A Still from Proposal for a Museum On a Desert Island, 2009. HD video, 11’44’’. © Yan Tomaszewski.

PARIS – Currently on view at Primo Piano, Embellishments, an exhibition of artist Yan Tamaszewski, includes Proposal for a Museum On a Desert Island, a video that suggests an exotic and lost world. The scene in fact takes place on the Ile Seguin in Paris Boulogne-Billancourt, at one time the mechanical heart of the Renault factories, today a stony no man’s land of ambitious destiny.

In his video, the artist transforms the deserted and inhospitable island situated at the quivering junction of an age-old river and a great modern capital into an imaginary and magical place, outside of all history and chronological time. Like the first man, a Neanderthal, or like a NASA astronaut, the artist sets out to discover (perhaps even more than to conquer) the island. Projected as if part of a Richard Long or Hamish Fulton walk, he crosses it like a true contemporary wanderer with a knapsack and hardhat. The adventuresome artist searches for the sacred place where the labyrinthine plan for a museum destined to soon disappear can be drawn – the first sign of a human civilization.

A young artist who recently graduated from the Beaux-Arts, Yan Tomaszewski investigates the Museum as space. Like former cathedrals built on a saint’s relics, he positions his thinking and production on the vestiges of a place with an industrial past charged with a quasi-mythological aura by its very disappearance. With Tomaszewski, the Museum becomes symbolic architecture: it greatly surpasses its function as a place to house the masterpieces of a civilization and becomes the almost demiurgic emblem of a transformation that goes beyond urbanism and toward the cultural identity of a place.

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