Nature morte (Still life) 2001-2009
Serge Spitzer

Uniques tennis balls, variables dimensions

Deposit of the artist (owner the artist) in 2009

Born in Bucharest in Romania in 1951, Serge Spitzer lives and works in New York in the United States.

A protagonist of the artistic revolution of the late 60s, he began to develop a production of concepts based on “models of reality”. The play of tensions between visibility and invisibility, order and chaos, weight and fragile floating, statics and movement is a recurrent theme in Spitzer’s work, which includes references to multiple forms of social and political functionings. He combines artistic conventions with biological, technological or social systems to question the processes of communication, perception and awakening of conscience.

His works, shown in the most prestigious institutions and manifestations, are linked to their sites, such as Re/Cycle (Don’t Hold Your Breath) to the Venice Biennial, Re/Search (Alchemy and/or Question Marks with Swiss Air) to the Kunstmuseum in Bern, as well as his presence today in Istanbul with Molecular (ISTANBUL).

The ephemeral project Still life on Vassivière Island, composed of tens of thousands of unique tennis balls in an area measuring a few hectares, is not a simple composition of static objects, as its title may ironically suggest. Fascinated by the multiplicities of typical landscapes, Serge Spitzer chose to terminate the cycle of creation of this highly enigmatic installation in the sculpture wood of Vassivière Island on the heights of the Deleuzean Plateau de Millevaches after having travelled in the “American BACKYARD” of the gardens of the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art at Ridgefield in 2008 and at the “Swiss ALPS” at Zuoz in 2009.

The work is a demonstration of an imperceptible "reality model" which propagates like a virus and presents itself as a physical metaphor of the way that art interacts with everyday life. As in numerous “viral sculptures” conceived since the 90s, the ephemeral structure that Serge Spitzer has installed in the Island meadow is transformed over time by uncontrolled and accidental forces: the balls will be swept away by wind, storm and rain, or else knocked out of place by visitors; now and again, children will be tempted to play or just take one; and the grass will grow slowly to recover the original. 

Serge Spitzer has engaged in the design and the manufacturing process of this work to ensure the unique and at the same time ephemeral nature of each ball without any concern to preserve the work. So, on each used ball has been printed the image of a tiny detail of a piece of lawn photographed by the artist and then blown up to arrive at this pixelated green, a near-perfect mimetism of the places where they were implanted up to now.

Despite its very minimalist formal execution, Serge Spitzer’s project is entirely built around the imperfection of reality, with social and political overtones. His work takes possession of the surroundings with objects that imply at one and the same time notions of leisure, play and military occupation.

In the tradition of those artists who have used landscape as a vehicle for contemplation, Still life becomes a field for thinking.


Copyright : Jean-Baptiste Decavèle