title: Riding High in the Reading Saddle
artist: Alexis Gautier
category: solo exhibition
venue: CIAP Kunstverein, Genk
duration: May 21 — August 07, 2022


The ideal position for reading is something you can never find… Nobody ever thought of reading on horseback, and yet now, the idea of sitting in the saddle… seems attractive to you… having your feet up is the first condition for enjoying the read.
– Italo Calvino

Alexis Gautier’s work explores the relationships at play in cultural transactions, collaborations and the creation of narratives. Often made with other individuals, his work creates a space for encounters, coincidences, and exchanges.
His exhibition at Jester (formerly FLACC/CIAP) presents new works and on-site interventions created during his working period in Genk. While further developing certain plot threads from his solo-show at M Museum in Leuven, at the turn of 2021 and 2022, Gautier introduces new protagonists, storylines, and plot drifts. In Genk, he came in contact with different two-wheel enthusiasts, from motocrossers to performers of scooter stunts, who have become key characters in this chapter of his work.

In Riding High in the Reading Saddle, Gautier continues to experiment with ways of forfeiting control in order to make room for unexpected connections and collaborations; this time, by taking up the position of a passenger. He uses a motorbike as a vehicle for both literal and narrative transportation, a MacGuffin, tying in different protagonists and plot threads: from local histories of biker communities and the landscape painters’ colony, to broader themes of drift, identity, and belonging. The motorbike functions both as a constraint and an instrument to make drawings with and on. Gautier’s sketch for Richard Tuttle’s installation, realised as part of his show in Leuven, is executed outdoors by a motocrosser, while the artist presents a new series of drawings, made in the saddle of a moving motorbike.

These encounters and interventions are documented through sculptures, videos, and drawings, displayed in the industrial interiors of the former mine building in Winterslag, and on the surrounding grounds. Much like the reader-rider evoked by Calvino, the viewer is invited to take the reins and make their way through the story, or rather multiple, nested stories.


exhibition text [PDF] ⏿
exhibition documentation [O Fluxo] ⏿
artists' website ⏿