Installation | Quai Rambaud, Lyon 2005 | 2005

These photographies were taken in 2003 in Cluj-Napoca and Transylvania, in a geographical, political, and social context in which all the panels were empty.
Blank pages in the city, they seem to be waiting for something, tragically and poetically. 
Campaign shows us the urban landscapes of Eastern Europe in a Western city: it confronts these two worlds in a "mise en abyme".

in resonance with the Lyon biennale 2005
curator: Julie Rodriguez
with the support of the DRAC Rhône-Alpes and JCDecaux
special thanks to Voies Navigables de France, Centre Culturel Français de Cluj-Napoca, Manuelle Debrinay and Franck Ponsonnet
« Artistic installation in the urban milieu, Campagne (campaign) adopts a long-standing familiar formula : resorting to the poster and the billboards. This system, put in vogue in the 1960’s under the heading of « billboard art » , turned out to be one of the most effective there is in terms of esthetic impact. A poster, everyone sees it, directly or by a subliminal way. On several Decaux’s billboards of Lyon and its suburbs, Perrine Lacroix « posts » as for her white or verging to white sober images , monochromatic-type, with no legible content. When asked, they were said being enlargements of negatives of other billboards the artist photographed two years ago in Cluj-Napoca, in Romania, white boards with no content, like draped in waiting for a hypothetical advertising or political campaign. Boards by their hundreds, just as is shown in the road-movie-type video the artist produced in this eastern european city_like a preposterous and massive exhibition of white monochromes in the parade in the concrete grey scenery of Cluj.
Campagne : the title of the work, more than the rural world, calls to mind the military campaign. Rightly : the artist, in a given territory, goes in « campagne » (countryside and campaign in french), then brings something back.The plunder, this time, is of photographic nature. Campagne, a minima, can be seen as a documentary report : what Perrine Lacroix has seen over in Cluj, she gives it to see in this very place, between Rhône and Saône_translation, movement of images from east to west, from Cluj-Napoca to Lyon. Campagne, this hanged, is a lot more than that. First fact to take into account : the plastic particular_the first actually which sticks out a mile. For the occidental passer-by in contact with Campagne, the reference to the monochrome is implicit but thus becomes problematic. In the history of painting, the monochrome represents a sort of idealistic peak, a pure form, « extreme », to speak after Malevitch. Now, none of the romanian « monochromes » photographed by the artist and exposed enlarged in Lyon is perfect : posters all creased, filths covering them , tranparencies…Other plastic effect, disturbing here as well , borned from the effect of breach embodied by each of the Campagne’s boards in the rural landscape : for the eye everything happens as if the canonical scheme of Alberti’s window was reversed (the work of the painter percieved like a window opened to the world). Presently it is the work situated around which becomes the frame. Esthetic of the « empty center », as Perrine Lacroix said, where would suddenly lack the punctum, the focal point.
Second fact : the critical dimension. By definition, a poster is supposed to furnish a piece of information, it « offers » something to see, to sell, to consume. Stick up some white or a surface area which borders on white, is conspicuously containing ourself to silence, to the giving up to expression, to an infra-language. Campagne’s bills don’t get in touch with anybody, as a semiologist would say. More exactly said, they make a sign but negatively, in every paradoxical aim to put forward withdrawal and deprivation. Their actual means of signalling is to signify, the choice for discretion and retrenchment (I don’t wish to express myself), or the pure and simple withdrawal (there is at any rate nothing to say).What is the most amazing, probably,_and the best of it, just as well_lies in the explicit character of this posted silence. There is nothing to be seen but, for all that, we understood. What ? That not expressing ourself, is also expressing ourself. That refusing the effect, is also producing it. It is by the use of the poster, in our liberal societies, that the capital posts itself and makes itself tempter : new products that are,into it,emphasized in an aggressive maner, tempting offers that are,into it, subjected to the assessment of the outrageously solicited passer-by. It is also by the use of the poster that the politicians, at the time of the elections (the election « campaign »), sell their image, etc. In this cosmetic part where the unique object of the message is to conquer the one whith the eyes to look, the « posted » refusal to bill is turned into the renunciation to seduction. There the critical dimension of Campagne will reside, precisely : don’t humble ourself, the artist having recourse to the public space, to supersaturate this one with a seductive sign very comparable to any other posting, it would adorn itself with the « artistic » sign quality.

Therefore, strategy of cleaning up. There is for all that a third actual fact in the the Perrine Lacroix’s postings, which we will link to the question of time. White, here, is the waiting. A message is coming, the advertising « campaign » is beginning. Or else it is death, just as easily : we renounce to bill publically any kind of sign. A death, to be specific, which would be the first moment of a radiant future_let us dream a little_where our urban landscapes would stop being vampirized by the urban posting, becoming the gangrene that we know of (the city’s entries and the rows of boards squeezed on the side of the road). If we add to these abstract facts the typical order of Cluj-Napoca, the very place from which Perrine Lacroix « exports » her views of white bills, undoubtedly this time fact don’t acquire an enlarged dimension, and don’t border on the politic hint subjacent. It is fifteen years now since the communist Romania succeeds the liberal Romania. This transition, we know it, has caused as much misery as economic renewal. The white posters of Cluj show very well this failure, by suggesting laconically that time is at the frontier between two worlds, at the uncertainty. Once shown to Lyon , this rhetoric of the « « breaking off » of time shall not have the same meaning. Where Campagne, to finish, tells the relativity of all perception, and that some worlds exist, the reality would be proclaimed « total » and « globalised ». »

Paul Ardenne, « White is explicit », Semaine n°68, weekly publication for contemporary art 2005