer de “souffler” un billet ici ou là. Je ne connais pas le futur. On vit une époque délicate.

“Rather than questioning us, he made us think.” As an artwork, the monument of Biron speaks in public about things that the public sphere usually rejects because they are intimately tied to feelings and personality. The artist made himself a human machine, a listening and recording medium that gives back the power of written words. I did not find one person in Biron who didn’t fully recognize themselves in the few lines Gerz abstracted from hours of conversation, not even one who did not experience an awakening.

Jean-François Conchy 1996

These views represent a mosaic of the voices of people who normally remain silent when standing before such memorials.

Doris von Drathen 2004

In the performative monument, the “acting by saying something” that is the essence of the performative is made to refer to the past in present actions.

Mechtild Widrich 2014

… l’impression demeure que le passé, en tant que substrat de beaucoup de ses oeuvres, ne cherche pas à s’imposer à nous ; plutôt, par la sensibilité qu’il manifeste, le passé se présente nouvellement à la conscience de l’époque pour pouvoir par, le témoignage de l’oeuvre d’art, faire mémoire du réel.

Gilles Guignes 2015

Categories

Work in public space

(with students from the Ecole municipale des Beaux Arts, Bordeaux: Guillaume Hillairet, Véronique Loock, Jan Kopp a.o.)

Sandstone obelisk on stepped base, white text on photographic opaque colored enamel plaques, each 10 x 17.5 x 1 cm, total size 360 x 316 x 316 cm

Location: Place Jean Poussou, Biron

The commission from the French Ministry of Culture calls for the renewal of the decrepit “Monument aux morts” in the village of Biron in the Dordogne, a structure erected in 1921. Plaques showing the answers of village residents to an unpublicized question are affixed to the new obelisk, which is an identical substitute for the old one. The Living Monument is inaugurated on July 13, 1996. In the future, a married couple from the village will pose the artist's question to newly arriving residents and young villagers when they reach majority. Their answers will be added to the first 127 responses.

Documentation

Photographs, project book (Arles 1996)
Website (www.farm.de/gerz)

Exhibitions of the documentation

Berlin 1996. Bochum 1996. Bolzano 1999

Bibliography

I: Arles 1996. Bolzano 1999 pp. 30, 74 - 79. Zürich 2000, p. 106. Vienna 2016, p. 66

II: Fleck 1995, p. 80. Passini 1995, p. 4. Ansel 1996. Arnaudet 1996, pp. 24-25. Bonekämper 1996. Breerette 1996. Brincken 1996. Champenois 1996. Czöppan 1996. Dussol 1996, pp. 72-75. Fricke 1996, p. 15. Frisch 1996. Gibert 1+2, 1996. Godfrey 1996. Haase 1996. Hanimann 1996. Hohmeyer 1996, p. 174. Leske 1996. Metken 1996, p. 39. Mohal 1996, p. 98. Red. 4+5, 1996. Red. 28, 1996. Red. 32, 1996. Red. 33, 1996. Red. 36, 1996. Saint do 1996. Salgas 1996, pp. 27-30. Schlocker 1996. Schmid 1, 1996, pp. 14-15. Schossig 1996. arts info 7/8, 1996, p. 15. Vergeade 1997, p. 28. Raguz 1998, p. 5 Baumann 1998, p. 38. Tisseron 1999, p. 216. Guigues 2015, pp. 16-18

III: Abeele 1995, pp. 92-94. Barré 1996, pp. 147-173. Breerette 1996. Hillairet 1996, pp. 32-37. Sinz 1996. Becker 1998, pp. 154ff.

V: Buchwald/Wolf 1997, pp. 73-76. Thierry 1998, pp. 45, 49, 54, 60. Wajcman 1998, pp. 192ff. VI: Docquiert/Piron 1997, pp. 67-73, 80k. Minghelli 2012, p. 132. Manus, Vickery (eds) 2016, pp. 11, 40-42, 58, 154, 170. Debary 2017, pp. 102-109, 186-187

My name is Jochen Gerz