« People whose sleep is broken always appear more or less guilty.What are they up to?
“They make the night present »
Night rhymes with blight. Night time, a refuge among others for a “no-future” generation stifled by the economic crisis, by heightened state security, by the harmful effects of capitalism and the life that goes (away) with it. So no holds should be barred in assassinating the dawn, that time of day when the police raid.
History does not lie down. This has been demonstrated by the night of the Saint-Bartholomew massacres in 1572, by Kristallnacht, by nights of barricades, by the massacre of Algerians in Paris on October 17th 1961, and by the Paris shootings of November 13th 2015. Nyx, daughter of chaos, did not steal her bad Greek reputation. Her spectre also haunts the history of art, from the blue backgrounds of Giottos, the tenebrosity of Caravaggios, to Night Train Express with Wine Bottles (1989) by ‘Black Painter’ David Hammons, via black and chrome graffiti with white highlights, classic ‘burners’ that lacerate streets.
The exhibition, which has swiped its title from a song by French rock icon Johnny, is like a stroll through the end of an inebriated night, an amble crossing fragments of wild nights, pop nights, synthetic nights, zombie nights, day-for-night nights, violent, treacherous, high-security, playful, erotic, pornographic, sleepless and standing, rise-up all night nights. The pieces that compose it – calcinated sky, stray dogs and crack addicts, shoestring prowess, not-so-articifial paradises, judicial complaints, the gentrification of rough neighbourhoods, the destruction of painting, the re-appropriation of public space, photographic memories of moments of furious and libertarian life, the body’s loss of balance in violence, scenes of gilded debauchery, intimate skits, nightmares and fantasies – all this shows that, like the nyctalopic with dilated pupils, art gets laid (down) in the crepuscular, which Baudelaire said was the accomplice of criminals – the night can blight.