L’agence Philippe Thomas

Published by MAMCO, Geneva, 2021, 104 pages (colour & b/w ill.), 16 × 23 cm, French

Price: €25

Created by French artist Philippe Thomas, the communication agency called readymades belong to everyone®, for its American version inaugurated in 1987 in New York, and les ready-made appartiennent à tout le monde®, for its French version, is a company behind which the artist disappeared. MAMCO owns the whole agency, which closed in 1995. This book is the first comprehensive study of this work which challenged the traditional role and function of the artist. With readymades belong to eveyone®, the collector or the institution themselves sign the works and become the authors of the works. The book proposes also the last (and unpublished) interview by Philippe Thomas which enables to understand the deep coherence of his entire work.

#2021 #mamco #philippethomas
Pale Fires and other Texts Philippe Thomas

Published by MACBA, Barcelona, 2001, 237 pages (b/w ill.), 13 × 20 cm, English

Price: €18

This edition annotated by Alexis Vaillant includes a substantial selection of the writings that Philippe Thomas published in the course of his career and attributed to collectors of his work or to fictional or real characters, in keeping with the play on identities that was one of the fundamental elements of his artistic practice. The texts and the accompanying notes explore the way reality and fiction become blurred in the ready-mades by this French artist. In 1990, Thomas borrowed the title of a book by Vladimir Nabokov for his exhibition at the capcMuée in Berdeaux, Feux pâles, in which he fictionalised the authority of the museum and his own identity as an artist by turning his signature on the contract with the museum into the artwork. This is volume seven in the Llibres de recerca series and includes contributions by Marc Blondeau and Jean-Marc Avrilla.

#2001 #philippethomas
Retour d’y voir #05 Retraits de l'artiste en Philippe Thomas

Published by Mamco, Geneva, 2012, 368 pages (b/w ill.), 17 × 24 cm, French

Price: €18

Retour d’y voir is the art history review published by the Mamco, Geneva. The 5th issue is entirely dedicated to Philippe Thomas: analysis (Michel Gauthier, Jean-Philippe Antoine, Robert Storr, Stéphane Sauzedde, Christophe Kihm, Érik Verhagen, Guillaume Leingre, Claire Fontaine, Judith Ickowicz, Émeline Jaret) and testimonies (Claire Burrus & Émeline Jaret, Sylvie Breton & Dominique Païni, Daniel Bosser, Jacques Salomon, Bernard Blistène, Daniel Soutif, Ghislain Mollet-Viéville).

#2012 #clairefontaine #ghislainmollet-viéville #philippethomas
Philippe Thomas Declines His Identity Daniel Bosser

Published by Occasional Papers, London, 2015, 42 pages, 16 × 23 cm, English

Price: €14 (Temporarily out of stock)

This is the first authorised translation of Daniel Bosser, Philippe Thomas décline son identité, a book about modernism and modalities of display first published by Galerie Claire Burrus, Paris,in 1987. The book was part of a performative talk given by the French conceptual artist Philippe Thomas (1951–95) at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris on 23 March 1987, and repeated a year later at the Musée de Grenoble. What audience members only realised upon leaving the auditorium was that the talk they had just witnessed was minutely scripted – down to Thomas’ smallest gestures and pauses – in the book itself. Thomas thus blurs definitions of ‘artist’s talk’, ‘performance’, ‘transcript’ and ‘book’, producing instead a play on words, and speech acts. Consistent with Thomas’ desire to separate the author’s name from actual authorship, the book is attributed to Daniel Bosser, the collector who acquired the piece.

#2015 #occasionalpapers #philippethomas
The Name of Philippe Thomas / Philippe Thomas’ Name Elisabeth Lebovici

Published by Sternberg Press, Berlin, 2018, 112 pages, 11.5 × 18 cm, English/German

Price: €9

In the artistic activities of Philippe Thomas (1951–1995), there was a determination to disappear: it was his procedure to transfer his title of author onto his collectors. This was the case when selling an artwork, or whenever the author’s credit was needed for a commissioned text, and in the institutional co-operations that Thomas was a participant of. With this strategy Thomas worked against his own historicization, erasing his name from the reigning European and North American art fields and with prescience Thomas “put up obstacles to block his future ‘googleability’” (Hanna Magauer). In recent years, the works and writings of the artist, who also acted on behalf of the semi-fictional agency readymades belong to everyone®, again gained greater visibility and as of current are being assigned a place in art history.

With this book, Elisabeth Lebovici elaborates on Thomas’s strategy to cede and fictionalize authorship and suggests a reading of his work that incorporates questions of gender and reproduction, the multiplicity of the subjects involved, and the unbearable disappearance of Thomas (who died of AIDS-related complications), into the process of enunciation. It is Lebovici’s suggestion that the performativity of Thomas’s work requires two versions at once: “the one where one enters into the fiction and the one where one observes the beauty of the arrangement and the plot at work. The one where one is inside and the one where one contemplates it.”

Designed by HIT Studio

#2018 #elisabethlebovici #hitstudio #philippethomas #sternbergpress #theory