Noémie Degen  /Simon Jaton, Un étrange désir, 31 May – 13 July 2024

Edouard Montassut presents Noémie Degen and Simon Jaton, a duo of artists born in 1996 and 1994. Their collaboration began at art school and continued in the form of a nomadic curatorial entity: between 2017 and 2022, they organized a series of exhibitions in Switzerland and Austria under the name Alienze, a word that evokes both extraterrestrials and the name of a major multinational insurance company.

For their first Parisian exhibition, Degen and Jaton implement an arsenal of techniques—photography, analog screenshots, ink drawings—into their iconography, which will undergo several stages of development: a peri-urban bocage extending behind a blurred fence, a dog with a shiny coat, indoor and outdoor nocturnes, etc. When transferring from one media to another, various nuances of distortion occur: printed, scanned, screen-printed, rephotographed, zoomed-in, reprinted, and so on... The source information disintegrates and compresses in a feedback loop and stabilizes into a hallucinatory vibration, resulting in the “good” image, the one that already existed in the magnetic field connecting their two brains.

By musical analogy, James Abbot Whistler called his paintings of the Thames at night “nocturnes.” By borrowing the name of a musical form created by Chopin, he intends to emphasize tonal qualities and composition while attenuating the importance of narrative content. Atmospheric and pensive, with muffled tones bathed in diffuse light, Whistler’s nocturnes also prefigure Shoegaze music, characterized by introspective melodies that reverberate under a thick fog of distortion. Nocturnal scenes of this type punctuate the exhibition A Strange Desire, where daylight barely appears. Degen and Jaton prefer dawn and dusk, more conducive to both epiphanic euphoria and the most persistent despair... more conducive, in short, to all mental states. This very particular Weltanschauung is symbolically embodied in a recurring motif in the work of Noémie Degen and Simon Jaton: an apartment bedroom with drawn curtains, padded with piles of personal objects, and plunged into darkness except for an aquarium or a computer screen.

Nicolas Ceccaldi