The socks of Jean-Michel Pancin
Displayed in the restrooms of the Galerie Taïss, does the French artist want to launch a new trend? And why socks in a restroom?
These «socks», which Jean-Michel Pancin names «pelotes», have been collected from the old Sainte Anne d’Avignon penitentiary. Messages in a bottle, lost objects still waiting for their recipient: they bring news, comfort, help, even promises of freedom. Sometimes inmates would fight to their death to recover these objects that, because of their content and nature, tore down the Bastille. They have been thrown from the garden of the Doms, which overlooks the prison, during an age when chain-link fence didn’t surround the yard perimeter yet (1960s, 1970s, 1980s). Carefully packed with the socks, for the friends and the inmates’ girlfriends, they hold the drug needed to stand and live through prison, condoms, or messages. Precious items that offer a sort of relief to the inmates’ bodies, to ‘make them socialize’, as far as possible. Thus, the inmate’s aid kit chiefly included products from the pelotes.
These items, these socks, which at first might appear repulsive, are now being showcased. Set in the restroom, the case compares itself with the place of cleanliness, of body care. It relates to the many cabinets furnishing the bathrooms and holding precious products: perfumes, lotions, drugs, which help improve the sociability of men and women. But due to their same substance, these pelotes clash with such context because of their ‘antisocial’ origins. They come from a background that rejects and denies itself, and of which one doesn’t want to see the paradoxical violence. Inside the inmate’s medicine cabinet, we can see objects having parallel uses, which are strange to each other.
Jean-Michel Pancin and Barbara Polla
. ART IS FASHION .
. ART IS FASHION .
14, rue Debelleyme
Paris, until 14 January 2012