Jean-Luc Moulène - Products of Palestine

For its annual September project, Thomas Dane Gallery is pleased to present Jean-Luc Moulène’s ‘Products of Palestine’ series of photographs in its entirety for the first time.

French artist Jean-Luc Moulène photographed his ‘Products of Palestine’ (Produits de Palestine) series between April 2002 and November 2004. He selected 58 consumer products from the occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip which don’t circulate as part of the world market due to imposed sanctions. Moulène appropriates the visual codes of advertising by photographing the products (mainly foodstuffs and domestic items such as boxes of pills, soap, and tape cassettes) in natural light against a stark white or yellow monochrome background. By making these products manufactured in Palestine visible through their systematic documentation, Moulène is high-lighting their invisibility and lack of presence in the global economy.

Certain products the artist has selected make more cynical statements than others; the cigarette packet branded ‘Welcome’, for example, akin to a road sign that greets one at the border of a new city, becomes a loaded invitation since it is only the inhabitants of occupied land who have access to the product and brutally highlight the issue of a place that lacks sovereignty while at the same time is not considered part of Israel.

These very ordinary, quotidian objects, though suppressed and negated by geo-political circumstances, are granted recognition anew at their point of export into the alternative economy of the art market. Jean-Luc Moulène's photographs of the goods become artistic products in free circulation.

Jean-Luc Moulène was born in Reims in 1955, studied Literature and Philosophy at the Sorbonne University and graduated as an professor, and currently lives and works in Paris. Recent and notable exhibitions include: Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, 1997. Documenta X, Kassel in 1997. Sao Paulo Bienal in 2003. Centre National de la Photographie, Paris, 2003. Jeu de Paume, Paris, 2005. Le Louvre, Paris, 2006. His first solo show in London was at the Thomas Dane Gallery in June 2006.

Associated Event

Jean-Luc Moulène & Walid Raad In Conversation
Institut Francais, 17 Queensbury Place, London, SW7 2DT
Fri 21 Sep 2007, 7pm

In a number of photographic series, projects and publications, Moulène has frequently employed the title ‘documents’. Cataloguing his works in this way illustrates a practice that sits ambivalently between the archive and the art object as well as between the journalism and the aesthetics. In a similar way, Walid Raad, through his fictional foundation 'The Atlas Group', documents and build an archive of Lebanon's recent history through the production, location and preservation of visual, audio, literary and other artifacts.

In their conversation, Moulène and Raad will elaborate on issue of the document’s function in their art practice.

Conversation in collaboration with Anthony Reynolds Gallery, London.