Documents: 1999 – 2016

Jean-Luc Moulène

October 2016
Sequence Press
Designed by Marc Touitou
Bilingual edition (English/French)
Softcover, cardboard box, 180 x 240mm
640 pages (449 color & b/w ill.)
Edition of 700 signed and numbered copies
ISBN 978-0-9975674-2-7

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Published on the occasion of Jean-Luc Moulène's solo exhibition at The Centre Pompidou, October 19, 2016 to February 20, 2017, this box set contains four volumes documenting six of the artist's most well-known photographic series.

Moulène, a self-declared technicien libertaire, creates work that is stylistically ambulatory yet bounded by specific conceptual parameters: it must be separate and complete in itself; make clear the conditions under which it was produced; and establish a direct link with that from which it has been separated—which is to say, the world. His practice cuts diagonally across the oft-stratified spheres of economics, politics, and culture in order to reveal gaps in assumed knowledge and allow new figures and transparencies to emerge. Unlike a scientist or a mathematician, an artist must produce work that is not merely the outcome of an experiment, but must also render the experiment available to others; Moulène sees this as his task. The resulting forms are models for other lines of inquiry.

Many of Moulène’s photographic images are grouped under the series Documents, this special publication is comprised of subseries chronicling the writings on the wall inside a tunnel in Paris (Le Tunnel/The Tunnel), a group of sex workers from Amsterdam (Les filles d’Amsterdam/The Amsterdam’s Girls), minor statuettes at the Louvre (Le Louvre), objects made by French workers while on strike (Objets de grève/Strike Objects), an invasive plant species in urban environs (La Vigie/Watch Out), and products illegally exported from Palestine (Produits de Palestine/Palestinian Products). Here, photography functions as a research tool, a form of record keeping. Like Malraux’s Musée ImaginaireDocuments unites the heterogeneity of the world under the sign of photography. 

Born in 1955, Jean-Luc Moulène studied Aesthetics and Sciences of Art at the Sorbonne University in Paris, where he currently lives and works. He participated in Documenta X (1997), the Sao Paulo Biennial (2002), the Venice Biennial (2003), the Taipei Biennial (2004), the First International Biennial of the Image (Laos, 2007) and the Sharjah Biennial (2010). Among the institutions that have dedicated solo exhibitions to his work are Villa Medici, Rome (2015), Kunstverein Hannover (2014), Dia:Beacon (2012), Carré d’art-Musée d’art contemporain, Nîmes (2009), Culturgest, Lisbon (2007), Musée du Louvre, Paris (2005), and Centre d’Art Contemporain de Genève (2003). Moulène’s work has been included in group exhibitions at the Witte de With (Rotterdam), ARC / Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Le Magasin (Grenoble), Grey Art Gallery (New York), Musée des Beaux-Arts de Beaune, Villa Médici (Rome), Yokohama Museum of Art, Triennale de Milano, KW Institute for Contemporary Art (Berlin), Museum Ludwig (Cologne), De Appel (Amsterdam), Grand Palais (Paris), Landesmuseum Joanneum GmbH Kunsthaus (Graz), Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), Kunstverein Nürnberg, and elsewhere. Torture Concrete, his first one-person exhibition at Miguel Abreu Gallery took place in the fall of 2014.