book cover, editions outcasts

 

LOVE MATCH, PARIS

When Giasco Bertoli and Géraldine Postel (Outcasts Incorporated) told me that we were going to organize “15 Love”: a three dimensional project with a tennis tournament for “artists and critics”, a book, and an exhibition*, I have to admit that I was merely astonished. As a matter of fact, Giasco Bertoli has apparently always been obssessed with the world of Tennis. His tennis courts—photographic type settings—are archived year after year, country after country.

I can’t play tennis. I never really like the sport anyway, and I don’t like watching matches on television either. Isn't it dull to look at people turning their heads from left to right for hours? Nevertheless, I have always thought that empty tennis courts were particularly poetical. Every trip through the countryside would bring you in front of such an abandoned space burned by the sun or covered with dead leaves. These spaces are much more than former tennis courts: they withhold secrets of hidden moments, they are magic playgrounds, lost ruins, for children on holidays. They are part of our memories.

Giasco Bertoli has gathered a collection with hundreds of tennis courts prints, hundreds of figures, hundreds of atmospheres. Randomly: the vivid shade of orange rectangles that suit the dazzling Egyptian light, the unreal colours of the night when the dark blue sky blends in a gaudy green surface scared by neon lights, the glimpse of a striped green space through the branches of the trees or closed urban spaces where buildings—at the background—are crossed by recognizable metallic diamond shapes.

With “15 Love”, Giasco Bertoli wanted to celebrate these emotional spaces. In order to satisfy his addiction to “collecting tennis pictures” and with a certain touch of humor, Giasco Bertoli had commissioned Michael Bauswein, a young photographer from Tennis Magazine, to cover the plagiarized professionnal tournament with several wide angle lenses. Some people would not understand the link between art and tennis but at Tennis France, in the 12th, nobody would have denied the aesthetic aspect of the place. The architectural conception of a two court complex was elaborated by Eiffel’s team in the ‘20s, and the metallic arches of the structure remind us of a famous Parisian tower. Each detail of the project had been carefully studied, and the courts were definitely appropriate to please our eight protagonists.

For two days, the seven guests had given many appreciative times of entertainment to the visitors. And they did it in a “burlesque” way . . . Faithfully sweeping the clay in the early morning, performing a guitar-like racket show, calling one’s girlfriend to let her know about how one had won, shaking the small trophy with pride, the whole crew had a great time! Until the last minute of the final, nobody had complained about the fact of being exposed and locked inside this particular playground for two days.

Today, the book 15 Love* appears like a perfect reflection of the dynamic that I observed between all these people. Artworks and pictures are mixed with the inherent energy of this tournament: random choices in an eclectic harmony. The pictures “in action” focus on concentration, pride, laughters that made us realize that, this time,Tennis definitley gives us back something from childhood.

Neither an exhibition nor an opening could have permitted such a meeting between artists who didn’t know one and another. Sport did. Finally, it wasn’t dull at all . . .

Jessica Boukris
Paris, France
2002

* exhibition from the 13th to the 30th of June 2002, St Père, Paris
* “15 Love”, 72 pages, 2002, éditions Outcasts

 

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