Société Réaliste

‘amal al-ğam‘

Venue: acb Gallery
Date: Feb 28 – Apr 10, 2014

The word amalgam was brought to the domain of common culture via the lexicon of alchemy, which defined it as the melting of heterogeneous elements. It is derived from the Arabic expression amal al-ğamāa, “work of flesh union”, signifying the analogy between physical intercourse and melting experimentations, as made by alchemists. What is most uncanny in terms of its etymological origin is that, for the first 300 years of its presence in our vocabularies, the word itself was subject to amalgamation: algamala, alquamala, algamana, almagala, algame, amalgana, and almagama were some of the variations it assumed before evolving into its final form, “amalgam”.

Amalgamation – or the possibility to play mahjong with the periodic table of Mendeleev. Like the old alchemistic dream of turning lead into gold or melting mercury and iron, amalgamation stands for the possibility of not only fusing distant things but transforming them into a third entity, which would nevertheless keep the specificities of its origins. It is a tool for appropriation. Spartacus was a 1919 Berliner revolutionary. It is a tool for critical paranoia. Bernard Madoff had a North Korean passport. It is the formula by which art becomes anything else. Constructing dentures out of philosopher’s stones.

In the exhibition ‘amal al-ğam‘, Société Réaliste presents a group of new works characterized by the “intercourse” of apparently dissimilar elements. The aborted first Russian revolution intersects with the Wall Street Crash. Reading from the left is the same as reading from the right. Árpád encounters the LGBT movement. Representation comes together with dissimulation. George Orwell meets Osama bin Laden. The commons and commerce find their link through the alphabet. Ronald Reagan converges with the victory of the Red Army. Zero merges with one.

Société Réaliste is a Parisian cooperative created by Ferenc Gróf and Jean-Baptiste Naudy in June 2004. It works with political design, experimental economy, territorial ergonomics, and social engineering consulting. Polytechnic, it develops its production schemes through exhibitions, publications, and conferences.

In 2013, Société Réaliste presented its work as solo exhibitions in Paris (Thelema of Nations, Galerie Jérôme Poggi), New York (A rough guide to Hell, P!), Athens (The Shape of Orders to Come, Salon de Vortex), and Cluj (Universal Anthem,, and took part in various projects in Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Italy, Lithuania, Romania, and Turkey.

Supported by NKA

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