Eric Baudelaire, ANTE-MEMORIAL, 2011, exhibition view, »Void if Removed«, Le Plateau FRAC île-de-France, Paris 2011

Eric Baudelaire, ANTE-MEMORIAL, 2011, exhibition view, »Void if Removed«, Le Plateau FRAC île-de-France, Paris 2011

Eric Baudelaire explains the idea of the »ante-memorial« within the context of his curatorial exhibition project »The Museum of Ante-Memorials« (2012) with the following words: »Memorials are usually created after catastrophes, commemorating the dead and reminding us that we should do all we can to prevent such tragedies in the future. But the unending proliferation of war memorials suggests that this second function, the prophylactic one, doesn’t always work as hoped. What happens if the sequence is reversed? Can memorials also be constructed before the fact, in the place of, or in order to prevent an actual event from happening? […] In this sense, the ante-memorials in this exhibition stage different scenarios: what actually was versus what will have been and the possibility of what could have been.«1

His work »Ante-Memorial« (2011) consists of nine documents which appear as a correspondence between the artist and all the living former British prime ministers (Margaret Thatcher, Sir John Major, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron). In his mailing Baudelaire speculates about still-secret letters containing instructions from British prime ministers to submarine captains as to the measures to be taken in the event of a nuclear attack. He wrote: »What I am about to do here, very respectfully but quite seriously, is ask you to tell me the content of your four invisible letters.« In four cases his request is taken more or less seriously and he received a reply, which declined the existence of these letters and/or acknowledges the communication at all. Baudelaire proposes an exchange of correspondence as a monument, to be displayed on a gallery wall – as a series of diptychs (Baudelaire's letter and coupled with a response).

The »Ante-Memorial« explores the relation of memorials to past and future, to actuality and possibility, to visibility and invisibility, to fact and fiction – very similar to the artistic practices using the museum as model. Thinking about the common ground of a fictive monument and a fictive museum, it is possible to assume that they create blank spaces of (not existing) history, representation, symbolic order, collective/individual memory and/or cultural identity.

1 See website: [10.10.2013]

Eric Baudelaire

*1973 in Salt Lake City, USA, lives and works in Paris.

Exhibitions (selection): »The Secession Sessions«, Bétonsalon, Paris; Bergen Kunsthall, Norway, 2014; »Now_Then_Here_Elsewhere«, Beirut Art Center, Beirut, Lebanon 2013; »Nothing is Normal«, bureau publik, Copenhagen 2013; »fALSEfAKES«, Centre de la Photographie, Geneva 2013; »The Anabasis of May and Fusako Shigenobu, Masao Adachi and 27 Years without Images«, Gasworks, London 2012; »The Music of Ramón Raquello«, Slought Foundation, Philadelphia 2012; »8th Taipei Biennial«, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taiwan 2012; »Intense Proximité«, La Triennale, Palais de Tokyo, Paris 2012; »Eric Baudelaire: Sugar Water«, Franklin Art Works, Minneapolis 2011; »Eric Baudelaire«, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles 2010. Find more information on the artists website:


– Correspondence

by Eric Baudelaire