Every change of context, every change of medium can be interpreted as a negation of the status of a copy as a copy—as an essential rupture, as a new start that opens a new future. In this sense, a copy is never really a copy; rather a new original in a new context. Every copy is by itself a flâneur—experiencing time and again its own “profane illuminations” that turn it into an original. It loses old auras and gains new auras. It remains perhaps the same copy, but it becomes different originals.
—Boris Groys, Going Public
Flâneurs results from curatorial research carried out by independent curator Francesca Zappia within the plethoric collection of the Centre national des arts plastiques, which focused on the contested notions of copies, appropriations and quotations. Drawing on art and design objects from the nineteenth century to today, she shows how reproductions of artworks can be considered as objects with a cultural value of their own and be regarded in the same way as the originals.
The book follows a spatial structure. Guided by an interview between Francesca Zappia and Juliette Pollet, curator at the Cnap, the reader walks through an imaginary and deliberately anachronistic museum. The rooms devoted to the Antiquities, the Renaissance, the 17th and 18th centuries, and the modern and contemporary periods bring together more than 300 works and forge new links between them. Throughout the chapters, the reader also meets the artists Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc, Aurélien Mole and Matthew Darbyshire who, each in their own way, open up additional perspectives of research.
Published by Shelter Press, 572 pgs, 21 × 15 cm, Softcover, 2023, 978-2-36582-042-4