"By the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat thy bread, until thou return unto the ground," says the Bible, when God tells Adam after the original sin and the following expulsion from paradise that he must now earn his living through toil and hard work. Labour serves to earn a living or to secure the neces- sities of life and has been understood since antiquity as the antithesis of freedom. Karl Marx defined work as the universal category of human existence, which, however, has been alienated under capita- lism and thus loses any quality of a creative force.
Gilles Jacot‘s exhibition, Loaf, addresses questions related to work, livelihood, and life‘s activities. In two new work complexes, which come together in the exhibition to form an experiential space, Jacot not only addresses the existing working and living conditions in our neoliberal society but also deals with the socio-economic conditions under which art is created, dissolved, or imitated.
The series Clone is based on photographs the artist took on the set of one of his „bread and butter“ jobs: for the advertising shoot of a large Swiss jewelry company, Jacot decorated a Paris gallery with art-like objects to imitate the atmosphere and aesthetics of an exhibition in a clean white cube.The black-and-white photographs, which show the view behind the scenes, were processed by the artist according to guidelines he developed himself: Using a Mondrian-like geometric grid of colored ver- ticals and horizontals, which were developed from Post-It notes, Jacot covers all the people involved in the work process visible in the pictures. The resulting image collages, which Jacot presents on self-made plasterboard columns, show the disappearance of individuals in favor of the consumption of labor power and materialize in their own way what Karl Marx already called "the hidden site of production." Jacot raises questions about the extent to which our current living conditions encourage active participation and how we can combat mutual alienation.
At first glance, the series Sorted seems to have been part of the advertising set design. Even if this is not the case, the two work complexes are directly related to each other: the questions Jacot raises in the Clone series are further reflected in Sorted, but relate more to the frame of reference of art itself. Jacot‘s spatial-sculptural intervention creates a situation in which historical-aesthetic art mechanisms are exposed.In the context of the exhibition, the drawers mounted on the walls act like an indexical sign in the tradition of the ready-made but at the same time symbolically refer to the discourse of sculpture and architecture (in their reminiscence of skyscraper facades). As neither pure sculpture nor pure architecture, as well as an object of utility, the drawers rather set in motion a continuous interac- tion of the conditions of production and reception of both discourses. The result is an installation that
- comparable to certain situations in Minimal Art - makes it possible to experience one‘s own (bodily) relationship and reception in space as a reflected experience by means of the targeted placement of the objects in space. Without lapsing into a simplistic representational gesture, Gilles Jacot reflects on the questions addressed and creates a condition in the exhibition space in which recursive processes are triggered that refer to voids, both presenting them and making them tangible.