12 April–10 May 1998 / Casco HQ
Since 1995, the French artist Matthieu Laurette has eaten, drunk, washed and shaved for free by making well-planned use of such product promotions as “First purchase free” or “Unsatisfied? Money back” – all under the motto mangez remboursé. Laurette has also appeared on various television programmes and daily newspapers (his list of appearances on TV is as long as that of his exhibitions) where he sells the principle of this economy and explains to the public how they too may profit from it. He demonstrates how his tactics work to travelers in the metro (“I’m not here to ask for money, but to tell you how you can earn money”).
Applaus takes place in and around Casco. In this project Laurette combines different systems according to a cause-and-effect principle in which sponsors and the public play the lead role. The project consists of a lottery, in which the public can win prizes that have been donated by shops on Twijnstraat and Oudegracht in Utrecht. With this Laurette presents the unembellished principle of the non-commercial exhibition space: the sponsoring is offered directly to the public, without the intervention of an art object. Or, the sponsoring coincides with the art object.
On the billboard in the Hoog Catharijne shopping center at Utrecht’s central station, Laurette has intercut the McDonalds and Sony adverts with fragments of an applauding audience. It is unclear as to who is applauding: is it a welcome for the Casco public who arrive at Central Station? Or is it for the lottery winners? Or perhaps for the artist, who will use what he has saved from the exhibition budget (l’art pour l’art) to buy a stone inscribed with the name LAURETTE to reserve a place for himself in the new wing of Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam.
An unlimited edition of the T-shirt with the slogan ‘Gezien op TV/As seen on TV’ will be produced to coincide with the exhibition. Available from Casco for Hfl.25. Anyone appearing on television wearing this T-shirt will get their money back.
Questions for a champion, An interview with Matthieu Laurette, Casco Issues #5