For the group exhibition Le laboratoire de Monsieur Deshimaru, melanie Rio gallery invites the artists of the gallery to react to the book The Ring Finger Specimen by Yoko Ogawa.

The books by contemporary Japanese author Yoko Ogawa often create a sense of “disturbing strangeness”.

The author draws us into a universe of singular and strange events, where reality is filled with supernatural. The story takes place in a laboratory housed in a former women’s apartment complex, where the memory of a bygone era still lingers. Taxidermist Mr Deshimaru, enigmatic character, prepares, preserves, and store objects related to singular stories, entrusted to him by customers eager to release themselves from them.

“The enclosing of the object, the parting from it, the sense of closure -that is the purpose of the Specimen Archive. People do not bring items they plan to remember and get all nostalgic about here. (...) And to make a specimen is basically to lock it away inside you forever, right? ”. Extract from The Ring Finger Specimen by Yoko Ogawa.

Each artist has approached this book from a specific angle. Some artists have focused on the story of a specific character, on the evocation of a place or object: Yann Thoreau has illustrated the shoes of the young woman, Jean-Claude Pondevie’s photograph shows the empty flat of one of the former residents.

Franck Gérard, Delphine Deguislage, Benoit-Marie Moriceau, and Thomas Tudoux created their own specimens: a recollection of a painful story, a self-portrait, or a memento mori.

Angélique Lecaille has been inspired by german missionary Martin Gusinde’s photographs of the Selk’Nam tribe taken at the begining of the twentieth-century in Tierra del Fuego. She reproduced a spindle, ritual object of this tribe. The amplified scale of the piece echoes the fantastical representations of Patagonia’s peoples transmitted by the writings of explorers of the sixteenth century.

Silvana Reggiardo and Patrick Tourneboeuf have referred to the specimen for its representative role, questioning the status of the image as object of representation and projection.

Elliptical texts by Julie Portier accompanied by illustrations by Briac Leprêtre, foreshadowing an on-going publishing project, “Les Pots Cassés” (“Pick up the pieces”) punctuate the exhibition as the result of a wild postering action, showing a collection of stories and memories crystallized in an object.

Mr Deshimaru’s laboratory may be seen as a window opening on Yoko Ogawa’s imaginary world. Between reality, memories and fantasy, the discovery of the artworks presented in the exhibition gives visitors a nagging feeling of strangeness and familiarity.

With artists Delphine Deguislage, Franck Gérard, Angélique Lecaille, Briac Leprêtre et Julie Portier, Benoît-Marie Moriceau, Jean-Claude Pondevie, Silvana Reggiardo, Yann Thoreau, Patrick Tourneboeuf, and Thomas Tudoux.