Galerie Quynh is pleased to present The Legacy of Diogenes, a solo exhibition by Frédéric Dialynas Sanchez. The exhibition features work realized during the artist’s 10-week artist residency at Villa Saigon in early 2019.
During his childhood in Vietnam, my father quickly developed an obsession for collecting objects in the streets. Every night, once back home, he would display his new finds all along the walls of the house, as if he wanted to highlight or reinforce its architecture. “He could pick up anything: bottle caps, pebbles, pieces of rubber, cigarette butts or god knows what else,” said my aunt.
Later, It was found that he was affected by a strange syndrome. When I met him for the first time, he was accumulating damaged devices. Toasters, radio sets, electric ovens, lawnmowers or even washing machines were stacked in the middle of each room of his apartment. I remember when I visited him, he told me that his job was to fix all these objects. According to him, it was a form of gymnastics for his brain and a good way to cure his mind.
My progenitor passed away a year ago, leaving behind two garages containing his uncanny collections. As I did not know much about him I wished to inspect his belongings and find something. With my sister and my brothers, we would share this modest inheritance all together. To play down the situation, I jokingly compared our situation with the Texan TV program Storage Wars, in which the participants buy unknown contents of storages. Sometimes there’s nothing inside, but sometimes it’s a real jackpot. Unfortunately, in our case, we arrived too late when everything was already taken to the dump.
Just as my father, I collect all sorts of things. Recently, I was invited by the French Institute to develop artistic projects at Villa Saigon and I started to look for tropical plants and vintage objects. Among my purchases, I bought some rare vinyl, fashion magazines, posters, a bunch of peacock feathers, a dozen iron grids for windows, some robes of monks, several bulletproof jackets, another dozen military helmets and a relatively significant quantity of flags. I worked from these objects to make assemblages, totems, canvases and patchworks. While I was still mourning for my dad, this daily practice became a kind of therapy for me.
Throughout my stay, I heard the rumor of a wandering ghost in the villa. I found in a corridor of the building an abandoned tombstone dedicated to a certain Jean-Pierre D and thought that it was the source of the strange noises at night. I decided to care for this tombstone as if it was my father’s (whose name is also Jean-Pierre D), hoping the soul of the deceased could be appeased and rest in peace.
Frédéric Dialynas Sanchez
* The title of this exhibition refers both to the ancient Greek philosopher Diogenes the Cynic and Diogenes syndrome, also known as senile squalor syndrome.