Jean-Max Albert’s Sculptures Bachelard, by Noelle Tay
At times referred to as keyholes, other times as cameras, Jean-Max Albert’s Sculptures Bachelard are consistently alluded to as apertures that we look through, rather than at. Yet, despite being only knee-high, their bronze cast affirms their massiveness and permanence, their hewn edges inviting touch and interaction, their thickness occupying three-dimensional volume. These keyholes ask the question, what does an object which exists from only one point of view look like? In this case, the object is architecture, specifically Bernard Tschumi’s Parc de la Villette. Alternately, the object is actually the viewing subject. The retinal and kinesthetic relationships these sculptures establish habits that form our memories about the Parc. Moreover, they also point to their utility as instruments that impose orientation lines on the living image, much like the Lacanian gaze through which the subject is captured. Indeed, the operation and formalism of the sculptures affirm their status as reconstructions of Lacan’s triangular scheme of the gaze in three-dimensional space. By restructuring space and its users in spatial and visual terms, they diverge from Tschumi’s manifesto in concept and in experience, though both are contingent upon the lived body in producing a spatialized place.