In 1978, Groupe UNTEL, com- prising three French artists from the post-1968 “Nouvelle Vague”, created a performance entitled Tourist. It consisted in walking through the streets of Cahors (a touristic town in south-western France), two of them getting their picture taken by passers-by while the whole scene was simultaneous- ly photographed by the third one. Each member of the trio (Jean-Paul Albinet, Philippe Cazal and Wilfrid Rouff) wore a TOURIST outfit: a white paint- er overall and a t-shirt, with the French word TOURISTE printed on them, with various fonts and colours, and badges as well.
On 16 October 1978, during their FASHION SHOW perfor- mance in the Great Gallery of the Louvre, UNTEL present- ed its TOURISTE collection. In 2015, the performance was reactivated, and consequent- ly a limited series of “Touriste shirts” was produced.
Since 1978, the context has changed. UNTEL still ques- tions the act of consumerism, but also the work of the gal- lery owner/producer, as well as artists’ new strategies, their daily work seeming to have evolved. The economic weight of tourism has also grown, with globalization and new geopo- litical evolutions. The complex issues of the tourism industry have become crucial and the world of contemporary art is involved as well, from the Ven- ice Biennale to the Louvre in Abu Dhabi.
UNTEL is a group of artists originally formed by Jean-Paul Albinet, Philippe Cazal and Alain Snyers (Wilfrid Rouff takes the place of Alain Snyers following the departure of the latter in 1978) whose existence is brief but passionate, from 1975 to 1980, gave life to many actions in the public space. The common denominator of these actions is the investigation of the everyday, social and political investigation, for critical purposes, very imbued with the protest ideas of May 1968 and the situationist thinking. The group carries out a critical analysis of the society in its contradictions and proceeds to a permanent im- plementation of all the means at its disposal, by seizing the materials that exist in the everyday life and by carrying out interventions in the urban space.