Le café des sports
The small locality of Marato in Corsica was facing the issue of rural exodus. In order to create a place where inhabitants could gather, exchange and have drink, the artist Alexandre Périgot proposed a revisited version of the traditional café.
A convivial space for a hamlet in Upper Corsica. Located on a community lot in the tiny village of Marato, 30 km. outside of Ajaccio, Alexandre Perigot's installation revisits the popular tradition of café life in response to rural exodus. The installation sweeps its audience, at once spectator and actor, into a state of drunkenness: a cement guardrail, positioned at the same height as the brightly colored mosaic-covered counter, delineates a circular space of shifting floorboards. Combining sculpture and performance, this off-the-wall version of a café extols the virtue of conviviality, so crucial to the energy of our social structure.
In Corsica, as elsewhere, but in Corsica in particular, the café is the center of community life, a place specially dedicated to the daily pleasure of being together, to share activities, traditions and stories that are handed down from one generation to the next. The tradition continues and yet innovation rises, even in what seems immutable. Cleverly combining two major forms of contemporary art, representation and performance, the work of Alexandre Perigot is at once sculpture and permanent happening. The visitor, discovering the Café des sports for the first time, will see initialy perhaps, a minimalist sculpture, slightly reminiscent of the 80's: the long, circular balustrade at chest level will likely remind him of a standard counter at a café bar, whereas the colored zigzags of the mosaic covering it will bring to mind the old-fashioned atmosphere of a deserted hall. Then, while observing another visitor, who will have taken advantage of an opening left in the guardrail to explore the other side, he will notice that the floor of the interior space, apparently unstable, unexpectedly disrupts the balance of the person standing on it. The sculpture becomes décor, a setting that distributes, on each side of the counter, the positions that rule over the relationship. The positions are interchangeable, one is for show, staggering in the middle of the circle; the other, on the outside, watches him, and then the roles are reversed. We come to understand that there is little difference between a café and a circus ring or carrousel, and that conviviality involves an essential part of playing, acting and dizziness. BCD (Camille Videcoq), 2004.
Alexandre Perigot was born in 1959. He lives in Paris and in Bastia. He was a resident at the Villa Kujoyama in 1998, and has, over the past few years, developed a body of work that reveals and eludes the mechanisms of starisation, identification and spectacularisation. Through installations and performances, Alexandre Perigot also explores the universes of music and dance.