Exhibition view at galerie laurent mueller, Paris
Courtesy galerie laurent mueller, Photograph © William Gaye

James Brooks
The Archivist 

From June 14th to July 16th, 2016

Remembrance of things past is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were.
Marcel Proust

Last spring, the artist James Brooks and I agreed that he would utilise the gallery for a short residency in Paris to allow him to develop his ideas and realise new work. Obviously I accepted as there is nothing better than to be able to support an artist’s work. Hence, James stayed, explored and worked at the gallery for a few weeks in the summer of 2015. After the successful solo exhibition Facts and Fictions in 2013, I am very happy that James is now showing work that he made in the gallery during this residency.

What distinguishes the historian from the collector of historical facts is generalisation.
E. H. Carr

James is a master at transforming one information in order to render it in the form of an abstract artwork or to encourage an alternate reading. This process of abstraction could be confused for being one of obstruction, whereas it is in reality a way to transmit James’ interests. He likes to explore how the current society has evolved from ancient civilisations, but also to use the scientific innovations of then - nowadays perfectly assimilated - such as Greek geometry, Latin alphabet, Arabic decimal system, coins... to create system-based series of drawings, paintings, and audio as well as video works.

Study the past if you would define the future.

The gallery is situated in the ancient Marais area of Paris, one of the few areas that has not been transformed by the Haussmann reforms in the 19th century. Here, the urban structure is still very much as it was when it developed in the 16th century. Furthermore, our street is the rue des Archives, named for the National Archives that were established 1808 in the Hôtel de Soubise (dating back to 1371). As I always ask: “What else is a gallery, if not an archive of artistic activity?”. Thus the address proved to be providential, even more so, as James himself can be considered an archivist.

History is simply a piece of paper covered with print: the main thing is to make history, not to write it.
Otto von Bismarck

James Brooks 
Abridged series:
Vasari - Lives of the Artists (Filippo Lippi)
Gouache, scalpel, and pencil on archival watercolour paper
29.7 x 21cm 

The Archivist

Galerie Laurent Mueller, Paris

Solo show - 
The Archivist
11 June - 16 July 2016
Galerie Laurent Mueller
Rue des Archives