Harris Lieberman at Basel Statements 42 with Alexandre Singh

Harris Lieberman

June 3, 2011

The Dialogues of the Objects I–V



For Basel Statements 42, Alexandre Singh (born 1980, Bordeaux, FRANCE) has created a sound and light installation in which the roles of artwork and spectator are reversed. Shaking off their traditionally submissive roles, the sculptures on display are heard discussing and giving judgement on the world of human beings. Following on from his installation-cum-theatre play The School for Objects Criticized, 2010; exhibited at the New Museum, New York, 2010[1] and currently on view at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris[2]; Singh has conceived a series of short satires in the style of Aesop’s Fables and the Socratic Dialogues. Standing outside the gallery booth, a white block holds the participating objects who kick their heels, each waiting their turn to be taken inside the installation where they will perform their respective roles. In a series of scenes passing from a New York bar, to Hades, to a hilltop under the stars; an Apple, Hammer, Feather, Wine Glasses, Radio, Cigarette Packets, Ashtray, Quill, Helium Balloon, Hourglass, Necklace, Box of Matches, and TomTom GPS device are transformed into actors, as they lead a series of discussions about Truth, Free Will, Taste and Judgement, Literature, and Morality.

Alexandre Singh’s works, taking in such diverse genres as writing, collage, installation and performance, are characterized by obsessive details and linkages. Drawing upon a dizzying constellation of themes and characters; culled as much from classical history and philosophy, as popular and consumer culture; Singh’s universe is one of absurdist junctures and juxtapositions in which Adidas founder Adi Dassler is re-imagined as Faust; Piero Manzoni creates a camera that eats the Universe; and Molière’s send-ups of 17th century snobbery are translated to modern-day New York. If figures such as Molière, Lucian of Samosata, and even Woody Allen, appear as characters in Singh’s world, it only seems natural, his works perpetuating a like spirit of wit, imagination and fantasy.

Lucky Strike, Marlboro Reds.
8:25 mins

Apple, Hammer, Feather.
8:20 mins


Balloon, Gallery Map, Quill.
10:34 mins


Glass of Bordeaux, Glass of Bourgogne, Radio.
6:45 mins

Hourglass, GPS, Mandy, Matches.
12:15 mins

[1] Free, New Museum, New York, NY. Oct 20th 2010–Jan 23rd 2011.

[2] Alexandre Singh: La Critique de l’École des Objets, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, FRANCE. Apr 22nd—Jun 19th 2011. + Radio Broadcast: Micro Fiction, Radio France Culture, FRANCE. Daily Apr 25th—Apr 30th 2011.