In their first institutional solo exhibition in Germany, the French artist duo Louise Hervé & Clovis Maillet (both *1981) convert the Kunstverein’s Remise into a site of teaching and research. The installation, a blend of conference room, archive, and library, becomes a stage for discussions and scholarly elaborations revolving around the myth of Pythagoras. Their film Pythagoras and the Monsters, produced specifically for the exhibition in Braunschweig, will be presented for the first time .
Intangible in terms of archival material—the first written records were not produced until centuries later—Pythagoras is one of the most mysterious personalities in human history. In Pythagoras and the Monsters, the ancient mathematician and philosopher becomes a cinematic hero: he plays the leading role in a mixture of Western, historical, and gladiator film. The two artists have been interested for some time now in so-called sword and sandal films, which became very popular in the 1960s, for example with the Hollywood epic Ben Hur.
The portrayal of fiction in a historical guise or the artistic processing of historical fragments are strategies Louise Hervé & Clovis Maillet pursue in their works. They became well known for their performative actions: nearly indistinguishable for the audience—their hair strictly combed back and wearing pencil skirts—they presented didactic and at the same time poetic performances of documentation and fiction. Documents, literary references, and objets trouvés meaningfully flow into one another. Their project for the Remise of the Kunstverein Braunschweig also deals with rhetoric and the jargon of science and didactics, the essence of history, research and principles of the scholarly processing of the past. Thus, the exhibition space is both an installation consisting of a display case, books, and objects as well as a lecture hall, for Hervé & Maillet have invited professors who teach in Braunschweig to give lectures.
In their 8mm films, Louise Hervé & Clovis Maillet pursue an approach that is similar to that in their per-formances or installations. They combine multilayered historical or autobiographical facts with elements from science-fiction films and textbooks, scrutinizing, among other things, strategies of communication typical for educational institutions in order to make use of them for their works at the same time. Showing the films with old 8mm projectors not only makes the films themselves seem to be relics from bygone times, but their presentation as well.
Louise Hervé & Clovis Maillet have been working together for ten years. While Louise Hervé initially studied art history followed by a period of study at the École Nationale d’Arts de Cergy. In addition to history and art history, Clovis Maillet also studied anthropology. Besides important prizes and scholarships, in 2008 they received a studio grant for the Palais de Tokyo combined with a group exhibition.
The exhibition is being supported by:
Niedersächsisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kultur
Institut Francais, Deutschland