The exhibition of Xavier Antin (born in 1981, lives in Paris), L + T (Leger und Träger) takes its name from an exhibition structure invented in 1924 by designer and architect Frederick Kiesler, who at that time worked closely with the De Stijl movement. Kiesler designed this modular self-supporting structure for the Ausstellung Neuer Theatertechnik international exhibition in Vienna, presenting a selection of the most avant-garde set designs and scenic devices of the time.

It also was a real manifesto for Kielser, contributing to the then burgeoning reflection on exhibition conditions. He notably decided to blacken walls and ceilings: “I have neutralised the box with black and dilated the surfaces to infinity”, he wrote in his retrospective notes.

"Here is the exhibition, suddenly ‘reduced’ to the device and the exhibited objects, floating in the night space and expanding to infinity. Visitors circulate among exhibits and are at the same time wrapped, overwhelmed and surrounded by the exhibition device. Novelty does not escape Theo Van Doesburg, who writes about a ‘centripetal-shaped exhibition’ as opposed to the ‘centrifugal’ mode of traditional exhibitions that use walls as picture rails. With this device, which is entirely disproportionate to the size and number of objects presented, ‘The Art of theater in Austria’ innovates within the art of exhibition and offers the public a real spatial experiment.”
Bruno Reichlin, Frederick Kiesler, Artiste-architecte, 1996

Xavier Antin thus slides the exhibition space towards an image, into which one would enter only to witness its dissolution. In a simultaneous movement of appearance and erasure, the reconstruction of these two historic structures with precarious balance, unfolds. In the exhibition space, structures seems to exist only as a memory, like an idea or an approximate three-dimensional picture, only temporarily taking shape through the approximate adjustment of heterogeneous elements, boards and fabric, bearing the traces of their own history.

There are only four to five remaining photographs documenting the L + T structures. As no original plan had been preserved, it is from these illustrations, and with the help of the Kiesler Foundation Vienna, that the device has been revived.

These structures intended to show “modern” pictures turned into images (symbolically an image of modernity, and literally the image as the only form of archive) become a frame-within-the frame, an endless game of mirrors.

part of the 9th edition of the biennale internationale design Saint-Étienne
in partnership with the Frederick et Lillian Kiesler Foundation, Vienna

lien :

Biennale Internationale Design Saint-Etienne (www.biennale-design.com/saint-etienne/2015/fr)

Site Xavier Antin (www.xavierantin.fr)