Claire Fontaine


“P.I.G.S. is a grouping acronym used by international bond analysts, academics, and by the international economic press that refers to the faltering and often indebted economies of Portugal, Italy, Greece, and Spain, often in regards to matters relating to sovereign debt markets. Some news and economic organizations have limited or banned use of these acronyms due to perceived offensive connotations.” (Wikipedia)

The sculpture entitled P.I.G.S., which the video portrays in the moment of its ignition, is a representation of a selective map of Europe, including only Portugal, Italy, Greece, and Spain, made out of several hundreds of stick matches planted into holes hand-drilled into a wall and subsequently burnt.

The burning of the representation of these territories ironically refers to the global socio-political instability following the recent economical crisis, but it is also a poetic comment on the innumerable wasted lives, mutilated and sacrificed because of the corruption of the system. The video of the burning of Portugal, Italy, Greece, and Spain illustrates the metaphor of the destruction of the first countries that defaulted in the euro zone. This fire, which could be the one of a revolution, represents at the present time merely the destructive violence of the crisis.

No Present is a hijacking of the punk slogan “No Future”, and it refers to the economical and historical conjuncture that sees many countries and their inhabitants deprived not only of a future but also of the possibility of a daily life that isn’t just survival. The debt caused by the greed of a few in fact burdens entire populations, obliterating the minimal rights for millions of people, such as getting married, leaving one’s parents’ house, or hoping to get a job. It can legitimately be said that now there is no present in a similar sense that the Sex Pistols used to sing “No Future”. The present is always something shared and collectively created; a sum of solitudes only creates an absence of the present, the impossibility of its narration and the difficulty to grasp its transient consistency.

No Present also has a double meaning, which is “There are no presents for anyone”, as this is a time where everything must be earned and often at an unfair price.



A Paris-based collective artist, founded in 2004. After lifting her name from a popular brand of school notebooks, Claire Fontaine declared herself a “readymade artist” and began to elaborate a version of neo-conceptual art that often looks like other people’s work. Working in neon, video, sculpture, painting and text, her practice can be described as an ongoing interrogation of the political impotence and the crisis of singularity that seem to define contemporary society today. Recent solo exhibitions: 1493, Espacio 1414, San Juan, Puerto Rico (2013) • Sell Your Debt, Queen’s Nails, San Francisco (2013) • Redemptions, CCA Wattis, San Francisco (2013) • Carelessness causes fire, Audian Gallery, Vancouver (2012) • Breakfast starts at midnight, Index, The Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation Stockholm (2012) • M-A-C-C-H-I-N-A-Z-I-O-N-I, Museion, Bolzano (2012) • P.IG.S., MUSAC, Castilla y León (2011) • Economies, Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami (2010) • After Marx April, After Mao June, Aspen Art Museum, Colorado (2009). Selected group exhibitions: When Attitudes Became Form Become Attitudes, MOCAD, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (2013) • Zizhiqu 自治區 (Autonomous Regions), Times Museum of Contemporary Art, Guangzhou (2013) • Farbe bekennen, Was Kunst macht, Marta Herford, Herford (2013) • The Deep of the Modern, Manifesta 9, Genk, Limburg (2012) • Unrest: Revolt Against Reason, apexart, New York (2012) • 9th Shanghai Biennial (2012) • 4th Moscow Biennial (2011) • 12th Istanbul Biennial (2011).