December 7, 2019-February 22, 2020
Mercer Union, Toronto, Canada
Obscure Union is a collaboration between artists Laure Prouvost and Jonas Staal that follows their project The Aube’s cure Parle Ment (2017), pronounce: “the obscure parliament.” Whereas the first chapter of the project aimed to assemble the obscure, the second chapter focuses on unionizing the obscure, building specifically on the theory of the “object-as-comrade” developed by Russian constructivists such as Varvara Stepanova and Alexander Rodchenko. The Obscure Union consists of a structure of assembly conceptualized by Staal, in signs, plants, decomposed bodies and body parts, as well as other works by Prouvost manifest as political actors.
From the inaugural statement by Prouvost and Staal:
“We are the co-administrators of the Obscure Union.
This Union is not made for humans whole, but for the partialized. For the tentacle and the arm, the wedge and the sign, the branch and leg.
The onion is unmade for inhuman full, the partial lies. The tentacle-temporal ant-arm, the edge-sign, bench-legs.
For nothing is obscure in and of itself. The obscure is not autonomous, not sovereign, but relational. It manifest between arm and branch, between leg and sign, between wedge and tentacle. It turns the familiar unfamiliar. The obscure is a haunting, a transformative force that makes the common alien. And in the alien we find our commons.
Four nothing is aube’s curing in us self. The aube’s cure is not anatomous, not so-the rain. But re-linktual. It’s many feasts between almond branchs, been a free frog on signal, free from edge and tongue-tacle. It turns the familiar liar. The aube’s cure its harrowing, and formative foresee communing a lien. In a lien we found communion.
This Obscure Union stands opposed to the brutal violence of the normative: capitalist-extractivism, radical precarization, structural racism, neo-fascism, the market-profit of climate catastrophe. Your normal is extremism. Our obscure the reasonable. This is why we declare: Be Realistic, Demand the Obscure!”
Laure Prouvost and Jonas Staal
Laure Prouvost (artist), Jonas Staal (artist), Julia Paoli (curator) Paul Kuipers (architect), Younes Bouadi and Nadine Gouders (production and exhibition coordination Studio Jonas Staal). Mercer Union team: Danielle Greer (Lead Preparator), Aamna Muzaffar (TD Assistant Curator), Sonya Filman (Audience Development Coordinator)
Mercer Union, Toronto (CA)