Nicolas Manenti

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Nicolas Manenti, France

Solo Exhibitions
2012 Black Monday, Cyart Gallery, Seoul
2009 Was kann ich fur sie Tun, FMAB Galerie, BERLIN/D
        Solarium, AFThotwt..., BERLIN/D

Selected group shows
2011 Why we walk, 91mQ, BERLIN/D (co-Curator)
        Wunderkammer, Lage 3/20, BERLIN/D
        Project Kunstaktien, Uferhallen, BERLIN/D
        Galerie Thomas Craemer in Art Amsterdam, AMSTERDAM/NL (Catalogue)
2010 5e Panorama de la jeune creation, BOURGES/F. (Catalogue)
        As deep as you can, Schwimmhalle Pankow, BERLIN/D
        Das Schonste im Leben, Pilotenkuche, LEIPZIG/D (co-Curator)
        Part-time Playtime, 91mQ, BERLIN/D
        Schwerinblicke, Staatlisches Museum, SCHWERIN/D. (Catalogue)
        A tree full of birds, FMAB & Mikrowesten @Formwerk, ESKILSTUNA/S
        Neujahrsausstellung, Galerie Richard Sorge, BERLIN/D
2009 Ma valise a Berlin, Institut Francais, BERLIN/D
        Ich komme spater, 91mQ, BERLIN/D
        25P, Niagara, NEW YORK/USA.
        #51, Limbus Europa, BERLIN/D
        XIVe Biennale BJCEM, SKOPJE/MK. (Catalogue)
        A funny thing Happened on the way to... (AFThotwt...), BERLIN/D
        Duck & Cover, 3rd Tease Art Fair, COLOGNE/D. (Catalogue)
2008 Missverstandnisse, Deutsches Kommunikationsmuseum, FRANKFURT-AM-MAIN and
        BAZAAR: Zur Strategie des Risikos, 5.Berliner Kunstsalon, BERLIN/D
        BOOK is a book drawing by numbers, Galerie Lendroit, RENNES/F. (Publication)
        Die Zahl, Der Zufall, Das Spiel, Kunstverein Rugen, PUTBUS/D.
        No admittance except on business, Galerie Tmp.deluxe, BERLIN/D.

2011 Dans l´ordre, in Degrades, collective publication, Editions 36 du mois, LYON/ F.
2008 La societe du Spectacle, in BOOK is a book drawing by numbers, Galerie Lendroit,

since 2011 represented in Berlin by the Gallery Thomas Craemer:
2009-2011 Member of the art project space 91mQ: artistic direction,
                organisation and logistic.

Notes on a Long Garden Leave
Sunshine Wong(Critic)

Leaving a job may not mean that all ties with your company are neatly severed; to ensure confidentiality of company information, you can be subjected to a paid but workless period upon resigning, a so-called “garden leave” during which you are only an employee by contract but do not render any services. Wandering the empty spaces of an office block, Berlin-based French artist Nicolas Manenti worked the graveyard shift as a security guard. It was as if he were put on perpetual garden leave: a member of staff only nominally, without the opportunity to produce anything.
To be in a place depleted of activity with only the traces of absent colleagues (empty chairs, mute telephones, tea-stained mugs) as company, Manenti began to perfect the art of killing time by trying to make sense of the deserted space. The tragicomic white-collar antihero emerges for the first time in these short video <Interludes>(2001-2002). The bureaucentric continues to feature heavily throughout his work, with an ever-expanding cast of characters sampled from posed “at-work” stock photography. Each of the 9-to-5ers in the <Save our Jobs>composites (2008-ongoing) have been resketched by hand and re-imagined in absurd or perverse professional situations. In a fell swoop of light, ironic gestures, he transforms the office - ordinarily regulated by hierarchy and constant performance anxieties exerted from the top down - into a parody of itself.
Delves into labour as such, personally undergoing mind-numbing, repetitious activity as a method of contemplation. Company holidays stamped chronologically on an endless roll of fax paper (<Betriebsferien>(2011)) clearly hearkens to On Kawara’s iconic devotion to timekeeping. Where Kawara’’s statement of date and time are grave, the stamped durations in Manenti’s piece are despite his best efforts imprecise and prone to error, undermining the idea of exactitude by its very attempt. Similarly, Guy Debord’s La société du spectacle - a seminal text on mass media and the death of authenticity - is copied over by hand, reducing it to an illegible representation of itself (<La société du spectacle copied over itsef>(2008-2010)). Debord foretold how the power of images and reproductions would far exceed that of the real, much like how the three office plants in Manenti’’s <Angenagelt>(2008) are denied their form and forcibly flattened in a cruel attempt to represent them. It is an artistic process that both relies upon and subjugates reality, which is a tension that reappears in many of Manenti’s installations that deconstruct what are ordinarily regulated spaces; the usual components are present but amok, believable but irrational.
Summarising Manenti’s practice was never going to be a simple task. His work would be mistaken for being an easy punchline attacking our workaholic sensibilities when in fact it offers a layered, dialectical critique on social order. Parrying our perceptions on greatness, authenticity, and industriousness with wit, the joke’s ultimately on us.