Introduction to :

CLOCKWISE – NEW NORDIC CONTEMPORARY ART ,  exhibition Vejle museum 2002

 extract  :By Stine Høholt ARKEN Museum of Modern Art

The French artist Colonel  for several years has worked with different mappings of the worlds of art and culture. Thus, he has reflected on the perceived existence of a unique, authentic, national identity, and the caricatured foreigner’s idea of cultural assimilation.  He uses his subject area, whether an art institution or the Danish nation, as anthropological site. However, in Colonel the subcultural is not central. Instead, he deals with “the ordinary Dane” and specific cultural areas that he maps out with a focus on intolerance, misguided kindness and hypocrisy. Humor is an important ingredient in fragmentary works that quite matter-of-factly show us the artist as cultural anthropologist — or “funny sociologist, ” as he prefers it.

The exhibition features two Colonel videos, I want to look Danish, I want to look like you (1999) and Invisibility (1999), both thematizing integration and differences, as well as the art project

L’imperméable (1988-2000). Colonel is an exponent of a distinctly process-oriented and dialogical art that does not kowtow to art-historical requirements for beauty and genre divisions, but instead offers the viewer new forms of communication by moving into the social sphere through long-term activities. His L’imperméable project exemplifies this practice. It consists of a number of coats printed with text and images, coats the artist has worn in various art contexts: walking around Paris, at biennials around the world or in videos such as Invisibility in this exhibition. L’imperméable is part of Moving Exhibitions, an unfinishable mobile project, critical of institutions, which has both a conceptual aim: it is about creating new strategies for the artwork and the exhibition situation, and an existential aim: in these works, Colonel creates his own personal “cabinet of wonders” of internally connected stories about himself, his art and the world around him which, it is likely, no one but the artist himself can connect with respect to all interfaces and historics. Colonel’s practice is manifested as a type of transcategorical art that gathers inspiration from ethnography, anthropology, journalism and cultural theory. It points out that, although art may not be the best didactic tool, humorous-artistic language still holds a potential for penetrating into cracks that are beyond the reach of didactic statements. His is an art that, apart from its fragmentary nature, its many piled-on details, its humor and irony, follows a clear, productive strategy, centered as it is on an interest in charting various forms of ideological, cultural and social representation.