Rose is the main character in the book The World is Round by Gertrude Stein (1874 – 1946), the emblematic text of her work published for the first time in 1939, with illustrations by Clement Hurd and printed in blue on pink pages.
In this book written so that “fun may be had” and to be read aloud, Gertrude Stein gives the full measure of her writing – repetitive, musical and poetic. As patron and spokesperson for Cubism, she assimilated its spirit in this book that was originally intended for children. The World is Round is one of the first, if not the only, cubist texts for children.
Rose discovers the world with childlike simplicity and curiousity in a sort of continuous and indeterminate present. Looking for a stable identity in a world that is not, she travels, contemplates day and night, singing and crying with her dog Love, her cousin Willie and his lion Billie.
Everything relates to the movement and variations of shapes and simple elements : a lion, a mountain, a blue chair, a green meadow. The story is based on various events punctuated by songs and rhymes in which plays on sound and meaning are ubiquitous.
The repetition of words (a key recurring theme in Gertrude Stein’s work as an subject for thought, but also as a means of writing) leads to an intuitive understanding of Rose’s world. The text is wound around the subject and lends rhythm and colour to the words. The deliberately austere and pared-down style, which is not devoid of humour, aims at the essence of things, while repetition is used with progressive changes that surround the words and phrases in order to better approach the truth.
As the first part of the trilogy of exhibitions conceived for CEAAC, Rose brings together artworks with forms that are mostly inherited from minimal and conceptual art but which seem to be loaded with emotion and feeling.
These are practices that, echoing Gertrude Stein’s writing, tend to capture the essence of their subjects with the least number of elements possible, while their apparent simplicity generates a variety of meanings and interpretations.
The exhibition also brings together artists whose research into shape and language, the means and tools of representation, involves the use of objects as words and words as images, from their layout and verbalisation to their staging.
Representing continuous changes of perception of a mountain with a few flat areas of pure colour (Etel Adnan), inscribing one’s body in the landscape to the point of being completely wedded to it (Barbara and Michael Leisgen), treating words as images and vice versa (Guy de Cointet, Joseph Grigely), putting into play a Degas dancer amongst colourful geometric elements inspired by the Bauhaus (Ryan Gander), decomposing the colours of a romantic landscape with strips of fabric (Ulla von Brandenburg), whirling in circles while chanting a text to the point of exhaustion (Daniel Linehan) or proposing “a kind of hieroglyph of vision” (Jean-Luc Moulène) are some of the gestures encountered in this exhibition.
With : Etel Adnan, Ulla von Brandenburg, Guy de Cointet, Ryan Gander, Joseph Grigely, Daniel Linehan, Barbara and Michael Leisgen, Jean-Luc Moulène
Curators : Elodie Royer and Yoann Gourmel
Not About Everything
Performance by Daniel Linehan, April 12, 2014 at 5pm
 Jean-Pierre Criqui, ‘‘Paragraphes pour Jean-Luc Moulène’’, Offshore, March – May 2009.