Renaudin Mary - Frei Drang

Sans traces - Without traces

Sans traces -Without traces


A flashback to the last term in high school. (2011)

About the whole idea of these works: Those works are based on the work of Seghal, where art is event, which means that the works exist ephemerally and are documented only in the viewer's memory -which explain the absence of photographies to show these performances and the only existence of the comments at this time. I also decided to keep this « event and ephemeral » form which meant a direct testing on myself -body or mind. So the viewers were in the background and it created a sort of « intimacy » between myself and my work, which I was the only one to « feel ». But the limit of Seghal's work is that the viewer's could be informed of the existence of the work -even if they don't know which form it will have. The absence of paratext is impossible. I did not have this limit, even if these comments can still be understood as paratexts. My limit was the constraint of the educational environment: I needed to answer for my works -that's why these comments had to exist. These three works are parts of a whole. They have allowed me a real reflection on art and I had totally mixed them with life -see Duchamp and the international network of artists „fluxus“. Life doesn't take place as we expect, on the contrary, it's a mixture of confusion, risk, uncertainty, discomfort, it's why I blend in my works the creative potential of chance -„accidents“ in the artistic field (Duchamp). The unexpected is regarded as part of the works. At last, these three works are three performances and each of them is demanding something precise. Moreover this triad questions the idiocy: acts which are simple, insignificant and almost idiotic for most people, but which are demanding something precise and hidden is a general question -most philosophical- about the world and society -which support the idea of art and life as a whole. The most important question of this triad is: Are the idiotic acts necessarily stupid? -And no, after these performances, I can answer and attest that the words « idiot » and « stupid » aren't synonymous to each other : these performances are indeed « idiot acts » but they aren't dumb at all, because of their real and deep reflection of the world.

Sans traces n°1, - Without traces n°1, 27 March 2011- 29 March 12 o'clock.

This first work consisted of the act of not eating. I had to deprive my body of any food as long as possible -until my body « gives in ». (Symptoms of fatigue, eventuality to feel dizzy) I finally couldn't follow through with this work as far as I would have done. The hardest part wasn't my body but the temptation of food. I order this « partial failure » in the creative potential of chance and in the hazards of life. It is impossible to always control everything and especially not the reaction of a hungry body in front of food... During this work, I have naturally felt hungry, but this hunger has ended up, disappeared. But the most important part of it, was that I felt so guilty about this food, which I had in front of me -I went everyday at the self-service as usual, couldn't just eat anything- and which would be thrown away. So guilty too, that my friends were worried about me, because these scene was really too similar to a certain period of my life – it is an evidence, that my personal life and my art were here a whole... Life and art so... Now the most important part: the demand of this work, which was the right to eat, and so the right to live -for all. How many humans are dying everyday at the very moment when I quietly sit and eat a delicious meal? What happened that my life is worth more than the lives of others ? In fact, I'm with this work in the tradition of fasting as a way to protest against something. (like Gandhi for example). But if I have done this work because of this particular reason -the right of life for all- it includes a more bigger questioning : the questioning of fasting. Good or bad ? Recommended because healthy, it is actually absurd to deprive ourselves of something vital. But -and it's the paradox- fasting is not just seen positive under a medical view, it can also be a religious obligation, perceived as « purification of souls » and of a way to get closer to God: something sacred so. There is also hunger strike among which these of Gandhi and the Sufragette. But it is not to be forgotten that fasting finally just is a « Fasting is primarily an act of willing abstinence or reduction from certain or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time“. It doesn't make a real difference for me with all of these young people, bulimic or anorexic, which are speak of „not eating during few days or week or weeks... and which are seen from the society as „stupid“ and „suicidal behaviors“. And where is then the limit, how could this young generation, which are already lost and without marks in this world, make the difference between « not eat= fasting=good » and « not eat=not eat=bad and suicidal » ? Moreover, we can here find a questioning of society generally and of influence of publicity with the canons of beauty that they both (society and publicity) define... Not to forget the importance of appearances. It is likewise possible to tie up this already big question with the consumer society, this vile temptress: wether on the TV, on billboards, in High schools, in cafeterias, on ways to school -with for me at the time were three bakeries distant 500 meter one of each other -I had especially paid attention- or even in the railway stations -with the vending machines- we can nowadays find food everywhere -and generally nothing really « healthy ». Are the humans still eating to live or are they now living to eat?

