Guillaume Valenti at PARLIAMENT / Paris

Guillaume Valenti / AD LIB.

May 21 – June 26, 2021

36 rue d’Enghien
Paris 75010 France

photography: Romain Darnaud

The Latin phrase ad lib means “by choice”. In chess, it takes on a more particular meaning, defining a move whose arrival square is not specified because it no longer has any impor-tance on the result. 

Guillaume Valenti presents his first solo exhibition at Parliament. The artist unveils a series of recent works in which a particular approach to the notion of image appears today. The title intends to speak about the game of chess, an age-old game, which does not lead to chance and develops as a strategy, just like the artist’s paintings. Valenti’s art is built like a game, pushing us to make mistakes: what we see may not be the end. Our understanding of the chessboard and the painting is surely not the reality it seems.

Indeed, Valenti’s way of understanding images is paradoxical. The artist has developed a body of paintings that take up compositions of exhibition spaces. These are stagings of plac-es inhabited by works of art (galleries and museums in particular). The painter is inspired by photographs gleaned from the internet – he collects exhibition views, accumulating a co-lossal catalog today –and reassembles them, modifying their initial reality. He adds generic and symbolic work forms that play a very definite role in the composition. On the one hand, his realism demands a logical truth: what one sees becomes a fact. On the other hand, the image carries an element of strangeness that imposes doubt. The works presented in the exhibition highlight this fact. 

His new research on the questions of display and images has evolved from the simple idea of compilation to that of documentation of the work. The book and the exhibition catalog as objects became new intermediaries. A particular impetus for Valenti: a book by Guy de Cointet – an artist and conceptual poet, adept at manipulating language and signs – mixing Morse code and braille. Valenti was interested first in the form of the object: the aspect of this white monochrome regularly punched evokes the lexicon of abstraction. Ghosts and visual aberrations had been brought in by the digitization of the book, adding an extra layer of meaning or perhaps nonsense. 

By problematizing the question of the reproducibility of images, Guillaume Valenti’s paintings lead to a natural questioning: how does the image live in our real world after its absorption by the digital?

Guillaume Valenti was born in 1987 in Évry. He graduated from the Beaux-Arts de Paris and lives and works in Paris. His work has been exhibited at the Salon de Montrouge, the Lambert Foundation, and the Palais de l’Institut de France, among others.