Château de Rochechouart

Musée d'art contemporain de la Haute-Vienne - Château de Rochechouart
87600 Rochechouart

plan route show map

artists & participants

press release

John Wood and Paul Harrison (born respectively in 1969 and 1966) have, for over a decade, placed themselves centre stage in the burlesque scenes they record on video. Recently however, they have opened up a new vein in their work by bringing everyday objects into unusual situations, treating them almost as experimental subjects to be tested for a new use. The simultaneous production of posters and graphic works as well as the actual "physical" pieces underlines a fundamentally sculptural dimension to this new work.

One quality these pieces posess is the onlooker's immediate response to the comical and formal situations set up by the two artists. However, in provoking such spontaneous reactions they draw on complex influences. They are not only redolent of visual gags from early silent movies but stem also from the evolving relationship between art performance and the medium of video. Wood & Harrison adroitly harness the world of Simone Forti's choreography, theatrical aspects of minimalist art, the exploits of the Flying Wallendas (a family of Austro-Hungarian high-wire circus artists reputed for performing without safety nets) and the films of Buster Keaton.

John Wood & Paul Harrison's exhibition, occupying an entire floor at Rochechouart Museum of Contemporary Art, features one of their latest works, Night & Day (2008), a half-hour video installation based on light and darkness. In this piece, a flick of a light switch is both the means of transition and the link between a succession of sculptural, narrative or just plainly absurd scenes. The mechanism in Shelf (2007) on the other hand remains hidden, as objects process past the viewer in never-ending, indescribable and unpredictable lines. Another type of movement occurs in Photocopier (2007) in which the machine of the title is used inappropriately as a post-production film animation unit.

This is the first exhibition of work by Wood & Harrison to appear in France and covers a broad spectrum of their production. An accompanying catalogue, designed as an extension of the exhibition, includes posters, graphics and objects made by the artists. "John Wood & Paul Harrison : Plan B" is organised in partnership with Ikon Gallery in Birmingham (UK) and the Thun Kunstmuseum of Switzerland.

Located 40 km from Limoges, and 30 km from Limoges's airport, the Castle of Rochechouart is perched dramatically on a rocky outcrop. Most of the castle dates from the 15th century with an inner courtyard and elegant Renaissance gallery with frescoes from the 16th century. In 1985, Haute-Vienne Council established the Museum of contemporary art within its walls. The museum has an exceptional collection of artworks by artists such as Gerhard Richter, Luciano Fabro, Ugo Rondinone, Steve McQueen, Thierry Kuntzel… It includes also the Raoul Hausmann foundation, dedicated to the famous dadaist who spent the last 20 years of his life in Limoges.

The Musée départemental d'art contemporain de Rochechouart is an initiative of the Conseil général de la Haute-Vienne.This exhibition was made possible through the support of the Minister of Culture (DRAC Limousin).

only in german

John Wood / Paul Harrison