Présence Panchounette, 2011
CAPC - Les Presses du Réel
First major monograph dedicated to the French collective which occupied the french artistic scene for more than twenty years with provocative acts, protester and humoristic actions against any attempt to an art history hierarchy: a selection of works, an unreleased photographic funds, memories and testimonies of the witnesses as well as a an important glimpse to their production of texts.
Published on the occasion of the first large retrospective dedicated to Présence Panchouette at the Capc, musée d'art contemporain de Bordeaux as well as fourteen various sites throughout Bordeaux, from June to September 2008, this book is an attempt to track the itinerary of a bizarre bunch of supposedly wise guys for which failure meant success.
Between 1969 and 1990, the Présence Panchounette collective banzaï-attacked the art world with an onslaught of press releases, fliers, irreverent mailing and butthead deeds. Primally active in Bordeaux, the group spread its action on to the international art scene, whose aesthetic hypocrisies and ideological taboos it pinned down with jovial ferocity. Celebrating the “chounette spirit”, they promoted an apologia of the worst, riding on a real trivial pursuit, supporting the vulgar versus the seriousness of “modernity”. Présence Panchounette would stand out, fighting against the values and tastes championed by the most influential cultural circles of that time. But, bad omen, the bravado of the Bordeaux-based collective would also anticipate movements born in the Eighties, like Appropriation and Neoconceptual art, which, as such, would find their place gently and comely in the historical official bios or genealogies. Concerned with not smothering its verve in the pernicious Pandora trunk of compromise and mendacity, Présence Panchounette turned its back on honours and remained stone deaf to the attracting songs of institutional sirens, until it announced its disbanding in 1990.
In 2008, the Présence Panchounette collective agreed to play “the exhibition game”, but still without tipping over into the smug spirit of commemorations. Refusing the CAPC's invitation, the group was happier to disseminate—extra-muros—twenty years of production in fourteen unexpected sites throughout the city.
Their work can be found in the collections of The Musée national d’art moderne - Centre Georges Pompidou, the Musée d’art moderne de la Ville de Paris, the MAC/VAL (Vitry-sur-Seine), the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, the Frac Midi-Pyrénées, Pays-de-Loire, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Aquitaine, Corse and Basse-Normandie. In 2011, 2014 and 2016, Semiose gallery curated three solo exhibitions (Présence Panchounette 1969-1990, P.P.P. - Présence Panchounette Photographies and Présence Panchounette), and their works are currently exhibited at the MAC/VAL in Vitry-sur-Seine and at the Parc Culturel de Rentilly - FRAC Île-de-France.