A Revolutionary Advent Calendar
Ruth Ewan, "A Revolutionary Advent Calendar"
The London based artist Ruth Ewan has created a new evolving work, “A Revolutionary Advent Calendar”, which will be on display at the Museum's reception from December 1st until January 6th, 2014, the final day of the current exhibition “In the Heart of the Country”.
Combining the western tradition of the advent calendar with poetic elements of the Republican Calendar, “A Revolutionary Advent Calendar” reveals and displays a new animal, vegetable or mineral each day.
We invite you to the official set up of the calendar by Ruth Ewan followed by a Q&A with the artist on 1st December 2013 at 5 pm (11 Frimaire CCXXII / Day of wax).
From 1st of December, the day when children begin to celebrate the days in anticipation of Christmas and take turns in revealing a surprise through multiple windows of an advent calendar, Ruth Ewan institutes a radically different menology inside the Museum space. Throughout the weeks of “Frostarious” and “Snowarious” a mysterious object will arrive daily on a plinth near the reception area, mirroring the revolutionary atheist system that looks to nature for inspiration. The calendar will commence on the day of wax and continue the countdown until the exhibition's finissage. The „here-and-now" measured by Ruth Ewan's clock and calendar will manifests itself in the Museum as a contemplation of disorientation and celebration of the last weeks of the largest show to date in the Museum's history.
Another work by Ruth Ewan - "We could have been what we wanted to be" - a decimal clock piece, currently on display in the Emilia auditorium, is one of the highlights in the Museum's collection. Referring to the fallen attempt of the French Revolution to redefine and rationalize the Gregorian calendar, Ewan's clock is not only an important reflection on the question of time as tool for political and social control but also a poetic metaphor of the utopian aspect of contemporaneity and timeless narratives in collecting.
Adopted one year after the advent of the First Republic in order to "abolish the vulgar era for civil usage" the new system was born out of long debates involving the mathematicians Romme and Monge, the poets Chénier and Fabre d’Eglantine and the painter David. The mathematicians contributed equal month division, and a decimal measures of time. The poets devised the name of the days, choosing the names of plants, minerals, domestic animals and tools, which on one hand abolished the "slave style" of ancien regime tradition and cultivated the sentimental aura of pre-industrial simplicity on the other.