Date Mayday

14.11 – 22.12.1999

Project Project


MAYDAY is a code that was originally used by fighter pilots in trouble. The main idea is to produce an exhibition about that state of tension that grips the pilot when he realises that there is nothing he can do to stop his aircraft crashing .An unstable zone, where the concept of time expands ad infinitum, and where the real is scaled down in terms of possibilities. A split second when everything may vanish, but it is still all there within reach. This phenomenon of absence, not to say disappearance, is crucial. The threat of an eclipse or a fade-out of the work of art (alone in the dark, invisible and of interest to no one, which – in these times of crisis and disenchantment – certainly arouses the pity of charitable souls) is precisely what signals its interest, and its relevance. Conversely, the stability of a work of art, its serene and tranquil quality, dooms it to be no more than a simple image, at once comforting and digestible. What lies at the root of its interest is the anxiety of a possible disappearance, the tension stemming from a presence with a status that is not guaranteed.
MAYDAY is the tale of an aviator obsessed by his ejector seat, a fly dreaming of endless death throes caught in the paint of a monochrome, a death row prisoner who finds the overture of a symphony that he would still like to write as the rope squeaks around his neck.
« But for god’s sake, snorted Herbert, furiously squashing his fist against the cockpit window, what’s going on? The aircraft’s coming down but it’s not coming apart! »

Marc-Olivier Wahler translated by Simon Pleasance

Opening November 13 1999
Exhibition From November 14 to December 22 1999