The Commercial Center Sans Commerce: Before the Shops, the Dreamers
Halfslant in collaboration with artists from select CHIC galleries, takes over the ground floor of the Cite de la Mode et du Design to create a utopian commercial center. The collaboration engages actors, designers and professionals from a variety of backgrounds to construct the fictitious utopia of a commerce-free shopping mall.
With a new art fair, a new building and a new purpose, The Commercial Center Sans Commerce offers a vision of what this future commercial center could be. Instead of lifeless decoration, contemporary art provides the permanent fixtures and thematic touch-points of the space. Art work helps develop a fiction that reflects the architectural optimism of the building itself; a place were ideas are realized and where the future potential of the space is pushed in new directions.
The installation juxtaposes the shopping mall with the reality of a so-far unused commercial space, projecting both the shortcomings of the American dream and the potential of a new kind of interaction – one where exchange is expressed not through commerce, but through the shared experience of the space between artists and viewers. By walking through the installation, viewers catch a glimpse of a future that is worthy of the aspirations the building inspires: rethinking, rebuilding, and ultimately renewal.
The Centre Commercial Sans Commerce features specialized boutiques featuring work by CHIC artists as well as interventions by Halfslant.
The Commercial Center’s Entrance and Hallways are full of touch-points that replace the usual fountains, furniture and lighting with more evocative and daring alternatives.
Immediately at the entrance to the Commercial Center, the 24H Pharmacy (24H Pharmacie) is always open but with only one thing available: a huge pink Cotton-Swab by artist David Miguel (Art Business CD/Christophe Delavault) which represents the idea of hygienic relief on a massive scale.
Gerardo Di Crola’s (Galerie Ma Collection) melting ice sculptures serve as the Commercial Center’s fountains, except that his works features water in all of its forms: solid, liquid and steam. For the vernissage only, his piece Sans-Titre 1975-2010 , will be featured at the entrance of the Commercial Center.
After passing through security, shoppers will also pass over Igor Jozifov (Galerie EGP) platform 2-Dimensional for additional review before being allowed to enter the Commercial Center.
A monumental Mao Costume by Benxing Song (School Gallery) is the Commercial Center’s answer to a big department store. Here we would like to remind all shoppers that we are indeed in the Cite de la Mode et du Design.
It’s always hard to find a place to sit in a mall, here is no different. Shoppers fight over the chance to enjoy Meltdown Bench: PP Blue Rope by Tom Price (Outdoorz Gallery), a bench composed of melted and un-melted rope.
Lighting along the hallway is provided by Phillipe Hérault (HROOM VOZ’ Images), his TRI lamps line the main hall with cheerful wands that are visible from the Seine. His Cylindrique lamp, evocative of a maze or switchboard, marks the entrance to the Video- Arcade.
A Deupatosorus by Ghyslain Bertholon (School Gallery) guards a wing of the building. The sculpture is a play on the “Deupat” car which many people remember fondly in their childhoods, but are seen today as dinosaurs.
What is a high end boutique in a place where you cannot spend any money? Dan Wilcox, Elena Damiano, Misti Boettiger and troupe of actors explore this in their improvisational performance, A Votre Service (Halfslant), where performers greet shoppers with the dream object that only the employees can see in The Dream Object Boutique [L’Objet Rêvé].
Also on display in the boutique are works by are enlarged reproductions of works by his children. These “princessess” reference design and fashion in its most pure and innocent form.
In The Do It Yourself Furniture Boutique [Faites-Vous Même], Breaded Escalope (Outdoorz Gallery) hosts collaborative workshops allowing shoppers to create furniture on the spot with their Original Products performance as well as out of everyday materials such as their Samsa Bucket.
The Great Escapes Travel Agency [Agence de Voyage] features only one great escape : Isabelle Frémin’s (Galerie W) Vacances is a sculpture of a person whose head is submerged in a kiddy pool. A radio transmits broadcasts to the “swimmer” through the snorkel. Anyway to get away…
The Portable Real Estate Agency [Immobilier Mobile], has all of it’s listed properties available for immediate visitation: within the agency itself. Leave with your new private space, which you can transplant anywhere! Currently available is Gilles Ouaki’s Cheese, a camera which doubles as an apartment . Cécile Le Talec (School Gallery) offers a reflective alternative in her monumental SOUNDSCAPE BOX – FOLIE N°2, located in the center of the store. The room can fit several people, but only one person can enjoy the zen experience comprise of sound and a bonsai forest. Edouard Sautai (Exit Art Contemporain) presents Pièce détachée, a caravan that is actually a small part of a larger building conceived and designed by Polish architect Iwona Buczkowska. The simplest of all commercial property available at the agency is David Miguel’s (Art Business CD/Christophe Delavault) Untitled shopping cart. This sparse habitat is made up of two simple elements: a shopping cart and bed sheet in the form of a makeshift tent.
There are so many fun things to do in our Video-Arcade – Get lost, dance, rent a movie. Dominique Dehais (Galerie La Ferronnerie) makes you feel part of a game in Hétérotopia which welcomes you as you enter the Video-Arcade, with it panels placed on a reflective dance floor and a colorful maze that leads the viewer though the space into On the Brink by Laurent Fiévet (Galerie La Ferronnerie). This immersive music/dance box relives one of the most famous songs from the The Sound of Music, “Sixteen Going On Seventeen”. The double video projection features a dancing couple that seem to be suspended in the frenetic swirling of a music box. The Video-Club 2010+ is both the future of movie rental and a return to old fashioned video rental. Here you are only provided with a printed internet link to a video from the curated collection of low and high brow films, with the creative direction of Ana Lee-Karkar and designs by Laure Martinez (Halfslant).