Sans traces n°2, -without traces n°2, 7 April 2011, 4.20 p.m to 5. p.m

At 4p.m during litterature class, I have written « ON/ H8 » on black and red on one of my hands and pressed this hand against each side of my face (on the cheeks). Then I have stopped taking notes and speaking, this until 5 p.m -break between two literature lessons I could lead this project up to the end -which wasn't really difficult and more restricting psychologically than physically. During the work, I was always worried -in fact, the teacher could question me at any time -and I would not have been able to answer - even by paper- and even if I had to take the door because of this... Same way if the teacher had asked me why I didn't take notes. Moreover, I had next to me a friend of mine and we had so far talked together during the lesson -she was so thinking about the reasons of my silence during the rest of the lesson. But on the contrary of my first work, I fand for this work the reactions of the people rather amusing -even if I was also uncomfortable -especially because of the teacher. But I must admit that it's rather ridiculous to write all over his own face and not reply to the people which scream « Oh my god, see what you've done ! », « but you haven't take any notes ! », « but you don't speak anymore ! ». But what was for me the most uncomfortable experience, it was to know that I would have more work -because I haven't take any notes and will have to make up leeway. Moreover were literatur lessons my favorite -and I couldn't take part. But now comes the most important part of the work : the demand. ON/8H, when it's on the right direction -and so was it on my cheeks- means NO / H8. It refers to a campaign which is a photographic silent protest created by celebrity photographer Adam Bouska and partner Jeff Parshley in direct response to the passage of Proposition 8, passed on November 4, 2008 and amending the state Constitution to ban same-sex marriage in California. (official website: This work shows people with adhesive tape on the mouth -which gave me this idea of deprive me of my freedom of speech. Everything was organized and thought : which lesson -literatur lesson, because this is the lesson, which is peculiar to the act of speaking, because it necessitates the langage, exists through the langage. Which explains the absurdity not to write or read or speak particularly during this class. Even the starting time of this work was exactly choosen: 16h20, in the meaning of the letters of the alphabet means 16=P= « Pour »= « For » in French, 20=T= « Tolérance »= tolerance in French so « for the tolerance ». Finally, why have I choosen this campaign as demand for my work ? Well, I have discovered this campaign by chance and since it appears to me for an important cause, I choose to use the « creative potential of chance ». But there are also plenty of thoughts which are similar to the central focus. One of them is a general question about the definition of being human: Am I still human if I don't have access to the act of speaking? But it also evoques social ties: which social ties can we have with others without language? The relations with others, are they the same? It also reminds on the conditions of mute individuals -and even the condition of all persons with disabilities: why are our relations with them different? Is that because we have to face someone „ill“, when we are ourselves „intact“? Is that because of a guilty feeling? But this work can also be linked up to the mutism that can be developed following a trauma. In fact, sometimes words aren't strong enough to tell the feelings or the horror -in case of a war trauma. Are the words helpful? And because this work has taken place during a literature lesson, is the writing useful? If it can't express everything -and especially not the things that should be expressed, then what is it for? But even so can we admit not to tell the things that happen? The truth that we know -or suppose: should we prefer the silence to a truth, which can't be totally passed on to others, even if we have the possibility to tell at least this truth partially ?

Sans traces n°3 -without traces n°3, 9 May 2011, 9.30 a.m to 12.30 p.m

This third and last work was not to make a test -during an artistic examination which was an important exercise for the baccalauréat. Instead of answer to the subject of this exam, I wrote my own thoughts during the three hours -without informing the professor about it of course. So, it wasn't the teacher which imposed to me a subject of reflection, but rather myself. This work was really exhilarating to do -I could use my time for me and to think about what I wanted -and not about what I was forced to think about because of the school system. In a word : Freedom! But not doing an so important test was also really stressfull. The important thought in this work was to restrict my art to the very smallest number of people -in fact here, to two : myself and the teacher -which was at the end a greater number of people, because the teacher had to speak about it. The demand of this work was like the demand of the first work : the right to culture and knowledge -which appears to me as fundamental, because it is the best part of the human being. The most important question was: Why can only few people have this important right, when others have to fight their all life to just survive? But there is here too a bigger question: What is it worth to learn -learn means here experience and not culture, because it is also a form of learning- if humans are always repeating the same mistakes ? -The First and the Second World War. And what is it worth to only learn for a test -which should bring us a certificate and then a profession -which means money? Do we always have to do everything for money -even when we talk about culture? Can culture not exist for itself -or at least for the one, who wants to learn ? In conclusion, I want to add that this work was indeed a work for my baccalaureat (for the artistic practice) but it was also a personal desire to do a such work. To take back the freedom of my soul.

  Conclusion of the triad “Sans traces” / « Without trace »

Each work of this triad had a question about human nature -the right to live, the language and the relations we have with others, the culture and learning process. But all these works have started because of chance -because of one little idea which I liked and appeared important to me. But if I had decided what my work should be, then I had to do it that way and at the next day and it meant that the questions and thoughts were already in my head. As I already said, this triad has allowed me to progress my own reflection about art. I nowadays think that art finally is an own conception, which can be everything. Art, that is a color, a protest, a voice, words, meanings, personal convictions. Art is life and life will not be the same without art. Art, it's the form of expression which show us this world and reflects our mortality and several way of meaning of our world...