In 1967 Jacques Tati premiered Playtime, placing a critique of modernity above plot or characters. Monsieur Hulot – a universal character in Tati’s films – is transformed into a man who can not even fight against the environment around him and who is continually trapped in spaces of which he can’t escape. In his previous films, when his character was faced with a problem, he was looking for a solution to solve it that often had comic consequences, but in Playtime, modernity has not only displaced the individual, it has also destroyed Hulot’s creativity and his means to confront it.
NoguerasBlanchard is delighted to present the eponymous exhibition Playtime, an attempt to take a step beyond the gag and observe the type of reality we have created and how it has become strange. The expression of this reality is a conflictive process: man has lost his natural relationship to the world, but modernity does not regret that loss as it considers that such a relationship was only a hoax. The imposition of hostile developments to the average citizen, both in scale and in sense, is a growing tendency; they in turn force the individual to inhabit the city through a cluster of activities that could well be summarized as production-consumption. Architecture becomes a metaphor for revealing totalitarian atrocities. It is no longer necessary to listen to these constructions and complaisant aesthetics – obedience, of Latin etymology, means to hear audire, what is before ob-; ob-audire: obey -, as they have become a constant background noise.
On the other hand, going beyond a simple criticism of modern architecture, Tati wanted to draw attention to its depersonalizing effects and thus make “the defense of the individual against this social atomization that we suffer.” The exhibition Playtime fluctuates through the ideas explored in Tati’s film, approaching, from different angles, the strange relationship of the individual with modern life.
With special thanks to àngels barcelona (Barcelona), espaivisor (Valencia), Estrany-de la Mota (Barcelona), Formato Cómodo (Madrid) and ProjecteSD (Barcelona).