The play on the real

Transference of the real and its reconstitution, dismantling and remounting of the image, functional detour of the object. Roland Baladi is a perfect example of Huizinga's cherished "homo ludens".

Whatever medium he uses, watercolor or video electronics or marble, Baladi makes a practice of playing the object against its function. A vast gained taking diverse and anodyne forms, and upon which perhaps our whole culture is based. 

In early September 1979, at the opening in Paris of the Forum des Halles, Baladi presented "Tondo", a Super8 projection in the round of recorded images of open sky. In this particular case the camera played the role of a peri-scope which fixes and displaces at the same time: fixing the visual subject, image of a reality no longer existent (the Paris sky at the moment the photos were taken).

When the artist reproduces in marble objects char-acteristic of contemporary design: digital calculator or typewriter, the working of the transference/displacement of the real is even more evident. The functional object's practical value is reduced to zero, and for this value is substituted the esthetic fetishism of the form, united with the material.



We know well how the everyday objects of our grandparent end up: tools, lamps, warming pans, revolvers. How and where: they come to decorate our mantelpieces or living room walls, after a brief stint in the purgatory of the flea market or antique dealer.
All seems to indicate that Roland Baladi takes a supreme pleasure in accelerating the process of fetishization of the object of our memory. He nimbly anticipates the normal time span of the object's functional destiny, and plunges it all at once into the universe of our collective memory.

The use of marble is not gratuitous; rather it is willfully funerary: Baladi consecrates the object's death to the world of design and its rebirth to the memory world of the craftsman. The immediate is fixed in the past, in the same way that Lot's wife was transformed into a pillar of salt; just as the statues at the cemetery of Genes monumentalise the final, fatal moment of the one whose tomb they ornament.

Simulacrum certainly, this detour of the real by way of its function and duration. A simulacrum of anti design which creates a new design, a crafted product holding a privileged place in our memory and endowed with the maximum possible of constitutive ambiguities, since it sets off in our memories the realms of art, kitsch, and gadget, ail at the same time. 
Here are the very modem fetishes which must be exorcised if our sensibility is to be the currency of Nature at large. Roland Baladi's ambition is high: if the play on the real is the world's symbol, life becomes absolute art.

Pierre Restany Oct 1978

More texts in english:

About the marble Cadillac project
The solar-relief in Leonardo , in Omni
From Mike to Marshall with love by Franck Maubert in Artpress
In OK Harris catalogue by Linda chase
Nam June's first tape the transcript of the video

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