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Julien Discrit, Animation (détail), 2016.
Image tirée de la vidéo, vidéo 4k, couleur, son. | Video still, 4k video, color, sound.
Avec l'aimable permission de l'artiste et de la Galerie Anne-Sarah Bénichou|
Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Anne-Sarah Bénichou

Julien Discrit
From September 1st 2016 to October 8th 2016
Nature. Culture.

Borrowing by turns from installation, performance, photography, and video, Julien Discrit’s work draws on the potential for dialogue between the humanities and the natural sciences and proposes art as a topos by which the two fields may interact. His art practice examines the gap between the actual experience of a territory and its visual or material representation, going on to investigate the divisions between ideas and practices, between concepts and percepts.

For his work presented at OPTICA, Discrit focuses on the Möbius strip (or band), a paradigmatic object in topology. Flourishing in the nineteenth century, the science of topology was concerned with the possibility for continuous transformation of space. The strip featured in this work bears the name of German mathematician August Ferdinand Möbius, who submitted the discovery as his own to the French Academy of Sciences in 1858. While the strip remained an object of fascination for mathematicians throughout the 19th century, it was quickly taken up by some very influential thinkers in the human and social sciences. Lacanian psychoanalysis, for instance, uses the Möbius strip as a spatialization model for the work of the unconscious. 1 As for formal dimensions of Discrit’s video, they refer to a series of drawings and woodcuts produced by M.C. Escher in the early 1960s depicting nine red ants crawling along a Möbius strip, usually placed vertically.

Following a precise contortion, the Möbius strip—which becomes a felt space in the video— reveals the cyclical relationship between the physical elaboration of a mathematical concept, its reuse in the social sciences, its potential artistic representations, and the experience it can afford as a physical phenomenon. Conjuring these various contexts simultaneously, Discrit’s proposition highlights the connections between mathematical abstraction and organic realism, the artist stating that “any conception emanating from the psyche must be based on its grounding in the body, by the sensory perception of a concrete and external object.” 2

1. See, among others, Jacques LACAN (2001 [1972]), “L’étourdit”, Autres écrits. Paris: Seuil, pp. 449-495.
2. Our translation. Fernande SAINT-MARTIN (2010), L’immersion dans l’art. Comment donner sens aux œuvres de sept artistes. Québec: Presses de l’Université de Québec, p. 4.

Author: Daniel Fiset
Daniel Fiset is an art historian and educator. He lives and works in Montreal.

Translator: Ron Ross

COMMUNIQUÉ DE PRESSE (pdf)

Julien Discrit was born in 1978 in Épernay, France. A graduate from the École supérieure d’art et design de Reims (2004), he lives and works in Paris. His works have been the subject of solo exhibitions (Ensapc Ygrec, Paris, 2015; Institut français de Roumanie, Bucarest, 2006; Jeu de Paume, Paris, 2005) and group shows (Centre Pompidou-Metz, 2016; Galerie Thomas Henry Ross, Montreal, 2014; Fundación Proa, Buenos Aires, 2012; La Biennale de Lyon, 2011).

Julien Discrit, Animation (détail), 2016 Image tirée de la vidéo, vidéo 4K, couleur, son.| Video still, 4k video, color, sound. Avec l'aimable permission de la Galerie Anne-Sarah Bénichou | Courtesy of the Galerie Anne-Sarah Bénichou