Tower Tour

Centre Culturel Canadien
5 rue de Constantine
75007 Paris, France

Curated, Solo Exhibition
May 16 - September 6, 1997
Curators: Catherine Bédard & Christophe Domino

Tower Tour, 1997, installation view showing piled up bowls, plates and platters cast in bread-dough manually produced at Poilâne Bakery (Paris) over three years. One of the 4 documentary plates in the exhibition is seen at back.
Tower Tour, 1997, installation view showing documentary plates named "Demarcations", "Sous-Sol", "Sol", and "Air-Eau" (composed of drawings, collages, watercolors, and photographs - and deployed on wood and Plexiglas display units designed for the exhibition). Also on view is an installation made of piled bowls cast in bread (left), and two videos (left and right).
Tower Tour, 1997, installation view showing the documentary plate named "Demarcations".
Tower Tour, 1997, detail of the documentary plate named "Air-Eau" - composed of drawings, collages, watercolors and photographs.
Tower Tour, 1997, installation view of "Metropolis" made of piled up bowls, plates and platters cast in bread-dough.
Tower Tour, 1997, installation view of "Snake", a performative sculpture with moving parts made of small bread bowls strung onto a cord. I took this sculpture with me in several trips around the world and used it to delineate borders or to link geographical spaces.
Tower Tour, 1997, installation view of "Snake", a performative sculpture with moving parts made of small bread bowls strung onto a cord hanging from the top-floor window of the Canadian Cultural Center. It was meant to feed Paris pigeons and, in the right hand side picture, one can see the bowls partially consumed.
Tower Tour, 1997, detail of the documentary plate named "Demarcations" - composed of drawings, collages, watercolors and photographs.

Related publication by exhibition co-curator CATHERINE BÉDARD

Press Release

Miniaturized urban catastrophes, labyrinths on paper where the methodical construction of a ctional world takes on the aspect of a scientic project. Heaps and accumulations proposing an order and its subversion - this is what «Tower-Tour» is composed of. It is a project that plays with our understanding of knowledge as well as with the limits between sculpture and installation, between mythical construction and event. Constructions made of bread, documentary plates, videos, one of them showing the building of a city and its collapse, the other its underground desertion or regeneration. Pat Badani borrows the architect's planimetric designs, note taking and documentation of work-sites, the geologist's topographical drawings and the surveyor's methods of prospecting. With a life-path that embraces the south of the Americas to Canada and to France where she now lives, Pat Badani puts her signature on an art-work where the meeting of multiple cultural conceptions gives way to the collective dream of building. (1997)


Text by Pat Badani

I spent a number of years producing bowls cast in bread-dough and baked in a medieval oven at Poilâne Bakery in Paris, France. The bread-bowl became the core motif for numerous projects related to urban culture.

In "Tower-Tour" I use a city built of bread-bowls to draw parallels between past and present transformations in social space. I exploit the material and the form in their anthropological and symbolic dimensions. The bread-bowl is a visual marker that acts as container and content; it refers back to the origin of agriculture and the first sedentary social formations. Bread as well as bowl-making signal the development of craftsmanship and the raising of cities. I use cities as theme in order to explore world-making. Some of my questions are: How many worlds are there? What are worlds made of? How are they made? The myth of The Tower of Babel and Jorge Luis Borges' "The Library of Babel" refer to worlds constructed in relation to knowledge. They have served to nourish my questionings. The "Tower-Tour" installation comprises four bread-bowl constructions, two videos, and four long documentary plates. The documentary plates are composed of graphics organized in horizontal display units. These explore 4 different topographies (air, water, earth, and subterranean environments) through a multiplicity of self-generated documents: videos, photographs, drawings, collages and watercolors. These documents result form numerous performative projects spread out over 3 years. For the exhibition, I created a labyrinthine trajectory through the use of the gallery's modular walls, offering a circulation with several points of entry and exit.


Excerpts from the text by co-curator CHRISTOPHE DOMINO

"Tower-Tour" catalogue, p. 24.: "The work on Tower-Tour began from a minimalist, sculptural act, performed on a primary resource... (bread). Pat Badani chanced upon a form-matrix, ...first contained, then containing: the form of a bowl, a handheld object that appears naturally predisposed to serial reproduction...Now full, now empty, the concave form of the bowl is an invitation to fit inside each other, to pile up, to form towers... A Babel of bread, a tower of dough, the city as organism...Piled or impaled on metallic supports, the bowls form structures of varying sizes. Some elude their verticality by posing as sheets, planes, terraces, or hanging gardens (Babel and Babylon are one and the same); others do so by appearing to rise up and out, to overflow, as if the city were bleeding and confessing its organic consistency. From this structure in constant mutation, Pat Badani has explored several directions and several vantage points. Video, which captures the infinitely repetitive tale of collapse and ruin...the photographic image..."

Notes on the Plates, p. 29: "Model of modern science and dream of shared understanding, the synoptic plate offers a globalizing vision that Pat Badani uses as a realm in itself...Between picture to look at and page to read, the plates stage the exhibition in such a way that the gaze can circulate from plate to plate....The motive for resorting to this support is double and on two degrees. A good image of this practice is the puzzle whose principle establishes dialectic between the global and the fragmentary, unity as accessible ideal and fragmentation as starting point...The plates are, or at least can be, rearranged with each exhibition. They bear every resemblance to logical constructs and titles are chosen accordingly, confirming, often in ironic tones, their didactic authority. Somewhere between geography, ecology and techno-urban futurism, between road notes, picture book manuals and the pseudo-scientific stories of Blake and Mortimer, these plates offer room for multiple readings."

p. 25, 26: "Entitled Metropolis, this model of the model offers the viewer another dimension. It will serve for various open-ended sculpture that will occupy space differently with each installation, its frail stacks marking out odd urban landscapes which offer the charm of a builder's model, yet also the anxiety of a metropolitan maze, or the vision of its catastrophic ruin...Once reduced to the size of Metropolis, the bread-bowl produces another metamorphosis which becomes an object in its own right. By hundreds, small bowls have been strung onto a rope forming an inert snake with movable joints...From a mass, the snake becomes line, both separator and link..."