“ Victory over the Sun ” by Xavier Mary

“ Victory over the Sun ” by Xavier Mary

A book launch and signing in the gallery on Saturday at 2pm at on the occasion of the exhibition of Xavier Mary.
The title of the book is ‘Victory over the Sun’.

This monograph offers an exhaustive overview of more than fifteen years of artistic practice. It bears witness to the dedication of a visual artist with an unmistakable signature, but who has been able to reinvent his work time and again. Xavier Mary (b. 1982) was born and raised in Liège, a city located in the former industrial backbone of Belgium. Anyone who studies his oeuvre will quickly notice how the processes of thinking and making are inextricably intertwined, a chiasm expressed by the ‘x’ in the word praxis. Preceded by a philosophical reflection, the conceptual threads are unraveled in this publication by a number of authors who are familiar with Mary’s work, or have worked with him before.

In a conversation with yours truly, Xavier Mary looks back at the benchmarks in his artistic career, his
theoretical references and influences, ranging from his industrial environment to the temple architectureof Angkor Vat. In his contribution, Benoît Lamy de La Chapelle takes the road network in Europe as a starting point to shed light on the uniqueness of Mary’s sculptures and installations. Claire Contamine, in her turn, situates his work against the backdrop of the rave culture as it emerged in the post-industrial society of the 1990s. Finally, Pierre-Olivier Rollin’s contribution looks at the ruins of modernity in Mary’s work, at its dreams, nightmares and the spectres that continue to haunt him.

The title of this book is taken from a well-known 1913 avant-garde Cubo-Futurist opera celebrating the
demise of the sun. Premiered one year before Russia entered World War I, it epitomizes the ‘transrational’ language (zaum) invented by the Russian Futurist poets with whom Kazimir Malevich collaborated as a stage designer for this production. Inspired by a series of solar eclipses at that time, the artists advocated the view that each obscuration also entails a revelation, an ‘unveiling’ etymologically rooted in the word “apocalypse”. In his essay – which has proven highly influential
for Xavier Mary – art critic and philosopher Boris Groys refers to Victory over the Sun in order to address the often misconceived role of technology, the idea of utopia and the origin of the work of art. His contribution has therefore been reprinted at the beginning of this book.

Pieter Vermeulen

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