Edith Payer plays with the activity of staging. Desiring to escape the inevitability of time, the artist salvages everyday objects that have been discarded. The work is not just recovery, but also created, as the collected items are taken out of their context and made available to a new expression that does not lack meaning.
For her exhibition at Le Cube in Rabat, she focuses on the ethnographic object and displays at the Musée Quai Branly, a collection she saw and theme she developed during her residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris.
Whether the head of a sheep shaped from trousers or utensils grouped in a collection under a glass case, the object of our material environment becomes a museum object, passing from the sphere of everyday life to the one of a museum. With the sensibility of an ethnographer, Edith Payer retrieves items and clothing found in the streets of a popular Paris. She rethinks them to give them a function. They are no longer everyday objects, but exhibits. Rendered sacred – making them stand on pedestals, gathering them into a collection, putting them in boxes according to a method of classification, replicating graffiti writing on a building – the objects are transformed and become artworks.
In this manner, nothing is left to chance in museums, even the tools that are the subject matter. The aesthetic interest important to the staging encourages one to primarily see the plastic aspects instead of the scientific or useful. For Edith Payer, ethnographic work is a witness to a time and place, and, in her case, expressive of our time. Look at those curtains and pedestals on which we can guess the name of famous brands! According to a tendency to sanctify the “shell”, objects and collections are drowning in an institution that wants luxury, glitz at the risk of forgetting again the essential, at least its primary function.
The exhibition of Edith Payer at Le Cube is the expression of this development between Paris and Rabat. By creating her own ethnographic museum, similar to the “art premier”, the artist gives us an opportunity to rediscover the objects of our everyday life.