The Sarajevo Storage – Collection Pierre Courtin – 2001/2019

Started in 2001, the collection of Pierre Courtin consists today of 400 pieces. Exploring the borders between collection’s work, artistic gestures, and exhibiting art works in galleries, it displays only the part of its own ambivalence: true-false collection where the “complete” works are mixed with fragment works, which are just as many other exhibition souvenirs, relics, cult objects, which seem to ironically, send us to the vanity of entire collection’s act, its desire to be written in history, a “supra humane” temporality.

The collection have been showed to at the Art Center OUI in Grenoble in 2008 (Fr), at the Art Center Duplex in Sarajevo in 2012 (BiH), at the Art Center BANG in Chicoutimi in 2013 (CA), at the at the National Gallery of Sarajevo and at the Art Center of Tuzla in 2018 (BIH)

For more details and information please contact our collection manager Lucia Gigli: lislumiere@gmail.com

Pierre Courtin / Pioneer Collector

I am not only interested in art; I am interested in the society where art is only one aspect. I am interested in the world as a whole where the society is only a part of it. I am interested in the universe where the world is only a fragment of it. I am interested primarily in the ongoing creation of which the universe is only a product.

Robert Filliou (1963)

Amateur and professional art workers, who have never been tempted to take home a souvenir of an exhibition, an intervention in public space, a performance or concert? A subtle piece that will present a trace of a visual, sensory, aesthetic experience. Does owning these traces make us thieves? Sentimentalists? Collectors? Since 2001, Pierre Courtin (artist, gallery owner and collector) raises the question of the status and function of an art collection. Articulating works (films, drawings, photographs, paintings and sculptures) with fragments of works, materials (booklets, posters, cards) and other objects, he has established an unconventional collection. Driven by passion, curiosity and a willingness to share, Collection 10m2 does not express any intention towards market perspectives, but does not stay at the margins of the world. Today, the collection counts more than 300 pieces from the work of more than 200 artists. As an artist himself, he questions the process of gestures: gleaning, collecting, compiling artists’ works that he likes. As a gallery owner and collector, he raises questions on the articulation of pieces: their mobility, accessibility and visibility to a wider audience.

The result of these searches, unexpected findings, encounters, trips, collaborations, is that the collection of Pierre Courtin consists of gifts, details, scraps, anecdotes which have over the years made up the memory of an experience both personal and collective. A collection should normally not only be the taste of its creators, but rather a direction in the history of polysemic art. Such collection becomes gradually the material and conceptual voice of a man, a woman, a collective. Pierre Courtin slips between preconceived ideas, norms and traditions, making fun of conventions by combining value scales. The concepts of hierarchy, reputation, career, and merchantability are not at all taken into account. Coming from European and international scenes, these works – fragments are a result of eclectic works of artists such as Daniel Buren Baptist Debombourg, Adela Jušić, Chen Zhen, Robert Filliou, Camille Laurelli, Alexandre Leger, Lewis Baltz, Thomas Hirschhorn, Navid Nuur, Rada Boukova, Radenko Milak, and Félix González -Torres.

The collection of Pierre Courtin reflects a particular and unique look at contemporary art. Through the work, its details and documentation, he offers us a different point of view of a piece of art he loves and defends. Since it does not correspond to any usual criteria, Collection 10m2 is extracted from commercial sector. In this sense, it appears as an anarchist island within the art world governed by money, standardization and compromises. Therefore, the collection, a “personal, emotional and sentimental utopia”, is lead by a commitment and manifests itself in: against time, against the current. In reviewing the work and its residues, Pierre Courtin circumvents these obstacles to build long-term (conceptual and poetic) strategy which is an alternative to art shows. The collection is thus based on a personal, critical and ironic discourse carried by a breathless system in which it does not recognize itself.

Julie Crenn, 2014

The Sarajevo Storage – Collection Pierre Courtin – 2001/2019

Collection Pierre Courtin, Reliques

Started in 2001, the collection 10m2 consists today of more than 400 pieces.

Exploring the borders between collection’s work, artistic gestures, and exhibiting art works in galleries, it displays only the part of its own ambivalence: true-false collection where the “complete” works are mixed with fragment works, which are just as many other exhibition souvenirs, relics, cult objects, which seem to ironically, send us to the vanity of entire collection’s act, its desire to be written in history, a “supra humane” temporality.

A quasi-virtual collection presenting a good number of famous and well-known artists, puts this way in acuteness the question of reality beyond the aura awarded by the media support and the “names” of “great” artists. 

Once the objects are put on the wall, works are here also manipulative and for the first time of a fluctuating exhibiting-construction, which oscillates between curiosity chambers and auction sales, the great work of art and its commoditization, always reflect us with humour and distance.

Elegy to the detail or a scrappy look

Collection Pierre Courtin, Reliques, exhibition view at Duplex10m2, Sarajevo, 2011

It’s an empiric story of contemporary art gleaned the day after the taking off of the exhibition on the sidewalks of galleries horrifyingly emptied of their consistencies. Faddish, dying consistencies re-emerging by the end of the month.  The idea of throwing the installation objects is without a doubt convenient to the time that is ours, easily replacing everything that belongs to the field, greatly overstating the « useful » part of it. But are art objects, being art itself, always the children of  « useful » ?  Pierre Courtin collects vestiges, divers compound materials made of art. The result of this is a collection of countless fragments stored here and there. From basement to basement. All it took was freeing them out of their dusty carton boxes, for a clinical “ mise-en-scène” to allow us to analyse history or histories from them. They would without a doubt operate as souvenirs encouraging the feeling of shared archaeology: everyone participating in a common memory will recognize in an anecdotal way their experience with the entire work, their encounter with the artist etc…This way, we would offer it a recompensation from a scrappy, bursting point of view. And finally, the reminiscence of the detail would make us wonder: What is really a work of art? …

Anaïs Delmas, February 2012