Named after a common brand of French stationary, Claire Fontaine is a “ready-made artist,” exemplifying an empty, standardized identity produced by contemporary capitalism. Her works include neon signs, sculptures, videos, light-boxes, and texts, and while her message is often militant and radical, she more closely resembles subjectivity-on-strike, compromising our ability to define it and institutionalize it. The title of her exhibition in The Front Room is They Hate Us for Our Freedom and includes a new sculpture, a wall text made with the burnt remains of lit matches, and a poster of Jackson and Dave, Dick Cheney’s two dogs. “They hate us for our freedom” is a seminal sentence of George Bush’s speech after September 11 and states an ideological and economical distance with the eastern world supposed to justify the wars to come. Claire Fontaine’s exhibition raises the question of the meaning of freedom in liberal societies, and discretely shows the violence and the lack of independence that comes from the simple fact of being governed.
They Hate Us for Our Freedom
Dec 10 – Dec 21, 2008
This exhibition is generously supported by the Whitaker Foundation; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; William E. Weiss Foundation; Regional Arts Commission; Missouri Arts Council, a state agency; Arts and Education Council; Nancy Reynolds and Dwyer Brown; and members of the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis.