On the clash of real interests






Paola De Pietri / Alessandra Spranzi. CENTRE PHOTOGRAPHIQUE D’ILE-DE-FRANCE





HIDING THE ELEPHANT by Goldschmied & Chiari and Lotta Melin








Vincent Honoré in conversation with Claire Le Restif, Centre d’art contemporain d’Ivry – le Crédac, Ivry-sur-Seine





Studi sulla Notte. Concert on prepared piano by Laurent Durupt

The circulation of works, curators and exhibitions

Vincent Honoré in conversation with Sandra Patron, Parc Saint Léger, Pougues-les-Eaux



Foreword by Pierre Bal-Blanc

Prepared Piano – Model for a new Institutionalism

Vincent Honoré in conversation with Pierre Bal-Blanc, CAC Brétigny

Marcella Beccaria in conversation with Goldschmied & Chiari

CAGE WITHOUT CAGE – Brief Notes on the prepared piano and its inventor

Vincent Honoré in conversation with Adrienne Drake, Fondazione Giuliani

Vincent Honoré in conversation with Etienne Bernard, Passerelle Centre d’art contemporain



Ilaria Gianni Your interests in linguistic manipulation, absurdist comedy and ideological and historical clashes, develop irreverent and often hilarious videos, animatronic sculptures, performances and writings that question our actual condition of life in a permanent and present time, as well as challenging our notions of taste and ethics. Pier Paolo Pasolini, Alfred Jarry, Antonin Artaud, the Marquis de Sade seem to have made brief appearances in your world: a universe in which limits are abolished and drama takes a new twist. Who are these figures to you and how have issues addressed by them fed into your work (if so)?
Nathaniel Mellors Hi Ilaria. Wow! Well, De Sade, Jarry, Artaud and Pasolini are all really seminal cultural figures who I feel share a certain sensibility – basically of being opposed to ‘sensibility’. They all prioritise the unconscious and the anti-rational as a basic component of human consciousness. None of these characters have appeared literally in my work, although there are clear influences which I could talk about if you like? But what De Sade, Jarry etc. represent is something I think of as of eternal value and also under permanent assault from a basic human desire to tidy up and deny things which don’t fit into the centre of a certain kind of consensus. But these marginal things which tend to be repressed or denied often turn out to be more important, culturally, than the ballast at the centre. And then the ex-centric gets pulled to the centre. This is something I was thinking about when I wrote “The Sophisticated Neanderthal Interview” in 2013,  where I projected a smarter but marginalized Neanderthal figure – and recently science has been moving the Neanderthal from maligned extinct evolutionary failure (almost sub-human, ‘ape-man’) to our noble ancestor – apparently the genetic source for certain northern European features – blue eyes, fair skin, red hair, etc.!  And when you look at that – the process that’s playing out there – it’s the same process that’s happened with so many western cultural ‘others’. So in a way, the constant there is the value system that’s making these weird projections and shifting judgements. It’s mirroring itself. And if you’re engaged in a critique of that structure, and of the prevailing trend – in some ways you are always dancing a dance with a form of bourgeois politesse that doesn’t recognize itself. But you have to, or you just alienate yourself.  Pasolini spoke of ‘bourgeois entropy’, which is the tendency towards a kind of cultural homogenization coming out of capitalism – where people – given a certain amount of money and a certain amount of freedom – all end up choosing the same lifestyle and the same cultural values. It’s a kind of deadening effect.  Anyway if you work against this, historically it’s a very tough thing to do – ‘madness’, imprisonment, murder. But now there’s the broader structural problem of capitalism’s absorption and neutralization of dissent. It’s killed through forms of ownership – material and academic. So it’s hard to know if it’s even possible to resist that quicksand or to know if what you are doing is effective, partly because of this bourgeois entropy, whereby any kind of oppositional voice or any position asserting its own authenticity gets pulled into the vortex of a structure which is in the throes of a permanent panic-attack about its own authenticity. I often think of the art-world as a bit like Terminator 2, when it falls into the molten hot metal, it tries to take on various forms as a solution, but all it does is formalize and dissolve them. But on the other hand the art-world is also a very unique and special environment in that it can create space and support for potentially very diverse and polyphonic activity, through lots of very smart, inter-connecting people. This community side of it I really love.  So I’m you know, bi-polar.


2. Nathaniel Mellors, The Object (Ourhouse), 2010

I.G. Now, it’s me beginning with a Wow… Your scripts, which I’d define in antithesis with a “bourgeois politeness” and your grotesque animatronic sculptures are carriers of the marginalized “ex-centrics”. Language – both literal and figurative – is quite an important aspect of your work. It conveys a sense in nonsense and brings to light the fear of the mechanical. Your eccentric characters, which are set in a space-time bubble, are magical and scary. How you develop the language(s) they speak and are made of?
N.M. There’s something about the permeability of sense and nonsense which I find very compelling – I mean, who can draw a line between those things? Everyone’s would be different. And this grey area is a zone that feels natural to me to occupy. Sometimes I’m conscious that things that might seem quite literal or legible to me might seem nonsensical or straight up absurd to a viewer. When I’m writing the sense can be quite embedded because it can be highly associative. But then again I can also make really childish puns, and I love the basics of language and words. I’m just watching my daughter developing her own proto-language right now – she’s 8 weeks old.  I’m naturally attracted to the physical properties of language and so on one level there’s that – creative writing, poetry. And lots of word association, language games. But I’m also equally fascinated by the physical effects of language – the real world effects and applications of the word. I feel like I’m inventing characters and fantastical scenarios which are strung-out between the form and politics of language. The narratives I invent are situated within that conflict. And that’s why I’m using absurdism, because you can start off at the edge of reason and go straight behind it, and it’s a way to explore the conflict between the form and politics of language which is something that is being constantly played with in reality. We’re all subject to it. Particularly now that we have global mediation, it’s amplified. We’re all living inside it. I think there’s something inherently grotesque in that. You’d have to go off and become a hunter-gatherer to avoid it. There’s a line I wrote in Giantbum (2008) when the religious leader of a group of explorers lost inside the body of a giant tells them “There is no outside! – Nothing – literally ‘no thing’. No time and no infinity either.” I was thinking about the horror of a permanently mediated present, and an ensuing loss of relativity. It’s something that keeps coming back in my scripts.

3. Nathaniel Mellors, Giantbum – Stage 2 (Theatre), 2008, The Object (Ourhouse), 2010 and Giantbum – Stage 1 (Rehearsal), 2008

3. Nathaniel Mellors, Giantbum – Stage 2 (Theatre), 2008, The Object (Ourhouse), 2010 and Giantbum – Stage 1 (Rehearsal), 2008

I.G. Your shared working methodology is also quite intriguing. Your films generate from a live and unique communal organism composed of yourself and of a series of close collaborators who really enter the work on many sides. Can tell us something about your working process?
N.M. That’s true and I appreciate the question. Each work has a different combination of people involved. With my films I have developed a core group of actors I work with and this is a group that has evolved over time. Certain people have been very central to it – Johnny Vivash, Gwendoline Christie, Patrick Kennedy, David Birkin and Richard Bremmer.
I have worked with most of them for over 10 years. Gwendoline introduced me to a lot of talented actors when we were working on Ourhouse in 2010, but I was friends with her for many years before that, from before she studied drama. The same with Johnny Vivash who is also helping me in this kind of crypto-producer way. So I’ve been lucky in that respect. David Birkin and I lived together in 1996-97. But I’ve always been lucky like that and the process goes back to the end of the ’80s when I was 14 and first started improvising music in Southborough and Tunbridge Wells, in Kent, South-east England. On two adjacent streets from where I was growing up there were two teenage punks / musicians, one of whom owned every Throbbing gristle, Coil and Psychic TV album (Grant Newman) and the other, Simon Johns, had all these Foetus, Big Black & Husker Du records and was my portal into a brave new world of experimental music. He invited me to be in my first band and later became the bass player in Stereolab. And through them I quickly met Ashley Marlowe, who has been my other very long term musical collaborator and dear friend. He is the best drummer I have ever seen and someone who completely lives music. He has the most diverse taste in music of all. Ashley and I still make music together. Oh and also Alex Tucker! Alexander Tucker and I were also good friends at that time and then he went of to Slade and I went to Oxford, both to do Fine Art. But sensibly he went straight back into music :).
Anyway, I am just trying to say that getting really into Psychic TV, Throbbing Gristle, Coil, Butthole Surfers & Captain Beefheart, and getting to know all these really creative local characters, taking acid and improvising – and getting an understanding of group dynamics, has been really key for all my subsequent work. My studio work over the last few years has evolved in collaboration with Chris Bloor, my film work with Director of Photography Aaron Kovalchik, and my life with Tala Madani, my wife. It’s all collaboration.  

I.G. I actually am also really fascinated by the physically repulsive animatronic sculptures. Why have you decided to work with the obsolete mechanism of kinetic art and who are the faces we are confronted by?
N.M. There are two levels to that. The first is just that in 2007 when I was at the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten in Amsterdam there was a facility there for engineering and computer-controlled art which was not being used so much or not really in an interesting way. The work made tended to be quite labor intensive and spectacular, at best, but not so interesting as art. And being around that I was thinking about kinetic art and how unfashionable it was and I had this idea that if I could MAKE IT TALK it would all be OK! Because then I could invibe the art-attempt with its own consciousness, and it would be able to reflect on its own condition, somehow. Also I was confident in my own ability to write dialogue. So I had this idea that I would make talking animatronic sculpture and it could be funny and grotesque, and the talking would redeem the work. But of course that just sites the work within the timeless quandary of art and consciousness. This led me back into the origins of art and towards what Clayton Eshleman called the “back-wall of human consciousness” – the back-end of the cave. That’s an amazing place to be.
The second level is the question of obsolescence which is fascinating to me. I was attracted to kinetic art partly because, with it being at that time very unfashionable, I felt I could make some progress with it. It’s harder or less interesting when everyone decides that something is the right form to work with. I mean, usually there’s only one or two people that are really doing something with it anyway. Like with ‘post-internet’ art, the interesting people are not comfortable with that moniker because they’re trying to move into some space they can feel – it’s more that the materials became accessible and they saw a potential in it. It’s not a movement, we’re not living in 1917. That’s the thing to do really, to feel this physical possibility of creative conscious and unconscious movement and to occupy that space and realize something which is hard to reduce. Hard to process.

1-2. Nathaniel Mellors, The Object (Ourhouse), 2010, La Ferme du Buisson, Courtesy the artist and Matt’s Gallery – London. © Émile Ouroumov
3. Nathaniel Mellors, Giantbum – Stage 2 (Theatre), 2008, The Object (Ourhouse), 2010 and Giantbum – Stage 1 (Rehearsal), 2008, Courtesy the artist and Matt’s Gallery – London, La Ferme du Buisson. © Émile Ouroumov

Protagonist: Nathaniel Mellors
Project: Alfred Jarry Archipelago

en - fr


Artists: Les Chiens de Navarre, Hugues Decointet, Kasia Fudakowski, Dominique Gilliot, Petrit Halilaj, Jean-Christophe Meurisse, Luigi Presicce, Benjamin Seror, Katarina Ševic´ & Tehnica Schweiz, Cally Spooner, Sarah Vanhee

Curated by: Leonardo Bigazzi, Keren Detton, Julie Pellegrin, Eva Wittocx 

CAC de la Ferme du Buisson
saturday February 13 2016 from 2 pm to midnight

press contact:
Corinna Ewald
01 64 62 77 05 2

1. Gergely László, Alfred Palestra book presentation, 2015-2016

1. Gergely László, Alfred Palestra book presentation, 2015-2016

2. Katarina Šević & Tehnica Schweiz, Alfred Palestra, 2015-16

2. Katarina Šević & Tehnica Schweiz, Alfred Palestra, 2015-16


More and more frequently contemporary artists are blending the codes of the visual arts with those of the stage, in an exploration of an interspace of potential art forms. As a fundamentally multidisciplinary venture, La Ferme du Buisson has an obligation to welcome and assist practices that include performance as an active force in the transgression of conventional limitations.
Performance Day is a new, annual event, with international artists and curators being invited to make use of our theatre space. The aim is to work with other art bodies and festivals, with an emphasis on sharing insights and (co)producing hybrid works of art. For this first edition it seemed natural to invoke Alfred Jarry, that iconic scuttler of categories, as its tutelary figure. Tying in with La Valse des pantins exhibition and the international Alfred Jarry Archipelago project, Performance Day is a celebration of physical and linguistic contortions, absurdist humour and blatant amateurism; these being the tools the participating artists bring to a meticulous deconstruction of accepted standards, via approaches including marathon performances, open-air strolls and sound installations, screenings, improvised musical happenings, readings from Jarry and barroom-style discussions about « the uselessness of the theatre to the theatre ».


3. Benjamin Seror, The Marsyas Hour, 2015-16


4. Benjamin Seror, The Marsyas Hour, 2015-16


5. Benjamin Seror, The Marsyas Hour, 2015-16

Alfred Jarry Archipelago
Comprising a number of different segments, Alfred Jarry Archipelago is initiated by Le Quartier, Centre for Contemporary Art in Quimper (France), La Ferme du Buisson Centre for Contemporary Art in Noisiel (France), and the Museo Marino Marini in Florence (Italy). The venture is part of Piano, the Franco-Italian art exchange platform, in collaboration with M – Museum and Playground in Leuven (Belgium).


6. Cally Spooner, Damning Evidence Illicit Behaviour Seemingly Insurmountable Great Sadness Terminated In Any Manner, 2014


7. Cally Spooner, Damning Evidence Illicit Behaviour Seemingly Insurmountable Great Sadness Terminated In Any Manner, 2014


Leonardo Bigazzi
Leonardo Bigazzi is a curator based in Florence. He recently started working at the Museo Marino Marini where he co-curated the exhibition 30/60 Opere dalla collezione del FRAC Champagne-Ardenne with a selection of over 40 works from the collection of the French institution. Since its first edition in 2008 he collaborates with Lo Schermo dell’Arte Film Festival in Florence, Italy. For the Festival he curates VISIO – European Workshop on Artists’ Cinema, the VISIO Residency Program, and Notti di Mezza Estate, a summer program of artists’ films and documentaries from the archives of the Festival. Beside collaborating to the selection of films for the main program, in the past edition of the Festival he has been responsible for special projects with the artists Omer Fast, Melik Ohanian and Hiroshi Sugimoto. He is also the co-director of Feature Expanded, a training program developed together with HOME (Cornerhouse) in Manchester. He recently started an on-going collaboration with the artist Petrit Halilaj and he has worked for the research and production of his exhibitions at the Galerie Kamel Mennour (Paris), Bundeskunsthalle (Bonn), Kölnischer Kunstverein (Koln) and Palazzo Grassi/Punta della Dogana (Venice). Since 2012 he works at the Gucci Museum in Florence as a consultant for the contemporary art exhibitions organized in collaboration with the François Pinault Collection.

Keren Detton
Keren Detton is curator and director of Le Quartier, Centre for Contemporary Art in Quimper (Brittany, France) since 2009. She works with artists from different generations and develops exhibition projects and editions on a national and international scale. Her programme includes monographic exhibitions (Guy de Cointet, Ann Veronica Janssens, Claude Closky, Carey Young, Adva Zakai, Fayçal Baghriche…) and collective exhibitions, which focus on forms and languages, perception of images and the construction of identities. From 2004 till 2009, she worked in Air de Paris gallery and conducted a prospective programme titled La Planck. She held the position of president of the association C-E-A (French association of curators) from 2007 till 2009, and is still involved as a board member.

Julie Pellegrin
Since 2007, Julie Pellegrin has been working as the director of the Art Centre of La Ferme du Buisson. She aims to create a dialogue between contemporary art and other art forms (with a particular emphasis on theatre and dance), as well as social science (economics, philosophy, anthropology), focusing on the significance of processes and experimentation in the performative dimension of art. She mixes solo (Isabelle Cornaro, Seulgi Lee, Gianni Motti, Denis Savary, Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc, Diogo Pimentao, Julien Bismuth, Phill Niblock) and group exhibitions (A Choreographed Exhibition, Treasures for Theatre, The Yvonne Rainer Project) mixed with publications, talks and performances. Author of over a dozen of artist monographs and artists’ books, Julie Pellegrin recently published, together with fellow curator Mathieu Copeland, a collective anthology entitled Choreographing Exhibitions. In 2013, she co-curated Nuit Blanche Paris with Chiara Parisi. They invited 40 international artists to produce large-scale artworks showcased across the city in public space, to offer spectators a chance to experience time-based works by Fujiko Nakaya, Rosa Barba, Michael Portnoy, Peter Watkins, Chantal Akerman, Hassan Khan, Liam Gillick or Martin Creed – as well as reenactments of historical works like Palle Nielsen’s The Model or Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Helicopter String Quartet.

Eva Wittocx
Eva Wittocx is a curator and art critic based in Brussels. Since 2009 Eva Wittocx is head of the contemporary art department at Museum M in Leuven, Belgium. M presents both ancient and contemporary art through a varied exhibition program. The contemporary art program focuses on monographic exhibitions, both of emerging and established artists. Exhibitions she curated at M include Guy de Cointet, Markus Schinwald, Sarah Morris, Ugo Rondinone, Patrick Van Caeckenbergh, Pedro Cabrita Reis, Mika Rottenberg, Dirk Braeckman, Yael Davids and Sol LeWitt walldrawings. Between 1997 and 2006 she was curator at the S.M.A.K. museum for contemporary art in Ghent. From 2006 till 2009 she worked at the arts centre STUK in Leuven where she in 2007, together with the STUKteam, created a new yearly live art performance festival called Playground. Since 2009 this festival is a collaboration between STUK and Museum M, and takes place at both venues. Eva Wittocx has contributed to several catalogues, publications and magazines. She has given lectures and participated at many seminars. She is member of IKT, ICOM and president of the Belgian section of AICA.

8. De l'inutilité du théâtre au théâtre, roundtable, 2016

8. De l’inutilité du théâtre au théâtre, roundtable, 2016


14:00 — Introduction by the curators and Dominique Gilliot, Master of Ceremony
14:30 — Reading Jarry out loud — reading / 1h
14:30 — Hugues Decointet — performance / 30 min
15:00 — Art Centre Guided tour of the exhibition in English / 45 min
15:30 — Katarina Ševic & Tehnica Schweiz — discussion and book signing / 1h
16:40 — Cally Spooner — activation / 7 min
17:00 — Sarah Vanhee* — performance / 2h30
17:30 —  Hugues Decointet — performance / 30 min
18:20 — Cally Spooner — activation / 7 min
19:00 — Jean-Christophe Meurisse* — film / 50 min
19:40 — Cally Spooner — activation / 7 min
19:50 — Dominique Gilliot — performance / 20 min
20:30 — Benjamin Seror* — performance cabaret, (snack included) / 1h20
20:45 — Les Chiens de Navarre* — dance performance / 1h
22:30 — Christophe Meurisse* — film / 50 min
22:30 — Of the Futility of the « Theatrical » in the Theatre  — Informal, café-style discussion / 1h

9. Lire Jarry à voix haute, 2016

9. Lire Jarry à voix haute, 2016


14:00-midnight —  Dominique Gilliot — Master of Ceremony
14:00-23:00 — Alfred Jarry Archipelago : La valse des pantins – Acte II — tour of the exhibition by the visitor guides and focus on specific artworks
14:00-23:00 — Cally Spooner — installation
14:00-midnight — Petrit Halilaj — sound installation
14:00-midnight — Hugues Decointet — sculptural and sound installation
14:00-16:30 — Kasia Fudakowski — projection
16:30-18:30 — Luigi Presicce — projection
14:00-midnight — Bar / catering

* booking essential: admission upon ticket presentation : +33 1 64 62 77 77 

Here is the detail of the program

Paris Opéra-Bastille – Ferme du Buisson
1pm – midnight

Press invitation on demand


10. Dominique Gilliot, Une Série de Moments + un Moment + un Autre Moment, 2016


11. Dominique Gilliot, Une Série de Moments + un Moment + un Autre Moment, 2016


12. Dominique Gilliot, Une Série de Moments + un Moment + un Autre Moment, 2016


13. Dominique Gilliot, Une Série de Moments + un Moment + un Autre Moment, 2016


14. Dominique Gilliot, Une Série de Moments + un Moment + un Autre Moment, 2016


Les Chiens de Navarre
Collective founded in 2005. Les Chiens de Navarre is a theatre collective created by Jean-Christophe Meurisse, who is also the director. The company uses improvisation and the ‘accidents’ that arise out of it. They create temporary oppositions, ephemeral crises, and idiotic games – with the audience or against them. “In the midst of banality, overplayed metaphors and our own urges, the Chiens de Navarre produce something that is like a sudden upsurge of our most salient and least calculated desires. Hence the importance of improvisation in their work; it attracts the highly exaggerated situations, sporadic outbursts, extreme fatigue and violent rifts that are all part of that hyper-present.” (Tanguy Viel)

Les danseurs ont apprécié la qualité du parquet, 2012 – Dance performance, 1h
The Chiens de Navarre reject all kinds of “rigid, elitist and dusty theatre”. Their preference is for a carnival aesthetic and automatic stage writing in the style of Artaud and the Surrealists. This is their first choreographed show, a transgressive journey through the history of dance. A procession of old people start wandering around, dancing and feeling each other up, to the accompaniment of old pop songs. They are pathetic and filthy, strange and moving. In this chaotic, silent dance, the Chiens weave an astonishingly meaningful cloth out of the threads of their idiocy. Led, off the leash, by Jean-Christophe Meurisse, these Dogs of Navarre, with their incisive fangs, are both provocative and charming.
Collective creation by Les Chiens de Navarre
Directed by Jean-Christophe Meurisse
Artistic collaboration Isabelle Catalan
With Caroline Binder, Céline Fuhrer, Robert Hatisi, Manu Laskar, Thomas Scimeca, AnneÉlodie Sorlin, Maxence Tual, Jean-Luc Vincent

Hugues Decointet
Born 1961 in Bienville, France. Lives and works in Montreuil. In the work of Hugues Decointet, changes of scale, changes of status in props and objects, and changes from representation to presentation are stage effects and reversals of situation that disturb our perception of the real. Every object is capable of being an image and every image is taken from a possible film. Decointet marks out spaces with stage techniques in which objects are both receivers and transmitters. The energy needed in order to activate and literally animate the venue is the spectator’s own curiosity. A shared moment emerges; the mobile, photographic eye takes the body with it in a mobility that is itself a picture.

Dramavox, model for a theatre of voices II, 2015 – Sound installation activated by a performance, 400 x 400 cm, 40 min
Intrigued by a Samuel Beckett text about the voice, Hugues Decointet created an index of descriptions of voices and interviews with actors on the subject of voices that they like. He subsequently turned this into a play combining texts and sculptures. Neither performance nor radio play, Drama Vox is presented literally as a “little voice theatre”. By manipulating the wooden objects that make up the sound material, a vocal portrait emerges which gradually becomes architecture. Its reduced format, nevertheless, means that it is more of a model; put simply, it is the utopian projection of a theatre.
Coproduction Playground (STUK Kunstencentrum & M Museum) / Ferme du Buisson With support from the French Ministry of Culture and Communication – DICRéAM.

Kasia Fudakowski
Born 1985 in London. Lives and works in Berlin. Kasia Fudakowski’s sculptures, performances and videos often take the form of crazy jokes or ironic monologues full of puns. People’s reaction to them is laughter followed by a moment of doubt in which they turn round to see if it really was funny. This sardonic humour comes from Fudakowski’s fondness for the verbal slips and shifts of meaning that arise out of appropriations or translations, whether linguistic or aesthetic. What interests the artist is the philosophy of comedy rather than an urge to set people giggling. She works at deconstructing the rules of ordinary stand-up comedy and thinks about the affective nature of laughter and the act of smiling. Fudakowski probes that slightly uncomfortable feeling that can set in between a comedian and his or her public.

Did I Ever Really Have a Chance?, 2015 – Color video, sound, 15 min
Kasia Fudakowski created her performance Did I Ever Really Have a Chance? at the invitation of the Museo Marino Marini as part of the Alfred Jarry Archipelago programme: ’HA ’HA (Florence, October 2015). The ordinary public discussion between artist and curator that was announced in the programme begins to go awry as various interruptions, accidents and other bugs arise unexpectedly. The artist arrives late, the curator’s introduction gets longer and longer, the translator gets into a total muddle, and so it goes on until eventually the museum fire alarm starts ringing. Far from being a mere film of the performance, the film presented here is a careful montage of text and image, in which scenes are repeated in a stuttering kind of way and the surtitles oscillate between commentaries after the event and a pre-written script. All of which sows doubt on what one is looking at.
Production Museo Marino Marini

Dominique Gilliot
Born 1975 in Gravelines, France. Lives and works in Paris and Brussels. Dominique Gilliot’s performance work comes in a variety of forms and has its own logic – a mixture of academic and popular culture. Her performed lectures involve the listener in a train of thought where the power of logic is traversed by the accidental and the fortuitous. The result is liable to be funny, totally unexpected, charmingly confused and yet, at the same time, strangely precise. In her own inimitable way, she points an unshaking finger at all kinds of elements, be they poetic, evanescent, basic or vernacular. This is performance and a shared moment.

Une Série de Moments + un Moment + un Autre Moment, 2016 – Performance, variable duration
For this first edition of the festival, Dominique Gilliot will be performing Une Série de Moments + Un Moment + Un Autre Moment (“A Series of Moments + A Moment + Another Moment”). Amongst other things, and at her own special request, she will take on the role of Mistress of Ceremonies throughout the day. This will enable her to talk about the works, to direct operations (a velvet hand in a steel glove), to maintain both atmosphere and open spaces, keep the audience on their toes and the words moving along, and maybe even to sing a few ditties. During the period of her residency, Gilliot will be exploring and exploiting the logic of the spaces at the Ferme du Buisson, using various objects picked up here and there, a text by Alfred Jarry about time in art, and the latest issues of l’Etoile Absinthe, all these as means of pursuing her navigation from place to place and work to work.
Production in the framework of Dominique Gilliot’s residency at the Centre d’art contemporain de la Ferme du Buisson

Petrit Halilaj
Born 1986 in Kostërrc, Skenderaj-Kosovo. Lives and works in Berlin (Germany), Pristina (Kosovo) et Bozzolo (Italy). Petrit Halilaj learnt to draw as a teenager in a refugee camp during the war in Kosovo. His memories of a childhood spent in the countryside and his personal experience of war, destruction and displacement are the basis of his reflections about life and the human condition. Although he draws on concrete and material biographical elements, his work avoids pathos and is rooted in research into trauma and the ways in which it can be represented in art. His combinations of earth and rubble, stuffed animals covered in mud, live chickens and delicate drawings evoke a private and utopian universe in which the human being is objectified as being just like any other animal in the zoo, the works show his attempts at understanding such notions as “home”, “nation” and “cultural identity”.

Friends of birds, 2014-2015 – Aleatory sound installation, 1h
Animal motifs, particularly birds, are omnipresent in Petrit Halilaj’s work. After creating For the Birds, an installation he realised with Alvaro Urbano, Halilaj asked friends to record sounds as if they wanted to and were able to communicate with birds. These strange sounds can be heard in public places. They mirror the artist’s working environment; he shares his studio with canaries that he talks to, studies, and whose songs he imitates.

Jean-Christophe Meurisse
Born 1975 in Lorient, France. Lives and works in France. Founder and artistic director of the theatre company Les Chiens de Navarre, Jean-Christophe Meurisse has directed their collective performances since 2005. He is also a film maker interested in the possibility of accidents and awkward moments, which – as happens during rehearsals for his dramatic productions – throw the actor into a real-life situation, unprepared, with no predetermined role and without preconceived ideas.

Il est des nôtres, 2013 – Video HD, colour, sound, 47 min France, Poland
Thomas is thirty-five years old and has decided that he will never go outside again. He lives in a caravan in a shed in the middle of the city and invites his family and his friends and neighbours round. He organises parties – Dionysian feasts. Every day Thomas celebrates his rejection of society. Merrily and furiously. Jean-Christophe Meurisse wanted to try out the use of improvisation, which is entirely how this was shot, in film. Accordingly, the film starts with an idea and has no real script. Meurisse uses this medium-length film as a means of interrogating our ability to live outside civilisation – in order to get closer to the world.
Production Ecce Films

Luigi Presicce
Born 1976 in Porto Cesareo, Italy. Lives and works in Milan and Porto Cesareo. In Luigi Presicce’s work, series of images are compulsively assembled to create a narrative of symbols and allegorical figures condensed in time. The creative process behind each work does not follow a precise structure; it is progressively added to by research into a specific theme. Prescice’s practice is presented as a contemporary reworking of myths, stories and classical symbols. In all his works, the symbolic power of the image is very intense. He reinforces the visual world of the quattrocento and cinquecento, from which he draws his many references, with a popular iconography arising from collective and personal memory and related to more ancient traditions and beliefs.

Il sogno della cascata di costantino, 2015 – Colour video, sound, 7 min
With his enigmatic performances for solitary viewer, Luigi Presicce creates surrealist tableaux vivants with a wealth of esoteric symbols and references. The performance produced for the Alfred Jarry Archipelago programme, ’HA ’HA (Florence, October 2015) at the Museo Marino Marini, is part of a cycle that the artist began in 2012 with The Legend of the True Cross, inspired by the Golden Legend by Jacobus de Voragine (1228-1298). We are confronted by iconography from Piero della Francesca’s fresco in the form of Constantine’s Dream juxtaposed with one of the most mysterious of Marcel Duchamp’s works, Etant donnés. From this performance, the artist has made a thoughtful film in which an alternation of close-ups and long shots accentuates the tableau vivant dimension. It is accompanied by 1. the sound of The Waterfall 2. the light of the Illuminating Gas.
Production Museo Marino Marini

Benjamin Seror
Born 1979 in Lyon. Lives and works in Brussels. Combining the figures of poet, singer and storyteller, Benjamin Seror likes to feature himself in theatrical performances that have both theoretical and narrative power. He gives us the fruit of his thoughts about the way history is transmitted, by questioning the way our memory, which can be both real and invented, presents things. His evocative titles give us ways of interpreting a complex piece full of exogenous knowledge, amusing digressions with varying degrees of logicality and highly appealing music. Seror’s production involves language and its potential for revealing our memory of things which it is possible we never experienced.

The Marsyas Hour, 2015-2016 – Performance, 1h20
Benjamin Seror’s new project concerns Marsyas, a character from Greek mythology condemned to wander between the land of the dead and the land of the living after losing a music competition with the god Apollo. Marsyas has to confront a mysterious enemy by using his own thoughts, as he moves around between fiction and reality. The performance was conceived as a long documentary narrative during which elements of scenery make their appearance. The performance evokes ghosts of film, art history, day-to-day adventures, and magic. But, as always with Seror, the real subjects are language and improvisation.
Coproduction Playground (STUK Kunstencentrum & M Museum Leuven) / Ferme du Buisson

Katarina Ševic´ & Tehnica Schweiz
Gergely László was born in 1979, in Budapest. He lives and works in Berlin. Péter Rákosi was born in 1970, in Kaposvár, Hungary. He lives and works in Budapest. They have worked as the artistic duo Tehnica Schweiz since 2004. Katarina Šević was born in 1979, in Novi Sad, Yugoslavia/Serbia. She lives and works in Berlin. Over the course of recent years, the duo Tehnica Schweitz and Katarina Šević have created several projects involving plays and tableaux vivants. Sourcing their material from the history of avant-garde theatre, they have created collective performances by using codes from amateur and political theatre. What particularly interests them is the satirical and political potential of these theatrical forms, and the fact that they allow several voices to coexist and to raise important questions in an amusing way.

Alfred Palestra : quand la crise de la République coïncide avec la naissance de la pataphysique, 2015 – Discussion/book-signing in collaboration with Zoë Gray, exhibition curator
The Alfred Palestra project was originally a workshop with students at the Lycée Émile-Zola in Rennes. The workshop was designed as a way of coming to terms with various elements of history, stories and narratives. In that school, Alfred Jarry could almost have met Alfred Dreyfus. The gym of the school was used for the second trial of Alfred Dreyfus in 1899, and it was the school where Alfred Jarry sat his baccalaureate exam and wrote Ubu Roi. The artists based their project on the books that Dreyfus read during his imprisonment and the books that Jarry collected in the imaginary library of Dr Faustroll for the exploration of the fundamental themes that are still as essential today as they were at the end of the 19th century: justice, truth, freedom and education.

Cally Spooner
Born 1983 in Ascot, United Kingdom. Lives and works in London. Cally Spooner is a writer and artist. Her texts combine a mixture of theory, philosophy, pop music, current affairs issues and entrepreneurial rhetoric. Spooner produces short stories with no plot, disjointed scenarios, monologues recorded on a loop, and musical arrangements as a means of staging the movement and functioning of speech. By appropriating as forms and references such different performance genres as musical comedies, advertising spots and radio plays, Spooner looks at the way in which disembodied, indeterminate and unmediated performance can exist within the extreme visibility of entertainment and today’s short attention spans.

Damning Evidence Illicit Behaviour Seemingly Insurmountable Great Sadness Terminated In Any Manner, 2014 – Opera singer, YouTube comments, LED screen Collection Enea Righi, Courtesy of the artist and gb agency – Paris
An opera singer sings messages which roll out on an LED screen like surtitles at an opera. The messages are comments posted on YouTube by discontented fans on videos in which the lies of celebrities are exposed: the Lance Armstrong doping scandal, for example, or Beyoncé lip synching to a pre-recorded “Star- Spangled Banner” at Barack Obama’s second term inauguration. This piece reflects Cally Spooner’s researches into hysteria in the media and reveals how dependent on technology people are, as well as how staged their behaviour can be and their discourse governed and robotised by digital mechanisation.

Sarah Vanhee
Born 1980 in Belgium. Lives and works in Brussels. Sarah Vanhee’s practice blends performance, visual arts and literature. Often created in situ, her works are concerned with the interaction between the spectator and the surroundings that they put in place. They totally blur the boundaries between fiction and reality, in order to push out the limits of the imagination and to raise questions about society, conventions and artistic commonplaces. Vanhee takes issue with the dominant models that influence our ways of thinking, speaking, and moving, as well as our relationships with others and the world. She combats existing paradigms with the weapons of absurdity, utopia and poetry…

Oblivion, 2015 Performance and installation, 2h30
Throughout one year, Sarah Vanhee collected rubbish, whether real or virtual. With these ‘remains’ – ranging from vegetable peelings to spams – she creates a luxurious environment to perform in, a place where nothing is lost, where birth and death rub shoulders and there is no wastage. For nearly three hours, the artist carefully unwraps cardboard boxes, accompanying her gestures with a discourse that plays on the deterioration of language. The installation and performance are presented as an ecological system rather than total chaos. Various kinds of o rganisation and gradations begin to emerge more or less clearly from this jungle of garbage, indicating something like a path through the journey.
Coproduction CAMPO (Gand), HAU – Hebbel am Ufer (Berlin), Göteborgs Dans & Teater Festival, Noorderzon (Groningen) & Kunstenfestivaldesarts (Brussels) with the support of the Culture Programme of the European Union and the Flemish Community.

Reading Jarry out loud
Médiathèque de la Ferme du Buisson
Librarians trained in the art of reading aloud read extracts from works by Alfred Jarry chosen by themselves. In spite of the reputed difficulty of the writing, they bring out all its acoustic qualities: the syncopated rhythms and the musical phrasing, the comic puns vying with the inherent lyricism of the works, and the way in which the words produce a host of synesthetic impressions.
In partnership with the network of multimedia libraries in the Val Maubuée

De l’inutilité du théâtre au théâtre [On the uselessness of theatricality in theatre]
Informal, café-style discussion between Dominique Gilliot, Jean-Christophe Meurisse, Benjamin Seror, Cally Spooner and others
In the light of texts by Jarry and of his radical attitudes to theatre (De l’inutilité du théâtre au théâtre, Douze arguments sur le théâtre, Questions de théâtre), artistes involved in the festival are invited to talk about the assumed ambiguity of their fascination for theatre: how can drama be dismembered so that each one of its significant elements can be examined and questioned and new forms be created?


15. Hugues Decointet, Dramavox, model for a theatre of voices II, 2015-16


16. Hugues Decointet, Dramavox, model for a theatre of voices II, 2015-16


17. Hugues Decointet, Dramavox, model for a theatre of voices II, 2015-16

Practical information

Centre d’art contemporain
de la Ferme du Buisson
allée de la Ferme – Noisiel
77448 Marne-La-Vallée Cedex 2
+33 1 64 62 77 00

how to go there
shuttle bus
from and to Paris-Opéra Bastille, at 1pm and midnight
by train
RER A dir. Marne-La-Vallée, stop Noisiel
(20 mins from Paris)
by car
A4 dir. Marne-la-Vallée, exit Noisiel-Torcy dir. Noisiel-Luzard
Saturday 13 February 2016, 2:00 pm to midnight
Festival (except Chiens de Navarre): 5 €
Festival (including Chiens de Navarre): full 16 € / reduced 13 € / student 10 €


18. Sarah Vanhee, Oblivion, 2015-16


19. Sarah Vanhee, Oblivion, 2015-16


20. Sarah Vanhee, Oblivion, 2015-16

Artistes: Les Chiens de Navarre, Hugues Decointet, Kasia Fudakowski, Dominique Gilliot, Petrit Halilaj, Jean-Christophe Meurisse, Luigi Presicce, Benjamin Seror, Katarina Ševic´ & Tehnica Schweiz, Cally Spooner, Sarah Vanhee

Commissaires : Leonardo BigazziKeren DettonJulie Pellegrin, Eva Wittocx

CAC de la Ferme du Buisson
samedi 13 fév 2016 de 14h à minuit

contact presse:
Corinna Ewald
01 64 62 77 05 2


Les artistes contemporains mêlent de plus en plus les codes des arts visuels et ceux des arts de la scène pour explorer une zone intermédiaire où se logent des formes d’art potentielles. Lieu fondamentalement pluridisciplinaire, la Ferme du Buisson se devait d’accueillir et d’accompagner ces pratiques où la performance apparaît comme un principe actif de transgression des frontières.
Performance Day est un nouveau rendez-vous annuel qui convie artistes et commissaires internationaux à investir les espaces du théâtre. À travers des collaborations avec d’autres structures et festivals, il s’agit de privilégier les regards croisés et de (co)produire des œuvres aux formats résolument hybrides. Pour sa première édition, il semblait naturel de convoquer Alfred Jarry – chantre de l’abolissement des catégories – comme figure tutélaire. En lien avec l’exposition La valse des pantins présentée au même moment au Centre d’art et le projet international Alfred Jarry Archipelago, le festival met à l’honneur mésusages du corps et du langage, humour absurde et amateurisme revendiqué. Autant d’outils à l’aide desquels les artistes présentés s’emploient à une déconstruction minutieuse des normes, tout en diversifiant les formats : performance marathon, déambulation et pièce sonore en plein air, projections, impromptus musicaux, lectures de textes de Jarry ou discussion de comptoir sur « l’inutilité du théâtre au théâtre»…

Alfred Jarry Archipelago
Se déployant en différents chapitres, Alfred Jarry Archipelago est un projet initié par le Centre d’art contemporain de la Ferme du Buisson, Le Quartier centre d’art contemporain de Quimper et le Museo Marino Marini à Florence dans le cadre de PIANO – plateforme franco-italienne d’échanges artistiques, en collaboration avec le M-Museum et Playground à Louvain (Belgique). Il prend la forme d’un archipel où chaque chapitre-île prend place dans un lieu différent, sous une forme différente. Trois expositions collectives se sont tenues au Quartier, à La Ferme du Buisson et au Museo Marino Marini, et un ensemble de performances dans le cadre du festival Playground à Louvain. Les quatre partenaires se retrouvent pour organiser l’édition 2016 du festival Performance Day à la Ferme du Buisson, puis pour une importante publication réunissant l’ensemble des chapitres en 2017.


Leonardo Bigazzi
Leonardo Bigazzi est commissaire d’exposition basé à Florence (Italie). Il travaille au Museo Marino Marini où il a été co-commissaire de l’exposition 30/60 Œuvres de la collection du Frac Champagne-Ardenne. Il collabore avec le festival de films Lo Schermo dell’Arte à Florence depuis sa première édition en 2008: il y est commissaire des programmes VISIO (ateliers, résidences) et de Notti di Mezza Estate, un programme estival de films d’artistes et de documentaires. Il collabore régulièrement à la sélection des films et a été responsable lors de la précédente édition des projets spéciaux avec les artistes Omer Fast, Melik Ohanian et Hiroshi Sugimoto. Il est également co-directeur de Feature Expanded, un programme de formation développé avec HOME (Cornerhouse) à Manchester. Il travaille avec l’artiste Petrit Halilaj pour la recherche et la production de ses expositions (galerie Kamel Mennour – Paris, Bundeskunsthalle – Bonn, Kölnischer Kunstverein – Cologne, Palazzo Grassi / Punta della Dogana – Venise). Depuis 2012, il est conseiller au musée Gucci à Florence pour les expositions d’art contemporain organisées en collaboration avec la collection François Pinault.

Keren Detton
Keren Detton est commissaire d’exposition et dirige Le Quartier, centre d’art contemporain de Quimper depuis 2009. Elle s’attache à porter un regard sur plusieurs générations d’artistes et à développer des projets d’exposition et d’édition dans une dynamique nationale et internationale. Sa programmation comprend des expositions monographiques (Guy de Cointet, Ann Veronica Janssens, Claude Closky, Carey Young, Adva Zakai, Fayçal Baghriche…) et des expositions collectives qui révèlent un intérêt pour le langage et ses formes, la perception des images et la construction des identités. De 2004 à 2009, elle a travaillé à la galerie Air de Paris et mené un programme prospectif intitulé La Planck. Elle est membre de l’association C-E-A (commissaires d’exposition associés) qu’elle a présidée de 2007 à 2009.

Julie Pellegrin
Julie Pellegrin dirige le Centre d’art contemporain de la Ferme du Buisson depuis 2007 où elle développe un programme centré sur la performativité à travers des expositions monographiques (Julien Bismuth, Mathieu Abonnenc, Isabelle Cornaro, Phill Niblock) et collectives (Une exposition chorégraphiéTreasures for theatreThe Yvonne Rainer Project), des événements et des livres. Elle a été co-directrice artistique de la 11e édition de Nuit Blanche Paris avec Chiara Parisi. Les artistes y proposaient une expérience de la durée et de la dérive en imaginant des œuvres à l’échelle de la ville (Fujiko Nakaya, Rosa Barba, Michael Portnoy, Peter Watkins, Chantal Akerman, Liam Gillick, Avi Mograbi…) parallèlement à la réactivation de pièces historiques (The Model de Palle Nielsen ou le quartet pour hélicoptères de Karlheinz Stockhausen). Outre une quinzaine de monographies et livres d’artistes, Julie Pellegrin à publié avec Mathieu Copeland un ouvrage collectif intitulé Chorégraphier l’exposition.

Eva Wittocx
Eva Wittocx est commissaire d’exposition et critique d’art basée à Bruxelles. Depuis 2009, elle est responsable du département d’art contemporain au M-Museum à Louvain, Belgique, qui présente à la fois de l’art ancien et contemporain à travers un programme d’expositions varié. La programmation en art contemporain s’articule autour d’expositions monographiques d’artistes émergents ou établis (dont Guy de Cointet, Markus Schinwald, Sarah Morris, Ugo Rondinone, Patrick Van Caeckenbergh, Pedro Cabrita Reis, Mika Rottenberg, Dirk Braeckman, Yael Davids ou Sol LeWitt). Entre 1997 et 2006, elle a été commissaire au S.M.A.K, musée d’art contemporain à Gand. De 2006 à 2009, elle a travaillé pour le centre des arts STUK à Louvain où elle crée en 2007, en collaboration avec l’équipe, un festival annuel de performance appelé Playground. Depuis 2009, ce festival est le fruit d’une collaboration entre le STUCK et le M-Museum, et se déroule dans les deux lieux. Eva Wittocx a contribué à de nombreux catalogues, publications et magazines. Elle a donné des conférences et participé à plusieurs séminaires. Elle est membre de l’IKT et de l’ICOM, et présidente de la section belge de l’AICA.



14h — Introduction par les commissaires et Dominique Gilliot, Maîtresse de Cérémonie
14h30 — Lire Jarry à voix haute — lectures / 1h
14h30 — Hugues Decointet — performance / 30 min
15h30 — Katarina Ševic & Tehnica Schweiz — discussion-dédicace / 1h
16h40 — Cally Spooner — activation / 7 min
17h — Sarah Vanhee* — performance / 2h30
17h30 — Hugues Decointet — performance / 30 min
18h20 — Cally Spooner — activation / 7 min
19h — Jean-Christophe Meurisse* — film / 50 min
19h40 — Cally Spooner — activation / 7 min
19h50 — Dominique Gilliot — performance / 20 min
20h30 — Benjamin Seror* — performance-cabaret (collation offerte) / 1h20
20h45 — Les Chiens de Navarre* — spectacle / 1h
22h30 — Jean-Christophe Meurisse* — film / 50 min
22h30 — De l’inutilité du théâtre au théâtre — discussion / 1h


14h-00h — Dominique Gilliot — Maîtresse de Cérémonie
14h-23h — Alfred Jarry Archipelago : La valse des pantins – Acte II — exposition et focus sur les oeuvres par les médiatrices
14h-23h — Cally Spooner — installation
14h-00h — Petrit Halilaj — installation sonore
14h-21h — Hugues Decointet — installation sculpturale et sonore
14h-16h30 — Kasia Fudakowski — installation vidéo
16h30-18h30 — Luigi Presicce — installation vidéo
14h-00h — Bar / restauration

*ces propositions sont sur réservation – les billets seront demandés à l’entrée des salles

00h — Départ de la navette, retour à Paris

Cliquez ici pour voir le programme complet

Paris-Bastille > La Ferme du Buisson
13h départ Paris
0h30 retour Paris

Invitation presse sur demande


Les Chiens de Navarre
Collectif crée en 2005. Les Chiens de Navarre est un collectif de théâtre créé par Jean-Christophe Meurisse qui en est également le metteur en scène. Le groupe d’acteurs joue de l’improvisation et des «accidents» qu’elle induit, crée des oppositions provisoires, des crises éphémères, des jeux imbéciles, avec ou contre le public. «Au cœur de la banalité, des métaphores surjouées et de nos pulsions, les Chiens de Navarre mettent en scène quelque chose comme le surgissement de nos désirs les plus saillants et les moins calculés. D’où cette place laissée à l’improvisation où gravitent les situations les plus outrées, les déchaînements ponctuels, les fatigues extrêmes et les violents déchirements, qui participent tous de cet hyperprésent. » (Tanguy Viel)

Les danseurs ont apprécié la qualité du parquet, 2012 – spectacle, 1h
Refusant «un théâtre figé, élitiste et poussiéreux », la meute des Chiens de Navarre favorise esthétique carnavalesque et écriture scénique automatique convoquant Artaud ou les surréalistes. Ils proposent ici leur premier spectacle chorégraphique, qui traverse et transgresse l’histoire de la danse. Un cortège de vieillards se met à errer, danser, se tripoter au son de tubes de variétés. Pathétique et ordurier. Etrange et émouvant. Dans ce bal bordélique muet, les Chiens trament avec l’idiotie un étonnant tissu sensé. Menés sans laisse par Jean-Christophe Meurisse, les canidés aux crocs acérés provoquent et charment.
Création collective des Chiens de Navarre
Dirigée par Jean-Christophe Meurisse
Collaboration artistique Isabelle Catalan avec Caroline Binder, Céline Fuhrer, Robert Hatisi, Manu Laskar, Thomas Scimeca, Anne-Élodie Sorlin, Maxence Tual, Jean-Luc Vincent

Hugues Decointet
Né en 1961 à Bienville, France. Vit et travaille à Montreuil. Dans le travail d’Hugues Decointet, les jeux d’échelles, les échanges de statuts de l’accessoire à l’objet, de la représentation à la présentation, sont autant de mises en scènes et de retournements de situation qui troublent notre perception du réel. Tout objet peut faire image et toute image est extraite d’un film possible. Decointet matérialise des espaces par des dispositifs scéniques, dans lesquelles les objets sont receveurs et émetteurs. L’énergie à l’œuvre qui permettra d’activer, d’animer au sens propre, les lieux, est la curiosité du spectateur. Un temps partagé émerge, l’œil capteur et mobile entraîne le corps dans une mobilité qui fait image.

Dramavox, model for a theatre of voices II, 2015 – Installation sonore activée par une performance, 400 x 400cm, 40 min
Fasciné par un texte sur la voix de Samuel Beckett, Hugues Decointet a constitué un index de descriptions de voix et des interviews d’acteurs au sujet de voix qu’ils aiment, qu’il a ensuite traduits dans une pièce combinant textes et sculptures. Ni performance, ni pièce radiophonique, Drama Vox se présente littéralement comme un « petit théâtre de voix ». La manipulation des objets en bois qui renferment la matière sonore fait émerger le portrait vocal et compose peu à peu une architecture. Son format réduit nous situe toutefois du côté de la maquette, qui n’est autre que la projection utopique d’un théâtre.
Coproduction Playground (STUK Kunstencentrum & M Museum) / Ferme du Buisson avec le soutien du Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication – DICRéAM.

Kasia Fudakowski
Née en 1985 à Londres. Vit et travaille à Berlin. Les sculptures, performances et vidéos de Kasia Fudakowski prennent souvent la forme de blagues déjantées ou de monologues pince-sans-rire truffés de jeux de mots. Ces interventions provoquent le rire suivi d’un doute, celui qui fait se retourner le spectateur pour voir si c’était effectivement drôle. Cet humour narquois est né de l’intérêt de Fudakowski pour les dérapages et les décalages de sens résultant d’appropriations ou de traductions, qu’elles soient linguistiques ou esthétiques. L’artiste est davantage sensible à la philosophie de la comédie qu’aux techniques qui déclenchent le fou rire. Elle s’attache à déconstruire les règles du stand-up ordinaire et considère la nature affective du rire et de l’acte de sourire. Fudakowski interroge le malaise qui peut s’installer entre un comédien et son public.

Did I Ever Really Have a Chance?, 2015 – Vidéo couleur, sonore, 15 min
Kasia Fudakowski crée sa performance Did I Ever Really Have a Chance? à l’invitation du Museo Marino Marini dans le cadre du programme Alfred Jarry Archipelago: ’HA ’HA (Florence, octobre 2015). La banale discussion publique entre l’artiste et le commissaire annoncée dans le programme dérape au fil des interruptions, accidents et autres bugs qui surviennent inopinément. L’artiste arrive en retard, l’introduction du commissaire s’étire en longueur, la traductrice s’emmêle les pinceaux, et ainsi de suite jusqu’au déclenchement de l’alarme incendie du musée… Loin d’être une simple captation de la performance, le film présenté ici est un savant montage texte/image, où les scènes se répètent en une sorte de bégaiement et où les surtitres oscillent entre commentaires a posteriori et scénario pré-écrit, semant le doute sur le statut de ce qu’on est en train de voir.
Production Museo Marino Marini

Dominique Gilliot
Née en 1975 à Gravelines. Vit et travaille à Paris et Bruxelles. Le travail performatif de Dominique Gilliot prend des formes variables et suit des logiques qui lui sont propres, mêlant culture savante et populaire. Souvent liées aux contextes d’énonciation, ses conférences performées guident l’auditeur dans une pensée où les forces de la logique sont traversées par l’accident et le fortuit. Le résultat peut être drôle, tout à trac, d’une confusion touchante, et, tout à la fois, étrangement précis. Il s’agit de pointer, d’un index qui ne tremblerait pas, des éléments, divers et variés, poétiques et volatiles, basiques ou même vernaculaires, d’une manière singulière. Il s’agit de performer, et il s’agit de partager un moment.

Une Série de Moments + un Moment + un Autre Moment, 2016 – Performance, durée variable
Pour cette première édition du festival, Dominique Gilliot proposera Une Série de Moments + Un Moment + Un Autre Moment, endossant entre autres et à sa demande expresse, le rôle de Maîtresse de Cérémonie tout au long de la journée. Ceci lui permettra à la fois de parler des œuvres, de diriger les opérations (main de velours, gant de fer), d’entretenir l’ambiance et les espaces verts, de faire circuler public et parole, et peut-être même de pousser la chansonnette. Gilliot exploitera le temps d’une résidence, la logique des espaces de la Ferme du Buisson, certains objets glanés çà et là, un texte de Jarry sur le temps dans l’art ou les derniers numéros de l’Étoile Absinthe pour, tel le Docteur Faustroll, élaborer sa navigation de lieu en lieu et d’œuvre en œuvre.
Production dans le cadre de la résidence de l’artiste au Centre d’art contemporain de la Ferme du Buisson

Petrit Halilaj
Né en 1986 à Kostërrc (SkenderajKosovo). Vit et travaille entre Berlin (Allemagne), Pristina (Kosovo) et Bozzolo (Italie). Adolescent, Petrit Halilaj apprend le dessin dans un camp de réfugiés durant le conflit au Kosovo. Ses souvenirs d’enfance à la campagne, son expérience personnelle de la guerre, de la destruction et du déplacement fondent sa réflexion sur la vie et la condition humaine. S’il convoque des éléments biographiques très concrets et matériels, son travail évite tout pathos pour s’ancrer dans une recherche sur le trauma et la manière dont il peut être représenté dans l’art. Ses combinaisons de terre et de gravats, ses animaux empaillés recouverts de boue, ses poulets vivants et ses dessins délicats évoquent un univers intime et utopique qui renvoie à l’objectivisation de l’homme comme n’importe quel animal de zoo, et témoignent d’une tentative de compréhension de notions telles que le «chez-soi», la «nation» et l’« identité culturelle».

Friends of birds, 2014-2015 – Installation sonore aléatoire, 1h
Les motifs animaux, les oiseaux en particulier, sont omniprésents dans le travail de Petrit Halilaj. Après avoir réalisé For the Birds, une installation pour volatiles en collaboration avec Alvaro Urbano, l’artiste a demandé à des amis d’enregistrer des sons comme s’ils voulaient et pouvaient communiquer avec les oiseaux. Ces sons étranges font irruption dans l’espace public et reflètent le contexte de travail de l’artiste qui partage son atelier avec des canaris auxquels il parle, qu’il étudie et dont il imite les sons.

Jean-Christophe Meurisse
Né en 1975 à Lorient. Vit et travaille en France. Fondateur et directeur artistique de la compagnie Les Chiens de Navarre, il met en scène leurs créations collectives depuis 2005. Jean-Christophe Meurisse est également un cinéaste intéressé par la possibilité d’accidents, de maladresses, mettant ainsi les acteurs –comme lors des répétitions pour ses créations théâtrales– en position de vie, sans préparation, sans interprétation, sans idées préconçues.

Il est des nôtres, 2013 – Vidéo HD, couleur, sonore, 47 min France, Pologne
Thomas a trente-cinq ans et a décidé qu’il ne sortirait plus jamais dehors. Il vit dans une caravane dans un hangar en pleine métropole et invite chez lui sa famille, ses amis, ses voisins. Il organise des fêtes. Des fêtes dionysiaques. Thomas célèbre chaque jour son refus de la société. Joyeusement. Furieusement. Toujours à partir d’improvisations, Jean-Christophe Meurisse a souhaité tester cette forme de travail à l’image. Le film part donc d’une idée, et n’a pas, à proprement parler, de scénario. À travers ce moyen métrage, Meurisse s’interroge sur notre capacité à vivre hors de la civilisation, ceci dans le but d’être plus proche du monde.
Production Ecce Films

Luigi Presicce
Né en 1976 à Porto Cesareo, Italie. Vit et travaille à Milan et Porto Cesareo. Dans le travail de Luigi Presicce, des séries d’images se combinent de façon compulsive, créant un récit de symboles et de figures allégoriques condensées dans le temps. Le processus créatif derrière chaque œuvre ne suit pas une structure précise, mais est progressivement enrichi par l’étude d’un thème spécifique. La pratique de Presicce se présente comme un remaniement contemporain de mythes, d’histoires et de symboles antiques. Dans toutes ses œuvres, le pouvoir symbolique de l’image est très intense. L’univers visuel du Quattrocento et Cinquecento dans lequel il puise ses multiples références est renforcé par une iconographie populaire issue d’une mémoire collective et personnelle, liée à des traditions et croyances plus anciennes.

Il sogno della cascata di Costantino, 2015 – Vidéo couleur, sonore, 7 min
Avec ses énigmatiques performances pour spectateur unique, Luigi Presicce crée des tableaux vivants surréalistes, riches en références symboliques et ésotériques. La performance produite pour le programme Alfred Jarry Archipelago: ’HA ’HA (Florence, octobre 2015) au Museo Marino Marini, fait partie du cycle commencé par l’artiste en 2012 avec l’histoire de la vraie croix, inspirée par La Légende dorée de Jacques de Varagine (1228-1298). Nous retrouvons l’iconographie de la fresque de Piero della Francesca, Le Rêve de Constantin, mise en relation avec l’une des œuvres les plus mystérieuses de Marcel Duchamp, Étant donnés. De cette performance, l’artiste extrait un film très contemplatif où l’alternance de gros plans et de plans larges accentue la dimension de tableau vivant, accompagné par 1. le son de la chute d’eau 2. la lumière du gaz d’éclairage.
Production Museo Marino Marini

Benjamin Seror
Né en 1979 à Lyon. Vit et travaille à Bruxelles. Convoquant les figures du poète, du chanteur et du conteur, l’artiste Benjamin Seror, aime à se mettre en scène dans des performances à la fois théoriques et narratives. Il donne à voir le fruit d’une réflexion sur la transmission de l’Histoire en questionnant la mise en scène possible de notre mémoire à la fois réelle et fictive. Ses titres évocateurs sont autant de pistes de lecture d’une œuvre complexe qui articule des savoirs exogènes, s’amuse de digressions plus ou moins logiques, et se laisse toujours gagner par la musique. Seror met en scène le langage, et son potentiel à révéler une mémoire de choses que nous n’avons peut-être jamais vécues.

The Marsyas Hour, 2015-2016 – Performance, 1h20
Le nouveau projet de Benjamin Seror s’intéresse à Marsyas, personnage de la mythologie grecque condamné à errer entre les morts et les vivants après avoir perdu un concours de musique contre le dieu Apollon. Celui-ci devra affronter un ennemi mystérieux en utilisant ses propres pensées, naviguant entre fiction et réalité. Conçue comme un long récit documentaire au fil duquel apparaissent des éléments de décor, la performance convoque fantômes du cinéma, histoire de l’art, aventures quotidiennes et magie – mais comme toujours chez Seror, les véritables sujets restent le langage et l’improvisation.
Coproduction Playground (STUK Kunstencentrum & M Museum Leuven) / Ferme du Buisson

Katarina Ševic´ & Tehnica Schweiz
Gergely László est né en 1979, à Budapest. Il vit et travaille à Berlin. Péter Rákosi est né en 1970, à Kaposvár, Hongrie. Il vit et travaille à Budapest. Ils forment le duo artistique Tehnica Schweiz depuis 2004. Katarina Ševic´ est née en 1979, à Novi Sad, Yougoslavie/Serbie. Elle vit et travaille à Berlin. Au cours des dernières années, le duo Tehnica Schweitz et Katarina Ševic´ ont élaboré plusieurs projets autour de pièces théâtrales et de tableaux vivants. Puisant dans l’histoire du théâtre d’avant-garde, ils ont créé des performances collectives en utilisant les codes du théâtre amateur ou du théâtre engagé. C’est le potentiel satirique et politique de ces formes théâtrales qui les intéressent tout particulièrement, la façon dont ils permettent à plusieurs voix de coexister et de poser des questions essentielles de façon ludique.

Alfred Palestra: quand la crise de la République coïncide avec la naissance de la pataphysique, 2015 – Discussion-dédicace autour du livre avec la collaboration de Zoë Gray, commissaire d’exposition
À l’origine, le projet Alfred Palestra a adopté la forme d’un atelier avec des lycéens de la Cité Scolaire Émile Zola à Rennes, un atelier conçu comme une méthode pour confronter et comprendre de multiples histoires, récits ou narrations. Dans cette école, Alfred Jarry aurait presque pu croiser Alfred Dreyfus. C’est en effet dans le gymnase de ce lycée que s’est tenu le second procès Dreyfus en 1898, juste après qu’Alfred Jarry y eut passé son baccalauréat et écrit Ubu Roi. Les artistes se sont appuyés sur les livres lus par Dreyfus pendant sa détention, et sur ceux que Jarry a réunis dans la bibliothèque imaginaire du Dr Faustroll pour explorer des thèmes fondamentaux aussi essentiels aujourd’hui qu’à la fin du XIXe siècle, comme la justice, la vérité, la liberté et l’éducation.

Cally Spooner
Née en 1983 à Ascot, Royaume-Uni. Vit et travaille à Londres. Cally Spooner est écrivaine et artiste. Combinant dans ses textes un mélange de théorie, de philosophie, de musique pop, de questions d’actualité et de rhétorique entrepreneuriale, Spooner produit de courtes histoires sans intrigue, des scénarios disjonctifs, des monologues en boucle et des arrangements musicaux pour mettre en scène le mouvement et le fonctionnement de la parole. En s’appropriant à la fois comme formes et références différents genres de performances tels que les comédies musicales de Broadway, les spots publicitaires ou les pièces radiophoniques, Spooner questionne la manière dont la performance dématérialisée, indéterminée et sans médiation peut exister au sein de l’extrême visibilité du divertissement et de l’actuelle économie de l’attention.

Damning Evidence Illicit Behaviour Seemingly Insurmountable Great Sadness Terminated In Any Manner, 2014 – Chanteuse d’opéra, commentaires You Tube, écran LED Courtesy l’artiste et gb agency – Paris
Une chanteuse lyrique chante des messages qui défilent sur un écran LED à la manière des surtitres d’opéra. Les messages sont des commentaires écrits sur YouTube par des fans mécontents liés à des vidéos dans lesquelles des célébrités révèlent leurs mensonges : le scandale du dopage de Lance Amstrong par exemple, ou Beyoncé chantant en play-back pendant la cérémonie de réélection de Barack Obama. Cette pièce reflète les recherches de Cally Spooner sur l’hystérie dans les médias, révélant la dépendance à la technologie, et la mise en scène d’un comportement et d’un discours gouverné et robotisé par une mécanisation digitale.

Sarah Vanhee
Née en 1980 en Belgique. Vit et travaille à Bruxelles. La pratique de Sarah Vanhee mêle performance, arts visuels et littérature. Souvent créées in situ, ses œuvres s’intéressent à l’interaction entre le spectateur et les environnements qu’elles mettent en place. Elles brouillent les frontières entre fiction et réalité de manière radicale, pour repousser les limites de l’imagination et reconsidérer les questions sociales, les conventions et les lieux communs artistiques. Invitant à développer une vigilance de l’esprit et des sens, Vanhee interroge les modèles dominants qui influencent notre façon de penser, de parler, de bouger et notre relation à l’autre et au monde. Elle confronte ainsi aux paradigmes existants absurdité, utopie et poésie.

Oblivion, 2015 – Performance et installation, 2h30
Pendant une année entière, Sarah Vanhee a collecté ses déchets, qu’ils soient réels ou virtuels. À partir de ces « restes » – allant des épluchures de légumes aux spams – elle crée un environnement foisonnant, où rien ne se perd, où naissance et mort se côtoient, un endroit sans gâchis, dans lequel elle évolue. Pendant près de trois heures, l’artiste déballe minutieusement des cartons, en accompagnant ses gestes d’un discours jouant sur la détérioration du langage. L’installation et la performance se présentent plutôt comme un système écologique que comme un total chaos. Il y a des gradations, différentes formes d’organisations, qui émergent plus ou moins clairement de cette « jungle» de déchets et dessine comme un chemin à travers un voyage.
Coproduction CAMPO (Gand), HAU – Hebbel am Ufer (Berlin), Göteborgs Dans & Teater Festival, Noorderzon (Groningen) & Kunstenfestivaldesarts (Bruxelles) avec le soutien du Programme Culturel de l’Union Européenne et de la Communauté flamande.

Lire Jarry à voix haute - Médiathèque de la Ferme du Buisson
Les bibliothécaires formés à la lecture à voix haute offrent aux oreilles des lecteurs et spectateurs des extraits choisis par eux dans l’œuvre d’Alfred Jarry. S’emparant d’une écriture réputée difficile à déchiffrer, ils en dévoilent toute la dimension acoustique, où les rythmes syncopés le disputent aux phrasés plus musicaux, les jeux de mots burlesques au lyrisme poétique, et où le son des mots produit une multitude d’impressions synesthésiques.
En partenariat avec le réseau des médiathèques du Val Maubuée

De l’inutilité du théâtre au théâtre - Discussion de comptoir entre Dominique Gilliot, Jean-Christophe Meurisse, Benjamin Seror, Cally Spooner…
À partir des textes et des positions radicales de Jarry sur le théâtre (De l’inutilité du théâtre au théâtreDouze arguments sur le théâtreQuestions de théâtre), les artistes du festival sont invités à échanger sur l’ambiguïté assumée de leur fascination pour le théâtre: comment démembrer le théâtre pour réinterroger chacun de ses éléments signifiants, et à partir d’eux, recomposer de nouvelles formes?

Info pratiques
Centre d’art contemporain de la Ferme du Buisson
allée de la Ferme
77186 Noisiel
01 64 62 77 00

aller-retour Paris / Ferme du Buisson: 13h / 0h30
RER A Noisiel (à 20 min de Paris Nation)
en voiture
A4 dir. Marne-la-Vallée, sortie Noisiel-Torcy dir. Noisiel-Luzard
samedi 13 février 2016, de 14h à minuit
Pass Performance Day (hors spectacle Chiens de Navarre) : 5 €
Pass Performance Day (incluant spectacle Chiens de Navarre) : plein 16 € / réduit 13 € / étudiant 10 €
Réservation indispensable pour Benjamin Seror, Sarah Vanhee et Les Chiens de Navarre (nombre de places limité)

cover. Benjamin Seror, The Marsyas Hour, 2015, M-Museum Leuven. © Robin Zenner
1. Gergely László, Alfred Palestra book presentation, 2015-2016, media library of la Ferme du Buisson
2. Katarina Šević & Tehnica Schweiz, Alfred Palestra, 2015-16, media library of la Ferme du Buisson
3-5. Benjamin Seror, The Marsyas Hour, 2015-16, la Ferme du Buisson
6-7. Cally Spooner, Damning Evidence Illicit Behaviour Seemingly Insurmountable Great Sadness Terminated In Any Manner, 2014, collection Enea Righi, courtesy the artist and gb agency – Paris, la Ferme du Buisson
8. De l’inutilité du théâtre au théâtre, roundtable among the curators and artists of Performance Day, 2016, la Ferme du Buisson
9. Lire Jarry à voix haute, 2016, media library of la Ferme du Buisson
10-14. Dominique Gilliot, Une Série de Moments + un Moment + un Autre Moment, 2016, la Ferme du Buisson
15-17.  Hugues Decointet, Dramavox, model for a theatre of voices II, 2015-16, la Ferme du Buisson
18-20. Sarah Vanhee, Oblivion, 2015-16, la Ferme du Buisson
Images 1-20: © Émile Ouroumov

Project: Alfred Jarry Archipelago
Space: CAC de la Ferme du Buisson


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by Antonio Grulli

The following text comes from a letter written for the Forum of Contemporary Art held at the Centro Pecci in Prato, where Antonio Grulli had been invited to coordinate a round-table debate on the theme of public institutions as places for discussion, debate and thought.

The public institutions devoted to contemporary art are living today a dynamic but at the same time very risky period. The art world in recent years has expanded enormously and this is definitely a positive factor. But right now, globally, we are in a situation where the art market has a strength and an economic power that the institutions cannot even come close to, and this imbalance stands out sharply. The art institutions of the past could count on public funding, which allowed them to take the lead over a group of very few collectors, who were buying in a small number of galleries. By contrast, in recent years we have seen how even the most important museums in the world have been suffering from the influence of a trading system that has become bigger than them and against which they have no means to resist. Issues such as the questioning of the concept of permanent collection are an example of this: it comes from the need to rethink the very idea of museum and art work, but more than a suspicion arises that in recent years it has been dictated especially by the needs of a market that requires the cyclical turnover of worlds such as that of fashion, or the quest for ever-new events by an easily-bored mass tourism. And this is the best scenario. And what about the institutions, often with an important history behind them, which are not lucky enough to be in the big cities of the world and therefore cannot even be the subject of speculative interest in the art market? This is the case, for example, of Italy, a country of contemporary art museums that are structured neither from a financial point of view nor with regard to their collections, often poor or disorganized. So why not try to react against the international trend of an art system that moves faster and faster and more and more superficially, where artists are valued not for their work but for the academy they attended, the person they have studied with or for their CV, in which there must be no stain or slowdown? What we are witnessing every day is that there is no time to try to figure out what artists are really attempting to bring to the radical innovation in making art. As art curators we only have half an hour for each of these people, and they must be able to conquer us with a portfolio of very few pictures, a strong statement and their shrewdness. No one is really interested in looking for quality, but only in understanding what the galleries are about to promote and be able to get on the latest winner’s bandwagon before others. And that goes for the institutions too, except in rare cases. Conformism and boredom reigns everywhere, and the names that we see going around the world are always the same, offered over and over again with no chance of a surprise. We know very well who yesterday’s and today’s artists and intellectuals are that we have to look up to. Why then can’t a museum director act like Pier Paolo Pasolini, Lars von Trier or Gilles Deleuze? Why do we study today exhibitions like the one Harald Szeemann set up to feature his grandfather, but it is very unlikely that something of that kind could happen in a museum in 2016? Why is it so hard to imagine for example an artist as the director of a museum or a public institution? Can the institution be a producer of sense, or should it limit itself only to be a re-producer of meanings already established elsewhere, already frozen and therefore already commonplace? This is where in my opinion the concept of establishment as a production of thought and discussion comes into play. Because reflection can only come from an initial feeling of disorientation, of crisis, of craving to understand what is really new. The institution must not become a place of appeasement, only called to put its own stamp on things which have been already decided. It must be a place capable of producing a surplus of meaning compared with normality, able also to give scandal, a place that is alive, that can accommodate the obscene or anything that is not already on the scene. This is why I speak of disquiet. I use this term because I like to imagine these buildings as if they were endowed with feelings and passions. As if they were persons, capable of shaking with their fears, their flaws and their tendency to make mistakes. I especially want institutions to have “limitations,” the only thing able to define the character, making something unique and interesting. Do we want the institutions to be bureaucratic entities trapped between the two polarities of paternalistic education and entertainment, or do we want them to be real places of culture and reflection with all that this entails? Why should we ask a museum to live a life that we would never want for ourselves? I would like the institution to be a place from which to ignite conflict, with the ability to become a place of resistance to the prevailing clichés. It must be a restless, telluric, almost criminal place, where parents are afraid to allow their children to go, and not a place of deportation, concentration and detention of hordes of children with felt-tips in their hands. Only then it will become a place of reflection, and not a place of reassurance of our most banal platitudes.

Il testo che segue nasce da una lettera scritta in occasione del Forum dell’arte contemporanea tenutosi all’interno del Centro Pecci di Prato, in cui Antonio Grulli era stato invitato a coordinare la tavola rotonda di discussione sul tema delle istituzioni pubbliche come spazio di discussione, dibattito e pensiero.

Le istituzioni pubbliche dedicate all’arte contemporanea vivono oggi un periodo dinamico ma al tempo stesso molto rischioso. Il mondo dell’arte negli ultimi anni si è espanso a dismisura e questo è sicuramente un fattore positivo. Ma in questo momento, a livello globale, ci troviamo in una situazione in cui il mercato dell’arte dispone di un potere e di una forza economica che le istituzioni non riescono nemmeno ad avvicinare, e questo squilibrio emerge con forza. Le istituzioni espositive del passato potevano contare su finanziamenti pubblici che permettevano di fare da guida rispetto a un collezionismo composto di pochissime persone, che compravano in un numero esiguo di gallerie. Mentre negli ultimi anni vediamo come anche i musei più importanti al mondo risentano dell’influenza di un sistema commerciale che è diventato più grande di loro e nei confronti del quale non hanno mezzi di resistenza. Aspetti come la messa in discussione del concetto di collezione permanente ne sono un esempio: nasce dalla necessità di ripensare l’idea stessa di museo e di opera d’arte, ma sorge più di un sospetto che negli ultimi anni sia dettata soprattutto dalle esigenze di un mercato che necessità del ricambio ciclico di mondi come quello della moda, o dalla ricerca di eventi sempre nuovi da parte di un turismo di massa facilmente annoiabile. E questo è lo scenario migliore. Che dire delle istituzioni, pur dall’importante storia, che non hanno la fortuna di essere nelle grandi metropoli del mondo e che quindi non riescono nemmeno ad essere oggetto degli interessi speculativi del mercato dell’arte? È il caso ad esempio dell’Italia, un paese fatto di musei d’arte contemporanea che non sono strutturati né da un punto di vista economico né per quel che riguarda le collezioni, spesso precarie o confuse. Perché allora non provare a reagire a quello che è il trend internazionale? Fatto di un sistema dell’arte che si muove con sempre più velocità e sempre più superficialmente; in cui gli artisti vengono valutati non per il loro lavoro ma per l’accademia che hanno fatto, la persona con cui hanno studiato o per il loro cv, in cui non deve esserci alcuna macchia o rallentamento. Lo vediamo ogni giorno: non c’è più tempo per cercare di capire quali artisti stiano davvero cercando di portare delle radicali innovazioni nel modo di fare arte; come curatori abbiamo solo mezz’ora per ognuno di loro e devono riuscire a conquistarci con un portfolio di poche immagini, uno statement e con la loro furbizia. Nessuno è davvero interessato a cercare la qualità, ma solo a capire cosa le gallerie stiano per imporre e riuscire a salire sul carro dell’ultimo vincitore prima degli altri. E questo vale anche per le istituzioni, salvo rari casi. Ovunque regna il conformismo e la noia, e i nomi che vediamo in giro per il mondo sono sempre i soliti, riproposti senza possibilità di sorpresa. Noi sappiamo benissimo quali sono gli artisti e gli intellettuali del passato e di oggi che dobbiamo avere come punto di riferimento. Perché un direttore di museo allora non può agire ad esempio come Pier Paolo Pasolini, Lars von Trier o Gilles Deleuze? Perché oggi studiamo una mostra come quella che Harald Szeemann fece sul proprio nonno, ma è difficile credere che qualcosa di quel tipo possa accadere in un museo nel 2016? Perché facciamo così fatica a immaginare ad esempio un artista come direttore di un museo o un’istituzione pubblica? Può essere l’istituzione un produttore di senso o deve solo limitarsi a essere riproduttore di significati già stabiliti in altra sede, già assodati e quindi già diventati luoghi comuni? Qui entra in gioco a mio parere il concetto di istituzione come luogo di produzione di pensiero e discussione. Perché la riflessione può nascere solamente da un’iniziale sensazione di spaesamento, di messa in crisi, di desiderio di comprendere ciò che è veramente nuovo. L’istituzione non deve diventare un luogo pacificato, chiamato solo a mettere il proprio timbro su cose già decise. Deve essere un luogo capace di produrre un’eccedenza di significato rispetto alla norma, capace anche di dare scandalo, che sia vivo, che sia in grado di ospitare l’osceno, ovvero tutto ciò che non è già in scena. Per questo parlo di inquietudine. Utilizzo il termine perché mi piace immaginare questi edifici come se fossero dotati di sentimenti e passioni. Come se fossero persone, capaci di tremare, con le loro paure, i loro difetti e le loro capacità di sbagliare. Soprattutto voglio che le istituzioni siano dotate di “limiti”, l’unica cosa capace di definire la fisionomia di una persona, rendendola unica e interessante. Vogliamo che le istituzioni siano entità burocratiche chiuse tra le due polarità dell’educazione paternalistica e dell’intrattenimento, o vogliamo che siano veri luoghi di cultura e riflessione con tutto quello che questo comporta? Perché dobbiamo chiedere a un museo di vivere una vita che noi non vorremo mai? Io vorrei l’istituzione come un luogo da cui far nascere il conflitto, capace di rendersi istituzione di resistenza al luogo comune imperante. Deve essere un luogo inquieto, tellurico, quasi criminale, in cui i genitori abbiano paura che i propri figli vogliano andare, e non un luogo di deportazione, concentramento e detenzione di orde di bambini coi pennarelli in mano. Solo così diventerà un luogo di riflessione e non un luogo di rassicurazione dei nostri luoghi comuni più banali.

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Vincent Honoré Can you tell us about the missions of La Ferme du Buisson, and explain what makes this place unique in France?
Julie Pellegrin Located on an exceptional site in the outer suburbs of Paris, La Ferme du Buisson is a multidisciplinary cultural centre of national and international standing. It comprises a contemporary art centre, a national theatre containing 7 concert and performance spaces, and a cinema. This configuration, which is unique in France, makes the place a perfect example of the de-compartmentalisation of disciplines. In addition to missions common to all centres d’art (research and prospecting, supporting creativity and distribution), our centre d’art is a resonance chamber for all of La Ferme’s activities. So the programme revolves around three axes: performance, multidisciplinarity and experimentation with exhibition formats.
By basing my work on an approach that sees performance as an active principle of category-transgression, I’ve endeavoured—since my arrival eight years ago—to bring contemporary art into dialogue with other artistic disciplines (theatre, dance, music, cinema) or with disciplines outside of art (economics, philosophy, anthropology…). In our ways of working, in the subjects explored or in our activities directed at the public, we try never to disconnect the art scene from the social, political and cultural spheres. The contemporary centre d’art is a place that is open and in motion, establishing local roots and international collaborations, through a programme of exhibitions and publications, performances, meetings and screenings.


2. Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, Jesus and Barabbas puppet show performance / installation, 2011


3. Rainer Ganahl, I Wanna be Alfred Jarry, 1897/2012

V.H. When and why was this centre d’art created?
J.P. The centre d’art was an integral part of the initial plan for La Ferme du Buisson. The institution was created in 1990 at the end of a major renovation of the old “model farm” of the Menier chocolate factories. It was saved from destruction thanks to a mobilisation by residents and local politicians who understood the importance of preserving industrial heritage and creating a high-calibre cultural centre for the new city of Marne-la-Vallée, which was then under construction.

V.H. Beyond its art production and distribution mission, how do you define the political and civic role played by La Ferme du Buisson?
J.P. Our interview is taking place in a very worrying context in France, marked by the recent attacks, the rise of right-wing extremism, and unprecedented budget cuts leading to the closure of more and more centres d’art, theatres and other cultural places. Although our role within the city can sometimes seem trifling, the current context is making it absolutely indispensable. Art is a formidable tool against all fundamentalisms, because it makes it possible to form a critical mind, to develop complex sensory experiments, and because it’s a forum for sharing, open to alterity. As history has demonstrated, art doesn’t have to be politically engaged to constitute a subversive force, but I still make my programming choices with a view to considering the idea of actuality—in the Deleuzian sense of the term: as an evolving embodiment of a concept—by giving forms and spaces to questions that pervade our time, whether they be economic, ecological, postcolonial, feminist or otherwise. In support of this, La Ferme du Buisson is doing great mediation and awareness-raising work directed at visitors from the every walk of life. It seems to me that this art education role is vital, particularly in our location on the periphery of Paris’s cultural offering, and with regard to sectors of the public said to be “alienated” or “restricted”.


4. Julien Bismuth, Untitled, 2015


5. Naotaka Hiro, Untitled drawings, 2015

V.H. PIANO wishes to create a forum for exchange and dialogue between Italian and French art centres. Why did you want to participate and what programme are you proposing?
J.P. In this period when people are turning inward, international collaborations that make it possible to exchange points of view, practices and sometimes funding, are vitally important. In this sense, the cooperative projects developed by d.c.a are highly stimulating. In the context of PIANO, we’ve initiated a large project with Museo Marino Marini in Florence, entitled Alfred Jarry Archipelago, which we are sharing with a Belgian partner, M – Museum Leuven. A few years ago with Keren Detton (director of centre d’art Le Quartier in Quimper), we started taking an interest in the figure of Ubu Roi and in Jarry’s work more generally. Since Jarry had very close links with the futurists, and Italy is home to many pataphysics societies, and Ubu regularly serves as a metaphor for illustrious Italian politicians, we asked Alberto Salvadori and Leonardo Bigazzi to join in our research.
It’s not a project on Jarry, but from Jarry. Since a whole swathe of today’s art and performance seems to be infused with a typically Jarryesque transgressive power, we summoned the author to serve as the posthumous curator of the whole project. This project takes the form of an archipelago in which each island-chapter unfolds in a different place and in a different form. Three group exhibitions were held at Le Quartier, at La Ferme du Buisson and at Museo Marino Marini, and a set of performances took place in the context of the Playground Festival in Leuven. We’ll be meeting with the three other curators (Leonardo Bigazzi, Keren Detton and Eva Wittocx) in 2016 to organise the first edition of the Performance Day festival at La Ferme du Buisson, and again in 2017 for an important publication assembling all of the chapters.


6. Nathaniel Mellors, Giantbum – Stage 2 (Theatre), 2008, The Object (Ourhouse), 2010 and Giantbum – Stage 1 (Rehearsal), 2008


7. Nathaniel Mellors, The Object (Ourhouse), 2010

Project: Alfred Jarry Archipelago
Space: CAC de la Ferme du Buisson
Protagonist: Julie Pellegrin

Vincent Honoré Pouvez-vous nous présenter les missions de la Ferme du Buisson, et ce qui en fait un lieu unique en France ?
Julie Pellegrin Implantée sur un site exceptionnel en « grande banlieue » de Paris, la Ferme du Buisson est un centre culturel pluridisciplinaire d’envergure nationale et internationale. Il concentre un centre d’art contemporain, une scène nationale composée de 7 salles de spectacles et de concerts et un cinéma. Il s’agit d’une configuration unique en France qui en fait un lieu exemplaire en matière de décloisonnement des disciplines. En plus des missions communes à tous les centres d’art (recherche et prospection, soutien à la création et diffusion), ce centre d’art est une caisse de résonance de l’ensemble des activités de la Ferme. La programmation s’est donc concentrée autour de trois axes : performance, pluridisciplinarité et expérimentation autour des formats d’exposition.
En m’appuyant sur une approche de la performance comme principe actif de transgression des catégories, je me suis attachée depuis mon arrivée il y a 8 ans à faire dialoguer l’art contemporain avec d’autres disciplines artistiques (théâtre, danse, musique, cinéma) ou extra-artistiques (économie, philosophie, anthropologie…). Dans nos manières de travailler, les sujets abordés ou nos actions en direction des publics, nous tentons de ne jamais dissocier la scène artistique des sphères sociale, politique et culturelle. Le centre d’art contemporain est un lieu ouvert et en mouvement, développant autant un ancrage local que des collaborations internationales, à travers un programme d’expositions et d’éditions, de performances, de rencontres et de projections.

V.H. Quand et pourquoi ce centre d’art a-t-il été créé ?
J.P. Le centre d’art fait partie intégrante du projet initial de la Ferme du Buisson. L’institution a été créée en 1990 au terme d’un grand chantier de rénovation de l’ancienne « ferme-modèle » des usines de chocolat Menier. Elle été sauvée de la destruction grâce à la mobilisation d’habitants et d’élus, conscients de l’intérêt de préserver le patrimoine industriel et de proposer un lieu culturel d’envergure pour la ville nouvelle de Marne-la-Vallée alors en construction.

V.H. Comment définir – au-delà de sa mission de production et de diffusion artistique – le rôle politique et citoyen joué par la Ferme du Buisson ?
J.P. Je réponds à cette interview dans un contexte français très préoccupant, marqué par les récents attentats, la montée de l’extrême-droite, les coupes budgétaires sans précédents entraînant des fermetures de plus en plus nombreuses de centres d’art, de théâtres et autres lieux culturels. Si notre rôle au sein de la cité peut parfois nous paraître dérisoire, le contexte actuel le rend absolument indispensable. Parce qu’il permet de se forger un esprit critique, de développer des expériences sensibles complexes, et parce qu’il est un espace de partage ouvert à l’altérité, l’art est un formidable outil contre tous les fondamentalismes. Comme l’histoire l’a démontré, l’art n’a pas besoin d’être « engagé » pour constituer une force subversive, mais mes choix de programmation s’attachent tout de même à considérer l’idée d’actualité – au sens deleuzien du terme : comme un concept incarné, en devenir – en donnant des formes et des espaces à des questions qui traversent notre époque, qu’elles soient économiques, écologiques, postcoloniales, féministes, ou autres. Pour accompagner cela, la Ferme du Buisson développe une formidable action de médiation et de sensibilisation en direction des publics les plus divers. Ce rôle d’éducation artistique qui nous incombe me semble vital, particulièrement dans la situation périphérique que nous occupons en regard de l’offre culturelle parisienne, et à l’égard des publics dits « éloignés » ou « empêchés ».

V.H. PIANO veut créer un espace d’échange et de dialogues entre des lieux d’art italiens et français. Pourquoi avez-vous souhaité participer et quel programme proposez-vous ?
J.P. Dans cette période de repli sur soi, les collaborations internationales qui permettent d’échanger points de vue et pratiques et parfois financements, sont d’une importance capitale. En ce sens, les projets de coopération développés par d.c.a sont extrêmement stimulants.
Dans le contexte de PIANO, nous avons initié avec le Museo Marino Marini à Florence un vaste projet intitulé Alfred Jarry Archipelago, auquel nous avons associé un partenaire belge : le M Museum à Louvain. Il y a quelques années, nous avons commencé avec Keren Detton (directrice du centre d’art Le Quartier à Quimper) à nous intéresser à la figure d’Ubu Roi et plus largement à l’œuvre de Jarry. Parce que Jarry avait entretenu des liens très étroits avec les futuristes, que l’Italie abrite de nombreuses sociétés de pataphysiques, et qu’Ubu sert régulièrement de métaphore pour d’illustres politiciens italiens, nous avons proposé à Alberto Salvadori et Leonardo Bigazzi de s’associer à notre recherche.
Il ne s’agit pas d’un projet sur mais à partir de Jarry. Parce que tout un pan de l’art et de la performance actuel nous semblait traversé par une puissance de transgression typiquement jarryesque, nous avons convoqué l’auteur comme commissaire posthume de l’ensemble du projet. Ce dernier prend la forme d’un archipel où chaque chapitre-île prend place dans un lieu différent, sous une forme différente. Trois expositions collectives se sont ainsi tenues au Quartier, à La Ferme du Buisson et au Museo Marino Marini, et un ensemble de performances dans le cadre du festival Playground à Louvain. Nous nous retrouverons avec les trois autres commissaires (Leonardo Bigazzi, Keren Detton et Eva Wittocx) en 2016 pour organiser la première édition du festival Performance Day à la Ferme du Buisson, puis en 2017 pour une importante publication réunissant l’ensemble des chapitres.

1. Mike Kelley, Spread-Eagle, 2000 and The Poetry of Form: Part of an Ongoing Attempt to Develop an Auteur Theory of Naming,1985-1996, La Ferme du Buisson, Courtesy du Centre national des arts plastiques, FNAC 01-006 et FNAC 03-267
2. Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, Jesus and Barabbas puppet show performance / installation, 2011, La Ferme du Buisson, Courtesy Sadie Coles HQ – London
3. Rainer Ganahl, I Wanna be Alfred Jarry, 1897/2012, La Ferme du Buisson, Courtesy the artist and Kai Matsumiya – New York
4. Julien Bismuth, Untitled, 2015, La Ferme du Buisson, Courtesy the artist and galerie Georges-Philippe & Nathalie Vallois – Paris
5. Naotaka Hiro, Untitled drawings, 2015, La Ferme du Buisson, Courtesy the artist and The BOX Gallery – Los Angeles
6. Nathaniel Mellors, Giantbum – Stage 2 (Theatre), 2008, The Object (Ourhouse), 2010 and Giantbum – Stage 1 (Rehearsal), 2008, Courtesy the artist and Matt’s Gallery – London, La Ferme du Buisson
7. Nathaniel Mellors, The Object (Ourhouse), 2010, La Ferme du Buisson, Courtesy the artist and Matt’s Gallery – London
All images: Installation views, Alfred Jarry Archipelago : La Valse des pantins – Acte II, La Ferme du Buisson, Noisiel, 2015. © Émile Ouroumov



Jean-Max Colard How did the project of Red Swan Hotel, that comprises a residency and two exhibitions in Rome and Chatou, begin?
1:1projects (Maria Alicata, Daniele Balit, Adrienne Drake) The project began by setting up a think tank that allowed us to share our different experiences and stories (both as individuals, but also as members of two different communities: the 1:1projects curatorial collective in Rome and the CNEAI in Chatou). We quickly identified the archive as our research thread, starting from what seemed to us quite a strong paradox inherent to the practice of archiving ephemera as the CNEAI is doing: the idea of conserving forms that have a short existence, trying to inscribe them in longer temporalities. A bit like collecting butterflies!
It’s true that such a paradox, epitomized by the FMRA collection (whose acronym in French reads ‘ephemera’) is a peculiarity of the archive format. In a way, all archives are ephemeral. The stories they preserve are there to be rewritten each time, to be brought to a new life on the occasion of each new display. That’s why Ben Kinmont’s motto “on becoming something else” could have been ours as well. Particularly if we think about the current moment in which there’s a search for a continuous migration of the artwork: through different mediums, formats, and notably through a network of interpersonal relations, as Kinmont’s projects suggest. This is something that became more and more relevant as we researched the archive material at CNEAI. Gradually, our research took the form of a historical perspective on some individuals, institutions and groups, who share similar preoccupations and who are trying to articulate them – or should we say, with Seth Price, to disperse them – through a variety of media.


J.M.C. Why this title?
1:1 Red Swan Hotel is the title of the exhibition held at MACRO, and draws direct inspiration from Irish author Flann O’Brien’s 1939 novel At Swim-Two-Birds. The novel’s protagonist, a rather idle and drunken university student, spends much of his time writing short stories in which each of the characters’ own stories eventually begin to interconnect and overlap. As in the novel, in which the various protagonists meet at the Red Swan Hotel to plot the overthrow of the writer’s authority, so did the works in the exhibition reflect on the concept of the “authorship of the artist” and the “uniqueness of the artwork.” Wetlands Hero, the title of the show at CNEAI, is simply an anagram of Red Swan Hotel.


J.M.C. How did you work all together?
1:1 The starting point of the project was a curatorial residency at CNEAI in June 2014. This was the occasion to approach and study the archive both individually and as a group. Each of us initially focused on our own personal curatorial interests and research, but at this stage we shared a common discussion on artists and their practices, which led to the identification of authorship as a crucial topic for the project. Gradually, we defined the group of artists we wanted to include in the first show in Rome, which was a selection of predominantly French artists. In reality, it was quite immediate not only for their works, but also because it was an opportunity to show historical artists such as Pascal Doury and Michel Journiac, who are not well known in Italy.
As we defined the second step of the project – evolving from the concept of authorship and singularity of the artwork to the role of the artist as curator – we worked more specifically in relation to the site of the CNEAI collection (such as Yann Sérandour’s work based on CNEAI’s own production of editions), together with artists and works from the first show, such as Ben Kinmont (with Promised Relations and archive material from Congratulations). We also included Italian artist Maurizio Nannucci and Jonathan Monk, whose practice is based on collaboration and appropriation.


J.M.C. What are the continuity and the main differences between Rome and Chatou exhibitions?
1:1 As the play with the anagram suggests, Wetlands Hero is both a continued investigation into some of the issues that we had addressed previously in Red Swan Hotel, but also a shift in focus to the role of artist as curator, and to the space of action between art and its transmission. Some of the same artists are present in both shows, but there are artists and works “unique” to each. It was important, therefore, that each exhibition had a distinct title, but that were still directly connected in order to create continuity from one show to the next. Wetlands Hero seemed particularly fortuitous because it also very appropriately makes reference to CNEAI’s physical location – on the Île des Impressionnistes – and pays homage to the artists participating in both shows: makers of quiet heroic gestures.

J.M.C. How did you consider the collections of CNEAI?
1:1 A very interesting aspect that we soon seized upon during our residency on the Île des Impressionnistes is that the specificity of the CNEAI’s collection is related to its function as a platform for the distribution of art. This is of course true for any archive, the issues of access and display being at the center of its operations. But in the case of the FMRA archive, the whole idea of collecting editions and ephemera is really centered on exploring the possibilities of circulation and transmission of this specific type of art object. We were confronted with this very interesting dialectic between the fetishism of the collector (impulsive collecting, accumulation and preservation of ephemera…) and the endeavor of distributing it, which often implicates the questioning of the aura of the art object itself. With the exhibitions we wanted to emphasize such types of dualities. We then coupled a more classical way of selecting some wonderful material from the archive (such as the Pascal Doury’s or Michel Journiac’s files) with a different mode of relating to it – perhaps more focused on its meta-discourses. This was done by involving some figures for which archiving, collecting, re-framing, displaying, editing or distributing is at the core of their practice, and who contribute with their hybrid activities to the critical thinking and redefinition of the field. In other words, we wanted to share with these artists and their productions the processes of activating the archive. That was for us the most coherent way to present the FMRA collection, and also a response to some of the lines of research that emerged through the material itself.

1-4. Wetlands Hero, installation views, CNEAI, 2015

Project: Red Swan Hotel
Space: CNEAI
Protagonists: 1:1projects, Maria Alicata, Daniele Balit, Adrienne Drake

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Rodrigo Ortiz Monasterio I would like to start talking about Azul Jacinto Marino. Is it a character, a theological idea… What is it?
Rometti Costales It’s a departing point since a few years ago, three years or so. Azul Jacinto Marino was conceived as an idea of a platform or a territory, an entity with fluctuant borders. We wanted to make a project that was quite extensive and required a vast operational surface. Somehow it comes out of a precedent project, Ediciones del Exotismo Ordinario Internacional Neotropical,which is an ongoing series of self-published booklets, built around a specific type of house plants found all around the world, but whose origin is the Neotropical Region (south of Chile to south of Mexico). It’s a collage of texts and images coming from second hand books on botanics, guerrilla, anarchy, gardening, organizational skills and literature. These booklets encompassed a large array of interests, binding them together. This project opened a Pandora’s box, with a lot of possible extrapolations, and Azul Jacinto Marino is one of them.
Since then it started its own existence, as a polysemic entity, a surface, a character. AJM traces points of visions, topographic pretexts, territories where misunderstandings can be formulated, erased, rewritten, retraced; where magic can interlace with anarchism, as a geo-botano-animo-logo-palimpsestic incident.

Exhibition view, Rometti Costales. Azul Jacinto Marino, CAC La Synagogue de Delme, 2015

2. Exhibition view, Rometti Costales. Azul Jacinto Marino, CAC La Synagogue de Delme, 2015

Exhibition view, Rometti Costales. Azul Jacinto Marino, CAC La Synagogue de Delme, 2015

3. Exhibition view, Rometti Costales. Azul Jacinto Marino, CAC La Synagogue de Delme, 2015

R.O.M. So, Azul Jacinto Marino can become something different for each project? Kind of a shapeshifter?
R.C. Yes, you can see it as a shapeshifter or a trickster. Something that can go somewhere and come back in a totally different form or to tell a different story. A loop with a lot of loopholes. But if there is one thing that really defines it, it is the ambiguity of being several different things at the same time. It’s very arbitrary because we allow ourselves to use it and misuse it in all the ways possible, with overlapping interests. Already the three words that compose the name say a lot: given names found in Latin America, gradations of blue, a mineral, a plant, depth, sea waters, someone, something, some region, some organization, we don’t know.

Exhibition view, Rometti Costales. Azul Jacinto Marino, CAC La Synagogue de Delme, 2015

4. Exhibition view, Rometti Costales. Azul Jacinto Marino, CAC La Synagogue de Delme, 2015

Exhibition view, Rometti Costales. Azul Jacinto Marino, CAC La Synagogue de Delme, 2015

5. Exhibition view, Rometti Costales. Azul Jacinto Marino, CAC La Synagogue de Delme, 2015

Exhibition view, Rometti Costales. Azul Jacinto Marino, CAC La Synagogue de Delme, 2015

6. Exhibition view, Rometti Costales. Azul Jacinto Marino, CAC La Synagogue de Delme, 2015

Exhibition view, Rometti Costales. Azul Jacinto Marino, CAC La Synagogue de Delme, 2015

7. Exhibition view, Rometti Costales. Azul Jacinto Marino, CAC La Synagogue de Delme, 2015

R.O.M. For someone who doesn’t know about Azul Jacinto Marino and the different forms, shapes, and ideologies it can embrace, does the question if Azul Jacinto Marino references a historical character that existed deep in the jungle, creating an utopian community ever come up?
R.C. You are talking about Antonio García Barón, the anarchist we often refer to, who lived in the Bolivian Amazon, and created his micro anarchist state. The life of a hands-on anarchist living in such a particular context is pretty appealing, because of the encounter between two political philosophies: magic and anarchism. He could be Azul Jacinto Marino or could enter into Azul Jacinto Marino’s perspective, through fiction.

Exhibition view, Rometti Costales. Azul Jacinto Marino, CAC La Synagogue de Delme, 2015

8. Exhibition view, Rometti Costales. Azul Jacinto Marino, CAC La Synagogue de Delme, 2015

Exhibition view, Rometti Costales. Azul Jacinto Marino, CAC La Synagogue de Delme, 2015

9. Exhibition view, Rometti Costales. Azul Jacinto Marino, CAC La Synagogue de Delme, 2015

Exhibition view, Rometti Costales. Azul Jacinto Marino, CAC La Synagogue de Delme, 2015

10. Exhibition view, Rometti Costales. Azul Jacinto Marino, CAC La Synagogue de Delme, 2015

Exhibition view, Rometti Costales. Azul Jacinto Marino, CAC La Synagogue de Delme, 2015

11. Exhibition view, Rometti Costales. Azul Jacinto Marino, CAC La Synagogue de Delme, 2015

R.O.M. But it’s not all fiction, since it departs from a narrative or real historical events right?
R.C. Yes, Antonio García Barón really existed, as well as the jungle around him and his micro anarchic state with that forest as a background. And the tribe who joined this anarchist as well, they did exist, and the way they relate to their surroundings also was “really” there, like magic and shamanism. And then Magical Anarchism started, and it is where fiction shakes hands with reality and reality knocks on fiction’s door. What we mean is that when you think of something like Anarquismo Mágico (Magical Anarchism), it is easier to set a fictional frame to this story, in order to develop more freely these ideas, even though we are not yet entirely sure of what that means, and what set of rules governs them. But it gives us a territory on which to operate, and Azul Jacinto Marino claims this territory, it is this territory. We made a flag, an anarcho-syndicalist pattern of a red and black diagonal recreated with Huayruro seeds. These seeds are used a lot in the Amazon, as protection, as an amulet, and in some cases as part of the mix used to prepare Ayahuasca, in order to potentiate it. This is the flag of Magical Anarchism.

Exhibition view, Rometti Costales. Azul Jacinto Marino, CAC La Synagogue de Delme, 2015

12. Exhibition view, Rometti Costales. Azul Jacinto Marino, CAC La Synagogue de Delme, 2015

Exhibition view, Rometti Costales. Azul Jacinto Marino, CAC La Synagogue de Delme, 2015

13. Outside view of la synagogue de Delme, 2015

R.O.M. Let’s talk about the personal assumptions you can make out of these readings, specifically this historical elements, and the way oral tradition is told. For example, the Berber rug at the Kunsthalle Basel exhibition in 2014, it’s based on oral tradition: the actual labor of crafting the rug, which doesn’t follow any specific set of rules, the final result is open-ended, right? What is the relationship between oral tradition and your work?

R.C. That rug was bought as it is, we didn’t ask to make it. We were very much interested on what defines the crafting process. The creation of a Beni Ourain rug is a very fascinating way to leave the final result to chance. The women who weave allow themselves to see less than the last half meter of the work done, the rest is rolled up, and will not be seen until they finish it. And since they can leave the work without finishing for weeks, sometimes months, once they come back to work on the rug, they are obliged to make an effort of memory to be able to follow the precedent path. And it always takes them somewhere else. It is as if the chance and fragility of memory were constantly inscribed in the final result of this rug crafting. Is a thought mapping of sorts. And we like to believe it is a quite conscious modus operandi. It is like if they were inscribing chance and contingency of everyday life into a surface, a protection device which is this rug, that can be used as a cover or a collective bed for a family. It is a very beautiful way of claiming the necessity of chance and the aleatory. So yes, from this perspective it is familiar to the development of a discourse present in oral tradition, to its vulnerability, always in present tense, since one is always obliged to reactualize it because there is no archive, no registry to which to rely to. There is always the presence of polysemic “things” we were talking about and the “may be”; fiction allows to substantiate this “may be”, the doubt of whether it “will”, “did” or “is”, or all of these at the same time. For example: You arrive somewhere, while sort of overflying the idea of Antonio García Barón, of Anarchy in the middle of the Amazonian forest, and the place where you are has nothing to do with this reality you are thinking of, nothing pushes you to project any of the events occurred in the life of this character over the context you are in, maybe you don’t even really think about him. And suddenly there is something that makes the glare of fascination around him shine with a certain intensity. And this something, which can be anything, a cup, a knife, a brunch of a tree or a coral fossil, whatever, makes you think: “of course this belongs to Antonio García Barón,” and it starts to be concrete and plausible, as when you see the stars and discover an asterism. A cactus fossil becomes Barón’s finger he lost while hunting a jaguar. Millions of years, the substance of a succulent plant, its becoming a mineral, the relation between animal and man, plant and mineral, all this collapses into this one single arbitrary event, into this fiction. And you will never be able to not see this asterism again. This is the great transformational power of cooperation between fiction and reality. To make a palpable “may be”.

R.O.M. I’m interested in knowing if Azul Jacinto Marino can infiltrate in different ways throughout the exhibition space.
R.C. In Vamoose all cacti jut torrid nites publication, Azul Jacinto Marino is assigned with the number 8 in the floor plan of the exhibition, right in the center of it, even if it is not corresponding to any work present inside the space. AJM is the publication, and it signs it. And the publication works as the rug present in the exhibition space. It weaves through its pages the name of the exhibition and the name of AJM through a series of anagrams, 46 precisely, a number that corresponds to the 17 plus 29 letters that constitute AJM and Vamoose all cacti jut torrid nites, the exhibition’s title. One disappears while the other is revealed at the last page of the publication.

I jet multi jaca revolutas to zona torrida cosmical inn
Jinn animism juts aleatoric lizard calc-tattoo over u
iztac and tiltic jalousie jets a narco moonlit rumor

Rodrigo Ortiz Monasterio Pour commencer, j’aimerais parler d’Azul Jacinto Marino. C’est un personnage, une idée théologique… Au fond qu’est-ce que c’est ?
Rometti Costales Depuis à peu près trois ans, c’est un point de départ. Azul Jacinto Marino a été conçu comme une plateforme, ou un territoire, une entité aux frontières mouvantes. Nous voulions concevoir un projet relativement vaste qui demandait une surface opérationnelle tout aussi vaste. D’une façon ou d’une autre, il émane d’un précédent projet, intitulé Ediciones del Exotismo Ordinario Internacional Neotropical, une série en cours de livrets auto-publiés, construite à partir d’un certain type de plantes domestiques, qui se trouvent dans le monde entier, mais qui proviennent de la région néotropicale (entre le Sud du Chili et le Sud du Mexique). Il s’agit d’un collage de textes et d’images issus de livres d’occasion sur la botanique, la guérilla, l’anarchie, le jardinage, les méthodes d’organisation, la littérature. Ce projet a ouvert une boîte de Pandore, avec des possibilités d’extrapolation multiples ; Azul Jacinto Marino est l’une d’entre elles.
Depuis, Azul Jacinto Marino vit sa vie, comme entité polysémique, comme une surface, un personnage. AJM dessine des points de vue, des prétextes topographiques, des territoires où les malentendus peuvent être formulés, effacés, réécrits, retracés ; où la magie peut se confondre avec l’anarchisme, comme un incident géo-botanico-animalo-logo-palimpsestique.

R.O.M. En ce cas est-ce que AJM peut se transformer à chaque projet ? Une sorte de shapeshifter ?
R.C. Oui on peut le voir comme un shapeshifter ou un trickster. Quelque chose qui peut aller quelque part, revenir totalement transformé, et raconter une histoire différente. Une boucle avec de possibles brèches et zones de non-droit. Mais ce qui le définit vraiment, c’est l’ambigüité d’être plusieurs choses en même temps. C’est très arbitraire, parce que nous nous permettons d’en user et d’en mésuser de toutes les manières possibles, où divers intérêts se chevauchent. D’entrée de jeu, les trois mots qui composent le nom en disent beaucoup : des noms et prénoms que l’on donne en Amérique latine, des nuances de bleu, un minéral, une plante, la profondeur, la mer, quelqu’un, quelque chose, une région, une organisation, que sais-je encore…

R.O.M. Pour quelqu’un qui ne connaît pas Azul Jacinto Marino et les différentes formes, contours, et idéologies qu’il recouvre, la question de savoir s’il se réfère à un personnage historique ayant existé au plus profond de la jungle, ayant créé une communauté utopique, est-elle jamais soulevée ?
R.C. Vous faites référence à Antonio García Barón, l’anarchiste auquel nous renvoyons souvent, qui a vécu dans l’Amazonie bolivienne et a créé un micro-Etat anarchiste. La vie d’un anarchiste de terrain vivant dans un contexte si particulier est plutôt attirante, du fait de la rencontre entre deux philosophies politiques : la magie et l’anarchie. Il peut ainsi être Azul Jacinto Marino ou entrer dans la perspective de AzulJacinto Marino, à travers la fiction.

R.O.M. Mais il ne s’agit pas totalement d’une fiction n’est-ce pas, puisque le point de départ est constitué d’événements historiques réels ?
R.C. Oui, Antonio García Barón a vraiment existé, de même que la jungle autour de lui et son micro-Etat anarchiste, avec la forêt pour arrière-plan. Et la tribu indienne qui a rejoint cet anarchiste a vraiment existé aussi, de même que le rapport qu’ils entretiennent à leur environnement, la magie et le chamanisme, tout cela était « réel ». C’est comme ça que l’Anarchisme Magique a pris forme et c’est là que la fiction rencontre le réel et que le réel frappe à la porte de la fiction. Ce que nous voulons dire, c’est que lorsqu’on pense à quelque chose comme l’Anarchisme Magique (Anarquismo Mágico), il est plus simple de poser un cadre fictionnel à cette histoire, de façon à développer plus librement ces idées, même si nous ne sommes pas entièrement sûrs de leur signification et des règles qui les gouvernent. Mais cela nous offre un territoire sur lequel opérer et Azul Jacinto Marino revendique ce territoire, il est ce territoire. Nous avons fait un drapeau, et recréé avec des graines de Huayruro le motif diagonal rouge et noir de l’anarcho-syndicalisme. Ces graines sont très utilisées en Amazonie, comme protection, amulette, et dans certains cas comme élément du mélange utilisé pour la préparation de l’Ayahuasca, pour le rendre plus efficace. C’est le drapeau de l’Anarchisme Magique.

R.O.M. Parlons des hypothèses personnelles que vous pouvez faire à partir de ces lectures, plus particulièrement des éléments historiques et de la manière dont la tradition orale est transmise. Par exemple le tapis berbère présenté en 2014 dans l’exposition de la Kunsthalle de Bâle s’appuie sur une tradition orale : le travail artisanal du tapis, qui ne suit aucune règle spécifique, produit un résultat indéterminé ? Quelle sens la tradition orale prend-elle dans votre travail ?
R.C. Ce tapis a été acheté, nous n’avons pas commandité sa réalisation. Nous étions très intéressés par ce qui définit le processus manuel. La création d’un tapis Beni Ouarain est une manière fascinante d’abandonner au hasard le résultat final. Les femmes qui tissent ne voient pas plus de 50 cm du travail accompli, le reste étant enroulé et soustrait au regard jusqu’à la fin. Et puisqu’elle suspendent parfois le travail pendant des semaines, voire des mois, une fois qu’elle se remettent au travail, elles doivent faire un effort de mémoire pour retrouver le chemin parcouru jusque là. Et cela les emmène toujours ailleurs. C’est comme si le hasard et la fragilité de la mémoire étaient inscrits au cœur du résultat final de ce travail artisanal. Une sorte de cartographie de la pensée. Et nous aimons à penser que c’est un mode opératoire relativement conscient. C’est comme si ces femmes inscrivaient le hasard et la contingence de la vie quotidienne dans une surface, un outil de protection qui est ce tapis, qui peut être utilisé comme une couverture ou comme un lit collectif pour une famille. C’est une belle manière d’affirmer la nécessité du hasard et de l’aléatoire. Donc oui, de ce point de vue, il y a une proximité avec le développement du discours dans la tradition orale, sa vulnérabilité, toujours au présent, puisque chacun est obligé de le réactualiser, dans la mesure où il n’y a pas d’archive, pas d’enregistrement sur lequel s’appuyer. Il y a toujours la présence de « choses » polysémiques et indéterminées ; la fiction est ce qui permet d’étayer cette indétermination, de jeter le doute sur le fait qu’une chose a été, est ou sera, ou tout cela à la fois. Par exemple : tu arrives quelque part, tout en survolant en pensée l’idée d’Antonio García Barón, de l’anarchie au beau milieu de la forêt amazonienne, et l’endroit où tu te trouves n’a rien à voir avec la réalité à laquelle tu penses, rien ne te pousse à projeter sur ton contexte immédiat aucun des événements qui ont eu lieu dans la vie de ce personnage, peut-être ne penses-tu même pas réellement à lui. Et soudain quelque chose qui pourrait être n’importe quoi, une tasse, un couteau, une branche d’arbre ou un corail fossile, ce quelque chose te fait penser : « bien sûr, c’est à Antonio García Barón », et cette pensée commence à devenir concrète et plausible, comme lorsqu’on voit une étoile et qu’on finit par découvrir une constellation. Un cactus fossile devient le doigt que Barón a perdu pendant qu’il chassait un jaguar. Des millions d’années, la substance d’une plante grasse, sa transformation minérale, la relation entre l’homme et l’animal, entre la plante et le minéral, tout cela s’évanouit dans cet unique événement arbitraire, dans cette fiction. Et vous ne pourrez jamais ne plus voir cette constellation. C’est le pouvoir immense de transformation qui provient de l’association entre fiction et réalité. Rendre tangible la notion du « peut-être ».

R.O.M. J’aimerais savoir si Azul Jacinto Marino peut infiltrer de différentes manières l’espace d’exposition.
R.C. Dans la publication intitulée Vamoose all cacti jut torrid nites, Azul Jacinto Marino porte le numéro 8 sur le plan d’exposition, au milieu de l’espace, alors qu’il ne correspond à aucun des travaux présentés dans cet espace. Azul Jacinto Marino incarne la publication et en même temps il la signe. Cette publication fonctionne comme le tapis présenté dans l’exposition. Elle entremêle dans ses pages le nom de l’exposition et le nom AJM, à travers une série d’anagrammes, 46 exactement, comme les 17 lettres d’AJM et les 29 lettres de Vamoose all cacti jut torrid nites, titre de l’exposition. L’un disparaît quand l’autre est révélé sur la dernière page de la publication.

I jet multi jaca revolutas to zona torrida cosmical inn
Jinn animism juts aleatoric lizard calc-tattoo over u
iztac and tiltic jalousie jets a narco moonlit rumor

1. Rometti Costales, Azul Jacinto Marino
2. Exhibition view of Azul Jacinto Marino by Rometti Costales, centre d’art contemporain – la synagogue de Delme, 2015
3. Rometti Costales, Escalas psiconáuticas de un espacio de igualdad en flor (Psychonautic Scales of a Space of Equality in Bloom), acacia branches, 2015; exhibition view of Azul Jacinto Marino at la synagogue de Delme, 2015
4, 6, 7. Rometti Costales, Artefacts Travelling in the Depths of Marble Surface, ten framed C-prints and one C-print glued to aluminium and laminated, 2015; exhibition view of Azul Jacinto Marino at la synagogue de Delme, 2015
5. Rometti Costales, Dedos de Antonio García Barón (Fingers of Antonio García Barón), cactus, concrete cast of a coral fossil, concrete cast of a succulent plant, 2015; exhibition view of Azul Jacinto Marino at la synagogue de Delme, 2015
8. Rometti Costales, Rain Cloak, Courtesy Azul Jacinto Marino, woven palm leaves, 2015; exhibition view of Azul Jacinto Marino at la synagogue de Delme, 2015
9. Rometti Costales, Artefacts Travelling in the Depths of Marble Surface, ten framed C-prints and one C-print glued to aluminium and laminated, 2015; exhibition view of Azul Jacinto Marino at la synagogue de Delme, 2015
10, 11, 12. Exhibition view of Azul Jacinto Marino by Rometti Costales, centre d’art contemporain – la synagogue de Delme, 2015
13. Outside view of la synagogue de Delme, 2015
Photos: O.H. Dancy

Protagonists: Rometti Costales
Project: The Book Society #02
Space: CAC La Synagogue de Delme

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Jacopo Miliani Let’s start with a reflection on our collaboration for the Double Cross project. We have been working independently on the spaces and on the exhibition project; later, during preparation, there was dialogue and listening between the two projects. I would define our collaboration as a mutual influence on narrative fiction. What is your opinion on this?
Alessandro di Pietro I would say that our cooperation has had, from the outset, a predisposition not to be explicit. The placement on two different floors of the CAB [Centre d’Art Bastille] made it impossible for a direct visual relationship between the various elements of our installations, but intensified the dialogue between two different methods of semantic re-elaboration in space.
Both projects are based on the appropriation of pre-existing narrative structures: yours on Howard Fast’s short story Not with a Bang, and mine on the end scene of Peter Greenaway’s film A Zed and Two Noughts.
The floor separating us seems to have worked as a filter that has allowed us to meet the expectations of our work. At the same time it must have produced some information that created a connection between us on a sign level: for example the use of the text and the circle shape.

2. Jacopo Miliani, Not with a bag

2. Jacopo Miliani, Not with a bang

3. Alessandro di Pietro, AZATN - Props

3. Alessandro di Pietro, AZATN – Props

A.D.P. As you told me, in Fast’s Not with a Bang a man sees a hand turning off the sun; he goes back home, and tells his wife and neighbors during an evening game of bridge. The rest of the group does not believe what the man saw, but that night was a particularly dark and cold one.
How do you expect people to orientate themselves between the textual information partially concealed inside what you call fictional carpets?
J.M. The story is divided into three phases, which are represented by (transparent and black) resin casts of hands. The hands are open in the act of picking up, and relate to round-shaped objects. These abstract signs, completely open, are placed on colored carpets that recall a domestic interior, and hide and reveal the three pages of the Fast’s story. The level of representation is thus opaque in the relationship between the clues on a narrative level and the shapes/actions that remain suspended. The viewer/reader/detective has a central role, although not being inside the scene.

4. Alessandro di Pietro, AZATN - Props

4. Alessandro di Pietro, AZATN – Props

5. Jacopo Miliani, Not with a bag

5. Jacopo Miliani, Not with a bang

J.M. The CAB is located in a defensive stronghold, on top of a mountain, mainly accessible through a strange spherical cableway. Do you think that the location of the CAB affected the narrative process? Could we define your ‘props’ as clues suspended in time?
A.D.P. When arranging the props in space I definitely tried to exploit the grotto-like space on the first floor of the CAB.
For this reason, all the props were exhibited on a modular display made with vertical concrete, steel and foam elements hanging from above like stalactites, exploiting the various heights of the vault of the ceiling. The arrangement does not follow a hierarchy of importance or a real narrative chronology, and the props are not the remains of an action which has already taken place, but are prospectively active. They are raw elements of a story that will take place soon and that will be a re-enactment of the last part of A Zed and Two Noughts.

6. Jacopo Miliani, Not with a bag

6. Jacopo Miliani, Not with a bang

7. Alessandro di Pietro, AZATN - Props

7. Alessandro di Pietro, AZATN – Props

A.D.P. Until recently, I had the feeling that working on cinema or literature could create a misunderstanding as regards the intention of creating a tribute or a monument to the director or to the wonderful story. Now I view that concern as very generic, and I recognize that the fiction reacts to its perception so naturally that it can be mistaken for a landscape. What do you think about this? How do you move among the signs that a story offers you? What is the distance you put between yourself, your practice and the story object?
J.M. I like the idea of landscape, and in the case of the CAB we could talk of a view. In the days I was working, I observed how individuals or the groups of tourists that stroll around the summit to observe Grenoble from above are comparable with the relationship we have with images, language and representation. I wonder how in front of this vastness of relationships one could define a common gaze. The signs of history are hence countless like the facets of a view. For this reason I chose this story by Howard Fast that highlights how the main character feels different in front of a vision which he perceives as a common experience. The killing of the Sun by a hand remains an image on hold from where I started and cyclically return to.

8. Alessandro di Pietro, AZATN - Props

8. Alessandro di Pietro, AZATN – Props

9. Jacopo Miliani, Not with a bag

9. Jacopo Miliani, Not with a bang

J.M./A.D.P. As regards the constant fruition within the imaginative process, we could say that this was also the central theme of two workshops, which we conducted in parallel, with a few young Grenoble artists. With their imagination, we worked starting from two strong images from the stories we had taken as a reference: the hand that turns the sun off in Fast’s story and the figures of the twins in Greenaway’s film.

10. Jacopo Miliani, Not with a bag

10. Jacopo Miliani, Not with a bang

11. Alessandro di Pietro, AZATN - Props

11. Alessandro di Pietro, AZATN – Props

Jacopo Miliani Iniziamo con una riflessione sulla nostra collaborazione all’interno del progetto Double Cross. Abbiamo lavorato indipendentemente sullo spazio e sul progetto espositivo; in seguito, in fase di allestimento, c’è stato dialogo e ascolto tra i due progetti. Definirei la nostra collaborazione come un’influenza reciproca sulla narrazione fittizia. Cosa ne pensi a proposito?
Alessandro di Pietro Direi che la nostra collaborazione ha avuto, sin dall’inizio, una predisposizione a non essere esplicita. La disposizione su due piani del CAB [Centre d’art Bastille] ha reso impossibile una diretta correlazione visiva tra i vari elementi delle nostre installazioni, ma ha accentuato il dialogo tra due diverse metodologie di rielaborazione semantica nello spazio.
Entrambi i progetti si fondano su appropriazioni di strutture narrative pre-esistenti: il tuo sul racconto breve Not with a Bang di Howard Fast, mentre il mio sulla scena finale di A Zed and Two Noughts di Peter Greenaway.
Il piano che ci ha diviso sembra aver funzionato come un filtro che ci ha permesso di rispettare le aspettative sul nostro lavoro. Allo stesso tempo deve aver rilasciato delle informazioni che ci hanno messo in connessione a livello segnico: per esempio l’uso del testo e la figura del cerchio. 

A.D.P. Come mi hai raccontato, in Not with a Bang di Howard Fast un uomo vede una mano che spegne il sole; torna a casa, ne parla con la moglie e i vicini durante una partita serale di bridge. Il resto del gruppo non crede alla visione dell’uomo, ma quella sera è particolarmente oscura e fredda.
Come ti aspetti che le persone si orientino tra le informazioni testuali parzialmente occultate all’interno di quelli che tu chiami ‘fictional carpets’?
J.M. La storia è divisa in tre momenti che sono raffigurati da calchi di mani in resina (trasparenti e neri). Le mani sono aperte nell’atto di prendere e si relazionano a oggetti dalla forma circolare. Questi segni astratti, del tutto aperti, sono posti su moquette colorate che richiamano l’interno domestico e nascondono e rivelano le tre pagine del racconto di Fast. Il piano della rappresentazione risulta opaco nella relazione tra gli elementi indiziari a livello narrativo e le forme/azioni che rimangono sospese. Lo spettatore/lettore/detective ha un ruolo centrale, pur non trovandosi all’interno della scena.

J.M. Il CAB si trova dentro una roccaforte difensiva, sulla cima di una montagna per lo più accessibile grazie a una strana teleferica dalla forma sferica. Pensi che il luogo del CAB abbia influito sul processo narrativo? Possiamo definire i tuoi ‘props’ come indizi sospesi nel tempo?
A.D.P. Sicuramente nella configurazione spaziale dei ‘props’ ho cercato di lavorare sullo “spazio grottoso” del primo piano del CAB.
Per questo motivo, tutti i ‘props’ sono stati esposti su un display modulare formato da elementi verticali di cemento acciaio e gommapiuma che scendono dall’alto come stalattiti sfruttando le varie altezze della volta del soffitto. L’allestimento non segue una gerarchia di importanza o una reale cronologia narrativa e i ‘props’ non sono residui di un’azione già accaduta, ma sono ancora in potenza. Sono elementi crudi di una narrazione che avverrà prossimamente e che consisterà in un re-enactment dell’ultimo capitolo di A Zed and Two Noughts.

A.D.P. Fino a poco tempo fa, avevo la sensazione che lavorare sul cinema o sulla letteratura potesse generare un misunderstanding riguardo l’intenzione di creare un tributo o un monumento al regista o alla grande storia. Di recente, questa mi sembra un’idea molto generalista e riconosco che la finzione reagisce alla propria percezione in maniera così naturale da poterla scambiare per un paesaggio. Cosa ne pensi? Come ti muovi tra i segni che una storia ti propone? Qual è la distanza che interponi tra te, la tua pratica e l’oggetto narrativo?
J.M. Mi piace l’idea di paesaggio, nel caso del CAB potremo parlare di panorama. Durante i giorni di lavoro, ho osservato come le singole persone o i gruppi di turisti che si muovono sulla vetta per osservare Grenoble dall’alto siano paragonabili al rapporto che abbiamo con le immagini, il linguaggio e la rappresentazione. Mi chiedo come davanti a tale vastità di relazioni sia possibile definire lo sguardo comune. I segni di una storia sono quindi infiniti come le sfaccettature di un panorama. Per questo motivo ho scelto questo racconto di Howard Fast che mette in luce come il protagonista si senta diverso davanti a una visione da lui percepita come esperienza comune. L’uccisione del sole da parte di una mano resta un’immagine sospesa da cui sono partito per poi ritornarci ciclicamente.

J.M./A.D.P. A proposito della fruizione costante nel processo immaginativo, potremmo dire che questo è stato anche il tema centrale di due workshops, da noi condotti in modo parallelo, con alcuni giovani artisti di Grenoble. Con la loro immaginazione abbiamo lavorato a partire da due immagini forti provenienti dalle narrazioni da noi prese come riferimento: la mano che spegne il sole del racconto di Fast e le figure dei due gemelli nel film di Greenaway.

1, 2, 5, 6, 9, 10. Jacopo Miliani, Not with a bang. Courtesy the artist, CAB Grenoble, Frutta, Rome and Studio Dabbeni, Lugano
3, 4, 7, 8, 11. Alessandro di Pietro, AZATN – Props, Courtesy the artist and CAB Grenoble

Protagonists: Jacopo Miliani, Alessandro di Pietro
Project: Double Cross. From Both Sides of a Mountain
Space: Centre d’art Bastille

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Vincent HonoréThe Synagogue de Delme is a centre d’art in a particular context. First in terms of its history, and then its architecture, and especially its location in a rural area. In your view, what are the strengths and weaknesses of this context?
Marie Cozette The centre d’art gets its strength precisely from this aspect of being atypical, unexpected and off the beaten path.
The weakness could be its isolation in a rural area within a village of 1000 residents, 35 km from the towns of Metz and Nancy. But this isolation is relative: Delme is three hours by car from Brussels, Basel and Frankfurt, and Paris is only one-and-a-half hours from Metz or Nancy by train. This region of eastern France has strong connections with other art scenes (in Belgium, Holland, Luxemburg, Germany, Switzerland and other countries).
Making the trip to Delme and finding yourself in this landscape – with fields as far as the eye can see – is part of the experience you get from the visit. It turns this visit into a special moment. The context itself forces attention onto the artists’ work. Therefore, in addition to being relative, this isolation is also highly productive, not just for the artists but also for the public and the staff of the centre d’art. As for the place itself, its history and architecture have a magnetic power. It’s a former synagogue that was built in the 19th century, partially destroyed by the Nazis during the Second World War and rebuilt after the war; in the 1970s the synagogue ceased operation because of a lack of followers, and it was turned into a centre d’art in 1993.
This historical depth is what makes it so complex and interesting. Artists can’t come with a turnkey project, they must get an understanding of the specificities of the place. The architectural quality of the space makes it a magnificent showcase for artists’ work, and it sometimes backs them into unexpected corners, raising new questions. Unlike the white cube and its supposed neutrality, a place like the Synagogue de Delme conceals infinite resources and questions, and this is what makes it so fascinating.

2. Berdaguer & Péjus, Gue(ho)st House

2. Berdaguer & Péjus, Gue(ho)st House

V.H.Where does Delme sit in the context of the overall French art policy?
M.C. In a context of fiscal austerity, culture is jeopardised. It’s the first area to pay for economic cuts. But there’s too much of a tendency to emphasise these economic issues, which often hide deeper questions of an ideological nature. Delme is a very small cog in a very large chain of cultural institutions that are going through major upheavals in terms of cultural policy. The gradual withdrawal of the state in favour of regional authorities in the financing and support of these places often works to the institutions’ detriment.
Delme is a micro-institution in terms of its budget, staff and resources, and yet the centre d’art is widely influential. It’s known all over the world, and it works with artists of all kinds, both emerging and established. It’s a highly referenced institution in the field of contemporary art in France; for over twenty years this place has kept up a very ambitious artistic vision. Moreover, the centre d’art isn’t in its own world but is solidly anchored in its region, keeping close links with different sectors of the public and local associations. The mediation side is extremely substantial considering the resources allocated to it, and it’s put into practice with total commitment day-to-day. I’m proud that the Synagogue de Delme is able to exist right where it would be least expected, in a region that’s more disadvantaged than others. In contexts like this, these ambitions should be supported all the more: they make sense in that they make it possible to demolish the ideas of those who imagine the world in terms of centre and periphery, shadow and light, high and low, common and elite. The reality is more subtle and nuanced. Just by existing, the Synagogue de Delme shows that it’s possible to get past these harmful oppositions, and in this sense it’s a precious place.

3. Exhibition view, Latifa Echakhch, Schizofonia

3. Exhibition view, Latifa Echakhch, Schizofonia

V.H. Does a centre d’art like the Synagogue de Delme still have a role to play in a context in which it seems like contemporary art is being replaced by the contemporary art industry? What are the responsibilities of the director of a centre d’art in 2015?
M.C. The Synagogue de Delme is part of this broader constellation of centres d’art, which makes up an essential network of researchers. They’re laboratories exploring creativity and finding ways of transmitting to all sectors of the public. They’re spaces of freedom, which absolutely must be preserved and defended, public agoras that aren’t there just to do good business; they’re spaces where quality takes precedence, as does attention to others. They’re places of learning where one can build a perspective and a critical mind. In short, they’re places of liberation and citizenship. Sometimes it’s hard to get the message heard in the current context, which is more conducive to withdrawal and fears of every kind.

4. Exhibition view, Michel Blazy. La marge d'erreur

4. Exhibition view, Michel Blazy. La marge d’erreur

V.H. PIANO wishes to create a forum for exchange and dialogue between Italian and French art centres. Why did you want to participate and what programme are you proposing?
M.C. I think it’s essential for the centre d’art to be involved in the projects of the d.c.a network. Working collectively and as a network has always been an essential aspect of my way of conceiving my work as a curator and organisation director. I very naturally wanted to take part in PIANO because this platform further develops this spirit of collaboration and networking.
Moreover, the meeting with Peep-Hole in Milan was decisive. It’s a place I feel very close to artistically, and we share a lot of elective affinities, a common sensibility. Thanks to this meeting, I was able to reach a whole scene I still didn’t know much about, and today we’re continuing our exchanges well beyond the project.
In the context of PIANO, the centre d’art is presenting a monographic exhibition of the duo Rometti Costales. At the same time we’re working on a book that will be a kind of extension of the exhibition space. This question of books as places of experimentation and research was also explored at Peep-Hole this summer with the second instalment of their project The Book Society.

Vincent Honoré La Synagogue de Delme est un centre d’art qui s’inscrit dans un contexte particulier. D’abord son histoire, puis son architecture et surtout son inscription dans un territoire rural. Selon vous, quelles sont les forces et les faiblesses de ce contexte ?
Marie Cozette Ce qui fait la force du centre d’art, c’est justement sa dimension atypique, inattendue, et hors des sentiers battus.
La faiblesse ce pourrait être son isolement, en zone rurale, dans un village de 1 000 habitants, à 35 km des villes que sont Metz et Nancy. Mais cet isolement est relatif : Delme est à 3 heures de route de Bruxelles, Bâle ou Francfort, Paris n’est qu’à 1h30 en train de Metz ou Nancy. Cette région de l’Est de la France est fortement connectée à d’autres scènes artistiques (belge, hollandaise, luxembourgeoise, allemande et suisse entre autres).
Faire le déplacement jusqu’à Delme et se retrouver dans ce paysage de champs à perte de vue participe aussi de l’expérience que la visite procure. Cela fait de cette visite un moment privilégié, le contexte en lui-même force l’attention portée au travail des artistes. En plus d’être relatif, cet isolement est donc éminemment productif, tant pour les artistes que pour le public ou l’équipe du centre d’art.
Quant au lieu lui-même, son histoire et son architecture dégagent une force magnétique. Il s’agit d’une ancienne synagogue, construite au XIXème siècle, partiellement détruite par les Nazis pendant la seconde guerre mondiale et reconstruite après guerre ; la synagogue s’est arrêtée de fonctionner, faute de pratiquants, à la fin des années 70 et a été transformée en centre d’art en 1993.
Cette épaisseur historique en fait toute la complexité et l’intérêt. Les artistes ne peuvent venir avec un projet clef en main mais doivent se saisir des spécificités du lieu. La qualité architecturale de l’espace en fait un magnifique écrin pour le travail des artistes et le pousse parfois dans des retranchements inattendus, soulève des questions nouvelles ; à la différence du white cube et de sa neutralité supposée, un lieu comme la synagogue de Delme recèle des ressources et des questions ad infinitum, ce qui en fait un lieu passionnant.

V.H. Comment situer Delme dans le contexte de politique artistique général français ?
M.C. Dans un contexte d’austérité budgétaire, la culture est mise à mal, elle est la première à faire les frais des resserrements économiques. Mais on a trop tendance à mettre en avant ces questions économiques, qui cachent bien souvent des questions plus profondes, d’ordre idéologique. Delme est un tout petit maillon dans une chaine très vaste d’institutions culturelles qui subit des bouleversements majeurs en termes de politique culturelle. Le retrait progressif de l’Etat au profit des collectivités territoriales dans le financement et l’accompagnement des lieux se fait souvent au détriment de ces derniers.
Delme est une micro-institution en termes de budget, d’équipe, de moyens, et pourtant le centre d’art rayonne très largement, il est connu dans le monde entier, travaille avec des artistes de tous horizons, à la fois émergents et confirmés, c’est un lieu de référence en France dans le champ de l’art contemporain ; depuis plus de vingt ans ce lieu maintient une grande ambition de projet artistique. Qui plus est, le centre d’art n’est pas hors-sol mais très ancré dans son territoire, en lien étroit avec les publics et les associations locales. Le volet médiation est extrêmement conséquent au vu des moyens alloués et il est pratiqué avec un engagement total au quotidien. Je suis fière qu’un centre d’art comme la synagogue de Delme puisse exister justement là où on l’attend le moins, dans un territoire moins favorisé que les autres. C’est a fortiori dans de tels contextes qu’il faut porter ces ambitions : elles font d’autant plus sens qu’elles permettent de déconstruire les imaginaires qui pensent le monde en termes de centre et de périphérie, d’ombre et de lumière, de haut et de bas, de populaire et d’élitisme. La réalité est plus délicate et nuancée. Par son existence même, la synagogue de Delme montre qu’il est possible de dépasser ces oppositions néfastes, et en ce sens c’est un lieu précieux.

V.H. Est-ce qu’un centre d’art comme la synagogue de Delme a encore un rôle à jouer dans un contexte où l’art contemporain tend à être remplacé par l’industrie de l’art contemporain ?
Quelles sont les responsabilités d’un directeur de centre d’art en 2015 ?
M.C. La synagogue de Delme participe de ce maillage plus large de centres d’art, qui constitue un réseau indispensable de têtes chercheuses. Ce sont des laboratoires, tant de la création que des modes de transmission à tous types de publics. Ce sont des espaces de liberté, qu’il faut absolument préserver et défendre, des agoras publiques qui ne sont pas là pour « faire du chiffre », mais des espaces où c’est la qualité qui prime avant tout, de même que l’attention portée à l’autre ; ce sont des lieux d’apprentissage et de construction du regard mais aussi d’un esprit critique, bref des lieux d’émancipation et de citoyenneté. Le message est parfois difficile à faire entendre dans le contexte actuel, qui prête davantage au repli sur soi et aux peurs de tous ordres.

V.H. PIANO veut créer un espace d’échange et de dialogue entre des lieux d’art italiens et français. Pourquoi avez-vous souhaité participer et quel programme proposez-vous ?
M.C. Il me semble absolument indispensable que le centre d’art s’inscrive dans les projets du réseau d.c.a : la dimension de travail collectif et en réseau a toujours été primordiale dans ma manière de concevoir le métier de commissaire et de directeur de structure, c’est tout naturellement que j’ai souhaité participer à PIANO parce que cette plateforme amplifie d’autant plus l’esprit de collaboration et de réseau.
Par ailleurs, la rencontre avec Peep-Hole à Milan a été déterminante. C’est un lieu dont je me sens très proche artistiquement et avec qui je partage de grandes affinités électives, une sensibilité commune. Grâce à cette rencontre, j’ai pu accéder à toute une scène que je connaissais encore mal et aujourd’hui nous continuons nos échanges bien au-delà du projet.
Dans le cadre de PIANO le centre d’art présente une monographie du duo Rometti Costales. En parallèle, nous travaillons sur un livre qui sera une sorte de prolongement de l’espace d’exposition. Cette question du livre comme lieu d’expérimentation et de recherche a également été abordée à Peep-Hole cet été avec la seconde occurrence de leur projet The Book Society.

1. Centre d’art contemporain – la synagogue de Delme.
2. Berdaguer & Péjus, Gue(ho)st House, Centre d’art contemporain – la synagogue de Delme, 2012. © Adagp Paris 2012.
3. Exhibition view, Schizophonia, work by Latifa Echakhch, Resolutions, Centre d’art contemporain – la synagogue de Delme, 2013
4. Exhibition view, La marge d’erreur, work by Michel Blazy, Centre d’art contemporain – la synagogue de Delme, 2008
Photos: © OHDancy

Space: CAC La Synagogue de Delme
Project: The Book Society #02
Protagonists: Marie Cozette, Rometti Costales

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Tuesday, October 27, 7.30 pm
Fabbrica del Vapore, via Procaccini 4, Milan
Performance Gli uccelli non cantano più più
Artists: Simon Fravega, Mathilde Chénin
Performers: Maddalena Bianchi, Simon Fravega, Mathilde Chénin

“Da qualche tempo ci interessiamo agli uccelli. A tutti i tipi di uccelli. Quelli che parlano, quelli che annunciano, quelli che cantano, quelli che ballano, quelli che non fanno nulla, quelli che si riuniscono in gruppi, quelli che migrano, quelli che non si vedono più. Siamo arrivati a Milano come due ornitologi dilettanti in cerca di uccelli, per un’opera in corso di scrittura. Auguri, ornitologi e artisti hanno probabilmente in comune proprio questo: condividono, di fronte al volo degli uccelli, una certa pratica di osservazione, di lettura. E molto più ancora, condividono di certo il ruolo e la responsabilità dell’interprete, di colui o colei che, una volta fatta l’osservazione, ne proporrà una traduzione e darà in questo modo voce alle cose. In occasione di questa tappa milanese del nostro progetto, ci interroghiamo sulle forme dell’interpretazione, le ambiguità che questa genera e la maniera in cui essa risuona in diversi campi di sperimentazione (musica, politica, linguistica…)”.
Simon Fravega e Mathilde Chénin

Il progetto di Simon Fravega e Mathilde Chénin è stato sviluppato in una residenza di ricerca presso Viafarini tra il 29 Settembre e il 29 Ottobre 2015.

La residenza e la performance di Simon Fravega e Mathilde Chénin si inseriscono in PIANO, piattaforma preparata per l’arte contemporanea, Francia-Italia 2014-2016, concepita da d.c.a / association française de développement des centres d’art, in partnership con l’Institut français d’Italie, l’Ambasciata di Francia in Italia e l’Institut français, con il sostegno del Ministère des Affaires étrangères et du Développement international, del Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication e della Fondazione Nuovi Mecenati. Nel quadro di PIANO – Platforme curatoriale franco-italienne, due strutture a vocazione transdisciplinare e aperte alla fluidità e alla creolizzazione dei linguaggi artistici contemporanei – CAB – Centre d’Art Bastille (Grenoble) e Viafarini (Milano) – si associano per dare vita a un progetto di residenze incrociate. A ottobre 2015, Viafarini accoglie per une mese di residenza di ricerca, un workshop e un evento performativo gli artisti francesi Emilie Parendeau, Simon Fravega e Mathilde Chénin.

« Depuis quelques temps, nous nous intéressons aux oiseaux. A tout type d’oiseaux. Ceux qui parlent, ceux qui annoncent, ceux qui chantent, ceux qui dansent, ceux qui ne font rien, ceux qui se regroupent, ceux qui migrent, ceux que l’on ne voit plus. Nous sommes arrivés à Milan tels deux ornithologues amateurs à la recherche d’oiseaux, pour un opéra en cours d’écriture. Augures, ornithologues et artistes ont peut-être ceci en commun qu’ils partagent, face au vol des oiseaux, une certaine pratique d’observation, de lecture. Mais bien plus encore, ils partagent certainement le rôle et la responsabilité de l’interprète, de celui ou celle qui, une fois l’observation faite, en proposera une traduction et donnera ainsi sa voix aux choses. A l’occasion de cette étape milanaise de notre projet, nous nous questionnons sur les formes de l’interprétation, les ambiguïtés qu’elle génère et la manière dont elle résonne dans différents champs d’expérimentation (musique, politique, linguistique…) ».
Simon Fravega et Mathilde Chénin

Le projet de Simon Fravega et Mathilde Chénin a été développé dans le cadre d’une résidence de recherche à Viafarini du 29 Septembre au 29 Octobre 2015.

La résidence et la performance de Simon Fravega et Mathilde Chénin s’inscrivent dans PIANO, plateforme préparée pour l’art contemporain, France–Italie 2014-2016, initiée par d.c.a / association française de développement des centres d’art, en partenariat avec l’Institut français d’Italie, l’Ambassade de France en Italie et l’Institut français, avec le soutien du ministère des Affaires étrangères et du Développement international, du ministère de la Culture et de la Communication et de la Fondation Nuovi Mecenati. Dans le cadre de PIANO, plateforme curatoriale franco-italienne, deux structures à vocation transdisciplinaire et ouvertes à la fluidité et à la créolisation des langages artistiques contemporains – CAB  Centre d’Art Bastille (Grenoble) et Viafarini (Milan) – s’associent pour créer un projet de résidence croisé. Au mois d’octobre 2015, Viafarini accueille pour un mois de résidence de recherche, un workshop et un événement performatif le artistes français Emilie Parendeau, Simon Fravega et Mathilde Chénin.

Project: Double Cross, From Both Sides of a Mountain
Space: Viafarini DOCVA, Milan
Protagonists: Simon Fravega, Emilie Parendeau



by Toby Huddlestone

When Carsten Höller remarked “I think that it would be a challenging development if an artist would be invited to curate dOCUMENTA”[1] to Jens Hoffmann in 2002, thus formulating the idea and thoughts behind The Next Documenta Should Be Curated by an Artist, he was possibly referring to a recent tradition of curators ‘not just being keepers of collections; curators are inventing processes to bring about works/exhibitions and programmes as an art form.’[2]
I’m more interested in a question that is broader – Should Artists Curate? I’m an artist. A curator friend of mine once told me artists had it easy when approaching curation, because we have another practice to fall back on, so when (I prefer ‘if’) it doesn’t work out, we can use the excuse that we’re not curators, we’re artists.
I said I agreed at the time, but now I’m starting to disagree.
The reason I’m now disagreeing is that artistic practice can now encompass curating as a conceptual offshoot, or even form the crux of what an artist does. When curating becomes an artistic practice, there’s no fall back any more. That’s not to say an artistic practice that encompasses curating is the same as a curatorial practice. It isn’t.
A generalisation:
Whilst we have certainly seen a merging, or crossover of practice between curators and artists over the past ten or twenty years, an artist curating is a different beast to a curator curating.
Artists will always take more risks, because they are interested in that stuff of mistakes and failure as a means to begin an artistic process. It is often within the hic-cups and stumbling inherent to mistake making that contact-points are made in order to generate new ideas and work.
Curators, on the other hand, are more structured; they want more ‘solid’ outcomes, such as clarity of theme or a certain tidiness of thought. This is no bad thing, and I don’t think it needs to change. It’s just a different approach.
‘It’s important to enter curatorial practice from another field. To be trained solely in art history, looking for lineages and provenances, hinders you from thinking about art in a broader frame – a connective tissue that unites positions and questions in a way that a disciplinary structure does not’[3], and if artists bring with them a greater sense of risk and experimentation into the curatorial arena, then they should carry on curating.
‘The artist is a trickster, but the curator can play this role as well.’[4] I prefer the idea of an artist continuing their tricks through the role of curator.

[1] Jens Hoffmann, The Next Documenta Should Be Curated By an Artist website (, Jens Hoffmann and e-flux, 2003.
[2] Mary Jane Jacob, Interview 2002 in On Curating: Interviews with Ten International Curators / by Caroline Thea. Ist ed., (D.A.P. 2009).
[3] Charles Esche, Interview 2005, Ibid.
[4] Mary Jane Jacob, Interview 2002, Ibid.



by Toby Huddlestone

EXHIBITION AS MEDIUM programme, curated by Toby Huddlestone in 2011, concentrated attention on alternate models of exhibition format through the presentation of research through production – exhibitions, screenings, events, talks, symposia, papers and publications have been produced alongside social events, informal discussion and electronic dialogue.

Introduction to the end?

During an 18 month period, over 80 thinkers including artists, curators, writers and visitors contributed to the 7 separate projects making up EXHIBITION AS MEDIUM, unearthing research and adopting new processes in order to investigate shifts in what the exhibition could be.
Several different formats were suggested and tested, in which authorship and control-mechanisms of the artwork/exhibition were shifted, negotiated, renegotiated and shifted again. It is impossible to define what happened, although suggestion of a few words may get us some of the way there – quickness, slowness, intuition, experimenting, co-opting, co-authoring, collaborating, worrying, discussing, conversing, socialising, talking, listening, hearing, making, helping, suggesting, thinking, knowing, not knowing, never knowing, producing, co-producing – many times all these things at once.
Perceived a conversation, the programme began with START SYMPOSIUM in CRATE’s project spaces in April 2011, and although programmatically ended with END SYMPOSIUM in June 2012, it didn’t feel concluded. As with anything produced creatively, therein lies a contribution that ignites further conversations and thinking, a tributary to a landscape of discussion, unconcerned of becoming actualised by becoming something tangible and accessible.
Rather than simply collating and archiving the EXHIBITION AS MEDIUM programme, END SYMPOSIUM served to continue research into alternative exhibition formats, indefinable areas of practice, the potential to co-work and co-produce, the breaking down of institutional hierarchies and organisational structures and many other things.
The programme regularly perceived the exhibition as one multi-authored artwork rather than a space in which to show separate hermetic works, bringing a greater sense of authorship to exhibition making. The programme has attempted to bridge the chasm between the discussion generated through research and process, and our ‘final’ exhibited product.

The following questions acted as research for the programme:
/ How can we breakdown existing hierarchies between organisations, curators and artists, instead finding some commonality of practice and expression?
/ Can we mould collective ideas together in order to co-author and co-produce exhibitions, events and artworks?
/ How can we explore a shift in authorship and control between curators and artists?
/ How can we express artistic practice, rather than just artistic product?
/ Is it more interesting and freeing to ignore ideas around the catagorisation of rigid art practices?
/ Is it more interesting to say ‘I am the artist, curator, exhibition, programme and organisation’ rather than ‘I am the artist’?
/ What is the role of our public(s) when working on conversation-driven programmes? Can we become our own public(s)?
/ What kind of impact do programmes such as Exhibition as Medium have on audience, the art world and culture?

The programme / /

1. Solo show /group show
Noel Clueit, Bob Levene, David Martin, Dan Meththananda andWoodmill (Alastair Frazer, Naomi Pearce and Richard Sides)
Solo Show/Group Show saw a group exhibition presented as a series of cumulative solo exhibitions. Each artist produced and presented new work in the gallery space at different times during the exhibition, choosing either to use or disregard what had gone before them. For the curator, importance shifted from spatial or thematic concerns towards the exhibition’s time frame. For the artist, this format of group exhibition instigated and supported a much more active decision-making role than usual, responding physically to others’ work in the space, so shifted elements of curatorial (spatial, aesthetic and thematic) control over to the artists. The curator’s role became less significant, other than setting the initial parameters, by passing all control of the exhibited product on to the artist. Each artist took on the gallery as a temporary workplace akin to that of a studio, in which they found things which they must work with in some way. Without using pre-made works ready to hang on the white walls or place on the floor – they became an ongoing work themselves in the space in amongst the visiting public.
Despite the artists being in a group exhibition together, they did not personally meet during the exhibition, due to the applied curatorial structure concentrating on time rather than space. Instead, their practices’ met in a more urgent (than usual) space, their artworks insisting upon use rather than contemplation, creating a physical conversation within the gallery space. Instead of the artists’ being invited and curated into a standard group exhibition with work on the walls next to another artist, the artists authored the entire space, whilst having to deal with what had gone before in an enveloping and overlapping process of cumulatively produced artworks.
Notes: Urgency, quickness, response, co-authoring of works, audience communication.

Valentinas Klimasauskas, Raimundas Malasauskas, Jonathan Monk, Museum of American Art, and Paul O’Neill
Group Show/Solo Show (Robert Barry) centred on the work of conceptual artist Robert Barry. A reinvention of the solo show. Re-workings and re-interpretations of Barry’s work were presented in the only exhibition in the EXHIBITION AS MEDIUM programme that remained in a static form. The focus here resided more in what a solo show could constitute, in this case focusing on artists and thinkers who have utilised Barry’s ideas in order to create new work or re-imagine original works.
The process of selecting artists and works, was much more an experiment in curatorial practice than an invited and ‘organised’ solo exhibition. Through not showing any Robert Barry works in a Robert Barry solo show, authorship and control, the things so avidly investigated and so articulated expressed originally by Barry, pass back onto the curator. The curator pretends to be the solo artist, alongside the group of participating artists pretending to be the solo artist. The solo artist is still the solo artist.
Notes: homage, inspiration, the stuff on the periphery of practice, other artists.

This was a Desmond Church solo show curated by 6 young curators who have just recently graduated from the Royal College of Art MA Curating course.
Six curators, one artist, one gallery, three weeks. The focus of Notes for an Exhibition was a move away from methods of teleological exhibition-making toward action, response and production, with an emphasis on collaboration and discussion, association and conversation.
I invited in the curators with a proposal: to select an artist to work with who would only send them raw research material, no finalised works. The curators would then have to work, or ‘deal’ with this material and present a solo exhibition of that artist through their own workings. The curators originally agreed, then a week later came back to me and said they’d be uncomfortable working in this way – producing artistic work through someone else’s research.They therefore selected Desmond Church, who is an artist who works with proposals and propositional-based work. He would send the curators three separate proposals per week over three weeks, which the curators would then translate into works.
Notes: a shift in authorship, control of artworks, curator’s role, artist’s role.

Large scale group show spanning 3 gallery spaces and the outside space inbetween.
There was an events programme curated by Limbo (neighbouring art space). Four events – a t-shirt sale, a talk, a gig then a screening – occured throughout the timescale of the exhibition, physically and conceptually shifting the exhibition continually, each event leaving a short-term legacy on the spatial framework before the next. So before each event we would make way for it, by moving and repositioning artworks. After the event, the artworks remained in place, they were not moved back, so allowing for a kind of physical legacy of what had happened each time, shifting the exhibition radically from beginning to end.
The show was not about Punk-rock. More over, the 3 minute punk-rock song was used as a framework in which to align certain artworks and artists together. The works dealt with errors, spasms, glorious hiccups and splutters, reminiscent of our everyday stumblings. They dealt with a certain kind of generosity; a generosity of quickness, urgency, interruption and blurring.

Event Show / The Way Things Go / A Way of Doing Things was the final exhibition as part of the EXHIBITION AS MEDIUM programme. It was a project that concentrated on collaborative working processes, focusing on research and discussion as major factors in the art-making process, rather than making and showing. It attempted to unravel working and thinking and push these often hidden processes public.
Event Show began with a screening of Fischli and Weiss’ The Way Things Go. This lead to A Way of Doing Things, where notions of the natural evolution of ideas and things become secondary to pragmatism and a sense of wanting to get things done. A Way of Doing Things was a reference point for discussion and thinking, which moved on to form something else. We can refer back to The Way Things Were and point towards The Way Things Will Be, choosing to shift philosophical position within the timeframe of Event Show.
So Event Show began with an idea that the artists involved could maybe use The Way Things Go as an analogy and a model for practice and art-making. Rather than simply seeing TWTG as a film to be consumed and enjoyed, is it more interesting to use it as a tool in order to make new work from?
My suggestion was based on the notion of replacing the objects in the film (binbags, tyres, models, etc.) with practitioners (artists, curators, whatever) and also replacing the processes in the film (igniting, falling, exploding) with contemporary art processes (discussing, thinking, suggesting, responding, etc.)
The suggestion was to try and focus on the strands linking events rather than the events themselves, so that through a series of events, the links connecting them could be where concentration is placed, leading to some kind of recollection of TWTG.
I explained my proposal to the artists to produce this series of interconnected events. and they decided to use a forecasting technique used during the Cold War called The Delphi Method. This allowed for an anonymous collaborative discussion between the artists, with the curator acting as facilitator through the entire process. Questions were sent by the facilitator (curator) to each expert (artists). The artists would respond, then the facilitator would collate, edit and send the experts the condensed answers along with new questions relating. This process was repeated until the events could be forecasted.

The process of using The Delphi Method allowed the artists to incrementally refine their ideas for Event Show, which lead to 5 separate actions as part of one overall event, which happened on 3 June. The Press release read as follows:


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Vincent Honoré Could you describe the Museo Marino Marini and its mission? What makes it unique both locally and internationally?
Alberto Salvadori The Museo Marino Marini’s mission is to expand and increase the knowledge of Marino Marini’s work and to help and promote a new generation of artists inspired by his art, as he wrote in his diaries: “I wish young artists to know my work and also to help them to follow their dreams, ideas, and projects.”. We try to fulfill this desire.
Moreover, I think that the Museum is quite a unique place, for some very specific reasons. The collection and the exhibition spaces are in a Renaissance church, which was renovated in 1458 by the great Leon Battista Alberti. During the ’70s of the past century Marino Marini and his wife, while searching for a place in Florence to display and preserve his artworks, found this church, at the time completely abandoned. In the last two centuries the building had changed several times its identity: since 1808, in the Napoleonic period, it was turned into a lottery venue, then in the first cigar factory in Florence (the famous Toscano cigar was made here). Afterwards for a very long time it was an army deposit, until its final destination: Marino Marini Museum. The artist decided to ask two of his close friends, whose master had been the famous architect Giovanni Michelucci, to think about the renovation of the building and they made a very special project with brutalist roots and references to Albini, Scarpa and Michelucci. A few years ago I decided to start the restoration of the Rucellai Chapel by Leon Battista Alberti, a great masterpiece of the Italian Renaissance, that originally was part of the church. In the 19th century the passage between the Chapel and the church had been closed, and I decided to re-open it and connect it again to the museum. It seems to me that now the museum is a kind of time machine: the Renaissance church with Alberti’s masterpiece, the Marino Marini collection from last century, the later brutalist renovation, and our contemporary art program.
The second reason that makes the museum unique is that we invest all our budget in production, production, production.

1. Overview of the ground floor

2. Museo Marino Marini. Overview of the ground floor

V.H. How do you articulate contemporary creations and emerging art with the work of Marino Marini, who could be defined as a modern sculptor?
A.S. The exhibitions and the joint programmes dedicated to performance, music, dance, cinema, and literature are related to sculpture and to its transformations from the legacy of Marino Marini – both archaic and modernist – to the new generations of artists.
From the ’20s to the ’70s, Marino Marini has embodied two great facets of 20th century art: the study and return to classicism, well represented in Italy and Europe between the end of the 19th century and the first decades of the 20th, and the precepts of modernism with its strong ideological drive. Marino Marini is a truly representative modern sculptor.

V.H. Why including a programme of contemporary art in a museum –and one could also say in a city– which is dedicated to the research and conservation of a specific heritage?
A.S. As we live in a city with a glorious past, whose artistic achievements have been so influential in the Western world, we have decided to operate in the present, counting on a heritage which is almost unique in its richness. We mean to address the citizens of Florence and its metropolitan area, who participate in this heritage while needing to live in dialogue with the present time. We are one of the few institutions in Florence that focuses its activity on the local community. The dialogue with our everyday present is the key focus of our work.


3. Exhibition view, Deimantas Narkevičius, da capo

V.H. PIANO intends to create a network of art spaces working together, exchanging and interacting. Why did you decide to join the project and how are you participating in it?

A.S. We have decided to participate in PIANO because sharing ideas and projects with other countries stimulates cultural and artistic growth. French FRAC and centres d’art have always been very active and their production has been of a high quality. That is why we thought of profiting of this opportunity in the best possible way. Our experience about the project Alfred Jarry Archipelago is giving excellent results and the French Institutions, even those that are active in Italy, have worked with us and they have offered a great collaboration.

Project: Alfred Jarry Archipelago
Space: Museo Marino Marini
Protagonists: Alberto Salvadori, Leonardo Bigazzi

Vincent Honoré Puoi descrivere il Museo Marino Marini e la sua missione? Che cosa lo rende unico a livello locale e internazionale?
Alberto Salvadori La missione del Museo Marino Marini consiste nell’espansione e nell’accrescimento della conoscenza dell’opera di Marino Marini, oltre che nel sostegno e nella promozione di una nuova generazione di artisti che traggono ispirazione dalla sua arte. Come Marini dichiarò nei suoi diari: “Desidero che i giovani artisti conoscano il mio lavoro. La mia ambizione è di aiutarli a seguire i loro sogni, le loro idee e i loro progetti”. Il nostro obiettivo è realizzare questo desiderio. Penso che il museo sia un luogo unico per diverse ragioni. Gli spazi destinati alla collezione e alla programmazione espositiva si trovano all’interno di una chiesa rinascimentale, restaurata nel 1458 dal grande Leon Battista Alberti. Durante gli anni Settanta nel secolo scorso, Marino Marini e sua moglie, in cerca di un luogo a Firenze dove esporre e conservare le opere dell’artista, trovarono questa chiesa, al tempo completamente abbandonata. Negli ultimi due secoli l’edificio aveva mutato più volte la propria destinazione d’uso: a partire dal 1808, durante l’era napoleonica, esso era stato trasformato in una sala d’estrazione per la lotteria, poi nella prima fabbrica di sigari di Firenze (il famoso sigaro Toscano veniva prodotto qui). In seguito, per un lungo periodo di tempo, il sito fu usato come deposito di armi, fino alla sua destinazione finale, quella di sede del Museo Marino Marini. L’artista decise di chiedere a due dei suoi amici più stretti, allievi del famoso architetto Giovanni Michelucci, di pensare al restauro dell’edificio. Il risultato fu un progetto molto particolare con radici brutaliste e riferimenti ad Albini, Scarpa e Michelucci. Alcuni anni fa ho deciso di avviare il restauro della Cappella Rucellai di Leon Battista Alberti, un grande capolavoro del Rinascimento italiano, originariamente parte integrante della chiesa. Il passaggio tra la cappella e la chiesa, chiuso nel XIX secolo, è stato riaperto e collegato nuovamente agli spazi del museo. Ora il museo è una sorta di macchina del tempo: la chiesa rinascimentale con il capolavoro albertiano, la collezione di Marino Marini risalente al secolo scorso, il successivo restauro in stile brutalista e il nostro programma artistico contemporaneo.
Il secondo elemento che rende il museo unico è la nostra scelta di investire tutto il nostro budget in produzione, produzione, produzione.

V.H. In che modo articoli il dialogo tra le creazioni contemporanee e l’arte emergente da un lato e il lavoro di Marino Marini, che potrebbe essere definito uno scultore moderno, dall’altro?
A.S. Le mostre e i programmi dedicati alla performance, alla musica, alla danza, al cinema e alla letteratura sono legati alla scultura e alle sue trasformazioni dall’eredità di Marino Marini, artista allo stesso tempo arcaico e modernista, sino alle nuove generazioni di artisti.
Dagli anni Venti agli anni Settanta, Marino Marini ha incarnato due grandi aspetti dell’arte del XX secolo: lo studio e il ritorno al classicismo, ben interpretato in Italia e in Europa tra la fine del XIX e i primi decenni del XX secolo, e i precetti del modernismo con il suo forte accento ideologico. Marino Marini è una figura chiave della scultura moderna.

V.H. Da cosa deriva la scelta di proporre una programmazione dedicata all’arte contemporanea in un museo, a sua volta collocato in una città, dedicati alla ricerca e alla conservazione di un’eredità così specifica?
A.S. Vivendo in una città dal glorioso passato, i cui prodotti culturali sono stati così influenti su tutto il mondo occidentale, abbiamo deciso di agire nel presente, basandoci su un’eredità unica per la sua ricchezza. Desideriamo rivolgerci ai cittadini di Firenze e della sua area metropolitana, che fanno parte di questa eredità e hanno allo stesso tempo il bisogno di vivere in dialogo con il presente. Siamo una delle poche istituzioni della città che concentra la propria attività sulla comunità locale. Il dialogo con il nostro presente e la nostra quotidianità è la chiave del lavoro che svolgiamo.

V.H. PIANO intende creare una rete di spazi artistici che lavorano insieme, attraverso le pratiche dello scambio e dell’interazione. Per quale motivo hai deciso di prendere parte al progetto e come si realizza la tua partecipazione?
A.S. Abbiamo deciso di prendere parte al programma PIANO perché la condivisione delle idee e dei progetti con altri Paesi stimola la crescita culturale e artistica. I FRAC e i centres d’art francesi sono sempre stati molto attivi e in grado di proporre una produzione culturale di alto livello. È per questo che abbiamo deciso di approfittare di questa opportunità nel miglior modo possibile. La nostra esperienza con il progetto Alfred Jarry Archipelago sta dando eccellenti risultati e le istituzioni francesi, anche quelle attive in Italia, hanno lavorato con noi offrendo grande collaborazione.

1. Exhibition view, 30/60 Opere dalla collezione del FRAC Champagne-Ardenne, curated by Leonardo Bigazzi and Florence Derieux
2. Museo Marino Marini. Overview of the ground floor
3. Exhibition view, Deimantas Narkevičius, da capo, curated by Alberto Salvadori and Andrea Viliani
Photos: © Dario Lasagni



Roma Publications / Roger Willems

Andrea Baccin When did the collaboration between you and Mark Manders begin, and why did you decide to start a publishing house?
Roger Willems We worked together for the first time in 1998. I helped designing a catalogue for his exhibition at the São Paulo Biennial in the same year. After that we started Roma Publications. We didn’t really think of starting a publishing house, especially not as a business. We enjoyed making books independently and made our living with our other work. Over the years it slowly took over my practice and I hardly do commissioned work anymore.

A.B. What is your approach to making a book? What are your selection criteria and what is the mission of Roma Publications?
R.W. Often new books are connected to previous ones, with artists we worked with before. Besides that we choose intuitively and try not to do too many things. Our goal is to keep it close to ourselves and grow steady by going on for many years. Not by making more books per year.

A.B. How did you select the books to be presented for The Book Society project at Peep-Hole?
R.W. I didn’t really know how the exhibition would function, so I just selected recent titles, completed with some older highlights, if I remember well.

A.B. What is the relationship between the book and the exhibition space? For example, I’m thinking of the exhibition at Giuliani Foundation. What is the relationship between exhibiting the book as an object and actually reading it?
R.W. Most of the time books travel alone and end up in an endless amount of different contexts. That’s the natural life of a book. But on special occasions it’s great to show our books together because they do relate to each other. It’s a pleasure to share this overview and to take the opportunity to bring artists together that are part of Roma. Like a family reunion.

Dent-de-Leone / Gemma Holt

Andrea Baccin Can you tell me about Dent-de-Leone?
Gemma Holt Yes, it is a publishing structure which allows to knock on doors of people whose work we find interesting and propose an editorial/publishing project. We are tiny and unskilled in what most professional publishers do such as distribution, but in the few years it has existed, it does create a sense of a group of people and interests.

A.B. What makes your publishing house different from the others?
G.H. We are busy with other questions than to try and be different. Each publication seems to be a nice opportunity to try something. On a practical level the production money comes from different channels than sales so it frees us from a certain pressure other structures could have.

A.B. What is your mission?
G.H. To hug new people.

A.B. Do you publish self-productions or books on commission?
G.H. Both, it is increasingly difficult to make a difference between the two, especially when we also design books elsewhere for other publishing companies or commissioners.

A.B. What is your view on exhibiting a book in an exhibition space versus reading it?
G.H. It was difficult to find a copy of Abbie Hoffman’s Steal This Book in California. The journey to find it was as exciting as reading it.

A.B. What is your approach to graphics in your projects, and what are the criteria in selecting the books you publish?
G.H. We always work with åbäke for the graphic design so they discuss with the artists. There is a form of authorial translation but we suspect the whole thing is to broaden friendship… which leads to thinking that most people we have published are friends or have become one.

Project: The Book Society #02
Space: Peep-Hole

1. The Book Society #02, Peep-Hole, Milan. Courtesy Rio Grande

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Vincent Honoré When was Le Quartier Contemporary Art Center created, and what were the factors that brought it into being?
Keren Detton Le Quartier was founded in 1990 on the initiative of the former director of the Quimper art school, Michel Pagnoux. Its underpinnings were the intense competition in art, literature and film in Quimper and the implementation of the decentralisation policies initiated by Jack Lange in the mid-1980s. A series of preview exhibitions with international artists convinced municipal decision-makers to support the creation of a centre d’art. Le Quartier was set up in the same building as the art school but operated autonomously, enabling it to be part of a professional network to which students had special access. Subsequently, the implementation of a contract with the state, region and department guaranteed that it would be possible to work with the public in a sustained way, particularly through the assistance they provided for the production of works and for mediation activities.

Project room

2. Project room, Le Quartier CAC

V.H. Charles Esche described his ideal museum as fundamentally uncertain: simultaneously and fully a community centre, laboratory, institute and gallery. A place where production is not necessarily “productive”, a place that is always being reconfigured, an open form with an incomplete architecture. How did you structure the centre’s curatorial approach when you took up the director’s post?
K.D. A centre d’art is by definition a place of reconfigurations and reconsiderations. In 2010, I suggested reviewing the allocation of the spaces in Le Quartier so that we could create a Project Room, an artistic experimentation zone serving as a counterpoint to the exhibitions, reactive to artists’ ideas and able to accommodate works in progress or works stemming from collective creative processes. The idea was to shake up the annual programme, introduce different rhythms, play on synchronic or diachronic effects, while preserving an artistic research space over the long term and continuing to do creative work with publications (catalogues, anthologies of texts, artist books). I also wanted to work on the porosity between the inside and outside in order to shatter the military aspect of this former barracks and highlight the seeing conditions. The fact of opening the exhibition rooms to the light of day had an effect on the centre d’art’s regulars. It was as if visitors were both surprised and relieved to see the works integrated into their day-to-day life. This pleased me, because I think a centre d’art should be able to bring itself into play just as much as it presents things, favouring encounters and questioning disparities. Recently, artist and architect Catherine Rannou offered a visit to the worksite of an exhibition setup tackling architecture through language and imagination, radically transforming the institution. I find it very stimulating when works speak to visitors on the level of their relationship to the body and to language.

05 Pierre Labat

3. Pierre Labat, Mr. Anderson, 2012

V.H. What is the role of the director of a contemporary centre d’art in 2015 ?
K.D. Le Quartier will be celebrating its 25th anniversary in a shaken political, economic and media context. The state is withdrawing, the map of regions is changing and the status of centres d’art is very weakened. As we speak, Le Quartier is being threatened by drastic budget cuts, and yet its balance sheet has been unanimously praised by all of its public partners. It runs an untimely programme alongside artists, investigates our visual cultures through images and language, and merrily crosses the boundaries between disciplines. Yet it is being told to justify its legitimacy. If mobility is greater today, what can a centre d’art offer in the provinces? Le Quartier is in a prime position between the art school, to which it offers genuine professional springboards, and the fine art museum, with which it collaborates regularly. But above all it is a place of emerging forms and ideas, passions and questions. It is rooted in its territory and resonates with places elsewhere, and keeps up a dialogue with artists and visitors. The director’s role is to keep this relationship with art and artists alive.

Ante Timmermans, Der Souffleur des ICHTS, 2014-2015

4. Ante Timmermans, Der Souffleur des ICHTS, 2014-2015

V.H. PIANO wants to create a forum for exchange and dialogue between Italian and French art centres. Why did you wish to participate and what programme are you proposing?
K.D. It’s a chance, through an association like d.c.a, to be able to connect with an art scene in another country, develop a better knowledge of its network of institutions and independents, exchange ideas and build things in with several others. It’s even essential, because a centre d’art feeds on alterity. Alfred Jarry Archipelago was born of the desire to understand artistic creation today through Alfred Jarry, the father of pataphysics. The project has turned into an open curatorial platform, which apprehends the legacy of the author of Ubu Roi not historically but speculatively. Since he was a well-informed observer of the artists of his time, we decided to make way for Alfred Jarry the curator! With Julie Pellegrin, director of the centre d’art La Ferme du Buisson in Noisiel, we are presenting a two-part exhibition, La valse des pantins – Act I and II. Leonardo Bigazzi, curator at the Museo Marino Marini in Florence, is presenting a programme of performances. Eva Wittocx, curator at M – Museum and for the Playground Festival in Leuven (Belgium) is joining us by linking monographic exhibitions and performances. The project framework is open enough to incorporate different points of view on this subversive figure full of contrasts, and to more closely examine his relationship to theatre, his projection of bodies and desire, his use of codes and absurdity, and the mixing of genres and identities. A publication in the form of an almanac will be the receptacle of this multiplicity of perspectives, with supplements provided by new contributors, authors and artists.


5. Shelly Nadashi, Poupée épouvantail avec pots et sac à dos, 2011-2014

Pauline Curnier Jardin   Blutbad Parade, 2014-2015

6. Pauline Curnier Jardin, Blutbad Parade, 2014-2015

Project: Alfred Jarry Archipelago
Space: Le Quartier CAC
Protagonist: Keren Detton

Vincent Honoré Quand a été créé Le Quartier, centre d’art contemporain et qu’est-ce qui a présidé à sa création ?
Keren Detton Le Quartier a été fondé en 1990 à l’initiative de l’ancien directeur de l’école d’art de Quimper, Michel Pagnoux. Les prémisses étaient ceux d’une forte émulation artistique, littéraire et cinématographique à Quimper et la mise en place des politiques de décentralisation initiées par Jack Lang au début des années 80. Une série d’expositions de préfiguration avec des artistes internationaux a convaincu les décideurs municipaux de soutenir la création d’un centre d’art. Le Quartier a pris place dans le même bâtiment que l’école d’art mais avec un fonctionnement autonome qui lui permet de s’inscrire dans un réseau professionnel auquel les étudiants ont un accès privilégié. Par la suite, la mise en place d’un conventionnement avec l’Etat, la région et le département a pu garantir la possibilité de travailler de manière soutenue avec les publics, notamment par leur aide à la production d’œuvres et aux actions de médiation.

V.H. Charles Esche a décrit son musée idéal comme étant fondamentalement incertain : a la fois, simultanément, et intégralement, centre communautaire, laboratoire, institut, galerie. Un lieu où la production n’est pas obligatoirement “productive”, un lieu en permanente reconfiguration, une forme ouverte à l’architecture incomplète. Comment avez-vous structuré l’approche curatoriale du lieu quand vous en avez pris la direction ?
K.D. Le centre d’art est par définition un espace de reconfigurations et de remises en question. En 2010, j’ai proposé de revoir l’affectation des espaces du Quartier de manière à créer un Project Room, une zone d’expérimentations artistiques en contrepoint des expositions, réactif aux idées des artistes et pouvant accueillir des œuvres en train de se faire ou bien issues de processus de création collectifs. L’idée était de bousculer le programme annuel, d’introduire des rythmes différents, de jouer sur des effets synchroniques ou diachroniques, tout en préservant un espace de recherche artistique dans la durée et un travail critique avec les éditions (catalogues, anthologies de textes, livres d’artistes). Je voulais aussi travailler sur la porosité entre le dedans et le dehors pour casser le côté militaire de cette ancienne caserne et mettre en exergue les conditions du regard. Le fait d’ouvrir les salles d’exposition à la lumière du jour a marqué les habitués du centre d’art, c’est comme si les visiteurs avaient été, à la fois, surpris et soulagés de voir les œuvres inscrites dans leur quotidien. Cela m’a plu, car je pense qu’un centre d’art doit pouvoir se mettre en jeu autant qu’il met en scène, favoriser les rencontres et questionner les écarts. Récemment, Catherine Rannou, artiste et architecte, a proposé une visite sur le chantier d’un montage d’exposition attaquant l’architecture par le verbe et par l’imaginaire, transformant l’institution de manière radicale. Je trouve très stimulant quand les œuvres interpellent le visiteur dans son rapport au corps et au langage.

V.H. Quel est le rôle d’un directeur de centre d’art contemporain en 2015 ?
K.D. Le Quartier fêtera ses 25 ans cette année dans un contexte politique, économique et médiatique bouleversé. L’Etat se retire, la carte des régions se modifie et le statut des centres d’art est très fragilisé. A l’heure où je vous réponds, Le Quartier est menacé de coupes drastiques dans son budget, pourtant son bilan est unanimement salué par tous ses partenaires publics. Il porte une programmation intempestive avec des artistes, investigue nos cultures visuelles à travers l’image et le langage, et franchit allègrement les frontières entre les disciplines. Pourtant, on le somme de justifier sa légitimité. Si la mobilité est plus grande aujourd’hui, que peut apporter un centre d’art en région ? Le Quartier occupe une place de choix entre l’école d’art, pour laquelle il offre de véritables tremplins professionnels, et le musée des beaux-arts avec lequel il collabore régulièrement. Mais c’est avant tout un lieu d’émergence de formes et d’idées, de passions et de questions. Il est ancré dans son territoire et résonne avec l’ailleurs, entretient un dialogue avec les artistes et les visiteurs. Le rôle du directeur est de garder vivante cette relation à l’art et aux artistes.

V.H. PIANO veut créer un espace d’échanges et de dialogues entre des lieux d’art italiens et français. Pourquoi avez-vous souhaité participer et quel programme proposez-vous ?
K.D. C’est une chance, à travers une association comme d.c.a, de pouvoir se relier à une scène artistique étrangère, développer une meilleure connaissance de son réseau institutionnel et indépendant, échanger des idées et construire à plusieurs. C’est même essentiel car un centre d’art se nourrit de l’altérité. Alfred Jarry Archipelago est né de la volonté de comprendre la création artistique d’aujourd’hui à travers Alfred Jarry, père de la pataphysique. Le projet s’est transformé en une plateforme curatoriale ouverte, qui appréhende l’héritage de l’auteur d’UbuRoi non pas de manière historique mais spéculative. Puisqu’il était un observateur averti des artistes de son temps, il s’agissait pour nous de céder la place à Alfred Jarry commissaire ! Avec Julie Pellegrin, directrice du centre d’art de la Ferme du Buisson à Noisiel, nous présentons une exposition en deux volets, La valse des pantins – Acte I et II. Leonardo Bigazzi, curateur au Museo Marino Marini à Florence, propose un programme de performances. Par ailleurs, Eva Wittocx, curatrice au Museum M et pour le Playground Festival à Louvain (Belgique) nous a rejoints en associant des expositions monographiques et des performances. Le cadre du projet est suffisamment ouvert pour croiser les points de vue sur cette figure contrastée et subversive, examiner de plus près son rapport au théâtre, sa projection des corps et du désir, son usage des codes et de l’absurde, le mélange des genres et des identités. Une publication sous la forme d’un Almanach sera le réceptacle de cette pluralité de regards avec des prolongements apportés par de nouveaux contributeurs, auteurs et artistes.

1. Façade, Le Quartier CAC. © Le Quartier
2. Project room, Le Quartier CAC. Exhibition view, Variations autour de Bruno Munari – Posters d’artistes, Le Quartier CAC, 2013. Photo:  © Dieter Kik
3. Pierre Labat, Mr. Anderson, 2012. Exhibition view, Armer les toboggans, Le Quartier CAC, 2012. Photo: © Dieter Kik
4. Ante Timmermans, Der Souffleur des ICHTS, 2014-2015. Exhibition view, Alfred Jarry Archipelago – The Waltz of the Puppets – Act I, Le Quartier CAC, 2015. Photo: Emile Ouroumov
5. Shelly Nadashi, Poupée épouvantail avec  pots et sac à dos, 2011-2014. Exhibition view, Alfred Jarry Archipelago – The Waltz of the Puppets – Act ILe Quartier CAC, 2015. Photo: Emile Ouroumov
6. Pauline Curnier Jardin, Blutbad Parade, 2014-2015. Exhibition view, Alfred Jarry Archipelago – The Waltz of the Puppets – Act ILe Quartier CAC, 2015. Photo: Emile Ouroumov

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Dorothée Dupuis Could you talk about your formal influences? What do you look at? How do you think? How has your training as a designer informed how you produce forms in the exhibition sphere? It seems that the language of abstraction is still important for you. In what sense do you think you’re tackling it in a new way?
Clémence Seilles I regularly go back and see images by my classical masters: Tatlin, Sottsass, Sonia, as well as Robert Delaunay, Superstudio, Hélio Oiticica, the Gelatin collective… to mention only a handful of “dirty artists” who have navigated or are navigating, casually and doubtfully, between applied arts and fine arts. Primordial shapes like circles, triangles, squares… enable me to concentrate more on narratives, circumstances and processes. I proceed from what societies tangibly produce to build themselves. I visit companies dealing in supplies or construction equipment, and go to rendering plants and product assembly factories. I idly drive through industrial estates in Italy, France, Germany and Holland. On YouTube I watch guitar swirling in garages and industrial plastic machining. In China, Russia, Morocco, Jamaica and Mexico, I study wire mesh houses, terracotta vehicles, simple and exuberant displays, custom cars, street amenities for chance meetings… I’m fascinated by amusements, even the most modest: a subwoofer in a pot with holes, a fish-shaped gun barrel in the bar of a deck chair… I adore permissive societies. The work Bassin ouvert (Open Basin) at ar/ge kunst in Bolzano, which first appeared at Triangle in Marseille, is a desire to create a social space within that of art, where people are invited to create a critical product. In this context, the work is at once an everyday object and something fantastical: a fountain, a long swimming pool, in which shapes and materials follow directly from the research I mentioned a moment ago. Although my training as a designer informs manipulations of conventions (much more than manipulations of shapes), the exhibition sphere, which is not very familiar with functional services and devices, opens up a fertile field of experiments that are more complicated to develop in the commercial sphere.

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2. Exhibition view, Clémence Seilles, Bassin ouvert

D.D. You do a lot of collaborative projects with your “gang”. You’re invited to organise birthdays (Triangle, ar/ge kunst); your friends cross Europe to work with you; you share the fee money; you sell cocktails and t-shirts; you teach; you occupy squats and villas. Are you more of a Fassbinder, Wako or Beverly Hills 90210?
C.S. I’m from Montboucons. It’s the Beverly Hills of Besançon in Franche-Comté. A gang can be Philip K. Dick (Ubik) and Kerouac (The Dharma Bums) living in the City of Quartz (Mike Davis), flirting on Less Than Zero (Bret Easton Ellis) with the risk of ending up like in The Postman Always Rings Twice (James M. Cain), alone and condemned. I try to combine sustainable economic efficiency with the risk of alienation. The gang – made up of artists, designers, composers, curators and architects who are all fanatical about hard beats – lives between Berlin, Amsterdam and Paris, and is heterogeneous and multifarious. There’s no unifying manifesto, exclusive dogma, or even a name. The action hierarchies are healthy, made of individuals who do their singular research and can take turns implementing or supporting a project. Drama is part of this game that we haven’t really found rules for, but experience has shown us that the virtues of fraternity bring tangible added value to our critical ambitions and to the wellbeing of our respective lives. To name a few of these creations that I’m surrounded by: the Krux, a giant, well-equipped collective studio for periods of production, big parties and ‘afters coalitions’. PostNorma, a fabulous squat conquered and dissolved in one year, which generated workshops and various events. The Dirty Art department, an institutional bouillabaisse that made lots of meetings and journeys possible. SANKS, a design company among friends. Cicciolinas, unifying techno parties. Secret Castles, a contemporary art festival/summer camp hybrid…

Cl+®mence Seilles - argekunst web 01

3. Exhibition view, Clémence Seilles, Bassin ouvert

D.D. How do you reconcile the “post-hippie” aspect of your methodology with the need for rigour linked to the idea of artistic commitment? What is you position in all of this relative to institutions and the art market?
C.S. I see the “hippie” position, this sort of non-conformist, as a necessary step, even if it’s only temporary, time enough to identify our views and strengthen them while freeing ourselves from commodities as much as possible. I don’t want to marginalise myself on a desert island and live my life with my group, I simply want to avoid getting sucked up by the art market, so I have time to create. I believe in a market that’s integrated into society, and it is precisely by being active in different spheres and markets (art, design, performance) that one can build a new kind of expert position. My artistic commitment is romantic. It is to create an optimal climate for creativity, establishing circumstances that produce autonomous strengths and attitudes without excluding myself from society – quite the opposite. I practice lateral thinking and oblique strategies. Oblique Strategies is a set of cards invented by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt in 1974. Each card contains a cryptic phrase or comment to meditate on, one that can be used to overcome a creative block or dilemma. Lateral thinking is the opposite of vertical or conventional thinking, which rejects an idea if its application hasn’t been validated. It is based on imagination and on putting forward impossible, absurd, unrealistic theories in order to create springboards towards other ideas that are themselves achievable. Embodied in my practice, this means that I go off into fairly diverse application areas and development structures, working with people who are also very different and sometimes have polar opposite ways of thinking. This makes it more tiring and difficult to exist in different markets instead of only one, since people still have a strong tendency (less in English-speaking countries) to recognise only a single profession for each person. This is why I tirelessly dodge having to justify myself as an artist or a designer and explain why I created the “dirty artist” designation, which symbolises that universal position of the creator before the historical split between applied arts and fine arts.

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4. Exhibition view, Clémence Seilles, Bassin ouvert

Project: Exercizing Doubt. Exhibition as Research
Space: ar/ge kunst Galerie Museum 
Protagonist: Clémence Seilles

Dorothée Dupuis Peux-tu me parler de tes influences formelles ? Qu’est-ce que tu regardes, comment tu penses ? Comment ta formation de designer informe-t-elle ta production de formes dans le domaine de l’exposition ? Le langage de l’abstraction reste, semble-t-il, important pour toi, en quoi penses-tu t’y confronter de façon nouvelle ?
Clémence Seilles Je vais régulièrement revoir des images de mes maîtres classiques : Tatlin, Sottsass, Sonia comme Robert Delaunay, Superstudio, Hélio Oiticica, le collectif Gelatin… pour ne citer qu’une poignée de ‘dirty artists’ ayant navigué ou navigant avec désinvolture et doute entre les arts appliqués et les beaux-arts. Les formes primordiales telles cercles, triangles, carrés… me permettent de me concentrer davantage sur les narrations, les circonstances et les procédés. Je pars de ce que les sociétés produisent de tangible pour se construire. Je visite les compagnies de fournitures, d’équipement de chantiers, des usines de transformations de matériaux, d’assemblage de produits, je conduis désœuvrée dans les zones industrielles d’Italie, de France, d’Allemagne et de Hollande, je visionne sur YouTube du swirling de guitare en garage et de la chaudronnerie plastique industrielle. En Chine, Russie, Maroc, Jamaïque et Mexique, j’étudie les maisons en grillages, les véhicules en terre cuite, les étalages sommaires comme exubérants, les customs de voitures, les aménagements de rue pour réunions fortuites… je suis passionnée par le détournement, même les plus modestes : caisson de basse dans marmite trouée, canon de fusil à poisson dans barre de chaise longue… J’adore les sociétés permissives. L’œuvre Bassin ouvert à ar/ge kunst à Bolzano, et avant dans sa première apparition à Triangle à Marseille, est un désir de créer un espace social dans celui de l’art où des acteurs sont invités à réaliser une production critique. L’œuvre, dans ce contexte, est à la fois objet d’usage et de fantasme : une fontaine, un bassin de nage, dont formes et matériaux découlent directement des recherches évoquées plus hauts. Si ma formation de designer informe des manipulations d’usages (bien plus que de formes), le domaine de l’exposition, peu familier aux services et dispositifs fonctionnels, m’ouvre un champ fertile d’expérimentations, plus compliquées à développer dans le domaine commercial.

D.D. Tu fais beaucoup de projets collaboratifs avec ta “bande”, on t’invite pour organiser des anniversaires (Triangle, ar/ge kunst), tes amis traversent l’Europe pour travailler avec toi, vous partagez l’argent des cachets, vous vendez des cocktails, des t-shirts, vous enseignez, vous occupez des squats et des villas, tu es plutôt Fassbinder, Wako ou Beverly Hills 90210 ?
C.S. Je viens des Montboucons, c’est le Beverly Hills de Besançon en Franche-Comté. Une bande, ça peut être Philip K. Dick (Ubik) et Kerouac (les clochards célestes) qui vivent dans City of quartz (Mike Davis), flirtent sur Less than zero (Bret Easton Ellis) avec le risque de finir comme dans Le facteur sonne toujours deux fois (James M. Cain), seul et condamné. J’essaye de combiner efficacité économique durable et risque d’aliénation. La bande, constituée d’artistes, designers, composeurs, commissaires, architectes, tous boulimiques de rythmes durs, vit entre Berlin, Amsterdam et Paris, et est hétérogène et multiple. Il n’y a pas de manifeste fédérateur, de dogme excluant, de nom même. Les hiérarchies d’actions sont saines, faites d’individus qui entreprennent leurs recherches singulières et peuvent à tour de rôle porter ou appuyer un projet. Le drame fait partie de ce jeu auquel nous n’avons pas vraiment trouvé de règles, mais l’expérience nous a montré que les vertus de la fraternité apportent tout de même une plus-value tangible à nos ambitions critiques et au bien-être de nos vies respectives. Quelques unes de ces réalisations qui m’entourent : le Krux, atelier collectif géant très équipé, pour moments de production, de fêtes géantes et ‘afters coalitions’. PostNorma, un squat fabuleux conquis et dissout en une année, qui généra workshops et évènements divers. Le département Dirty Art, bouillabaisse institutionnelle qui permit beaucoup de rencontres et de voyages. SANKS, une compagnie de design entre amis. Les Cicciolinas, fêtes technos fédératrices. Châteaux secrets, hybride entre festival d’art contemporain et campement d’été…

D.D. Comment concilies-tu l’aspect “post-hippie” de ta méthodologie au besoin nécessaire de rigueur lié à l’idée d’engagement artistique ? Quelle est alors ta position par rapport au marché de l’art et à l’institution dans tout ça ?
C.S. Je vois la posture du “hippie”, cette sorte de marginal, comme une étape nécessaire, même si seulement temporaire, le temps d’identifier le discours et le fortifier en se libérant au maximum des commodités. Je ne souhaite pas m’exclure sur une île déserte et vivre ma vie avec mon groupe, je souhaite simplement que le marché de l’art ne m’aspire pas pour me donner le temps de créer. Je crois en un marché intégré à la société, et c’est justement en agissant dans des domaines et marchés différents (l’art, le design et le spectacle) qu’on peut construire une posture d’expert d’une nature nouvelle. Mon engagement artistique est romantique, il est de créer un climat optimum pour la création, réunir les circonstances qui accouchent de forces et d’attitudes autonomes sans me disqualifier de la société, au contraire. Je pratique pensées latérales et stratégies obliques. Les stratégies obliques est un set de cartes inventées par Brian Eno et Peter Schmidt en 1974. Chaque carte contient une phrase ou une remarque cryptique sur laquelle méditer, qui peut être utilisée pour se sortir d’un blocage créatif ou d’une situation de dilemme. La pensée latérale s’oppose à la pensée verticale, ou classique, selon laquelle une idée est rejetée quand son application n’est pas validée. Elle repose sur l’imagination et l’émission d’hypothèses impossibles, absurdes, irréalistes pour créer des tremplins vers d’autres idées elles-mêmes réalisables. Incarné dans ma pratique, cela veut dire que je pars dans des domaines d’application et structures de développement assez éparses, travaillant avec des acteurs aussi très différents dans des logiques parfois aux antipodes. Cela rend plus fatiguant et difficile d’exister sur différents marchés plutôt qu’un seul, puisque nous avons tout de même une forte tendance (moins dans les pays anglo-saxons) à ne reconnaitre qu’une seule profession à une personne. C’est donc inlassablement que j’esquive de devoir me justifier d’être une artiste ou une designer, et d’avoir créé la dénomination ‘dirty artist’, symbolisant cette position universelle de créateur avant le schisme historique entre arts appliqués et beaux-arts.

1-4. Exhibition views, Clémence Seilles, Bassin ouvert. Photo: aneres. Courtesy the artist and ar/ge kunst

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Vincent Honoré When did you launch Peep-Hole and what prompted you to open this space in Milan?
Vincenzo De Bellis & Bruna Roccasalva We launched Peep-Hole in November 2009, structuring it as a weird cross between British or American alternative spaces and German Kunstverein, but in a country like Italy, where these two models couldn’t exist.
It therefore grew out of the need to create a kind of institution that was lacking here in Milan, and to experiment with this kind of hybrid structure. So one of the first thing spurring us on was the desire to examine what the role and future of the art institution could be today.

2. Adriano Costa, How to be Invisible in High Heels, 2014

2. Adriano Costa, How to be Invisible in High Heels, 2014

V.H. “Peep-Hole’s mission is to weed out useless superstructures, replacing them with a leaner relationship between artwork and viewer.” Can you expound on this, and clarify what the useless superstructures are?
V.D.B. & B.R. Everything that is not strictly necessary to the work and its presentation – which is the purpose of a show – is a superstructure. In the dialogue with the artist, which is a fundamental part of constructing any exhibition, the positions, thoughts, and needs of the curator should never prevail over or obscure those of the artist and of the work. It’s an approach to curating that centers on the artist’s practice and work, which tries to put as few filters as possible between them and the viewing public. All the exhibitions organized by Peep-Hole are developed in this spirit: to create first and foremost the best possible conditions for presenting the work, practice and ideas of an artist. The name itself is an answer to your question. A peep-hole has a fisheye lens that allows a wide field of vision without being visible from outside. Translated into curatorial practice, this means trying to take a broad view of what is going on, but also trying to keep all “interference” between the works and the viewers to a minimum.

3. Uri Aran, Puddles, 2014

3. Uri Aran, Puddles, 2014

V.H. Whatare the main challenges for a space that wants to remain independent?
V.D.B. & B.R. In the art world, spaces like Peep-Hole are called “independent” or “alternative” as a legacy of the ’70s, but the ones founded back then were a true alternative to institutional settings and their official certification of artistic value. Today things have changed, institutions have transformed themselves into something much more flexible, more open to dialogue, so spaces like ours aren’t really alternatives to them so much as outgrowths of them.
We think that nowadays, remaining “independent” primarily means managing to maintain one’s own identity and follow a path of exploration that has a coherent logic of its own, outside of certain art-world mechanisms.

V.H. PIANO is aimed at creating a network of art spaces that work together, exchanging ideas and interacting with each other. Why did you decide to join the project and how are you participating in it?
V.D.B. & B.R. One constant in Peep-Hole’s institutional outlook has always been to forge links by collaborating with other art centers in Italy and abroad. The program Six Ways to Sunday, which consists in inviting an institution to do a show in our space as if it were a satellite project room, is one example. We’ve worked with many institutions over the years, like the Kunsthalle in Zurich, Museion in Bolzano, CAC – Contemporary Art Center in Vilnius, CAC – Centre d’Art Contemporain in Brétigny, Nomas Foundation in Rome, Portikus in Frankfurt, or FRAC Champagne-Ardenne. We want to explore the very nature of the contemporary art institution, and to do this we think it’s fundamental to be open to exchange and dialogue about different possible methods of work. That’s why being part of PIANO is important to us.
The project we are participating with, The Book Society #02, in collaboration with the Synagogue de Delme, is devoted to the most experimental forms of publishing, and intends to investigate the potential of the book as a form of expression.
Publishing is indeed a space in which not only is something conveyed, but content is created. Nowadays many well-established or newly founded independent publishers and countless text-based artistic practices have accelerated the development of this format as one of the most interesting phenomena on the current art scene. For The Book Society #02 we transformed the Peep-Hole space into a reading room where the books of some of Europe’s most interesting publishing houses are presented.
As an integral part of the project, we also invited the French publisher onestar press to bring to Peep-Hole the workshop BOOK MACHINE, focused on the conception, creation and distribution of books.

4. The book machine

4. The book machine

Space: Peep-Hole
Project: The book society #02

Vincent Honoré Quando avete dato vita a Peep-Hole e cosa vi ha spinto ad aprire questo spazio a Milano?
Vincenzo De Bellis & Bruna Roccasalva Abbiamo dato vita a Peep-Hole nel novembre 2009, strutturandolo come un curioso incrocio tra gli spazi alternativi britannici o americani e i kunstverein tedeschi, ma in un Paese come l’Italia, dove questi due modelli non esistevano. Il progetto è perciò nato dalla necessità di creare una tipologia di istituzione che non era rappresentata qui a Milano e di avviare una sperimentazione con questa struttura ibrida. Uno dei primi elementi che ci hanno spinto in questa direzione è stato il desiderio di analizzare quali potevano essere il ruolo e il futuro dell’istituzione artistica nel contesto attuale.

V.H. “La mission di Peep-Hole consiste nel liberarsi di inutile sovrastrutture, sostituendole con una relazione più agile tra l’opera e il pubblico”. Potete approfondire questo punto e chiarire cosa intendente per “inutili sovrastrutture”?
V.D.B. & B.R. Tutto ciò che non è strettamente necessario al lavoro e alla sua presentazione – ossia con il fine di una mostra – è una sovrastruttura. Nel dialogo con l’artista, parte fondamentale della costruzione di una mostra, le posizioni, i pensieri e le necessità di un curatore non dovrebbero mai prevalere su quelli dell’artista e del lavoro, né oscurarli. Si tratta di un approccio curatoriale che mette al centro la pratica dell’artista e la sua opera, e che mira a porre meno filtri possibile tra essi e il pubblico. Tutte le mostre organizzate da Peep-Hole sono sviluppate secondo questa idea: creare prima di tutto le migliori condizioni possibile per presentare il lavoro, la pratica e le idee di un artista. Lo stesso nome dello spazio fornisce una risposta alla tua domanda. Lo spioncino [traduzione del termine inglese peep-hole] è dotato di una lente a occhio di pesce che permette una visione ad ampio raggio senza che esso risulti visibile dall’esterno. Traducendo questo concetto nella pratica curatoriale, significa provare a proporre una visione ampia su ciò che sta accadendo, ma anche tentare di ridurre al minimo ogni “interferenza” tra i lavori e chi li guarda.

V.H. Quali sono le sfide maggiori per uno spazio che ambisce a rimanere indipendente?
V.D.B. & B.R. Nel mondo dell’arte, gli spazi come Peep-Hole sono definiti “indipendenti” o “alternativi” per analogia con la realtà degli anni ’70. Tuttavia gli spazi di quel periodo erano vere alternative ai contesti istituzionali e alla loro legittimazione ufficiale del valore artistico. Oggi le cose sono cambiate, le istituzioni si sono trasformate divenendo più flessibili, più aperte al dialogo, per cui gli spazi come il nostro in realtà non sono tanto alternative quanto derivazioni di esse. Pensiamo che oggi restare “indipendenti” significhi prima di tutto riuscire a mantenere la propria identità e seguire un percorso di indagine dotato di una propria logica coerente, libera da certi meccanismi del mondo dell’arte. 

V.H. PIANO intende creare una rete di spazi artistici che lavorano insieme, attraverso le pratiche dello scambio e dell’interazione. Per quale motivo avete deciso di prendere parte al progetto e come si realizza la vostra partecipazione?
V.D.B. & B.R. La creazione di collaborazioni con altre realtà artistiche in Italia e all’estero è sempre stata una costante della prospettiva istituzionale di Peep-Hole. Il progetto Six Ways to Sunday, che consiste nell’invitare un’istituzione a realizzare una mostra nel nostro spazio come se esso fosse una project room satellite, è un esempio di questo percorso. Negli ultimi anni abbiamo lavorato con molte istituzioni, come la Kunsthalle di Zurigo, Museion di Bolzano, CAC – Contemporary Art Center di Vilnius, CAC – Centre d’Art Contemporain di Brétigny, Nomas Foundation di Roma, Portikus di Francoforte, o FRAC Champagne-Ardenne di Reims. Il nostro intento è esplorare la vera natura dell’istituzione artistica contemporanea e per farlo pensiamo sia fondamentale essere aperti allo scambio e al dialogo sui diversi possibili metodi di lavoro. Per questo motivo per noi è importante prendere parte a PIANO. Il progetto con cui partecipiamo, The Book Society #02, in collaborazione con la Synagogue de Delme, è dedicato alle forme più sperimentali di produzione in ambito editoriale e mira a investigare il potenziale del libro come forma di espressione.
L’editoria è un contesto in cui non solo si veicola qualcosa, ma si produce anche un contenuto. Oggi molte realtà editoriali affermate o fondate recentemente e innumerevoli pratiche artistiche basate sull’uso del testo hanno contribuito ad accelerare lo sviluppo di questo genere di pratica come uno dei fenomeni più interessanti della scena artistica attuale. Per Book Society #02 abbiamo trasformato lo spazio di Peep-Hole in una reading room in cui sono presentate le pubblicazioni di alcune delle case editrici europee più interessanti.
Come parte integrante del progetto abbiamo inoltre invitato l’editore francese onestar press a portare a Peep-Hole il workshop BOOK MACHINE, incentrato sull’ideazione, la creazione e la distribuzione di libri.

1. The Book Society #01, Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Villa Croce, Genoa
2. Adriano Costa, How to be Invisible in High Heels, 2014, concrete, sand, red soil, iron, 50 x 5 cm, variable heights. Installation view at Peep-Hole, Milan, 2014- Courtesy: Peep-Hole. Photo: Andrea Rossetti
3. Uri Aran, Puddles, 2014. Front: Uri Aran, Untitled, 2014, plaster, metal ball bearings, and dog biscuits, 85.5 x 77 x 1,200 cm. Rear: Untitled, 2006, video, 3′24”. Courtesy: Peep-Hole. Photo: Andrea Rossetti


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Vincent Honoré I read in the mission statement of the institution that “in recent years ar/ge kunst has turned its attention toward the idea of the exhibition as a medium.” Can you define further what do you mean by an exhibition as a medium and how this is implemented in the gallery programme?

Emanuele Guidi Exhibitions have always been the main feature of ar/ge kunst since its foundation. That’s why I think it’s important to work with artists, and not just artists, who deal with exhibitions in their complexity. Exhibitions are multifaceted ‘machines’ where artworks play a central, but not exclusive, role. They are the product of relationships between many agents – artist(s), curator(s), artwork(s), audience(s), display, etc. – that have to find an arrangement in space and time. Making an exhibition is about going public, about communicating and about mediating a message, and therefore all elements that constitute the exhibition have to be taken into consideration as agents of mediation and communication; all aspects that make the exhibition a specific medium for ‘going public’. An exhibition is a designed situation, still open to a lot of various uncontrollable factors, time being the first of those; so I am interested in practices that are aware of how this time can be administered and shared among all those who are part of the exhibition, primarily the audience.

2_Falke Pisano con Archive Books_Constellations of One and Many_installation view_photo by_Ivo corra¦Ç

2. Exhibition view, Falke Pisano/Archive Books, Constellation of One and Many

V.H. Nikolaus Hirsch asked this question: “Who are the authors in the construction of institutional space?”. Who are the authors of ar/ge kunst, which the name is being an abbreviation of the German word ‘Arbeitsgemeinschaft’ (working group)?

E.G. The authors of ar/ge kunst have been and are still ‘many’, although we are a small-scale institution with a small staff. When it was founded in 1985 the name ar/ge kunst was chosen to indicate a collective dimension behind the institution, and a collective working methodology. Various people, mainly from the field of art and architecture, curated and organized exhibitions and activities of different kinds with a quite intense rhythm (up to twelve exhibitions a year). Since I was appointed I’ve found it interesting how the meaning of ‘Arbeitsgemeinschaft’ disappeared behind its own abbreviation (ar/ge) and remains unknown to most people. The 30th anniversary in 2015 seems to be the best occasion to explore the notion of ‘collective work’ that originally inspired the choice of the name. And I am doing this by inviting artists, designers, choreographers, theorists, etc., who put into practice this idea of a working community in their research, especially by using the exhibition as a medium to activate forms of relationships.

Cl+®mence Seilles - argekunst web 05

3. Exhibition view, Clémence Seilles, Bassin ouvert

V.H. The mission of your institution is to produce and present regional, national and international artistic practices and to conduct critical research on the role of art and its relationship with the social and political sphere within which it operates. I would like to ask you what you think is the core responsibility of the institution nowadays, with regard to the artists and the audience.

E.G. I feel it’s extremely important – and a mark of respect towards both artists and audience – to find ways to mediate the artists’ practices for the benefit of the regional context in which we operate. It’s clearly important to avoid the risk of being ‘parochial-minded’, and we try to do so by facilitating practices and approaches that are critical and capable of producing links and connections between local and more widespread issues. And I guess this is possible just by administering resources (first of all, time, as the most precious one) in a savvy way. Working in the South Tyrol, a region at the border between Italy and Austria with an extremely dense historical, political, linguistic profile, and therefore not being in any of the ‘official centers’ of the art world, we are able to understand and use time differently, giving artists the opportunity to undertake longer periods of research that can create interesting fractures in the way the local is perceived by the audience. In these terms it’s very important to mobilize forms of community around the artists’ practice and allow them to influence the research as well as adding layers of meaning to the work.

Cl+®mence Seilles - argekunst web 01

4. Exhibition view, Clémence Seilles, Bassin ouvert

V.H. PIANO intends to create a network of art spaces working together, exchanging and interacting. Why did you decide to join the project and how are you participating in it?

E.G. Since arriving in Bolzano I’ve been trying to activate a number of collaborations and co-productions locally, nationally and internationally. It is a process that takes time, but some good steps have been made in this direction. Pierre Bal-Blanc invited me to look into PIANO and introduced me to Bétonsalon. And with Mélanie Bouteloup and Virginie Bobin, we agreed it was important to go beyond the simple exchange of artists and to look at how both institutions relate to the idea of ‘Exhibition as a Medium for Research’. This relates to our current exhibitions in a number of different ways (ar/ge kunst is showing the work by the French artist and designer Clémence Seilles at the moment). We also discussed this topic at a conference at Bétonsalon on 30 May with the Italian collective Invernomuto and the French curator Rémi Parcollet.

Cl+®mence Seilles - argekunst web 18

5. Exhibition view, Clémence Seilles, Bassin ouvert

Vincent Honoré Ho letto nello statement riguardante la mission dell’istituzione che dirigi, che “negli ultimi anni ar/ge kunst ha concentrato la propria attenzione sull’idea dell’exhibition as a medium”. Puoi precisare cosa intendi per ‘exhibition as a medium’ e come si sviluppa questa nozione all’interno del programma dello spazio?

Emanuele Guidi Le mostre sono sempre state l’attività principale di ar/ge kunst, sin dalla fondazione. È per questo che credo sia importante lavorare con artisti, e non solo, che si interessano all’idea di mostra nella sua complessità. Le esposizioni sono “macchine” complesse, nelle quali le opere svolgono un ruolo centrale ma non esclusivo. Esse sono il risultato di relazioni tra diversi attori – artisti, curatori, opere, pubblico, display ecc. – che devono trovare una sistemazione nello spazio e nel tempo. Fare una mostra significa creare un qualcosa di pubblico, comunicare e mediare un messaggio, perciò tutti gli elementi che concorrono a definirla devono essere considerati quali fattori di mediazione e comunicazione. Sono tutti aspetti che fanno della mostra un medium specifico finalizzato a creare qualcosa di pubblico. Una mostra è una situazione progettata, che rimane tuttavia aperta a diversi fattori incontrollabili, il primo dei quali è il tempo. Per questo motivo mi interessano le pratiche che implicano la consapevolezza che il tempo può essere gestito e condiviso tra tutti coloro che sono parte della mostra, primo tra tutti il pubblico. 

V.H. Nikolaus Hirsch si poneva la seguente domanda: “Chi sono gli autori della costruzione di uno spazio istituzionale?”. Chi sono gli autori di ar/ge kunst, il cui nome è l’abbreviazione del termine tedesco ‘Arbeitsgemeinschaft’ (gruppo di lavoro)?

E.G. Gli autori diar/ge kunst sono stati e sono tuttora ‘molti’, nonostante siamo un’istituzione di piccole dimensioni con uno staff ridotto. Quando lo spazio fu fondato, nel 1985, il nome ar/ge kunst fu scelto per indicare la dimensione collettiva su cui esso si fondava, così come la sua metodologia di lavoro collettiva. Diverse persone, provenienti soprattutto dai campi dell’arte e dell’architettura, hanno curato e organizzato mostre e attività di vario tipo con un ritmo piuttosto intenso (fino al 12 mostre l’anno). Sin da quando sono stato nominato direttore ho trovato interessante come il significato di ‘Arbeitsgemeinschaft’ fosse scomparso dietro la sua abbreviazione (ar/ge) e come fosse sconosciuto ai più. Il 30° anniversario dello spazio, che cade nel 2015, mi è sembrato la migliore occasione per riflettere sulla nozione di “lavoro collettivo” che ha ispirato originariamente la scelta del nome. Sto quindi portando avanti tale riflessione attraverso il coinvolgimento di artisti, designer, coreografi, teorici ecc., che mettono in atto questa idea di comunità di lavoro all’interno della loro ricerca, in particolare usando la mostra come medium al fine di attivare nuove forme di relazione.

V.H. La mission della tua istituzione consiste nel presentare pratiche artistiche provenienti dal contesto regionale, nazione e internazionale e nel condurre una ricerca critica sul ruolo dell’arte e sulla relazione che essa intrattiene con la sfera sociale e politica in cui si realizza. Vorrei chiederti quale credi sia la principale responsabilità di un’istituzione oggi, sia rispetto agli artisti sia in relazione al pubblico.

E.G. Credo sia molto importante – quale segno di rispetto verso gli artisti e il pubblico – trovare il modo di mediare le pratiche degli artisti a beneficio del contesto locale in cui operiamo. Ovviamente è molto importante evitare il rischio di una mentalità troppo ristretta, cosa che tentiamo di fare presentando pratiche e approcci che siano critici e capaci di produrre legami e connessioni tra temi locali e idee più ampie. Credo che ciò sia possibile solo gestendo le risorse (prima tra tutti il tempo, la più preziosa) in modo consapevole.
Lavorando in Sud Tirolo, una regione al confine tra Italia e Austria con un’identità storica, politica e linguistica estremamente densa, e non trovandoci perciò in nessuno dei “centri ufficiali” del mondo dell’arte, siamo in grado di comprendere e usare il tempo diversamente, dando agli artisti l’opportunità di concentrarsi su periodi di ricerca di più lunga durata che possono creare interessanti fratture nel modo in cui il contesto locale viene percepito dal pubblico. In questi termini, è molto importante far sì che si creino forme di comunità intorno alle pratiche degli artisti e permettere che esse ne influenzino la ricerca, aggiungendo stratificazioni nuove al significato del lavoro.

V.H. PIANO intende creare una rete di spazi artistici che lavorano insieme, attraverso le pratiche dello scambio e dell’interazione. Per quale motivo hai deciso di prendere parte al progetto e come si realizza la tua partecipazione?

E.G. Sin da quando sonoarrivato a Bolzano ho cercato di attivare una serie di collaborazioni e coproduzioni a livello locale, nazionale e internazionale. È un processo che richiede tempo, ma abbiamo compiuto importanti passi in questa direzione. Pierre Bal-Blanc mi ha invitato a esaminare il progetto PIANO e mi ha presentato a Bétonsalon. Così, insieme a Mélanie Bouteloup e Virginie Bobin, abbiamo convenuto che era importante andare oltre il semplice scambio di artisti e concentrarsi su come le due istituzioni affrontavano il tema dell’“Exhibition as a Medium for Research”. Esso viene sviluppato all’interno delle nostre mostre attuali in molti modi diversi (ar/ge kunst presenta in questo momento il lavoro dell’artista e designer francese Clémence Seilles). Abbiamo inoltre discusso questo tema in occasione della conferenza tenutasi presso Bétonsalon lo scorso 30 maggio, cui hanno partecipato il collettivo italiano Invernomuto e il curatore francese Rémi Parcollet.

1. ar/ge Kunst space. Photo: Ivo Corrà
2. Exhibition view, Falke Pisano/Archive Books. Constellation of One and Many, 2014. Photo: Ivo Corrà
3-5. Exhibition views, Clémence Seilles, Bassin ouvert, 2015. Photo: aneres. Courtesy the artist and ar/ge kunst

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varda sora – città – derlickln

Émile Ouroumov Could you describe your intervention for Soleil politique at Museion in Bolzano?
Émilie Parendeau The work’s protocol is the following: varda sora – città – derlickln consists in closing all of Museion’s shutters, with the exception of a few on the top floor. The realisation of this arrangement, in its form and duration, can be limited by other museum activities requiring that the shutters be opened.


2. Émilie Parendeau & Bernhard Rüdiger, varda sora – città – derlickln, 2015, Museion, Bolzano

É.O. The work and the exhibition have a specific relation to the Bolzano context. Do you know this region, the city and the buildings emphasized by Pierre Bal-Blanc’s exhibition?
Bernhard Rüdiger I spend a lot of time in that region, and I was aware of various aspects of the context of history shared between Austria and Italy. There’s an interesting link between Bolzano and the inland region with regard to the question of power. The land in these Tyrolean valleys was feudal, whereas the peasants in the mountains were independent. Looking at the valley from the mountaintops, you see something completely different from what you see from the opposite direction. The view from the 4th floor of Museion offered a symbolic top-down point of view.

É.O. Is it also a question of Museion’s location in the middle of the city, between the historic Austrian city and the new Italianised city?
B.R. The museum is built on the boundary that is the river. One side faces the Austrian valley, the other side the Italian valley, but I’d never drawn the parallel that Pierre Bal-Blanc drew with Monumento alla Vittoria, the monumental fascist gate that towers on the site of an earlier monumental Austrian gate. This already emphasised that kind of point of passage, but from the opposite point of view.

3. Émilie Parendeau & Bernhard Rüdiger, varda sora – città – derlickln, 2015, Museion, Bolzano

3. Émilie Parendeau & Bernhard Rüdiger, varda sora – città – derlickln, 2015, Museion, Bolzano

É.O. This reversal of perspective leads us to the one carried out at Museion.
B.R. The exhibition highlights the fact that the museum builds this same passage from Italy to Austria and vice versa. When Émilie was invited to contribute to the exhibition, the guiding lines of the project were at an advanced stage; it’s a detail that was very important.
É.P. The invitation was probably linked to the fact that my work is often built on a context, in this case the museum and its layout. Since the exhibition had a strong link to the city, I felt that my proposal would be weak if it only addressed institutional aspects. By extending the invitation to Bernhard and his work linked to the notion of space, the point was to enrich the project through the historical and topographical perspectives it could provide.

4. Émilie Parendeau & Bernhard Rüdiger, varda sora – città – derlickln, 2015, Museion, Bolzano

4. Émilie Parendeau & Bernhard Rüdiger, varda sora – città – derlickln, 2015, Museion, Bolzano

É.O. How did these questions of passage and perspective-reversal affect your proposal?
É.P. The exhibition offered a reversal of the function of the museum spaces; the viewer had to enter the exhibition directly on the ground floor, which is normally a passage, and then view the city from the 4th floor, which had been turned into a belvedere, in order to finally go back downstairs and follow the suggested route through the city. Our proposal found its place in that belvedere. We were unsure if when viewers reached a practically empty room on the top floor, facing large windows, they would intuitively be able to experience looking at the city.
B.R. The gesture of opening the museum onto that broad landscape could seem romantic: the mountains, the city roofs… you’re gripped by the sublime immensity. It seemed to us that this impression is the opposite of political awareness of what’s going on in the city at the viewer’s feet.


5. Émilie Parendeau & Bernhard Rüdiger, varda sora – città – derlickln, 2015, Museion, Bolzano

É.O. Whereas visiting the exhibition on the ground floor was preparation for looking at the city from the belvedere?
B.R. It was a matter of constructing a determined perspective instead of a passive contemplation, as well as introducing the question of the body and the notion of unstable balance: at what moment do you start consciously looking at what you see? The final proposal was to close some of the shutters on either side of the building (and therefore either side of the city) to create a specific field of vision that involved a movement dynamic and spatialized the bodies in the space.
É.P. It’s a shift from the theoretical proposition to the notion of experience. We did a trial during the exhibition in progress and as soon as the shutters were closed, people stopped looking at the works to approach the windows.

É.O. What role did the model play?
É.P. In the exhibition, there was a model of the building that reproduced our intervention, and two Newton’s cradles were placed in it. It’s a metaphor for what seemed to be happening in the city.
B.R. This metaphor in the state of language becomes a physical act as soon as you experiment with it. When you release the first bead, the one at the end moves, whereas the beads in the middle stay still; yet there’s a transmission of energy. The beads at the centre are an experience of the violent stability that conveys the region’s historical and social specificities. It’s something to be felt physically, like the bodies that pass from one side of the belvedere and the city to the other.

6. Émilie Parendeau & Bernhard Rüdiger, varda sora – città – derlickln, 2015, Museion, Bolzano

6. Émilie Parendeau & Bernhard Rüdiger, varda sora – città – derlickln, 2015, Museion, Bolzano

É.O. The exhibition brought forward the notion of architectural filter. I’m thinking for example of Gianni Pettena and his intervention linked to the fascist arcades of the Piazza della Vittoria. There is a certain equivalence of preoccupations and ways of filtering the gaze.
B.R. The two works operate in opposite ways, but actually express something very similar.

É.O. Another work in the exhibition, that of Marcus Geiger, consisted in extracting one of the apartments from a housing project, an empty space that ultimately offers a transversal perspective, enabling reflection upon architecture and town planning. Here there’s a similar act that causes the perspective to pass through the structure. It’s interesting in relation to the notion of transparency, which this building wishes to assert.
É.P. It’s a matter of withdrawing some of what’s visible in order to provide a better view. The gesture of closing some of the shutters to create openings also produced “eyes” on the building and gave it a solid body, even though it’s meant to be a point of passage, of transparency.
B.R. It sports these two eyes that look outside, a two-faced gaze in the shape of a Janus head, something that is very characteristics of the local culture.

É.O. Speaking of local culture, can we discuss the title?
B.R. It’s written in three languages spoken in the region. The Ladin expression Varda sora means “to look upon” and expresses the idea of paying attention and keeping everything right under your eyes, something that interested us in relation to these highland cultures.

É.O. Thinking again of the belvedere, is the title therefore a clue about how to use the work?
B.R. Yes, it’s an imperative form: “take a good look, look upon the thing”. Città, in Italian, means “city”. The third word is in the Tyrolean dialect and expresses the idea of looking past appearances to understand reality. So it’s kind of an instruction relating to developing a conscious perspective on the city. At the same time, people only understand a third of the title, since each of these languages is only spoken by some of the population.

É.O. It’s a collaboration that seems to go beyond individual practices.
É.P. It’s the result of both of our practices, a territory built on our shared experience. It reconsiders questions about the activation of perspective, which are important for Bernhard, through my own methods, including the production of a condition of incisiveness when regarding what is already present on-site, without adding objects.

É.O. The desire not to add objects seems to me to be very apt – since the museum itself is already an object, and not a transparent, neutral tool.

Paris, May 2015

varda sora – città – derlickln

Émile Ouroumov Pourriez-vous me décrire votre intervention pour Soleil politique au Museion de Bolzano ?
Émilie Parendeau Le protocole de l’œuvre est le suivant : varda sora – città – derlickln consiste en la fermeture de la totalité des volets du Museion, à l’exception de certains au dernier étage. La réalisation de ce dispositif, dans sa forme et dans sa durée, peut être limitée par les autres activités du musée qui imposeraient que des volets soient ouverts.

É.O. L’œuvre et l’exposition ont un rapport spécifique avec le contexte de Bolzano. Vous connaissiez cette région, la ville et les édifices mis en exergue par le projet de Pierre Bal-Blanc ?
Bernhard Rüdiger Je passe beaucoup de temps dans cette région, et j’étais conscient de divers aspects du contexte d’histoire partagée entre l’Autriche et l’Italie. Il y a un lien intéressant entre Bolzano et l’arrière-pays par rapport à la question du pouvoir. Les terres dans ces vallées du Tyrol étaient féodales, alors que dans les hauteurs les paysans étaient indépendants. Quand on regarde la vallée du haut des montagnes, on voit tout autre chose qu’à partir de la direction inverse. Le fait d’être au 4e étage du Museion proposait un point de vue symbolique du haut vers le bas.

É.O. Il est aussi question de la situation du Museion au milieu de la ville, entre la ville historique autrichienne et la ville nouvelle italianisée ?
B.R. Le musée est construit sur la limite qu’est la rivière. Il donne d’un côté sur la vallée autrichienne et de l’autre côté sur la vallée italienne, mais je n’avais jamais fait le parallèle que Pierre Bal-Blanc a fait avec le Monumento alla Vittoria, la porte monumentale fasciste qui surgit sur l’emplacement d’une précédente porte monumentale autrichienne. Cette dernière soulignait déjà un tel point de passage mais avec le point de vue inverse.

É.O. Cette inversion du regard nous conduit vers celle opérée au Museion.
B.R. L’exposition pointe le fait que le musée construit ce même passage de l’Italie à l’Autriche et inversement. Lors de l’invitation adressée à Émilie, les lignes directrices du projet étaient dans un stade avancé ; c’est une donnée qui a été importante.
É.P. L’invitation était probablement liée au fait que mon travail se construit souvent à partir d’un contexte, ici le musée et son organisation. L’exposition ayant un lien fort avec la ville, je sentais que ma proposition serait faible si elle ne visait que des aspects institutionnels. Par le fait d’associer Bernhard et son travail lié à la notion d’espace, il s’agissait d’enrichir le projet par les aspects historiques et topographiques qu’il pouvait apporter.

É.O. Quelles étaient les implications de ces questions de passage et d’inversion du regard pour votre proposition ?
É.P. L’exposition proposait une inversion de la fonctionnalité des espaces muséaux ; le spectateur devait entrer dans l’exposition directement au rez-de-chaussée qui normalement est un passage, et ensuite voir la ville depuis le 4e étage transformé en belvédère, pour qu’à la fin il redescende et fasse le parcours proposé dans la ville. Notre proposition prenait place dans ce belvédère. Nous avions un doute qu’en arrivant au dernier étage dans une salle pratiquement vide, face à de grandes vitres, le spectateur puisse intuitivement faire l’expérience de regarder la ville.
B.R. Le geste d’ouvrir le musée sur ce vaste paysage peut paraître comme romantique : les montagnes, les toits de la ville… on est happé par l’immensité sublime. Il nous a semblé que cette impression est le contraire de la prise de conscience politique de ce qui se passe au pied du spectateur dans la ville.

É.O. Alors que la visite de l’exposition au rez-de-chaussée préparait à regarder la ville depuis le belvédère ?
B.R. Il s’agissait de construire un regard déterminé plutôt qu’une contemplation passive, mais aussi d’introduire la question du corps et la notion d’équilibre instable : à partir de quel moment on commence à regarder consciemment ce qu’on voit ? La proposition finale était de fermer une partie des volets de part et d’autre du bâtiment (et donc de la ville) pour créer un champ de vision spécifique qui implique une dynamique des mouvements et spatialise les corps dans l’espace.
É.P. C’est un passage de la proposition théorique à la notion d’expérience. Nous avions fait un essai pendant l’exposition en cours et dès que les volets ont été fermés, les personnes ont cessé de regarder les œuvres pour s’approcher des fenêtres.

É.O. Quel est le rôle de la maquette ?
É.P. Dans l’exposition, il y avait une maquette du bâtiment qui reprenait notre intervention et dans laquelle étaient placés deux pendules de Newton. C’est une métaphore de ce qui semblait se passer dans la ville.
B.R. Cette métaphore à l’état du langage devient un acte physique dès qu’on l’expérimente. Quand on fait tomber la première bille, celle du fond bouge, alors que les billes du milieu sont immobiles ; pourtant il y a transmission d’énergie. Les billes au centre sont une expérience de cette stabilité violente qui traduit les spécificités historiques et sociales de la région. C’est à éprouver physiquement, comme le font les corps qui passent d’un côté à l’autre du belvédère et de la ville.

É.O. Dans l’exposition, il était question de filtre architectural. Je pense par exemple à Gianni Pettena et à son intervention liée aux arcades fascistes de la Piazza della Vittoria. Il y a une certaine équivalence des préoccupations et de la manière de filtrer le regard.
B.R. Les deux propositions opèrent d’une façon contraire, mais effectivement disent une chose très proche.

É.O. Une autre œuvre de l’exposition, celle de Marcus Geiger, consistait à retirer l’un des appartements d’un projet d’habitation, un vide qui finalement ouvre un regard transversal permettant de réfléchir sur l’architecture et l’urbanisme. Il y a ici un acte similaire qui fait traverser la structure par le regard. C’est intéressant par rapport à la notion de transparence, de laquelle ce bâtiment se revendique.
É.P. Il s’agit de retirer une partie de ce qui est visible pour mieux donner à voir. Le geste de fermer une partie des volets pour créer des ouvertures produisait aussi des « yeux » sur ce bâtiment et lui donnait un corps solide, alors même qu’il se veut un lieu de passage, de transparence.
B.R. Il est affublé de ces deux yeux qui regardent l’extérieur, un regard biface en forme de tête de Janus, ce qui est très propre à la culture locale.

É.O. En parlant de la culture locale, peut-on évoquer le titre ?
B.R. Il est rédigé dans trois langues pratiquées dans la région. L’expression ladine Varda sora veut dire « regarder par-dessus » et exprime l’idée de prêter attention et de garder tout sous les yeux, ce qui nous intéressait par rapport à ces cultures des hauts-plateaux.

É.O. En repensant au belvédère, le titre est donc un indice sur le mode d’utilisation de la pièce ?
B.R. Oui, c’est une forme impérative : « regarde bien, regarde sur la chose ». Città, en italien, c’est la ville. Le troisième mot est en dialecte tyrolien et exprime l’idée de regarder à travers les apparences pour saisir la vérité. C’est donc une forme d’instruction quant au développement d’un regard conscient sur la ville. En même temps, on ne comprend qu’un tiers du titre, chacune de ces langues n’étant pratiquée que par une partie de la population.

É.O. C’est une collaboration qui semble excéder les pratiques individuelles.
É.P. Elle est le résultat de nos deux pratiques, un territoire construit à partir de notre expérience commune. Sont reprises des questions de l’ordre de l’activation du regard, importantes pour Bernhard, à travers des manières de faire qui me sont propres, dont la production d’une condition d’acuité en regard de ce qui est déjà présent sur place, sans ajouter d’objets.

É.O. Le souhait de ne pas ajouter d’objets me semble très juste – le musée étant déjà un objet lui-même, et non pas un outil transparent et neutre.

Paris, mai 2015

1-6. Émilie Parendeau & Bernhard Rüdiger, varda sora – città – derlickln, 2015, Museion, Bolzano
Photos: (1, 3, 4, 5, 6) Émilie Parendeau, Bernhard Rüdiger / (2) Luca Meneghel

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Vincent Honoré What prefigured the creation of Bétonsalon in Paris? Is there a precedent or theoretical model for the space?
Mélanie Bouteloup Bétonsalon was born in 2003 from the assembling of a group that included artists from the École des Beaux-Arts de Paris and art historians, especially from the École du Louvre. We came together around the shared view that Paris lacked places that were midway between art school and institution, places where it was possible to test ideas, make mistakes and show the work of unestablished artists, whether they were still students or were older but unrecognised. At that time, there was Public near the Centre Pompidou and this provided a model, and also the Paris Project Room, which was an important place for the École des Beaux-Arts de Paris.

V.H. How does Bétonsalon fit into its environment, and how is it different from other spaces in Paris?
M.B. Today the Bétonsalon Centre for Art and Research is located in the 13th arrondissement in Paris, on the ground floor of Paris 7 University. It is one of the few independent art centres located on a university campus in France. Because of this, we enjoy a special relationship with the Ministry of education and we are developing a programme that questions standardised forms of knowledge production, classification and distribution. I think art centres have a role to play, supporting art research and rearticulating the position of education, research and creativity in society.


2. Bétonsalon façade

V.H. Has Bétonsalon’s mission evolved over the course of its 10-year existence?
M.B. As the years and meetings have passed, the organisation has become more professional and its ambitions have asserted themselves. The opening of the Centre for art and research in 2007 was a key moment. At that time we met many university researchers and students whom we gradually got to know well. Bétonsalon’s activities develop in a process-based, discursive way in collaboration with a variety of local, national and international organisations. Today the programming is conceived according to various formats and timeframes, and includes several annual exhibitions interspersed with associated events. Different seminars and workshops are also organised in collaboration with professors from Paris Diderot University.


3. Bétonsalon façade

V.H. How might one conceive of the possibility of spaces for independent programming in the face of accelerated globalisation, a ubiquitous art market and the hitting power of the largest institutions?
M.B. I think flexible, small-scale organisations like Bétonsalon are needed to preserve this possibility of experimenting with ways of working that involve direct dialogue, even joint construction, with other non-profit organisations. Faced with this crisis situation, there is an urgent need to reconsider how we do things. Cross-disciplinary navigation tactics need to be invented. This could be done as soon as renewed conception of the territory of art could be agreed: a conception of art that favours what’s happening instead of what’s seen, processes instead of objects. An art centre should make the social and cultural frictions of the present perceptible.

4. Exhibition view, Le jour d'après, Bétonsalon - Centre d'art et de recherche

4. Exhibition view, Maryam Jafri. Le jour d’après, Bétonsalon – Centre d’art et de recherche

V.H. Under these conditions, what are the responsibilities of the director of an art centre?
M.B. The responsibility of the whole staff of an art centre is therefore enormous. We have to challenge ourselves, working as closely as possible with the region by maintaining a network of relationships that should be broadened day by day to increase the number of collaborations. To me, an art centre is a contact zone (in Mary Louise Pratt’s sense) in which heterogeneous positions are brought together with the goal of producing new ways of conceiving and influencing a globalised world in crisis.

V.H. PIANO wants to create a network of Italian and French art centres, an exchange zone. Why did you want to join this project and what will you be presenting?
M.B. I wanted to join this project because it fits perfectly with our ambition to be a member of a network of contacts from a variety of backgrounds extending beyond France’s borders. I had a fascinating discussion with Emanuele Guidi, director of ar/ge kunst in Bolzano, about the desire for a research-exhibition, that is to say an exhibition format that makes it possible to work with a diverse group of artists and researchers who all contribute to reflecting on a problem or question. Emanuele Guidi joined forces with Clémence Seilles, I worked with Maryam Jafri. And we built our exhibition with Virginie Bobin, associate curator in charge of the visitors’ project at Bétonsalon. Le jour d’après takes as its point of departure a collection of photographs that show the independence ceremonies of around twenty countries in Asia and Africa, collected by the artist over the past few years with the help of a constellation of researchers. It is a reflection on how history is written. Therefore it is crucial to be able to hear voices other than the official ones, hence the invitation extended to the Italian collective Invernomuto to come and contribute to the exhibition.

1. Exhibition view, Le jour d'après, Bétonsalon - Centre d'art et de recherche

5. Exhibition view, Maryam Jafri. Le jour d’après, Bétonsalon – Centre d’art et de recherche

Vincent Honoré Qu’est-ce qui a préfiguré la création de Bétonsalon à Paris ? L’espace a-t-il un précédent ou un modèle théorique ?
Mélanie Bouteloup Bétonsalon est né en 2003 du rassemblement d’un groupe d’artistes de l’Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Paris et d’historiens de l’art notamment issus de l’Ecole du Louvre. Nous nous sommes réunis autour du constat qu’il manquait à Paris des lieux intermédiaires entre l’école d’art et l’institution, des lieux où tester des idées, faire des erreurs et montrer le travail d’artistes non établis, qu’ils soient encore étudiants ou plus âgés mais méconnus. A l’époque, il y avait Public près du Centre Pompidou qui a constitué un modèle, mais aussi Paris Project Room, qui a été un lieu important pour l’école des Beaux-Arts de Paris.

V.H. Comment Bétonsalon s’inscrit dans l’environnement qui est le sien, et quelle est sa différence par rapport aux autres espaces parisiens ?
M.B. Le centre d’art et de recherche Bétonsalon est aujourd’hui situé dans le 13ème arrondissement de Paris, au rez-de-chaussée de l’Université Paris 7. Il est un des rares centres d’art indépendants implantés dans un campus universitaire en France. De ce fait, nous bénéficions de relations privilégiées avec l’Education nationale et développons un programme qui questionne les formes normalisées de production, de classification et de distribution du savoir. Je pense que le centre d’art a un rôle à jouer pour accompagner la recherche en art et réarticuler la position de la pédagogie, de la recherche et de la création en société.

V.H. Est-ce que la mission de Bétonsalon a évolué au cours de ses 10 années d’existence ?
M.B. Au fur et à mesure des années et des rencontres, la structure s’est professionnalisée et les ambitions se sont affirmées. L’ouverture du centre d’art et de recherche en 2007 constitue un moment clé. Nous avons alors rencontré de nombreux chercheurs et étudiants du milieu universitaire avec lesquels nous nous sommes peu à peu familiarisés. Les activités de Bétonsalon se développent de manière processuelle et discursive, en collaboration avec une variété d’organisations locales, nationales et internationales. Conçue selon divers formats et temporalités, la programmation comprend aujourd’hui plusieurs expositions annuelles ponctuées d’événements associés. Différents séminaires et ateliers sont de plus organisés en collaboration avec des professeurs de l’Université Paris Diderot.

V.H. Comment concevoir la possibilité d’espaces de programmation indépendants face à une globalisation accélérée, à un marché de l’art omniprésent et à la puissance de frappe des plus grandes institutions ?
M.B. Je pense que des structures flexibles de petite échelle comme Bétonsalon sont nécessaires pour conserver cette possibilité d’expérimenter des manières de travailler en dialogue direct, voire en co-construction, avec d’autres acteurs associatifs. Face à cette situation de crise, il est urgent de repenser nos manières de faire. Des tactiques de navigation transversale doivent être inventées. Cela pourra se faire à partir du moment où une conception renouvelée du territoire de l’art pourra être entendue : une conception de l’art qui privilégie ce qui se passe plutôt que ce que l’on voit, les processus plutôt que les objets. Un centre d’art doit rendre sensible les frictions sociales et culturelles du présent.

V.H. Dans ces conditions, quelles responsabilités pour un directeur de centre d’art ?
M.B. La responsabilité pour toute l’équipe d’un centre d’art est donc énorme. Il s’agit de se remettre en question, travailler au plus près du territoire en entretenant un réseau de relations qu’il convient d’étendre au jour le jour pour multiplier les collaborations. Un centre d’art est pour moi une zone de contacts (au sens de Mary Louise Pratt) où des positions hétérogènes sont assemblées dans le but de produire de nouvelles façons de penser et d’agir sur un monde globalisé, en crise.

V.H. PIANO veut créer un réseau de centres d’art italiens et français, une zone d’échange. Pourquoi avez-vous souhaité rejoindre ce projet et qu’allez-vous présenter ?
M.B. J’ai souhaité rejoindre ce projet car il correspond parfaitement à notre ambition d’être partie prenante d’un réseau d’interlocuteurs issus d’horizons variés au-delà des frontières françaises. J’ai engagé une discussion passionnante avec Emanuele Guidi, directeur de ar/ge kunst à Bolzano, autour de l’envie de l’exposition-recherche, c’est-à-dire un format d’exposition qui permet de travailler avec un groupe d’artistes et de chercheurs à géométrie variable qui tous contribuent à réfléchir autour d’un problème ou d’une question. Emanuele Guidi s’est rapproché de Clémence Seilles et moi de Maryam Jafri. Et c’est avec Virginie Bobin, commissaire associée en charge du projet des publics à Bétonsalon, que nous avons construit notre exposition. Le jour d’après prend comme point de départ une collection de photographies représentant les cérémonies d’indépendance d’une vingtaine de pays en Asie et en Afrique, rassemblées par l’artiste au cours de ces dernières années grâce à une constellation de chercheurs. Il s’agit alors de réfléchir à comment l’Histoire s’écrit. Il est alors crucial de pouvoir entendre d’autres voix que celles officielles, d’où l’invitation faite au collectif italien Invernomuto de venir intervenir dans l’exposition.

1-3. Bétonsalon façade
4-5. Exhibition views, Maryam Jafri. Le jour d’après, Bétonsalon – Centre d’arte et de recherche. Photos: Aurélien Mole

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Saturday May 30 from 3 to 6pm

With Emanuele Guidi (artistic director, ar/ge kunst, Bolzano), Invernomuto (Simone Bertuzzi & Simone Trabucchi, artists), Virginie Bobin (associate curator, head of public programs at Bétonsalon – Centre for Art and Research) and Rémi Parcollet (art historian – to be confirmed). In the presence of Maryam Jafri (artist).
An afternoon of visual and theoretical essays around exhibition as a medium for research, where time allows to rethink the relations between art and the public sphere, beyond disciplinary categories. The detailed program will be announced soon.
In collaboration with ar/ge kunst, in the framework of PIANO, Prepared Platform for Contemporary Art, France–Italy 2014-2016, initiated by d.c.a / French association for the development of centres d’art, in partnership with the Institut français in Italy, the French Embassy in Italy and the Institut français, with the support of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, the French Ministry of Culture and Communication and Fondazione Nuovi Mecenati.

Samedi 30 mai / 15h – 18h

L’exercice du doute : l’exposition comme medium de recherche

Avec Emanuele Guidi (directeur artistique, ar/ge kunst, Bolzano), Invernomuto (Simone Bertuzzi & Simone Trabucchi, artistes), Virginie Bobin (commissaire associée, en charge du projet des publics à Bétonsalon – Centre d’art et de recherche) et Rémi Parcollet (historien de l’art – sous réserve). En présence de Maryam Jafri (artiste).
Une après-midi réunissant essais visuels et théoriques autour de l’exposition comme medium de recherche, où prendre le temps de repenser les relations entre l’art et la sphère publique, au-delà des catégories disciplinaires. Programme détaillé à venir.
En collaboration avec ar/ge kunst, dans le cadre de PIANO, plateforme préparée pour l’art contemporain, France–Italie 2014- 2016, initiée par d.c.a / association française de développement des centres d’art, en partenariat avec l’Institut français d’Italie, l’Ambassade de France en Italie et l’Institut français, avec le soutien du ministère des Affaires étrangères et du Développement international, du ministère de la Culture et de la Communication et de la Fondation Nuovi Mecenati.

Maryam Jafri, Le jour d’après, Bétonsalon – Centre d’art et de Recherche, 2015. Exhibition view. Photo: Aurélien Mole

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A Dystopian Sculpture

Guillaume Mansart It’s the first time you’ve worked together. Here you’re offering a joint production. In what sense was this collective dynamic important?
Diane Blondeau, Vivien Roubaud and Thomas Teurlai The From & To project was based on the idea of a collaborative exchange between young French and Italian artists. The three of us already knew each other. We got along well and lived in more or less the same area. Each of us having been separately involved in several collaborations, we were aware that this presented an advantage in terms of energy, labour power and letting go.

G.M. Beyond the spirit of intellectual competition, one senses that this collective logic is also efficient when it comes to production.  At the work-creation stage, a distinctive organisational logic can already be discerned…
D.B, V.R., T.T. This is something that creeps into our practices and into those of quite a few artists of our generation. Primarily out of pure pragmatism: how can something be created with few resources? By inventing our tools, by making do with whatever we have at our disposal. When it’s finished, the work might appear to “take a stand against traditional principles”, but more than anything else this is because we have no choice! It’s a flaw that becomes a quality. 

G.M. What is the meaning of the title Jambe de botte?
D.B, V.R., T.T. It’s the literal translation of “bootleg”, an English term that designates pirate recordings of concerts or studio albums. The term also designates the art of “turntablism”, which consists in constructing a single piece of music out of several others. Jambe de botte served as a shapeless title, like melted plastic.

G.M. For the creation of this piece, you tested several types of material, ultimately choosing plastic from melted garden chairs. There’s a certain irony in the fact that plastic chairs are turned into a kind of “missile sculpture”. Why did this material stand out?
D.B, V.R., T.T. This brings us back to production circuits and pragmatism. How a combination of gestures can produce an image. We very empirically tested hundreds of combinations. Then we took a deckchair, burned it with a flamethrower, and the result was perfect. We work on the French Riviera, where the dumps are full of this kind of furniture. We were conscious of reflecting the dystopian faults of this strange place that, when you remove the glamour of the sun and palm trees, smells of cheap suntan lotion, melted poodles and social violence.

G.M. How were the forms of the different sculptures created?
D.B, V.R., T.T. We aligned casts found in an abandoned train parts foundry, in such a way that we were able to create cylinders that could be spun like record players. We poured the plastic and suddenly we had Scud missiles.

G.M. Could you explain the “archaeo-acoustic” notion behind your project?
D.B, V.R., T.T. It’s a fairly vague discipline situated between acoustics, archaeology and charlatanism, and its aim is to find pre-Edison sound recordings through sound imprints accidentally recorded on different types of object. Since sound is a vibration, in principle it can be inscribed on the media it comes into contact with.

G.M. The forms of the various sculptures evoke something of a warlike world. Added to these forms is a sound that gives the space a stressful atmosphere. How is this sound produced?
D.B, V.R., T.T. From the outset we planned to create forms that could be “played” in the space. Then everything developed very spontaneously. The day before the exhibition opened, we had to make up our minds to bring the sculptures into the exhibition venue. Once they were set up, we took a playback head and placed it on one of the rotating Scuds and it was Fallujah in the centre dart. The perfect tautology.

G.M. Although object and device diversion and DIY are found in your respective works, I get the impression that the question of sculpture is fairly new. In fact, in your piece one finds “historical” questions liked to sculpture: materiology, volume, casting techniques, a plinth…  Does Jambe de botte enable you to tackle new fields of investigation?
D.B, V.R., T.T. We considered simple questions that are not at all historical. A plinth is practical. It keeps the work at a distance and prevents a Scud from falling on someone. Plastic is more solid than margarine, etc.  Above all, this project confirmed that in the middle of personal practices and trajectories, it’s essential to regularly make time for collective periods and keep making use of resourcefulness.

March 2015

Protagonists: Diane Blondeau, Vivien Roubaud, Thomas Teurlai
Project: From & To

Une sculpture dystopique

Guillaume Mansart C’est la première fois que vous travailliez ensemble. Ici, vous faites une proposition de production partagée. En quoi cette dynamique collective a-t-elle été importante ?
Diane Blondeau, Vivien Roubaud et Thomas Teurlai L’idée à la base du projet From & To, c’était un échange collaboratif entre des jeunes artistes français et italiens. Tous les trois, nous nous connaissions déjà, nous nous entendions bien et nous vivions plus ou moins au même endroit. Après plusieurs collaborations chacun de notre coté, nous étions conscients de l’intérêt que cela représentait en matière d’énergies, de force de travail et de lâcher prise.

G.M. Au-delà de l’émulation intellectuelle, on sent que cette logique collective trouve aussi une efficience dans la question de la production. Dans l’étape de réalisation de l’œuvre on peut déjà lire une logique d’organisation propre…
D.B, V.R., T.T. C’est quelque chose qui traine dans nos pratiques comme dans celles de pas mal d’artistes de notre génération. D’abord par pur pragmatisme : comment réalise-t-on quelque chose avec peu de moyen ? En inventant nos outils, en faisant avec ce que l’on a sous la main. À l’arrivée, peut-être que le travail semble « s’affirmer contre les logiques traditionnelles », mais c’est plus par défaut qu’autre chose ! C’est un défaut qui devient une qualité. 

G.M. Que signifie le titre Jambe de botte ?
D.B, V.R., T.T. C’est la traduction littérale de « bootleg », un terme anglais qui désigne les enregistrements pirates de concerts ou de studio. Le terme désigne aussi l’art du « turntablisme » qui consiste à construire un seul morceau de musique à partir de plusieurs. Jambe de botte faisait un titre informe, comme du plastique fondu.

G.M. Pour la réalisation de cette pièce, vous avez testé plusieurs types de matériaux, pour au final vous arrêter sur du plastique provenant de chaises de jardin fondues. Il y a une forme d’ironie dans le fait de transformer des chaises en plastique en sorte « sculpture missile ». Pourquoi ce matériau s’est-il imposé ?
D.B, V.R., T.T. On en revient aux circuits de productions et au pragmatisme. Comment une combinaison de gestes simples peut « faire image ». Nous avons testé de manière très empirique des centaines de combinaisons. Puis nous avons pris un transat, nous l’avons brûlé au lance-flammes, et le résultat était parfait. Nous travaillions sur la Côte d’Azur, les décharges sont pleines de ce type de mobilier. Nous avions conscience de renvoyer les travers dystopiques de cet étrange endroit qui, dégagé du côté glamour du soleil et des palmiers, sent la crème solaire bon marché, le caniche fondu et la violence sociale.

G.M. Comment les formes des différentes sculptures ont-elles été créées ?
D.B, V.R., T.T. Nous avons aligné des moules trouvés dans une fonderie de pièces de trains abandonnées, de manière à pouvoir créer des cylindres que l’on pourrait faire tourner comme des phonographes. Nous avons coulé le plastique et d’un coup nous avions des missiles Scud.

G.M. Pourriez vous expliciter la notion d’ « archéo-acoustique » qui est à l’origine de votre projet ?
D.B, V.R., T.T. C’est une discipline assez obscure qui se situe entre l’acoustique, l’archéologie et le charlatanisme, et qui entend retrouver des enregistrements sonores pré-Edison à travers des empreintes sonores qui auraient été enregistrées accidentellement sur différents types d’objets. Puisque le son est une vibration, il peut censément s’inscrire sur les supports avec lesquels il entre en contact.

G.M. Les formes des différentes sculptures évoquent un univers plutôt guerrier, à ces formes s’ajoute un son qui installe dans l’espace d’exposition une atmosphère anxiogène. Comment se son est-il produit ?
D.B, V.R., T.T. Dès le début nous envisagions de créer des formes que l’on pourrait « jouer » dans l’espace. Ensuite, tout s’est enchainé de manière très spontanée. Nous avons dû nous résoudre, la veille du vernissage, à amener les sculptures dans le lieu d’exposition. Une fois qu’elles étaient installées, nous avons pris une tête de lecture que nous avons posé sur un des SCUD rotatifs et c’était Fallujah dans le centre d’art. Tautologique à souhait.

G.M. Si le détournement d’objets ou de dispositifs et le DIY sont présents dans vos travaux respectifs, j’ai l’impression que la question de la sculpture est assez nouvelle. En effet, on retrouve dans votre pièce des questions « historiques » liées à sculpture : matériologie, volume, techniques de moulage, socle, … Jambe de botte vous permet-elle d’engager de nouveaux champs d’investigation ?
D.B, V.R., T.T. On s’est posé des questions simples qui ne sont en rien historiques. Un socle c’est pratique, ça tient à distance et ça évite qu’un SCUD tombe sur quelqu’un. Le plastique c’est plus solide que la margarine, etc. Ce projet nous a surtout confirmé qu’il était indispensable au sein de pratiques et de trajectoires personnelles d’aménager régulièrement ces temps collectifs et de continuer à jouer de débrouille.

Mars 2015

1. Diane Blondeau / Vivien Roubaud / Thomas Teurlai, Jambes de bottes, 2014, mixed media. Photo: Villa Arson / Jean Brasille



Robert Leckie Your current exhibition The Day After at Bétonsalon focuses on the ongoing project Independence Day 1934-1975, initiated in 2009. Please could you describe the work and what is specific to this iteration in Paris?
Maryam Jafri The photo series Independence Day1934-1975 consists of archival photographs mainly from the first independence days of various Asian, Middle Eastern, and African countries. A key concept of the work is that the images come from archives, usually official archives, located in the countries themselves. In its current iteration at Bétonsalon, I have sixty images from twenty-nine archives. A great deal of artistic and academic research has been done on both the colonial and post-colonial eras but my project looks specifically at that moment of transformation – that twenty-four hour period during which a set of rituals, ceremonies and speeches herald the transformation of a territory into a nation state. When Mélanie Bouteloup (the director of Bétonsalon) approached me to show the work in Paris, she asked if I was interested in giving the research behind the work a visible form within the exhibition space. Hence along with the wall-based photo series, I have also conceived, in dialogue with Bétonsalon and designer Hadrien Gerenton, an architectural display system made up of various research modules that give different views into the process and ideas related to Independence Day 1934-1975. For example, some modules contain personal contributions by historians and others who helped me in my research such as Helihanta Rajaonarison, a historian from Madagascar, and Franck Ogou, archives manager at École du Patromoine Africain in Benin. Still others contain fictional materials that inspired me in different ways, such as my personal copy of Jean Genet’s play The Screens about the Algerian War and Sadat Hasan Manto’s famed short story about the 1947 partition of India and Pakistan, Toba Tek Singh. We also have some modules in the space which are the result of workshops by students who responded or in some way related to the themes of Independence Day 1934-1975,since Bétonsalon is located on the campus of University Paris Diderot and collaborations with the students and scholars from the university are an important aspect of its programme.

2. Maryam Jafri, Independence Day 1934-1975, 2009-ongoing

2. Exhibition view, Le jour d’après, Bétonsalon – Centre d’art et de recherche

R.L. I have the impression that the workis more about dependence than independence, as it highlights the similarities between the political aesthetics adopted by newly independent nations and those of former colonial powers that, more often than not, had a coercive hand in the independence process.

M.J. The images reveal a specific set of ceremonies and rituals whereby the nation state comes into being, an odd mix of theatricality and bureaucracy, a “civic religion” to borrow Ariella Azoulay’s term. These rituals and ceremonies are Western in origin as would be expected since they are bound up with the nation state, but what makes the images in Independence Day 1934-1975 so unsettling is that the displacement from centre to periphery results in a hybridization of those political aesthetics as it comes into contact with local traditions and histories. Thus the images look both familiar and estranged – a repetition with a difference.

3. Exhibition view, Le jour d'après, Bétonsalon - Centre d'art et de recherche

3. Exhibition view, Le jour d’après, Bétonsalon – Centre d’art et de recherche

R.L. To what extent does this inform how the work is presented? How do the display strategies you use, for example, relate to these ‘repetitions’, as you call them?
M.J. In this piece form and content cannot be easily separated. The content is the form and the form is the content. At first glance one sees a typology, a strategy long associated with photography from Aby Warburg to the photo-conceptualists. But what is it that the photos in Independence Day 1934-1975 actually reveal? They reveal the serialization of modernity’s ultimate political form –the nation state – throughout large parts of the world.

4. Exhibition view, Le jour d'après, Bétonsalon - Centre d'art et de recherche

4. Exhibition view, Le jour d’après, Bétonsalon – Centre d’art et de recherche

R.L. What about questions of access and copyright? How key are these issues to your thinking?
M.J. When I first started this work a lot of people were surprised by my decision to bypass Western archives and look for the images in the countries themselves. I was interested in seeing how each country was preserving images of itself coming into being. Furthermore, at a time when most people, including myself, get their visual information from Google, I felt it important to render visible these archives, official but often unknown even within the countries themselves. In terms of copyright, it’s usually quite straightforward: one pays what is usually a modest licensing fee from the archive in question, which is also credited in the work – and so it should be, since this work is partly about making visible these analogue, often fragile archives.

5. Exhibition view, Le jour d'après, Bétonsalon - Centre d'art et de recherche

5. Exhibition view, Le jour d’après, Bétonsalon – Centre d’art et de recherche

Project: Exercizing Doubt: Exhibition as Research
Space: Bétonsalon – Centre d’art et de recherche
Protagonist: Maryam Jafri

6. Exhibition view, Le jour d'après, Bétonsalon - Centre d'art et de recherche

6. Exhibition view, Le jour d’après, Bétonsalon – Centre d’art et de recherche

1. Maryam Jafri, Le jour d’après, Bétonsalon – Centre d’art et de recherche, 2015. Exhibition view with Getty vs Ghana, Maryam Jafri, 2012
2. Maryam Jafri, Le jour d’après, Bétonsalon – Centre d’art et de recherche, 2015. View of Independence Day 1934-1975, Maryam Jafri, 2009-ongoing
3. Maryam Jafri, Le jour d’après, Bétonsalon – Centre d’art et de recherche, 2015. Exhibition view
4. Maryam Jafri, Le jour d’après, Bétonsalon – Centre d’art et de recherche, 2015. Exhibition view with Independence Day 1934-1975, Maryam Jafri, 2009-ongoing, and Flowers for Africa, Kapwani Kiwanga, 2012
5. Maryam Jafri, Le jour d’après, Bétonsalon – Centre d’art et de recherche, 2015. Exhibition view
6. Maryam Jafri, Le jour d’après, Bétonsalon – Centre d’art et de recherche, 2015. Exhibition view
Photos: Aurélien Mole

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Vincent Honoré Can you tell us about the centre d’art and its environment?
Valérie Mazouin The institutional purpose of the centre dart Chapelle Saint-Jacques in St Gaudens manifests itself through a way of seeing things and a through a connection with the city and region, which have a stake in it. Actors in the region need to join forces to provide the public with dynamically open access to culture. We wish to offer a place that establishes circulations between visual arts, architecture, urbanism, and economic and social life. The centre dart wants to contribute to a public policy that lays down the conditions for a new development of the region, and supports a process that is currently giving concrete form to a political fact.
Art and culture can be very powerful levers of communal life. These have the ability to bring meaning, desire and community to social developments that are all too often merely endured. The involvement of our partners shows that the legibility of the centre dart is a genuine regional concern, and with this project, they support events in the large sense, but not events in the small day-today sense. In fact, developing this centre means believing in utopia as a development value, since today art is one of the best forms of shared expression.

V.H. It seems increasingly difficult to operate small, often isolated centres in France. This raises the question of their validity in a region that may not be conducive to contemporary art. Does the question also arise of the utopian nature or obsolescence of regional divisions and the dissemination of contemporary art? Or the lack of public will?
V.M. The centre operates on a budget of 160,000 euros, including salaries. So it’s a small centre. The project is therefore difficult to manage. Despite all of these problems, we were able to develop a project policy directed at the region. Our partners are numerous and varied. Not everyone currently supports us but that’s perfectly normal. The centre dart has occupied an important position throughout its twenty-year existence. Its activities have genuine legitimacy. This is not a matter of minimising the difficulty, but rather of taking account of the demand of a public that doesn’t always manage to make itself heard. Politicians don’t represent the public. They only come to exhibition openings and they often have electioneering aims. On the other hand, the visitors we meet are happy to have this place in their lives, offering something different in a rural area. In terms of utopia, it’s hard to justify the presence of a centre dart. Giving ourselves the possibility of creating a breeding ground means engaging in discourse that is situated on the level of economics and regional development. Utopia comes into play in our programming and mediation. The work aimed at the public is essential for making people aware that a programme is first and foremost a little utopia factory. It’s possible to bring politicians this far on these questions of utopias. It’s quite complex and tedious, but we have a role to play as citizens. We should be political actors of this public will.

V.H. As director, how do you articulate your programme? What are the highlights of 2015?
V.M. Even though our programming alternates between young, emerging and recognised artists from the French scene, we are still primarily focused on supporting young artists. Visual artists are usually invited to the centre dart to conceive works on site. The place needs to be taken into account, in its entirety and through its architecture, a 17th century chapel. The programming aims to bring out its narrative density, seen as a plinth for the project.

V.H. What are the ethical, artistic and social responsibilities of the director of a centre d’art in 2015?
V.M. As I’ve already mentioned, we have a civic role, we have this role as an educator to foster understanding, to train and sustain, for artists, for the public.
Because we must continue to advance and help contemporary art to be a maker of utopias and ideas. We’re political actors who have the mission of promoting independent thought.

V.H. PIANO creates a network between French and Italian art centres. Why is it important to collaborate, and what is the project you’re going to present?
V.M. Collaborating on PIANO means working in a network and sharing ideas, testing new ways of working, experimenting with the unknown. We also need to promote the work of the centres d’art abroad and PIANO offers an excellent opportunity. Our project for the PIANO platform is Piano – alto! Des géographies nomades, with artists Nina Fiocco, Lise Lacombe, Jérémy Laffon, Daniele Pezzi and Guillaume Robert.

Space: CAC Chapelle St Jacques
Protagonist: Valérie Mazouin
Project: Piano – alto!

Vincent Honoré Pouvez-vous nous présenter le centre d’art et son environnement ?
Valérie Mazouin Le projet d’établissement du centre d’art Chapelle Saint-Jacques à St Gaudens se manifeste par un regard et une rencontre avec la ville et les territoires investis. Les acteurs des territoires doivent se mobiliser pour un accès à la culture en direction des publics dans des dynamiques ouvertes. Nous souhaitons offrir un site qui organise les circulations entre les arts plastiques, l’architecture, l’urbanisme, la vie économique et sociale. Le centre d’art veut s’inscrire dans une politique publique qui pose les conditions d’un nouveau développement du territoire et favorise un chantier qui aujourd’hui incarne un fait politique.
L’art et la culture peuvent être des leviers très puissants du « vivre ensemble ». Ils ont le pouvoir de donner du sens, du désir et du collectif aux évolutions sociétales trop souvent subies. Ainsi, l’engagement des partenaires montre que la lisibilité du centre d’art est un véritable enjeu de territoire, et avec ce projet, ils soutiennent l’événement mais pas l’évènementiel. En effet, faire évoluer cette structure c’est croire en l’utopie comme valeur de développement, car aujourd’hui l’art en est une des meilleures expressions partagées.

V.H. Il semble de plus en plus difficile de faire fonctionner en France des structures petites, souvent isolées. Se pose la question de leur validité dans un territoire qui peut être n’est pas propice a l’art contemporain. Est-ce que se pose aussi la question de l’utopie ou de l’obsolescence de la répartition territoriale et de la diffusion de l’art contemporain ? Ou de l’absence de volonté publique ?
V.M. La structure fonctionne avec un budget de 160 000 €, salaires compris. C’est donc une petite structure. Le projet est donc assez difficile à mener. Nous avons, malgré toutes ses difficultés, pu développer une politique de projet tournée vers le territoire. Les partenariats sont nombreux et diversifiés. Aujourd’hui nous n’obtenons pas l’adhésion de tous et c’est tout à fait normal. Le centre d’art tient une place importante depuis vingt ans d’existence, il y a une réelle légitimité de ses actions. Il ne s’agit pas de minimiser la difficulté, mais plutôt de prendre en compte la demande d’un public qui ne sait pas toujours se faire entendre. Les élus ne représentent pas le public, ils ne se déplacent que pour les vernissages et leurs visées sont souvent électoralistes. En revanche, le public que nous rencontrons est heureux d’avoir ce lieu de vie qui amène une offre différente sur un territoire rural. En terme d’utopie il est difficile de justifier la présence d’un centre d’art. Nous donner la possibilité de vivier c’est avoir un discours qui se place au niveau économique et de développement territoriale. L’utopie se joue dans la programmation et la médiation. Le travail en direction des publics est essentiel pour faire prendre conscience qu’une programmation est avant tout une petite fabrique d’utopies. C’est à cet endroit qu’il est possible d’amener les élus sur ces questions d’utopies. C’est assez complexe et fastidieux, mais nous avons un rôle à jouer en tant que citoyens. Nous devons être acteurs politiques de cette volonté publique.

V.H. Comment en tant que directrice articulez-vous votre programme ? Quels sont les temps forts de 2015 ?
V.M. Même si la programmation alterne entre la jeune création, la création émergente et les artistes reconnus de la scène artistique française, l’axe fort reste le soutien à la jeune création. Les plasticiens invités sont accueillis au centre d’art pour faire des propositions le plus souvent in situ. Le lieu nécessite d’être pris en compte dans son intégralité et par son architecture, une chapelle du 17ème siècle. La programmation souhaite faire émerger la densité narrative vue comme un socle au projet.

V.H. Quelles sont les responsabilités éthiques, artistiques et sociales d’une directrice de lieu d’art en 2015 ?
V.M. Comme déjà évoqué, nous avons un rôle citoyen, nous avons ce rôle de pédagogue pour faire comprendre, entraîner et continuer pour les artistes, pour le public.
Car nous devons continuer d’avancer et d’aider la création contemporaine facteur d’utopie et de réflexions. Nous sommes des acteurs politiques qui avons comme mission de promouvoir une autonomie de la pensée.

V.H. PIANO crée un réseau entre les centres d’art français et italien. Pourquoi était-ce important de collaborer et quel est le projet que vous allez présenter ?
V.M. Collaborer à PIANO c’est travailler en réseau et partager des idées, tester de nouvelles modalités de travail, expérimenter l’inconnu. Il nous faut aussi promouvoir le travail des centres d’art à l’étranger et PIANO est une excellente opportunité. Le projet inscrit dans la plateforme PIANO est Piano – alto! Des géographies nomades, avec les artistes Nina Fiocco, Lise Lacombe, Jérémy Laffon, Daniele Pezzi et Guillaume Robert.

1. Lionel Redon. Ici, Ailleurs, 2013, exhibition view at CAC Chapelle St Jacques. Photo: F. Deladerrière

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Vincent Honoré Can you introduce Careof, its history, missions and programmes?
Chiara Agnello Since 1987 Careof fosters the development of contemporary art practice with passion, creativity and expertise. Since then, Careof is a place where young and established artists can be inspired, exchange views and be encouraged to experiment, debate and grow.
Since 2002 Careof is located at Fabbrica del Vapore in Milan, an industrial building from the early 20th century, which was originally meant for the construction, maintenance and sale of railway and tram material, and today is a youthful centre of cultural production.
In December 2013 with a new project nominated Taking Careof, we  created a new work team which pursues the organisation’s objectives updating its strategies,  transforming the cultural project into a sustainable one, increasing collaborative networks with professionals. Foster the development of artistic work, research and education is still one of our goals in conjunction with becoming a reference point for videoart in Italy and abroad.
Careof has various spaces and resources: an exhibition space of approximately 160 square metres; video and book archive held at DOCVA – Documentation centre for visual arts, born in collaboration with Viafarini; a residency programme for international artists and curators; a bookshop with new Italian and foreign publications.

V.H. “Experimentation” is a word that appears often in your mission statement: I am curious to know how you define “experimentation” in the field of contemporary art and in the framework of an institution.
C.A. Within a no profit organization as Careof the word experimentation is closely related to the continuous questioning of the organizational processes and the ability to be flexible in the face of opportunity, to changes in society and of the public we work with.
Obviously we have a well-defined mission, but the goals that we set are a response to the reading of our context. They can then change and evolve with time. An example is the focus on the video archive, which during our 26 years of history has acquired different roles and weights.

V.H. How do you foresee the future of an institution like yours in a context in which globalised museums and institutions become such powerful players, absorbing all energies, audiences and funding?
C.A. Careof is characterized by the ability to read the context and be an active part of the community we refer. We have the ability to observe the artistic practices in their multifaceted and multiform varieties, giving space also to the emerging ones.
We have the capacity to act with different strategies, giving space to the experimentation in a time which research and development are becoming less valued. For these reasons we believe that institutions like ours must continue to exist alongside the powerful players.

V.H. What is your mission with archive and archiving and how does it differ from collecting?
C.A. The video archive includes over 7,000 pieces and is the most important collection of videoart in Italy. The catalogue holds over 6,000 artworks, from the first experiments made in the 70s to work by the latest generations, and about 1,000 videos documenting exhibitions, conferences, performances and art events of international relevance.
One of Careof’s main activities is the filing, preservation and promotion of contemporary art material. In fact the archive also includes catalogues, specialised magazines, artists’ portfolio and photographs in all sorts of formats. The collection is an important resource to understand the development of contemporary art research over the past 40 years and specifically in Italy.
Careof has decided to make the archive perform, so we can spark a reflection that doesn’t only contemplate history, but it allows it to re-live, be modernized, enriched and expanded.
Through the video archive we develop exhibitions, residency and research projects.
We are archiving in order to support the artists and their work, share and pass on the knowledge and let everyone know the contemporary art scene. This is probably the main difference from collecting.

V.H. PIANO intends to create a network of art spaces working together, exchanging and interacting. Why did you decide to join the project and how are you participating in it?
C.A. Inside the mission of Careof there is the vocation to work with Italian and international institutions as we believe that through the exchange between cultures and people we can generate an enrichment.
We then responded to Stefania Meazza, curator of the project Piano – Alto! with enthusiasm. The project has provided for young Italian and French artists a period of residence at the centers involved: MAGP Cajarc / Maisons Daura, Saint-Cirq Lapopie, Chapelle Saint-Jacques, Saint-Gaudens and the BBB, centre d’art, Toulouse, in France; Dolomiti Contemporanee and Careof, in Italy. There have been several meetings between us to investigate the practices and activities of each organization. The choice of artists was facilitated by a pre-selection made by the institutions, offering a list of candidates to others. The selected artists are: Guillaume Robert, Lise Lacombe, Jérémy Laffon, Nina Fiocco and Daniele Pezzi.

Space: Careof DOCVA
Protagonist: Chiara Agnello
Project: Piano – alto!

Vincent Honoré Puoi presentare Careof, la sua storia, la sua mission e il suo programma?
Chiara Agnello Dal 1987 Careofpromuove lo sviluppo della pratica artistica contemporanea con passione, creatività e competenza. Sin dalla sua nascita, Careof è un luogo in cui artisti giovani e riconosciuti possono trarre ispirazione, scambiare le proprie visioni e trovare stimolo per sperimentare, discutere e crescere.
Dal 2002 Careof ha la propria sede presso la Fabbrica del Vapore a Milano, un edificio industriale risalente all’inizio del XX secolo, originariamente dedicato alla costruzione, alla manutenzione e alla vendita di materiale ferroviario e tramviario. Oggi è un centro per la produzione culturale.
Nel dicembre 2013, con un nuovo progetto intitolato Taking Careof, abbiamo creato una nuova squadra di lavoro che persegue gli obiettivi dell’organizzazione attraverso l’aggiornamento delle sue strategie, trasformando il progetto culturale secondo princípi di sostenibilità e incrementando le reti di collaborazione tra professionisti del settore. La promozione dello sviluppo della pratica artistica, della ricerca e dell’educazione è tuttora uno dei nostri principali obiettivi, insieme alla volontà di diventare un punto di riferimento per la videoarte in Italia e all’estero.
Careof ha diversi spazi e risorse: uno spazio espositivo di circa 160 metri quadrati; un archivio video e una biblioteca collocati presso il DOCVA – Centro di documentazione per le arti visive, nato in collaborazione con Viafarini; un programma di residenze per artisti e curatori internazionali; un bookshop con nuove pubblicazioni italiane e straniere.

V.H. “Sperimentazione” è un termine che ricorre spesso nei vostri statement: sono curioso di sapere quale senso date alla parola “sperimentazione” nell’ambito dell’arte contemporanea e nella cornice di un’istituzione.
C.A. Per un’istituzione no profit come Careof il termine “sperimentazione” è strettamente correlato alla continua ridefinizione dei processi organizzativi e alla capacità di essere flessibili di fronte alle opportunità, ai cambiamenti sociali e alle trasformazioni del pubblico con cui lavoriamo.
Ovviamente abbiamo una mission ben definita, ma gli obiettivi che ci poniamo sono una risposta all’analisi costante del contesto in cui operiamo. Essi possono quindi cambiare ed evolvere nel tempo. Un esempio di questo approccio è l’interesse dedicato all’archivio video, che nel corso di 26 anni di storia ha acquisito un ruolo e un peso sempre diversi.

V.H. Qual è il futuro di un’istituzione come Careof nel contesto attuale, in cui musei e istituzioni globalizzati assumono un crescente potere, assorbendo tutte le energie, le categorie di pubblico e le risorse economiche?
C.A. Careof è caratterizzato dalla capacità di leggere il contesto e di svolgere un ruolo attivo all’interno della comunità cui si rivolge. Siamo in grado di osservare le pratiche artistiche nelle loro sfaccettate e multiformi declinazioni, dando spazio ai fenomeni emergenti.
Sappiamo agire attraverso diverse strategie, mettendo in primo piano la sperimentazione in un momento in cui la ricerca e lo sviluppo sono sempre meno valorizzati. Per queste ragioni crediamo che le istituzioni come la nostra debbano continuare a esistere accanto alle realtà più influenti.

V.H. Qual è la vostra mission nell’ambito dell’archiviazione e come si differenzia dall’atto del collezionare?
C.A. L’archivio video include più di 7.000 lavori e costituisce la più importante collezione di videoarte in Italia. Il catalogo comprende più di 6.000 opere, dai primi esperimenti realizzati negli anni Settanta fino al lavoro delle generazioni più giovani, e circa 1.000 video che documentano mostre, conferenze, performance ed eventi artistici di rilevanza internazionale.
Una delle principali attività di Careof è la schedatura, la conservazione e la promozione del materiale artistico contemporaneo. L’archivio comprende infatti anche cataloghi, magazine specializzati, portfolio e fotografie di artisti in ogni formato. La collezione è un’importante risorsa per comprendere lo sviluppo della ricerca artistica contemporanea negli ultimi 40 anni, in particolare in Italia.
Careof ha deciso di dare all’archivio una natura performativa, in modo da poter sviluppare riflessioni non solo di carattere storico, ma anche in grado di rivivere, essere riattualizzate, arricchite e sviluppate.
Attraverso l’archivio video sviluppiamo progetti espositivi, di residenza e di ricerca. L’archivio è per noi uno strumento per sostenere gli artisti e il loro lavoro, per condividere e trasmettere la conoscenza e per permettere a ognuno di conoscere la scena dell’arte contemporanea. È questa probabilmente la differenza maggiore con una comune collezione.

V.H. PIANO mira a creare una rete di spazi artistici che lavorino insieme, attraverso processi di scambio e interazione. Perché avete deciso di aderire al progetto e come si realizza la vostra partecipazione?
C.A. Alla base della mission di Careof vi è la vocazione di lavorare con istituzioni italiane e internazionali, perché crediamo che attraverso lo scambio tra le culture e le persone sia possibile generare ricchezza.
Abbiamo quindi risposto con entusiasmo all’invito di Stefania Meazza, curatore del progetto Piano – Alto!. Il progetto ha permesso a giovani artisti italiani e francesi di compiere un periodo di residenza nei centri coinvolti: MAGP Cajarc / Maisons Daura, Saint-Cirq Lapopie, Chapelle Saint-Jacques, Saint-Gaudens e il BBB, centre d’art di Tolosa, in Francia; Dolomiti Contemporanee e Careof, in Italia. Abbiamo organizzato diversi incontri tra noi per analizzare le pratiche e le attività di ogni organizzazione. La scelta degli artisti è stata agevolata da una pre-selezione fatta dalle istituzioni, ciascuna delle quali ha presentato una lista alle altre. Gli artisti selezionati sono: Guillaume Robert, Lise Lacombe, Jérémy Laffon, Nina Fiocco e Daniele Pezzi.

1. Careof, new venue at Fabbrica del Vapore. Photo: Andrea Astesiano for Maxdesign

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Vincent Honoré Can you introduce Dolomiti Contemporanee, its history, missions and programmes?
Gianluca d’Incà Levis Dolomiti Contemporanee is a cultural platform which works for the redefining of the meaning and fruition of the physical and mental contexts with which it comes in contact. Art, every kind of art – art in general – is the most performative instrument in the battle for the constant re-definition of the meaning of things and of their raison d’être. This battle is one of the few raison d’être, indeed, that the human possesses should it not content itself with static definitions and approaches based on other people’s experiences. The project was born in 2011, and operates in the context of the UNESCO Dolomites, re-activating great abandoned sites (industrial archaeology compounds, locations symbol of closure and death, which are transformed, through innovative art and culture, in open “constructions sites”).

V.H. How do you think a residency can benefit an artist?
G.D.L. Artists are a sensitive selectors. They seize stimuli, and re-broadcast them. The more the external contest is stimulating, the stronger and profound the resonances created in them may be. The residency project gives the artist a chance to come in contact with new contexts. The dolomitic contexts, made of rock, verticality, environment and nature, thin air, great exhumed architectures, which we reactivate, are exceptionally incentivized in that sense.

2. New Venue of Casso

V.H. How do you foresee the future of an institution like yours in a context in which globalised museums and institutions become such powerful players, absorbing all energies, audiences and funding?
G.D.L. Dolomiti Contemporanee isn’t an institution. It is an experimental project, which questions once again the manner of approach to the territory, the sites, the spaces, the thoughts, the meaning of the artistic endeavour and the curatorial practices, and the relationship between all these things. It  isn’t at all possible for the cultural contexts to be completely cannibalized by the institution, the museums, the “powerful players”. There’s always room for those who want to innovate. Thus, the more the system will become organized, the more space there will be for subversive, or simply critical, projects.

V.H. Is it an advantage to have a nomadic structure, that has to find new space all the time for its projects?
G.D.L. It is not a question of advantages. Changing constantly is hard. But, this way, we’re declaring not to be in search of a “house for the arts”. Art doesn’t need a house. It is pervasive, universal, mobile, liquid. We’re not interested in managing, arranging a structure, and setting up “art exhibits” inside it. We’re interested in taking care of the places, reflecting on the landscape, putting it in motion. Every time we face a new site, we do it because it makes sense, it is necessary, to bring a system of re-activation in that site, which is always a great dead location, that we believe must be exhumed, transformed, regenerated. However, we settle in some sites for at least 3-4 years (Casso, Borca). Thus, we’re not perfectly nomadic either. The format isn’t defined: it changes in relation to the locations, which are always different. But the project is extremely clear, and stable. It opens closed contexts. It assaults inertias, and ideational laziness. It proves that every good idea, when pursued rigorously, can be successful.

3. New Venue of Casso

V.H. PIANO intends to create a network of art spaces working together, exchanging and interacting. Why did you decide to join the project and how are you participating in it?
G.D.L. Dolomiti Contemporanee, as a project, has its founding in the idea of network. In four years (DC was created in 2011), we’ve worked with over 400 public, private, productive, cultural, artistic partners. The basis of our “diet” is relational. Every good network interests us. The project isn’t at all limited to the Dolomites. That is where it started, where we continuously welcome artists and people (Residency), and from where it steps out all the time, through partnerships, relationships, exchanges, in Italy and abroad. PIANO’s plan, the idea of the project, seemed good, stimulating. We’ve gladly decided to take part in it all. The only regret was the complete lack of participation of the public Italian institutions. But in Italy the art system doesn’t work, that is a well known fact. Thus, we’ve taken part in the Piano-Alto! project. A few French artists have been DC’s guests in the residency projects of Casso and Borca. A few Italian artists have worked, instead, in the French art centres that are partners of the project. In the next weeks and months, the results of their research will be presented. Moreover, we’ve included in the PIANO platform one of our projects: “Two calls for Vajont”, a complex and important international artistic contest ( We hope that the French artists will decide to take part in it. This would be another marker of the fact that the cultural network really has worked, through the sharing of the platforms.

Space: Dolomiti Contemporanee
Protagonist: Gianluca D’Incà Levis
Project: Piano – alto!

Vincent Honoré Puoi presentare Dolomiti Contemporanee, la sua storia, la sua mission e il suo programma?
Gianluca d’Incà Levis Dolomiti Contemporanee è una piattaforma culturale che mira alla ridefinizione del significato e della fruizione dei contesti fisici e mentali con cui entra in contatto. L’arte, di ogni genere, l’arte in generale è lo strumento più performativo nella lotta per la costante ridefinizione del significato delle cose e della loro ragion d’essere. Questa lotta è in effetti una delle poche ragioni d’essere che l’uomo possiede per non accontentarsi di definizioni e approcci statici basati sull’esperienza altrui. Il progetto è nato nel 2011 e si colloca nel contesto delle Dolomiti, sito protetto dall’UNESCO, riattivando importanti luoghi abbandonati (siti di archeologia industriale, luoghi simbolo di chiusura e morte, che vengono trasformati attraverso l’innovazione dell’arte e della cultura in “cantieri” aperti).

V.H. In che modo, secondo te, un artista può sfruttare l’esperienza di una residenza?
G.D.L. Gli artisti fanno le loro scelte con sensibilità, colgono gli stimoli e li riproducono. Più è stimolante il contesto esterno, più forti e profonde possono essere le risonanze create in loro. Il progetto di residenza dà all’artista l’occasione di entrare in contatto con spazi nuovi. Il contesto delle Dolomiti, fatto di roccia, verticalità, ambiente e natura, aria fine, grandi architetture riesumate e riattivate, è incredibilmente stimolante in questo senso.

V.H. Come immagini il futuro di un’istituzione come Dolomiti Contemporanee in un contesto in cui musei e istituzioni globalizzati assumono un crescente potere, assorbendo tutte le energie, le categorie di pubblico e le risorse economiche?
G.D.L. Dolomiti Contemporanee non è un’istituzione. È un progetto sperimentale, che mette in discussione ancora una volta l’approccio al territorio, i luoghi, gli spazi, i pensieri, il significato dell’attività artistica e delle pratiche curatoriali, e le relazioni tra tutti questi elementi. Non è possibile che i contesti culturali siano completamente cannibalizzati dalle istituzioni, dai musei, dai player più potenti. C’è sempre spazio per coloro che vogliono innovare. Più il sistema diventerà organizzato, più spazio ci sarà per i progetti sovversivi o semplicemente critici.

V.H. Avere una struttura nomade, che ha bisogno di trovare ogni volta una nuova sede per accogliere i suoi progetti, rappresenta un vantaggio?
G.D.L. Non si tratta di una questione di vantaggi. Cambiare continuamente è difficile. Ma in questo modo affermiamo di non essere in cerca di una “casa per le arti”. L’arte non ha bisogno di una casa. È pervasiva, universale, mobile, liquida. Non ci interessa gestire, organizzare una struttura e allestire “mostre” al suo interno. Ci interessa “prenderci cura dei luoghi”, riflettendo sul paesaggio, mettendolo in moto. Ogni volta che affrontiamo un sito nuovo, lo facciamo perché ha senso, è necessario portare in questo specifico luogo abbandonato, che noi crediamo debba essere riesumato, trasformato, rigenerato, un sistema di riattivazione. Ci stabiliamo in determinati luoghi per periodi di 3-4 anni (Casso, Borca), per cui non siamo esattamente nomadi. Il format non è definito, ma cambia in relazione ai luoghi, sempre diversi. Ma il progetto è estremamente chiaro e stabile e consiste nell’aprire contesti chiusi, aggredire l’inerzia e la pigrizia mentale. Esso testimonia che ogni buona idea, se perseguita con rigore, può avere successo.

V.H. PIANO mira a creare una rete di spazi artistici che lavorino insieme, attraverso processi di scambio e interazione. Perché avete deciso di aderire al progetto e come si realizza la vostra partecipazione?
G.D.L. Il progettoDolomiti Contemporanee si basa sull’idea della rete. In quattro anni (DC è stato creato nel 2011), abbiamo lavorato con oltre 400 partner pubblici, privati, produttivi, culturali e artistici. La base della nostra “dieta” è relazionale. Tutte le buone reti ci interessano. Il progetto non è affatto limitato alle Dolomiti. Parte da qui, dove accoglie con continuità artisti e persone (attraverso il programma di residenza), e da qui si muove costantemente, attraverso partnership, relazioni, scambi sia in Italia sia all’estero. Il programma di PIANO, l’idea del progetto, sembrava buona, stimolante. Abbiamo deciso con piacere di prendervi parte. L’unico dispiacere riguarda la totale mancanza di partecipazione delle istituzioni pubbliche italiane. Ma in Italia il sistema dell’arte non funziona, è un fatto noto. Abbiamo quindi preso parte al progetto Piano – Alto!. Alcuni artisti francesi sono stati ospiti di DC nei progetti di residenza di Casso e di Borca, mentre altri artisti italiani hanno lavorato nei centri d’arte francesi partner del progetto. Nelle settimane e nei mesi che verranno, saranno presentati i risultati delle loro ricerche. Inoltre abbiamo inserito nel progetto PIANO uno dei nostri progetti, Two Calls for Vajont, un importante e complesso concorso artistico internazionale ( Speriamo che gli artisti francesi decidano di parteciparvi, perché ciò rappresenterebbe un altro segno del fatto che, attraverso la fusione delle piattaforme, la rete culturale ha funzionato.

1-3. New Venue of Casso


On the clash of real interests

by Raimar Stange

In its first phase, between the late sixties and early seventies, Institutional Critique consisted specifically in a dematerialized practice not aimed at the production of a work of art. A practice which, at that time, was implemented mainly outside of the institutions which were the object of its criticism. These are the two aspects that have determined, up to now, a close affinity between Institutional Critique and artistic-political activism. As proved today, for example, by the work of the Berlin group Zentrum für Politische Schönheit.

Not long ago Yilmaz Dziewior, director of the prestigious Museum Ludwig in Cologne, criticized a “politically correct strategy, apparently socially committed” in art. This controversy, which bestows on art an “alleged” political commitment, thus only simulated, did not arise by chance. Indeed, the head of the museum here deliberately aims against that art which lately has been strongly challenging the established art industry and its institutions: artistic activism, also known as “artivism.” In this dispute on high stances in the art system, one definition in particular recurs again and again: that of “artistic autonomy,” which is supposedly threatened by committed art. What the philosopher Theodor W. Adorno already noted fifty years ago in his essay Commitment is thus forgotten, or deliberately removed: “The committed work of art debunks the work that wants nothing but to exist; it considers it a fetish, the idle pastime of those who would be happy to sleep through the deluge that threatens us – an apolitical stance that is in fact highly political.” Attention should be paid especially to what ensues from this, i.e. if the “idle pastime,” as Adorno says, “distracts from the clash of real interests,” thus fulfilling the political function of the statement. Currently, this distraction is pushed to the point that, as in the case of the major exhibition dedicated to Björk by the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the established art system looks for and finds in different areas of pop culture an enjoyable and harmless strengthening of its autonomous art.
Artivism firmly makes of the “clash of real interests” the core of its action-oriented art and “postulates the primacy of practice of existence on aesthetics and the superiority of the collective over the individual,” writes Igor Stokfiszewski in his significant 2012 essay The Political Program Of Art. The Polish theorist also stresses that committed art “wants to specifically intervene in the extra-artistic reality and, aiming at overcoming social contradictions, intends to contribute to the creation of a future universalized society.” Lately, a few advocates of this activist approach to culture have become known even to the general public, for example the Pussy Riot collective, Occupy Museums, and the German group Zentrum für Politische Schönheit (ZPS) – to whose work we will come back later – although these collectives hardly represent more than 1% of the art industry.
The statement made by Yilmaz Dziewior about a strategy only “apparently socially committed” has recently been repeatedly disproved by the work of the Berlin-based ZPS. In fact, their “actions committed in the extra-artistic reality” produce real and politically relevant effects. A good example of this is the project Kindertransporthilfe des Bundes, launched by the ZPS in 2014. On a fake web page of the German Ministry for the Family, it launched a campaign called “Kindertransporthilfe” in favor of child refugees from Syria. The stated aim of this Internet portal planned to bring 55,000 Syrian children to Germany. For this reason, the website, which featured the official logo of the Ministry for the Family and a portrait of the Minister for the Family Manuela Schwesig, drew attention to the unfortunate living conditions of Syrian refugees and sought foster families in Germany. The result obtained by ZPS was that within a short time hundreds of German families offered to foster the children. Even the press reacted positively and, full of enthusiasm, asked the Ministry for information, which was forced to explain why this desirable “aid for the fostering of children” was in reality non-existent, only being a fantasy of activist artists on the Internet. Shortly afterwards, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier announced an intensification in the aid to refugees in Syria.
But the ZPS took its campaign further, organizing the event 1 in 100 at the Friedrichstraße underground station in Berlin: at a specifically set-up container, passers-by could vote to decide which Syrian children could qualify for the “Kindertransporthilfe” aid. It was no coincidence that the event was reminiscent of Christoph Schlingensief’s 2000 container Ausländer raus [Foreigners Out!]: at the Vienna Festival, Schlingensief had people vote for which asylum seekers should leave Austria. 1 in 100 was also a cynical and obvious hint at the “talent show” television format, highlighting the cynicism of German politics for refugees. The same applies to the concept of “Kindertransporthilfe”, which hints at the name given to the escape of over 10,000 German Jewish children to Britain, in 1937-38. Five of those refugees actually gave their support to ZPS’s “Kindertransporthilfe” project, and with their participation emphasized the parallels between the past situation and today’s. And it is not a joke that in the U.S. there actually is a lottery whose prize is a Green Card. The clash of real interests…

Zentrum für Politische Schönheit, 1 aus 100. Photo: SKK


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So, in order to experiment this territory, to check the distances, to measure the proximities/ reconciliations…we offer The Traversée, on a North-South line. Return to discover the three structures associated on this trip designed with the help of the artists and punctuated with surprises!

9:00 am: Departure at BBB, centre d’art in Toulouse by bus
10:00 am: Saint-Gaudens – Chapelle Saint-Jacques / Meeting with the hunters around a film by Nina Fiocco and a boar terrine.
01:00 pm: Toulouse – BBB centre d’art / Debate with French and Italian actors of PIANO, around a buffet prepared by a chef artist Laurence Cloup…
07:00 pm: Cajarc – MAGP / Opening for PIANO-ALTO ! Dinner and performed evening.
00:30 am: Toulouse.

Sunday, April 12 Toulouse Back to 12 pm. 10 am departure
Details on request. Invitation for journalists on request, subject to availability.

BBB centre d’art
+33 (0)5 61 13 37 14


Nous avons imaginé un évènement qui vous promène sur une ligne Nord – Sud, de l’un à l’autre des sites qui ont servi de cadre à cette aventure partagée. Venez vérifier les distances, mesurer les rapprochements, faire l’expérience du territoire arpenté par les artistes italiens, ici en Midi-Pyrénées.
La Traversée invite à un voyage aller-retour, à la découverte des trois structures associées à ce projet. Dessinée avec les artistes et ponctuée de surprises, la journée en bus – comme au temps des colonies de vacances – promet des étapes savoureuses, tant au plan gastronomique qu’au menu des festivités artistiques et conviviales. Car cette affaire fut une saga mémorable dont on vous contera le détail, dans le désordre, si vous êtes du périple !
La Maison des arts Georges Pompidou a réceptionné les deux artistes italiens Nina et Daniele à leur arrivée. Ils ont rencontrés d’autres artistes aux Maisons Daura et des habitants de Saint-Cirq Lapopie. Certains ont chanté avec Nina dans les rues du village déserté la nuit ; d’autres ont joué les personnages imaginés par Daniele dans les champs de maïs de la vallée… Lise Lacombe, de retour des Dolomites, les a introduits aux brumes, aux grottes et aux mythes du Quercy.
La Chapelle St Jacques accueillait sa première résidence et la deuxième étape du séjour de Nina et Daniele. Elle s’en est fait du souci, Valérie, la directrice… Elle a couru les brocantes pour trouver une jolie lampe, histoire de créer un sweet home dans la salle de réunion… L’équipe n’a pas ménagé ses efforts, a découvert le monde des chasseurs, s’est rassasiée de sanglier et a crapahuté en montagne à la recherche des passeurs pour accompagner les requêtes de ces jeunes volontaires à l’exil pyrénéen.
Le BBB centre d’art, ultime étape urbaine du périple, a clos les festivités au milieu des manifs des zadistes et des agriculteurs… alors que Daniele s’épuisait à trouver LE personnage pivot de son film et que Nina s’égarait entre artisanat et high tech, dans un atelier artisanal de cloches du XVIIIe siècle…
Guillaume Robert et Jérémy Laffon affinaient leurs projets dans le même temps à Milan ou à Casso. Ils nous raconteront bientôt leurs histoires d’Ouest en Est… dans tous les sens et jusqu’en Grèce.
Bon voyage !

Rendez-vous au BBB centre d’art, Toulouse

Départ en bus pour Saint-Gaudens

Petit déjeuner et rencontre avec les chasseurs autour du film de Nina Fiocco au centre d’art La Chapelle Saint Jacques, Saint-Gaudens

Buffet préparé par Laurence Cloup, artiste cuisinière. Paroles et débat avec les acteurs du projet PIANO au BBB centre d’art, Toulouse

Arrivée Cajarc et temps libre dans le village

VERNISSAGE de l’exposition Piano-Alto ! Maison des Arts Georges Pompidou, Cajarc

Dîner et soirée aux Maisons Daura, Saint-Cirq Lapopie

Arrivée à Toulouse

CONTACT@LEBBB.ORG / 05 61 13 37 14

Guillaume Robert, Vérifier l’Arcadie, 2014

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Céline Kopp You recently had the opportunity to do a residency in Casso in the Dolomites. As an artist for whom questions of balance, weightlessness, movement and falling are recurrent themes, I imagine that being in a village right on the side of a mountain was a fairly powerful context for your work?
Jérémy Laffon Actually, the constraint of the steep incline on which that village is built became the driving force behind the work I developed and it brings back the falling motif. I approached this village, with its tragic past, as scenery; I wanted to make it into a ghostly environment, without being dramatic, and I chose to shoot a video there, entitled Invasione pacifica. This village was deserted in 1963 after the disaster at the Vajont Dam, where a huge wave was caused by a landslide. In this video, the village is devoid of any trace of human life, a bit like an old episode of The Twilight Zone… This context gave me the chance to pursue motifs that have been returning irregularly in my work for several years, placing them in situations: the ball, the bounce, etc.


2. Jérémy Laffon in residence in Casso

C.K. During one conversation you took pains to stress the fact that your work was not a response to the history of the village. The flood motif is something that has long been present in your work. And your video is rather light-hearted and humorous. Can you tell us more about it? It has a much more “manufactured” feel than your previous videos… Is this a way of opening new paths, while evoking earlier works?
J.L. Yes precisely, Invasione pacifica is the pictorial story of a flood of oranges, coming out of nowhere, bouncing in and invading the narrow streets of the village. Tragicomically, these foreign bodies gradually merge together and evolve into a shapeless mass. It is partly a revival of the video-happening Symphony #1 (2005) pushed towards a more cinematic form. (In that video you already found oranges, with a sequence-shot from above. They were filmed on the top step of an escalator whose operation caused their movements). I wanted to think of this new video as being part of a whole, while changing the image register, and ultimately a lot of elements and parameters contributed to a balance between construction and simplicity. And after ten years, I found it particularly fun to once again present these old citrus-protagonists (actors?), who still do their work just as well.

9. Jérémy Laffon, A pacific invasion, August 2014, Casso

3. Jérémy Laffon, A Pacific Invasion, August 2014, Casso

C.K. Tell me, why don’t the oranges break?
J.L. The impact isn’t very forceful, and they have understudies when they get soft (smiles).

C.K. The oranges have understudies! That’s a very revealing detail… This video seems to start with a procedure that is as simple as in previous works, but this time the form of the image goes from being a simple capture of reality to something more manufactured. Did this force you to tackle the possibility of creating fiction? Is this what you’re talking about when you say that lots of parameters contributed to the process?
J.L. Yes, you mention procedure; I have a tendency to evoke gestures or ideas. I like to start things with a deliberately simple idea, an observation like: constraint + ball = action (in this case the action is falling, flooding, like in the Symphony series). The rudimentary gesture of throwing something that rolls is what causes the action. In previous works, one might consider the question of the intentionality of the oranges, but one stayed in a reality that was unmodified, except for that micro-modification represented by the gesture. This time, I spoke directly about foreign bodies, about “others”… It’s true that film images take us in a fictional direction as soon as the choice is made to have a succession of constructed shots, to get the shape of the oranges to evolve into something else, and therefore to have a script. In this case, we’re really in the realm of the moving image, but you could reconsider works like the Relic series (2013) using a similar vocabulary. These small, constructed sculptures made of chewing gum were doomed to collapse, and the idea was to laboriously replace damaged sticks of gum with balsa wood sticks as needed. Each time, it was a matter of an understudy, an “other”. But in that case, it helped stop the form’s evolution. This time it’s the opposite. The understudy enables the transformation.

10. Jérémy Laffon, A Pacific Invasion, August 2014, Casso

4. Jérémy Laffon, A Pacific Invasion, August 2014, Casso

C.K. You reference the world of fantasy films, especially Z movies. So you decided to tackle a more constructed image while sticking to a very cobbled-together aesthetic that once again places a lot of importance on labour. Why?
J.L. The reference to Z movies and DIY special effects with the mutation of the oranges made it possible to keep things light-hearted. Labour is something important in the way I work. In this case, it is less visible because it’s not the subject of the work per se, but it’s fundamental. I peeled an overwhelming quantity of oranges… It was like something out of science fiction! And I developed a specific technique as I went along. For this video, gestures and repetitions that are sometimes absurd are still there, but behind the scenes. The film enabled me to experiment with the potential for these banal, real-world protagonists to become autonomous objects. I think the parallel with the image of the UFOs is linked to this idea: push a simple procedure to the point of creating an object that possesses its own fictional logic, while maintaining that “pleasant strangeness”. The desire for fiction was also linked to what you mentioned earlier: the desire not to deal with the question of the drama that the village now bases its identity on. I wanted to speak about the possibility that this territory could invent a new story and move beyond the existing context.

Protagonist: Jérémy Laffon
Project: Piano – alto!

Céline Kopp Tu as récemment eu l’opportunité d’aller en résidence à Casso dans les Dolomites. Pour un artiste chez qui les questions d’équilibre, d’apesanteur, de mouvement et de chute sont des thèmes récurrents, j’imagine qu’être dans un village accroché à même la montagne a été un contexte plutôt fort pour ton travail ?
Jérémy Laffon En effet, la contrainte du dénivelé important sur lequel ce village est bâti est devenue le moteur du travail que j’ai développé et il reprend le motif de la chute. J’ai approché ce village au passé tragique comme un décor ; j’ai voulu en faire un environnement fantôme, sans être dramatique, et j’ai choisi d’y réaliser une vidéo qui s’est intitulée Invasione pacifica. Ce village a été quasi déserté suite à la catastrophe du barrage du Vajont en 1963, où une immense vague a été causée par un glissement de terrain. Dans cette vidéo, le village est vide de toutes traces de vie humaine, un peu comme dans un vieil épisode de Twilight Zone… Ce contexte a été l’occasion de prolonger des motifs qui reviennent irrégulièrement dans mon travail depuis plusieurs années, et de les remettre en situation : la balle, le rebond, etc.

C.K. Lors d’une conversation tu as beaucoup insisté sur le fait que ton travail n’a pas été une réponse à l’histoire du village. Le motif du déferlement est quelque chose de présent depuis longtemps pour toi. Ta vidéo est d’ailleurs plutôt légère et emplie d’humour, peux-tu nous en dire plus ? Elle semble beaucoup plus « produite » que les précédentes… est-ce une manière d’ouvrir de nouvelles pistes, tout en évoquant des travaux précédents ?
J.L. Oui tout à fait, Invasione pacifica est le récit pictural d’un déferlement d’oranges, venues de nulle part, envahissant les ruelles du village en rebondissant. De manière tragi-comique, ces corps étrangers vont peu à peu « fusionner » entre eux et évoluer vers une masse informe. Il s’agit en partie d’une réactivation de la vidéo-happening Symphony #1 (2005) poussée vers une forme plus cinématographique. (On y trouvait déjà les oranges, avec un plan séquence en vue plongeante. Elles étaient filmées sur la dernière marche d’un escalator dont le fonctionnement provoquait leurs mouvements). J’ai voulu assumer cette nouvelle vidéo comme faisant partie d’un ensemble, tout en changeant le registre de l’image, et finalement beaucoup d’éléments et de paramètres sont intervenus dans un jeu d’équilibre entre construction et simplicité. D’ailleurs, cela m’amusait particulièrement, presque dix ans après, de remettre en scène ces vieux (acteurs ?) protagonistes-agrumes qui font toujours aussi bien le boulot.

C.K. Tiens, pourquoi les oranges n’éclatent pas ?
J.L. Il n’y a pas d’impact très violent et elles ont des doublures quand elles se ramollissent (sourire).

C.K. Les oranges ont des doublures ! Il s’agit d’un détail très révélateur… Cette vidéo semble démarrer avec un protocole aussi simple que dans des travaux précédents, mais, ici, tu déplaces la forme de l’image d’une simple capture du réel vers une forme plus produite. Est-ce que cela t’a obligé à te confronter à la possibilité d’une fiction ? Est-ce ce dont tu parles lorsque tu dis que beaucoup de paramètres sont intervenus dans le processus ?
J.L. Oui, tu parles de protocole, de mon côté j’ai tendance à évoquer des gestes ou des idées. J’aime faire démarrer les choses avec une idée volontairement simple, un constat du type : contrainte + balle = action (ici l’action est la chute, le déferlement, comme dans la série des Symphony). C’est le geste rudimentaire de lancer une chose qui roule qui amène l’action. Dans les travaux précédents, on pouvait se poser la question de l’intentionnalité des oranges, mais on restait dans un réel non modifié, si ce n’est cette micro-modification qu’était le geste. Ici, j’ai carrément parlé de corps étrangers, « d’autres »… c’est vrai que l’image filmique nous amène dans une direction fictionnelle dès lors que le choix est fait d’une succession de plans construits, de l’évolution de la forme des oranges vers autre chose, et donc du scénario. Ici, on est vraiment dans le domaine de l’image en mouvement, mais tu pourrais repenser à des œuvres comme la série Relic (2013) en utilisant un vocabulaire similaire. Ces petites sculptures construites en chewing-gum étaient vouées à l’effondrement et l’idée était de remplacer laborieusement, et au fur et à mesure, les tablettes endommagées par des tablettes de balsa. A chaque fois, il s’agit donc aussi d’une doublure, d’un « autre ». Mais dans ce cas, il permet de stopper l’évolution de la forme. Ici c’est le contraire. La doublure permet la mutation.

C.K. Tu cites l’univers du film fantastique, mais surtout la série Z. Tu as donc décidé de te confronter à une image plus construite tout en restant dans une esthétique très bricolée et qui donne encore beaucoup d’importance au labeur. Pourquoi ?
J.L. La référence à la série Z et aux effets spéciaux DIY avec la mutation des agrumes permet de rester dans la légèreté. Le labeur est quelque chose d’important dans la façon dont je travaille. Ici, il est moins visible et ce n’est pas l’objet de l’œuvre en soi, mais il est fondamental. J’ai pelé une quantité envahissante d’oranges… c’était de l’ordre de la science-fiction ! J’ai d’ailleurs développé une technique spécifique au fur et à mesure. Pour cette vidéo, le geste et la répétition parfois absurdes sont toujours là, mais en coulisses. Le film m’a permis d’expérimenter le potentiel de ces protagonistes banals, issus du réel, à devenir des objets autonomes. Je pense que le parallèle avec la figure de l’OVNI est lié à cette idée : pousser un protocole simple vers la création d’un objet possédant une logique fictionnelle propre, tout en maintenant cette « sympathique étrangeté ». L’envie de fiction était aussi liée à ce que tu as évoqué tout à l’heure : l’envie de ne pas traiter la question du drame sur lequel ce village construit désormais son identité. Je voulais parler de la possibilité de ce territoire à réinventer une histoire, à aller au-delà du contexte existant.

1. Jérémy Laffon in residence in Casso. Photo dc archive
2. Jérémy Laffon in residence in Casso. Oranges floating in the hamlet of Casso. Photo dc archive
3. Jérémy Laffon, A Pacific Invasion, August 2014, Casso. Video still
4. Jérémy Laffon, A Pacific Invasion, August 2014, Casso. Working in the canonica, dc’s residence in Casso. Photo dc archive

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Nina Fiocco was an artist in residency at Maisons Daura in Saint-Cirq Lapopie, at Chapelle Saint-Jacques in Saint-Gaudens and at BBB centre d’art in Toulouse between September and November 2014.
Nina Fiocco penetrates the reality of daily life and unveils its most hidden and meaningful aspects. By researching on site, she questions the local aspect of the context to widen the perspective and make it universal.

Interview by Stefania Meazza

Stefania Meazza Tell me about the project you developed during the Piano – alto! residencies.
Nina Fiocco To me coming to France was a way to come closer to home, without actually coming home. I was somewhere in the middle: a country which I don’t belong to but which is part of the same political and social system I live in. I live on another continent. There I was identified for the first time, and with great surprise on my behalf, as a European. I was included in a macro-system which I never thought I belonged to which is seen from the outside as consistent and well defined, not diverse.
I arrived shortly after reading Monolingualism of the Other by Jacques Derrida, so I was interested in language as a threshold, as a thin line which can despotically divide who is part of a community from who isn’t, who has the appropriate vocabulary and accent to talk about certain themes from who hasn’t. This is why, through my research, I tried to explore language as a sort of utopia, where the speaker can’t use their native language to communicate with the “other” and so invents their own language. This language doesn’t give an agreed sound a certain meaning, but it reinvents it, it experiments with it and it makes it personal.

S.M. The project carried out in Midi-Pyrénées, and in general all of your research, has an immediate connection with the context you are working in. To quote the French critic Paul Ardenne, we could call your work ‘contextual art’. How did the three different contexts you stayed in influenced your work? How did you respond to these contexts (Saint Cirq-Lapopie: medieval town and tourist attraction/Saint Gaudens: industrial town at the feet of the Pyrenees/Toulouse: a dynamic regional capital with an industrial heritage and strong student life)?
N.F. During this period, I organised my work around practice-based research. Starting from the ideas we were talking about before (the foreigner, language, threshold, utopia/dystopia of an invented language), I tried to create work in relation to the context, the people and the territory. In Saint-Cirq Lapopie I had the opportunity to collaborate with a choir. We drew inspiration from a quote of Aristotle’s Politics1 to develop a series of actions imagining a way to map out the space we lived in intangibly. In Saint-Gaudens, thanks to another accidental encounter, I worked on a video in which I explored the forms of verbal communication invented by man to establish a relationship with animals. I recorded a lot of material about these entirely personal ways to create a new language, which are sometimes successful and sometimes not. I hope I will continue this project in Italy and Mexico. Lastly, in Toulouse I tried to come to a conclusion on language. I actually left the city and started working with an artisan workshop which has been making cowbells since the 17th century. I started planning the installation for the final exhibition with them.

S.M. What do you believe your role as an artist to be in contextual art? Are you a catalyst? A researcher?
N.F. I often quote an essay by Walter Benjamin on this point, which largely influenced my work. Benjamin recognises two types of people who in the past could be considered ‘storytellers’. On one side there is the sedentary and home-based peasant, who lives in the same place as his ancestors for all of his life and thus reaches the deepest level of knowledge of time. On the other side there is the itinerant and travelling merchant, who having travelled far and wide is fully aware of space. I’ve always been interested in how understanding distance, either in time or space, can be linked to the ability of telling the truth, but also – as Benjamin adds – of finding a breakthrough towards what is ‘wonderful’, allowed by the public to the storyteller. This is what I aim to do in my artistic practice: to tell the truth so I can then allow myself to offer a wonderful abstraction from truth itself.

S.M. You often approach work through collaboration between different people. You saw the context in Midi-Pyrénées mainly as a human one. How did you establish a relationship with the locals?
N.F. In fact I always try to lay as foundation of my work the process of listening, storytelling and creating a deep connection with the local context. To use an anthropological metaphor, field work is often defined by informers, who then actually lead the following processes.

S.M. One of Piano – alto!’s distinctive traits is that it’s a research residency. Even though there various ways to elaborate and return work to the public were planned for the following months, the main aim of these weeks was to immerse yourself in a different context and stimulate your reflection. Was this the first time you took part in a research residency? What was it like?
N.F. Actually, I had been in residence at the Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa. There I had started researching from a more theoretical point of view distance and storytelling. This first step led all of my recent research and practice, from the Monte Grappa project in Mexico to the Salgari Method. When I arrived at Piano – alto!, I had the intention to explore the area, look for paths to follow, experiment with new techniques, read and observe to come back with a baggage of new material to transform.

S.M. A residency is also a life experience. What does living in a place for a limited period of time mean to you? What were your expectations when you got to Midi-Pyrénées and what do you go back to Italy with?
N.F. An opportunity to take a break, a deep breath, do something else. I left to explore a territory I didn’t know, to understand something, however small. I come back with plenty of material, encounters, conversations, landscapes. And some doubts, which to me are a good way to come close to knowledge.

1 “(…) To the size of states there is a limit, as there is to other things, plants, animals, implements; for none of these retain their natural power when they are too large or too small, but they either wholly lose their nature, or are spoiled. For example, a ship which is only a span long will not be a ship at all, nor a ship a quarter of a mile long; yet there may be a ship of a certain size, either too large or too small, which will still be a ship, but bad for sailing. In like manner a state when composed of too few is not, as a state ought to be, self-sufficing; when of too many, though self-sufficing in all mere necessaries, as a nation may be, it is not a state, being almost incapable of constitutional government. For who can be the general of such a vast multitude, or who the herald, unless he have the voice of a Stentor? A state, then, only begins to exist when it has attained a population sufficient for a good life in the political community: it may indeed, if it somewhat exceed this number, be a greater state. But, as I was saying, there must be a limit. What should be the limit will be easily ascertained by experience. For both governors and governed have duties to perform; the special functions of a governor to command and to judge. But if the citizens of a state are to judge and to distribute offices according to merit, then they must know each other’s characters; where they do not possess this knowledge, both the election to offices and the decision of lawsuits will go wrong. When the population is very large they are manifestly settled at haphazard, which clearly ought not to be. Besides, in an over-populous state foreigners and metics will readily acquire the rights of citizens, for who will find them out? Clearly then the best limit of the population of a state is the largest number which suffices for the purposes of life, and can be taken in at a single view. Enough concerning the size of a state.” Aristotle, Politics, Book Seven, translated by Benjamin Jowett.

November 2014
Translation: thanks to Marta Sanders


Nina Fiocco è stata accolta in residenza alle Maisons Daura a Saint-Cirq Lapopie, alla Chapelle Saint-Jacques a Saint-Gaudens et al BBB centre d’art a Tolosa tra settembre e novembre 2014.
Nina Fiocco si insinua nei meandri della realtà comune e ne svela gli aspetti più reconditi e significativi. Come una ricercatrice sul terreno, interroga la dimensione locale del contesto per aprirla a una prospettiva universale.

A cura di Stefania Meazza

Stefania Meazza Qual è il progetto che hai sviluppato durante le residenze Piano – alto!?
Nina Fiocco Venire in Francia era per me una maniera di avvicinarmi a casa, anche se, in effetti, a casa non ero. Piuttosto mi trovavo in bilico, in un paese cui non appartengo, ma che fa comunque parte di un sistema politico-sociale del quale faccio parte anch’io. Vivendo in un altro continente, sono stata definita, per la prima volta e con grande sorpresa, europea. Sono stata inclusa in un macrosistema che non avevo mai pensato come mio e che è d’altra parte assolutamente contrario alla diversità, poiché appare dall’esterno coeso e ben definito. Al mio arrivo, dopo la recente lettura de Il monolinguismo degli altri di Jacques Derrida, ero interessata ad avvicinarmi all’idea di lingua come soglia, come una membrana che può dispoticamente scegliere tra chi è dentro e chi è fuori da una comunità, tra chi possiede strumenti lessicali e cadenza adeguati a parlare di certi temi e chi no. Per questa ragione con la mia ricerca ho cercato di investigare una dimensione in un certo senso utopica del linguaggio, in cui un soggetto, che non può valersi della propria lingua madre per entrare in contatto con “l’altro”, inventa un linguaggio proprio, che esclude un senso dato a un suono prestabilito, bensì lo reinventa, lo sperimenta, lo personalizza.

S.M. Il progetto svolto in Midi-Pyrénées, e in generale la tua ricerca, è in assonanza diretta con il contesto. Usando un’espressione coniata dal critico francese Paul Ardenne, si potrebbe definire una forma d’arte “contestuale”. Che ruolo hanno svolto i tre tipi di contesti incontrati durante la tua residenza (Saint-Cirq Lapopie: villaggio medievale destinazione turistica/Saint-Gaudens: cittadina industriale ai piedi dei Pirenei/Tolosa: capoluogo di regione, città dinamica, dall’identità industriale e studentesca)? Come hai reagito a questi contesti?
N.F. Il lavoro di questo periodo si è organizzato intorno a ricerche in practice: in base alle idee di cui abbiamo parlato prima (lo straniero, la lingua, la soglia, l’utopia/distopia di una lingua inventata) ho cercato di lavorare contestualmente agli incontri e al territorio. A Saint- Cirq-Lapopie ho avuto modo di collaborare con un coro e, insieme, partendo da una citazione sulla città ideale tratta dalla Politica di Aristotele1, abbiamo lavorato a una serie di azioni, immaginando una maniera di mappare immaterialmente gli spazi. A Saint-Gaudens, sempre a causa di un incontro fortuito, ho lavorato a un video indagando quelle forme verbali di comunicazione inventate dall’uomo per stabilire un contatto con l’animale. Ho registrato una lunga documentazione video di queste maniere del tutto personali di elaborare un linguaggio nuovo, talvolta riuscite talvolta fallimentari. L’idea è quella di proseguire questo lavoro anche tra in Italia e in Messico. Tolosa, infine, è stato il luogo in cui ho cercato di elaborare e di trovare una forma di conclusione sul linguaggio: in realtà, allontanandomi dalla città, sono entrata in contatto con un laboratorio artigianale di campane per animali in attività dal XVII secolo, con cui ho iniziato a progettare l’installazione per la mostra di restituzione finale.

S.M. Come concepisci il tuo ruolo nel processo di creazione contestuale? L’artista come catalizzatore? Come ricercatore?
N.F. In uno dei suoi saggi, che cito spesso perché ha influenzato fortemente il mio lavoro, Walter Benjamin distingue tra due tipologie di persone che in passato si potevano considerare “narratori”. Da una parte si trova il contadino sedentario che, vivendo in un luogo per tutta la sua vita come i suoi antenati, raggiunge la massima profondità temporale di conoscenza; dall’altro vi è il mercante viaggiatore che, avendo lungamente percorso il globo, possiede la piena consapevolezza di uno spazio. Mi è sempre interessato come alla conoscenza di una distanza, spaziale o temporale che sia, si possa associare la capacità non solo di raccontare la verità ma anche, come aggiunge Benjamin, di trovare un’evasione (che il pubblico complice concede al narratore) verso il “meraviglioso”. Nella mia pratica ambisco a questo, a raccontare la realtà per concedermi il lusso di proporre un’astrazione fantastica della stessa.

S.M. Il tuo modo di concepire un lavoro si basa spesso su modalità di collaborazione tra persone diverse. Anche in Midi-Pyrénées, il contesto è stato inteso come realtà eminentemente umana. Come hai impostato in questo caso il rapporto con i tuoi interlocutori?
N.F. Effettivamente alla base del mio lavoro cerco sempre di partire dall’ascolto, dalla narrazione, da un incontro intimo con una realtà locale. Se mi permetti una metafora con l’antropologia, il lavoro di campo è spesso determinato dagli informatori che sono, in realtà, coloro che orientano i processi a seguire.

S.M. La particolarità di Piano – alto! è, tra le altre, di essere una residenza di ricerca. Nonostante diverse forme di restituzione previste per i mesi a venire, lo scopo di queste settimane di residenza non era di produrre un lavoro, ma di immergersi in una realtà altra e nutrire la tua riflessione. È la prima volta che ti trovi a partecipare a una residenza di ricerca? Come hai affrontato questa esperienza?
N.F. In realtà anche in precedenza ero stata in residenza alla Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, dove avevo cominciato un percorso di ricerca più che altro teorico, legato alla distanza e alla narrazione, che ha condotto poi tutta la mia ricerca e pratica più recente: dal progetto Monte Grappa in Messico alla costituzione del Metodo Salgari. Sono quindi arrivata alla residenza Piano – alto! con l’idea d’esplorare un luogo e di cercare piste da seguire, sperimentare nuove tecniche, leggere e osservare con l’idea di tornare con un serbatoio rinnovato di materiale da trasformare.

S.M. Una residenza è anche un’esperienza di vita. Che cosa significa per te risiedere in un luogo durante un periodo di tempo limitato? Quali erano le tue attese arrivando in Midi-Pyrénées e con quale bagaglio riparti in Italia?
N.F. Una pausa, un respiro, un’opportunità per fare altro. Partivo con l’idea di esplorare un territorio che non conoscevo, di capire anche qualcosa di piccolo da quest’esperienza. Torno con molto materiale, tanti incontri, conversazioni e paesaggi. E pure qualche dubbio che è per me una bella maniera di avvicinarsi a sapere.

1 “(…) Ma c’è senza dubbio una misura di grandezza anche per lo stato, come per ogni altra cosa, animali, piante, strumenti: ognuno di questi, se troppo piccolo o troppo eccedente in grandezza, non conserverà la propria capacità, ma talvolta rimarrà assolutamente privo della propria natura, talvolta si troverà in cattive condizioni: ad esempio un’imbarcazione di una spanna non sarà affatto imbarcazione, e neppure una di due stadi, che, raggiunta una determinata dimensione, talvolta per la piccolezza, talvolta per la dismisura, pregiudicherà la navigazione. Ugualmente uno stato, quando ha troppo pochi abitanti, non è autosufficiente (e lo stato è qualcosa di autosufficiente), quando ne ha troppi, sarà autosufficiente nelle esigenze indispensabili, come una nazione, ma non sarà uno stato, perché non è facile che abbia una costituzione: chi sarà, infatti, lo stratego di una massa di gente troppo smisurata? o chi l’araldo se non ha la voce di Stentore? Quindi condizione indispensabile per l’esistenza dello stato è che abbia un numero tale di abitanti che sia il minimo indispensabile in vista dell’autosufficienza per un’esistenza agiata in conformità alle esigenze d’una comunità civile. È possibile, certo, che uno stato superiore a questo per massa di abitanti sia più grande, ma tale possibilità d’incremento, come s’è già detto, non è illimitata: quale poi sia il limite dell’incremento, si vede facilmente dall’esame dei fatti. Le attività dello stato sono talune di chi comanda, altre di chi è comandato: è funzione di chi comanda impartire ordini e giudicare i processi: ma per decidere questioni di giustizia e per distribuire le cariche secondo il merito, è necessario che i cittadini si conoscano a vicenda nelle loro qualità, poiché, ove ciò non si avvera, di necessità le faccende riguardanti le cariche e le sentenze giudiziarie vanno male, e né nell’una né nell’altra è giusto affidarsi all’improvvisazione, come invece apertamente si pratica dove c’è troppa popolazione. Inoltre stranieri e meteci potranno più facilmente partecipare ai diritti della cittadinanza giacché, dato l’eccessivo numero della popolazione, non è difficile passare inosservati. È chiaro, quindi, che il limite migliore della popolazione d’uno stato è il seguente: deve avere l’incremento massimo al fine di vivere una vita autosufficiente e deve essere facilmente abbracciata in un unico sguardo. Siano, dunque, queste le precisazioni per quanto riguarda la grandezza dello stato”. Aristotele, Politica, libro primo.

novembre 2014

Nina Fiocco, Sans titre, Saint-Gaudens, 2014. © Nina Fiocco

Project: Piano – alto!
Protagonists: Nina Fiocco, Stefania Meazza
Spaces: Maison des Arts Georges Pompidou CAC, CAC Chapelle St Jacques, BBB centre d’art

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Daniele Pezzi was an artist in residency at Maisons Daura in Saint-Cirq Lapopie, at Chapelle Saint-Jacques in Saint-Gaudens and at BBB centre d’art in Toulouse between September and November 2014.
Daniele Pezzi is a tireless artist, a sensitive explorer of the imaginary. He absorbed the context he lived in during the residencies and imagined a film which traces the development of a character in search of his identity and of the truth.

Interview by Stefania Meazza

Stefania Meazza Tell me about the project you developed during the Piano – alto! residencies.
Daniele Pezzi Because of the nomadic nature of the residency, I developed a new film in three parts which I temporarily called Revelation (Saint-Cirq Lapopie), Utopia (Toulouse) and Escape (Saint-Gaudens). There is an actor for each location. They play different stages in the development of the same character, who has a nomadic and malleable identity and who goes through the different contexts adapting to the variable situations. The adaptation to continuously different contexts causes a fragmentation similar to the one typical of dissociative identity disorder. In the film, however, it is the character’s body to experience dissociation, while his psychology remains compact and mysterious. Every location suggests specific themes which contextualise the story. The starting point is Pasolini’s approach in his unfinished novel Petrolio (Petrol), which can be explained by his own words: “Dissociation is order. The obsession for identity and its fragmentation is disorder. The reason for dissociation is none other than the narrative rule which guarantees this poem to be limited and readable. The nature of this poem, in fact, because of the other and truer cause of the obsession for identity and its fragmentation, would be limitless and illegible.”

S.M. The project carried out in Midi-Pyrénées, and in general all of your research, has an immediate connection with the context you are working in. To quote the French critic Paul Ardenne, we could call your work ‘contextual art’. How did the three different contexts you stayed in influenced your work? How did you respond to these contexts (Saint-Cirq Lapopie: medieval town and tourist attraction/Saint-Gaudens: industrial town at the feet of the Pyrenees/Toulouse: a dynamic regional capital with an industrial heritage and strong student life)?
D.P. The context has been an active part of all my work, especially my films. This is possible because I have rarely visited it as a real research tool. I believe it is important to work directly on the field, place the situation I want to stage in the context I’m surrounded by and let the conflict between reality and fiction create unexpected results, contrasts and novelties. Before setting off for the residency, and because of the limited amount of time, I researched the context on the internet.
Saint-Cirq Lapopie is not only a very pretty (and deserted) touristic medieval town, but it is also part of the valley of the Lot river, an incredible setting. I wanted to connect the film to my previous experience, so it was important for me to start out from the landscape. The caves (e.g. Pech Merle), the streets and the paths dug in the mountain, corn fields and so on were the places where everything started. Saint-Cirq Lapopie is the first protagonist’s arrival point, but it continues to stay in the background. At the same time, it was the perfect place to think about the film and write. It is an extremely stratified place and Maisons Dura is a welcoming and stimulating haven.
There are no images of the town of Saint-Gaudens. Its proximity to the Pyrenees and to the non-existent border between France and Spain was perfect to express the protagonist’s exit from the film itself and to reflect on leaving at the end of my residency. Chapelle Saint-Jacques, more than the town itself, was my safe-place and the ideal place to work intensely and continuously, but from the roof of the art centre my gaze reached the mountains at the horizon… Saint-Gaudens appeared in the film trough the people who helped me during my stay: the art centre staff, friends and supporters who did their best to transform my ideas into reality.
Toulouse instead was dominant. The city was impossible to unravel and synthesize, which is typical of big cities, full of stimuli and energy, although mostly negative. I was overcome by the contradictions I was constantly surrounded by, from the apartment I stayed in (part of a council house) to social conflicts which kept emerging in protests of all sorts (from ecological issues to agricultural ones). The city which had welcomed Silvio Trentin at the beginning of the 20th century has become a rough land where people seem to be more fleeing and less interested in dialogue and exchange. It’s as if utopia has left its place to shopping. Developing my project was very hard: finding and involving people who could allow me to go further and get the authorizations to film in the right places and gaining people’s trust was difficult. I challenged my limits and I let the city decide what it would offer me, I worked tirelessly to make my ideas real, at least in part. It wasn’t possible to stage the great political debate I had thought of, but I understood that the protests that were happening in those days embodied the debate I was looking for, and I understood that in this context democracy expresses itself more clearly through the violence of conflict than through a bourgeois dialogue in a library.

S.M. What do you believe your role as an artist to be in contextual art? Are you a catalyst? A researcher?
D.P. I see myself as a catalyst more and more. I do my best to let my idea become part of the context and automatically generate connection between people, places and points of view, even when they’re divergent. In this way I try to avoid the idea of the author who knows and expects everything, replacing it with a constant search for collaboration. The most clear example of this is the relationships I build with actors, whether professionals or not. I try to develop with them a character who is in between their own identity and the identity I have imagined. This way people don’t feel exploited, and instead they are observed by my camera which, as time goes on, tends to disappear and become an invisible eye. It is a long process (not always possible to develop in residency) which allows us to grow together. To be a catalyst means I am open to chance and struggle, I leave the director’s chair and put myself on the line to make sure that the idea comes to a result and that my collaborators gain something which will be useful to them.

S.M. You often build your films through the dialogue with the protagonist. In Midi-Pyrénées, you worked with different protagonists who came in one after the other and played the same character. How did you work with these people?
D.P. As I said earlier, it wasn’t always possible to develop a dialogue process the same way I had with the film I made in Canada. There I had been able to work intensely, for over ten days, with the protagonists. We lived together, we shared joy and faced problems together.
In Saint-Cirq Lapopie and Saint-Gaudens I trusted Martine and Valérie intuitions. They suggested I worked with Lise Lacombe (an artist and photographer who takes part in the Piano – alto! residency in Italy) and Antoine Palomar. Lise and I worked on the identification of our cameras. I let her take me to places she thought were fascinating, and I suggested others. We spent a few days together filming and passing through those places. While she took photographs I documented this research. I gained access to the party at the end of the first part of the film through Lise. I think there she saw my ability to deal with chance, in a situation which was unpredictable.
Antoine, similarly, told me about his walks on the Pyrenees and we chose the perfect spot to film together. The climb we did together created a connection which stayed during the following weeks as well.
In Toulouse it was very difficult to find the kind of person I had in mind. Through the underground scene I involved Emmanuel Fuentes, who adapted to my approach even though the time we had was very limited. We spent a few days together and we tried to develop the character in a natural way. We tried to link this research to his attempt to continuously redefine his identity in relation to the context and his own personal growth. It was an intense process, especially because of the short time, but I think the result was a success.

S.M. One of Piano – alto!’s distinctive traits is that it’s a research residency. Even though the various ways to elaborate and return work to the public were planned for the following months, the main aim of these weeks was to immerse yourself in a different context and stimulate your reflection. Was this the first time you took part in a research residency? What was it like?
D.P. Yes, it was the first time I accepted the invitation of an institution to take part in a research residency. I must say, though, that since I started travelling all of my life has become research and I don’t see the difference between the research and the production stage in making my work anymore. Working on field allows me, more than any reading or theoretical talk, to experiment and find new and unexpected solutions. Working on a film is a continuous fluctuation between hands-on work and moments of reflection. Considering the fact that I was invited to France and my project was funded, because of my disposition and for respect towards the commissioner, I couldn’t sit down and just look at what was happening from above. During a previous residency at Le Mans (Centre culturel l’Espal, in 2007) I had reflected thoroughly on the role of an artist in residency and I had been uncomfortable in being a coloniser who discloses to the indigenous the truth about who they are, who judges their life and the context (through images and actions). The most appropriate method to my inclination and my way of working is to delve into the context and chase an idea. I believe the artist can never afford to rest, especially when work is commissioned.

S.M. A residency is also a life experience. What does living in a place for a limited period of time mean to you? What were your expectations when you got to Midi-Pyrénées and what do you go back to Italy with?
D.P. To stay in a place for a limited period of time is a dizzying and frenetic challenge. I feel the responsibility to do my best, sacrificing rest if it’s necessary. Over the past years, my stays during my journeys have become longer, however there is no evident difference between the work made while running and the one made while walking. There are contexts where working properly over little time is impossible, for example Toulouse (and in general complex environments). When I arrived in France I was well-aware that two weeks aren’t enough to get to know a place’s heart. This is why I set off with a clear idea of what I was going to do, and I then let the different contexts, limits and chance to change it and contextualise it.
I expected the three arts centres to be deep-rooted in the territory and the social context they are placed in (and I firmly believe this should be their objective), I expected to be in a peaceful place where I could develop research and work, meet people, share experiences and opinions with open-minded and interested people. In part, my expectations were met and when they weren’t I adapted and did my best.
It’s hard to talk about the baggage I take back with me now. Surely I am even more aware of my limits, my breaking points, my ability to adapt and invent. I have met some wonderful people with whom I shared ideas in gorgeous moments, I have met other people who I would’ve preferred not to and who wasted my time. In Italy I’ll take a break and then start working on the material I’ve accumulated to give the film a definitive form.

November 2014
Translation: thanks to Marta Sanders


Daniele Pezzi è stato accolto in residenza alle Maisons Daura a Saint-Cirq Lapopie, alla Chapelle Saint-Jacques a Saint-Gaudens e al BBB centre d’art a Tolosa tra settembre e novembre 2014.
Artista infaticabile, sensibile esploratore dell’immaginario, Daniele Pezzi si è impregnato dei contesti incontrati nei luoghi della residenza e ha concepito un film che traccia il percorso di un personaggio in evoluzione, alla ricerca di identità e verità.

A cura di Stefania Meazza

Stefania Meazza Qual è il progetto che hai sviluppato durante le residenze Piano – alto!?
Daniele Pezzi Data la natura nomade della residenza, ho sviluppato l’idea di un nuovo film diviso in tre parti che ho provvisoriamente identificato come Rivelazione (Saint-Cirq Lapopie), Utopia (Tolosa) e Fuga (Saint-Gaudens). A ogni territorio corrisponde un attore che interpreta lo stesso personaggio in evoluzione, con un’identità nomade e malleabile, e che attraversa i diversi contesti adattandosi a essi e alle condizioni mutevoli che si trova ad affrontare. Questo adattamento determina una frammentazione, come nel disturbo dissociativo dell’identità, con la differenza che nel film la dissociazione si manifesta nel corpo del personaggio, mentre la sua psicologia rimane compatta e misteriosa. Ogni luogo poi suggerisce delle tematiche specifiche che contestualizzano la narrazione. Il punto di partenza è l’approccio che Pasolini usa nel progetto del suo romanzo incompiuto Petrolio che può essere sintetizzato direttamente attraverso le sue parole: “La dissociazione è ordine. L’ossessione dell’identità e la sua frantumazione è disordine. Il motivo della dissociazione altro dunque non è che la regola narrativa che assicura limitatezza e leggibilità a questo poema; il quale, a causa dell’altro motivo, più vero, dell’ossessione dell’identità e della sua frantumazione, sarebbe per sua natura illimitato e illeggibile”.

S.M. Il progetto che hai svolto in Midi-Pyrénées è in assonanza diretta con il contesto. Usando un’espressione coniata dal critico francese Paul Ardenne, si potrebbe definire una forma d’arte “contestuale”. Che ruolo hanno svolto i tre tipi di contesti incontrati durante la tua residenza (Saint-Cirq: villaggio medievale, destinazione turistica/Saint-Gaudens: cittadina industriale ai piedi dei Pirenei/Tolosa: capoluogo di regione, città dinamica, dall’identità industriale e studentesca)? Come hai reagito a questi contesti?
D.P. Il contesto è sempre stato un soggetto attivo nello sviluppo di ogni mio lavoro (in particolare filmico). Questo è possibile perché raramente ho utilizzato il sopralluogo come reale strumento di ricerca. Per me è importante agire direttamente sul campo e collocare la situazione che voglio mettere in scena nel contesto che mi circonda, lasciando che il conflitto tra la realtà e la finzione generi effetti inaspettati, contrasti e novità. Prima ancora di partire per la residenza, e dato il poco tempo a disposizione, ho fatto una ricerca mirata utilizzando la rete.

Saint-Cirq Lapopie non è solo un villaggio turistico medievale molto grazioso (e disabitato), ma è anche parte di un sistema paesaggistico incredibile che è la valle del fiume Lot. Nel tentativo di collegare il film alle mie esperienze precedenti, era quindi importante partire proprio dal paesaggio. Le grotte (per esempio Pech Merle), le strade e i percorsi scavati nella montagna, i campi di mais ecc. sono i luoghi da cui tutto prende il via. Il villaggio di Saint-Cirq Lapopie costituisce il punto di arrivo del percorso della prima protagonista, ma rimane comunque sullo sfondo. Allo stesso tempo, è stato il luogo perfetto dove riflettere sul film e scrivere: uno spazio talmente stratificato da diventare neutro e le Maisons Daura un ventre accogliente e stimolante.
Saint-Gaudens è assente in quanto cittadina dalle immagini che ho raccolto. La sua prossimità con i Pirenei, e quindi con il confine inesistente tra Francia e Spagna, si adattava alla perfezione all’idea della fuoriuscita del personaggio dal film stesso e rifletteva allo stesso tempo la mia partenza al termine della residenza. La Chapelle Saint-Jacques, più della città in sé, è stato il mio rifugio e luogo di lavoro intenso e continuativo. Ma, dal tetto del centro d’arte, il mio sguardo si proiettava verso le montagne all’orizzonte… Saint-Gaudens si è manifestata quindi attraverso le persone che mi hanno aiutato nel corso della mia permanenza: il personale del centro d’arte, amici o sostenitori hanno dato il massimo per trasformare le mie idee in realtà.
Tolosa invece ha preso il sopravvento. Come sempre succede nelle grandi città, la ricchezza di stimoli e di energie (in gran parte negative) è impossibile da dipanare e sintetizzare. Sono stato schiacciato dalle contraddizioni che mi circondavano costantemente, a partire dall’appartamento dove ero alloggiato (situato in una casa popolare), passando per i conflitti sociali che si manifestavano continuamente in azioni di protesta per la città (dagli ecologisti agli agricoltori). La città che aveva accolto Silvio Trentin agli inizi del Novecento è diventata un territorio ruvido dove la gente sembra più sfuggente, meno interessata al confronto e allo scambio. È come se l’utopia avesse lasciato il campo allo shopping. Portare avanti il mio progetto è stato molto duro: è stato difficile trovare e coinvolgere persone che potessero permettermi di avanzare, ottenere le autorizzazioni per riprendere nei luoghi adatti e conquistare la fiducia dei miei interlocutori. Ho sfidato i miei limiti e ho lasciato che la città decidesse cosa offrirmi, ho lavorato incessantemente per riuscire a concretizzare almeno parzialmente la mia idea. Il grande dibattito politico che volevo mettere in scena è saltato, ma ho capito che il clima di protesta che mi circondava in quei giorni incarnava il dibattito che cercavo e che la democrazia in questo contesto si manifesta più chiaramente con la violenza dello scontro, piuttosto che nel dialogo borghese di un incontro in libreria.

S.M. Come concepisci il tuo ruolo nel processo di creazione contestuale? L’artista come catalizzatore? Come ricercatore?
D.P. Vedo sempre più il mio ruolo come quello di un catalizzatore. Cerco il più possibile di lasciare che la mia idea si cali nel contesto e generi autonomamente connessioni tra persone, luoghi e sensibilità, anche divergenti. In questo modo cerco di fuggire dall’idea dell’autore che tutto sa e tutto pretende, sostituendo quell’approccio con una ricerca costante di collaborazione. L’esempio più chiaro è il tipo di relazione che costruisco con gli attori (professionisti e non). Cerco di sviluppare insieme un personaggio che sia una mediazione tra quello che loro sono già intimamente e l’idea d’identità che porto avanti, senza che le persone si sentano usate, ma piuttosto osservate dall’obiettivo della mia videocamera che nel passare del tempo tende a svanire e diventare occhio invisibile. Un processo lungo (e in residenza non è sempre stato possibile) in cui si cresce insieme. Essere catalizzatore significa mantenersi aperti al caso e alla fatica, alzarsi dalla seggiola del regista e mettersi in gioco in prima persona per fare in modo che l’idea giunga a una formalizzazione possibile e che i collaboratori possano portare via qualcosa di utile alla loro vita.

S.M. Il tuo modo di costruire un film si basa spesso sul dialogo con un protagonista. In Midi-Pyrénées, hai lavorato per la prima volta con diversi protagonisti che si sono susseguiti durante le riprese e hanno incarnato uno stesso personaggio in evoluzione. Come hai impostato il lavoro con queste persone?
D.P. Come già accennavo non era sempre possibile in residenza attuare un reale processo di scambio come si era realizzato in occasione del film che ho girato in Canada. In quella situazione avevo avuto la possibilità di lavorare intensamente per più di dieci giorni con i protagonisti, vivendo insieme e condividendo piaceri e difficoltà. A Saint-Cirq Lapopie e Saint-Gaudens mi sono fidato dell’intuito di Martine e Valérie che mi hanno proposto di lavorare rispettivamente con Lise Lacombe (artista e fotografa che partecipa alla residenza Piano – alto! in Italia) e Antoine Palomar. Con Lise abbiamo ragionato sull’identificazione tra la sua macchina fotografica e l’obiettivo della mia telecamera, ho lasciato che mi portasse in luoghi per lei affascinanti, mentre io ne suggerivo altri. Abbiamo passato qualche giorno insieme per riprendere e attraversare questi luoghi e, mentre lei cercava di trovare soggetti per le sue fotografie, io documentavo questa ricerca. Tramite Lise poi ho avuto accesso alla festa che chiude la prima parte del film e credo che proprio in quel contesto lei abbia verificato la mia capacità di lavorare con il caso, in una situazione che non potevo prevedere. Antoine allo stesso modo mi ha raccontato delle sue camminate sui Pirenei e insieme abbiamo scelto il luogo perfetto per le riprese. L’esperienza della scalata che abbiamo condiviso ha reso possibile una connessione che si è mantenuta nelle settimane successive. A Tolosa invece è stato molto faticoso trovare il tipo di persona che avevo in mente. Tramite contatti con la realtà underground ho coinvolto Emmanuel Fuentes, che ha accettato di adattarsi al mio approccio nonostante il pochissimo tempo a disposizione. Abbiamo condiviso alcuni giorni di vita in comune e abbiamo cercato insieme di far emergere il personaggio in modo naturale, cercando di legare questa ricerca al suo tentativo di ridefinire continuamente la sua identità in relazione al contesto e alla sua maturazione personale. È stato un processo intenso, soprattutto per i tempi ristretti, ma credo che il risultato sia un successo.

S.M. La particolarità di Piano – alto! è, tra le altre, di essere una residenza di ricerca. Nonostante diverse forme di restituzione previste per i mesi a venire, lo scopo di queste settimane di residenza non era di produrre un lavoro, ma di immergersi in una realtà altra e nutrire la tua riflessione. È la prima volta che ti trovi a partecipare a una residenza di ricerca? Come hai affrontato questa esperienza?
D.P. Sì, è la prima volta che accetto di partecipare a una residenza di ricerca su invito di un’istituzione. Devo dire però che, dal momento in cui ho iniziato a viaggiare per il pianeta, tutta la mia vita è diventata ricerca e tendo a non fare differenza tra fase di studio e fase di produzione di un lavoro. Il lavoro sul campo è quello che mi permette, più di ogni lettura e discussione teorica, di sperimentare e arrivare a nuove e inaspettate soluzioni. Lavorare su un film è una continua oscillazione tra momenti di riflessione e azioni pratiche. Se poi considero il fatto di essere invitato e finanziato in questa mia permanenza in Francia, non potevo accettare, per indole e per rispetto della committenza, di sedermi con le mani in grembo a osservare dall’alto. In una residenza precedente a Le Mans (Centre culturel l’Espal, nel 2007), avevo avuto modo di riflettere abbondantemente sul ruolo dell’artista in residenza e mi ero sentito a disagio nel pormi come il colonizzatore che svela agli indigeni quello che sono in realtà, che esprime giudizi (attraverso immagini e azioni) sulla loro vita e il loro contesto. Immergersi e inseguire un idea è il modo più consono alla mia attitudine e al mio metodo di lavoro. Credo che l’artista non si possa permettere mai di andare in vacanza, specialmente se sono previste forme di restituzione del lavoro.

S.M. Una residenza è anche un’esperienza di vita. Che cosa significa per te risiedere in un luogo durante un periodo di tempo limitato? Quali erano le tue attese arrivando in Midi-Pyrénées e con quale bagaglio riparti in Italia?
D.P. Risiedere in un luogo per un periodo limitato di tempo è una sfida vertiginosa e adrenalinica. Sento tutto il peso di fare il massimo possibile, anche a costo di non riposare mai adeguatamente. Nei miei viaggi e percorsi i periodi di permanenza si sono dilatati sempre di più nel corso degli anni, ma i lavori realizzati correndo e quelli camminando non hanno differenze palesi. Sarebbe meglio dire che ci sono contesti in cui non si può lavorare adeguatamente con poco tempo a disposizione, come ad esempio è avvenuto a Tolosa (e in generale in paesaggi complessi). Quando sono arrivato in Francia ero ben conscio che quindici giorni non sono sufficienti per arrivare veramente a toccare l’anima di un luogo. Per questo sono partito con un’idea ben strutturata e ho lasciato che la realtà che incontravo volta per volta, i limiti e il caso, la modificassero contestualizzandola. Mi aspettavo di trovare tre centri d’arte ben radicati nel loro territorio e contesto sociale (e credo fermamente che questa dovrebbe essere la loro vocazione), di avere a disposizione un luogo tranquillo adatto allo sviluppo del pensiero e del lavoro, di incontrare e scambiare esperienze e opinioni con persone interessate e aperte allo scambio. In parte le mie aspettative si sono realizzate interamente e dove ho incontrato difficoltà mi sono adattato e ho cercato di dare il massimo possibile. Difficile parlare di bagaglio in questo momento. Sicuramente sono ancora più cosciente dei miei limiti e dei miei punti di rottura, delle mie doti e capacità di sopravvivenza e invenzione. Ho conosciuto persone meravigliose con cui ho avuto splendidi scambi di idee, altre che avrei preferito non incontrare e altre che mi hanno fatto perdere tempo. In Italia mi prenderò un periodo di riposo e poi inizierò a elaborare e assemblare il materiale che ho accumulato per dare una forma definitiva al film.

novembre 2014

Daniele Pezzi, John Barleycorn, Lot, 2014. © Daniele Pezzi

Project: Piano – alto!
Protagonists: Daniele Pezzi, Stefania Meazza
Spaces: Maison des Arts Georges Pompidou CAC, CAC Chapelle St Jacques, BBB centre d’art

en - it


Vincent Honoré Can you tell us about the origin of Kunst Meran?
Valerio Dehò Kunst Meran Merano Arte was born from an association of art lovers in the mid-’90s. The idea was to give to the town of Merano a relevant role in the local contemporary art scene. In past times some very famous people, such as Kafka, Mahler, Ezra Pound (whose daughter still lives in the castle of Brunnenburg) spent their time here. Even Peggy Guggenheim has organized exhibitions in Merano in the ’50s. Since 2001 the venue is a house in the town center, which was restored and restructured to become a gallery and art museum.

4. Diane Blondeau / Vivien Roubaud / Thomas Teurlai, Jambes de bottes, 2014

2. Diane Blondeau / Vivien Roubaud / Thomas Teurlai, Jambes de bottes, 2014

V.H. What fundamentally makes this institution different from others in Italy and on an international level?
V.D. Merano Arte is a very special museum in Italy, I would say that it’s unique of its kind. We are neither a commercial art gallery nor a municipal venue, even if our role is similar to that of a public space.
Our funds come both from the private and public spheres, but it has to be noticed that the museum management stays free from any political influence. This is an exceptional status in Italy. In Germany you can find art spaces that you can compare with Merano Arte from this point of view.

9. Roberto Pugliese, Emergences acoustiques, 2014. Courtesy: Associazione Culturale Dello Scompigio, Vorno, Capannori (Italy) and Galerie Mario Mazzoli, Berlin

3. Roberto Pugliese, Emergences acoustiques, 2014

V.H. PIANO intends to create a network of art spaces working together, exchanging and interacting. Why did you decide to join the project and how are you participating in it?
V.D. We work following a strong aim which is bringing contemporary art to the attention of common people. The “elite side” of art is not what we really like to consider when we think about a new exhibition project, even if the quality of what we decide to exhibit has certainly be validated by the perspective of a scientific and curatorial analysis.
The project PIANO suits in a very proper way the mission of our museum. We also think that sharing projects with other international contemporary art spaces represents an important occasion of growth. A network is essential to make collaborations happen. Contemporary art is an instrument that Europe can use to connect different national realities and bring them really together. PIANO is a platform for exchanges and relations, that’s what we were looking for.

7. Sonia Leimer, Table ronde, 2014 /  Leander Schwazer, Independance, 2014

4. Sonia Leimer, Table ronde, 2014 / Leander Schwazer, Independance, 2014

V.H. The exhibition has been co-curated with Éric Mangion, director of Villa Arson in Nice. Why this collaboration?
V.D. The idea of working with Éric Mangion and Villa Arson was born one year before the birth of PIANO. Both museums work with contemporary art and aim to value young artists.
My proposal was to develop the format FROM & TO, created by Kunst Meran Merano Arte in 2007 (an exhibition based on the collaboration between artists of different generations). Mangion and I immediately agreed to give life to an exhibition with young selected artists. They have been invited to produce new works and to collaborate for a project. It took a lot of time to plan and coordinate every detail of the project. Young artists are very focused on what they want to express through their art. We pushed them to think about the idea of building an exhibition together on site. The collaboration with Éric Mangion and Villa Arson has been really successful in this sense.

V.H. What are the main responsibilities of a curator and of an art institution in Italy nowadays?
V.D. It’s always the same: be honest with the public and try to give life to significant projects that might show a cultural relevance through time. The temporary exhibitions have an important role in the history of contemporary art, this perspective was introduced during the ’60s and the ’70s thanks to the art critic and curator Harald Szeemann. He actually changed the roles within the art system by inventing the function of the “curator”, who is an intellectual, an art historian and a manager all at once.
In the period of economic uncertainty and confusion between cultural and market’s values we’re living in, the Italian art institutions have a main responsibility to cope with: continue to produce exhibitions and events, but also try to involve and support young worthy Italian artists.

Vincent Honoré Puoi raccontarci come è nato Kunst Meran?
Valerio Dehò Kunst Meran Merano Arte è nato da un’associazione di appassionati di arte alla metà degli anni Novanta. L’idea era quella di dare alla città di Merano un ruolo centrale nel lambito della scena artistica contemporanea locale. Nel passato molti personaggi celebri hanno vissuto a Merano, da Kafka, a Mahler, a Ezra Pound (la cui figlia vive ancora nel castello di Brunnenburg). Anche Peggy Guggenheim ha organizzato mostre a Merano nel corso degli anni Cinquanta. Dal 2001  Kunst Meran Merano Arte ha la sua sede in un edificio del centro città, che è stato restaurato e ristrutturato per diventare una galleria e un museo d’arte.

V.H. Cosa rende questa istituzione diversa da altre in Italia o all’estero?
V.D. Kunst Meran Merano Arte è un museo molto particolare nel contesto italiano, quasi unico nel suo genere. Non siamo né una galleria d’arte commerciale né uno spazio municipale, sebbene il nostro ruolo sia simile a quello di uno spazio pubblico. I nostri fondi provengono sia dalla sfera privata sia da quella pubblica, ma va sottolineato che la gestione del museo è indipendente da ogni influenza politica. Si tratta di una condizione eccezionale in Italia. In Germania esistono spazi comparabili a Merano Arte da questo punto di vista.

V.H. PIANO mira a creare una rete di spazi espositivi che lavorano insieme, attraverso forme di scambio e interazione. Perché avete deciso di aderire al progetto e come si realizza la vostra partecipazione?
V.D. Lavoriamo seguendo l’obiettivo fondamentale di portare l’arte contemporanea all’attenzione della gente comune. L’aspetto elitario dell’arte non ci interessa quando concepiamo un progetto espositivo, per quanto la qualità di ciò che decidiamo di esporre sia sempre avvalorata dalla prospettiva di un’attento studio scientifico e curatoriale.
Il progetto PIANO corrisponde perfettamente alla mission del nostro museo. Pensiamo inoltre che condividere progetti con altri spazi internazionali dediti all’arte contemporanea rappresenti un’importante occasione di crescita. La presenza di un networl è fondamentale perché le collaborazioni abbiano luogo. L’arte contemporanea può essere usata dall’Europa per mettere in relazione le diverse realtà nazionali e unirle davvero. PIANO è una piattaforma di scambi e relazioni, è ciò che stavamo cercando.

V.H. La mostra è co-curata con Éric Mangion, direttore di Villa Arson a Nizza. Perché questa collaborazione?
V.D. L’idea di lavorare con Éric Mangion e Villa Arson è nata un anno prima la nascita di PIANO. Entrambi i musei lavorano con l’arte contemporanea e mirano a valorizzare il lavoro dei giovani artisti.
La mia proposta è stata quella di sviluppare il format FROM & TO, creato da Kunst Meran Merano Arte nel 2007 (una mostra basata sulla collaborazione tra artisti di diverse generazioni). Mangion e io abbiamo immediatamente concordato di dare vita a una mostra con giovani artisti selezionati, che sono stati invitati a produrre opere inedite e a collaborare tra loro per un progetto nuovo. L’organizzazione e il coordinamento di ogni dettaglio del progetto hanno richiesto molto tempo. I giovani artisti sono molto concentrati su ciò che vogliono esprimere attraverso il loro lavoro. Li abbiamo stimolati a riflettere sull’idea della costruzione di una mostra collettiva site-specific. La collaborazione con Éric Mangion e Villa Arson è stata un grande successo in questo senso.

V.H. Quali sono le principali responsabilità di un curatore di un’istituzione artistica in Italia oggi
V.D. Sempre le stesse: essere onesto con il pubblico e cercare di produrre progetti dotati di una rilevanza culturale che resista nel tempo. Le mostre temporanee hanno un ruolo importante nella storia dell’arte contemporanea: questa prospettiva p stata introdotta negli anni Sessanta e Settanta grazie al critico d’arte e curatore Harald Szeemann, che trasformò i ruoli del sistema dell’arte inventando la funzione del curatore, allo stesso tempo intellettuale, storico dell’arte e manager.
Nel periodo di incertezza economica e confusione tra valori culturali e di mercato in cui viviamo, le istituzioni artistiche in Italia hanno una fondamentale responsabilità con cui fare i conti: continuare a produrre mostre ed eventi, ma anche cercare di coinvolgere e sostenere giovani artisti italiani di talento.

1. Quentin Derouet, Sans titre, 2014
2. Diane Blondeau / Vivien Roubaud / Thomas Teurlai, Jambes de bottes, 2014. Metal, mixed media, sound installation, 543 X 143 x 87 cm
3. Roberto Pugliese, Emergences acoustiques, 2014, environmental sound installation. Courtesy Associazione Culturale Dello Scompigio, Vorno, Capannori (Italy) and Galerie Mario Mazzoli, Berlin
4. Sonia Leimer, Table ronde, 2014, mixed media, 320 x 220 cm / Leander Schwarzer, Independance, 2014, ink-jet print on canvas, 264 x 320 cm
Photos: Villa Arson / Jean Brasille

Project: From & To
Protagonist: Valerio Dehò

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Paola De Pietri / Alessandra Spranzi. CENTRE PHOTOGRAPHIQUE D’ILE-DE-FRANCE


Paola De Pietri / Alessandra Spranzi

18 January – 29 March 2015

The Centre Photographique d’Île-de-France presents works by Paola De Pietri and Alessandra Spranzi, two Italian artists who are very active on the international art scene.
These two monographic exhibitions differ in that each artist pursues a different line of research – the first showing an interest in open spaces, landscapes that are evolving and are marked by the hand of man, the second focussing more on the closed space of the domestic environment – yet also show what their respective bodies of work have in common: each artist questions our home or habitat, man’s temporary or durable place in the world.

Sortilegio d’Alessandra Spranzi

AlessandraSpranzi, Vendesi #431, 2012

2. Alessandra Spranzi, Vendesi #431, 2012

Alessandra Spranzi, Vendesi #165, 2012

3. Alessandra Spranzi, Vendesi #165, 2012

Alessandra Spranzi, Sortilegio #2, 2012

4. Alessandra Spranzi, Sortilegio #2, 2012

Alessandra Spranzi, Osservazioni e Esperimenti #4, 2012

5. Alessandra Spranzi, Osservazioni e Esperimenti #4, 2012

Alessandra Spranzi, Nello stesso momento #11, 2012

6. Alessandra Spranzi, Nello stesso momento #11, 2012


7. Alessandra Spranzi, Nello stesso momento #5, 2012

Spectators confronted with Alessandra Spranzi’s work at her first French solo exhibition will be amazed and full of wonder as they contemplate the most banal objects as if seeing them for the very first time.
Alessandra Spranzi methodically selects photographs from manuals or clas­sified ads magazines and completely transforms them. These images, which remind us of the domestic world and its objects, are removed from their original context, re-photographed by the artist and either presented as such or used in collages. Through this process, the artist invests these trivial objects with an enigmatic, almost metaphysical quality and, as if by magic, reveals the enchantment in our daily lives.

Nigh Stories de Paola De Pietri

10. Paola De Pietri, Istanbul New Stories, 2012-2013

8. Paola De Pietri, Istanbul New Stories, 2012-2013

9. Paola De Pietri, Istanbul New Stories, 2012-2013

9. Paola De Pietri, Istanbul New Stories, 2012-2013

8. Paola De Pietri, Istanbul New Stories, 2012-2013

10. Paola De Pietri, Istanbul New Stories, 2012-2013

11. Paola De Pietri, To face, 2008-2011

11. Paola De Pietri, To face, 2008-2011

“From Paola De Pietri’s work emerges (…) the impression of an open space, one which is for everybody and yet private and existential (…) and in which the human figure has been precisely, but also preca­riously positioned.”
Roberta Valtorta, photographic historian.
Paola De Pietri questions the way in which historical transformations give substance to urban or ‘natural’ landscapes and the fragile place occupied by Man. Her series Istanbul New Stories, which has never been exhibited in France, is a documentary-style observation of the transfor­mation of Istanbul’s suburbs: the photos of dwellings – some of which are in construction, whilst others fall into ruin – are analytical and yet poetic. In To Face, the artist follows the Italian-Austrian WWI front to reveal the stigmata of war, the trenches, tunnels and shelters that have almost entirely disappeared with the passing of time. The portraits in Aéroport, subtly highlight those origins which make up each person’s individual identity.

Two artists and two forms of action in reaction to the rapidly increasing and, sometimes brutal, changes to our living environment.

Paola De Pietri and Alessandra Spranzi are represented respectively by the Galerie Les Filles du Calvaire (Paris) and P420 Arte Contemporanea (Bologna).
Paola De Pietri’s exhibition Nigh Stories is supported by the Bibliothèque Panizzi (Reggio Emilia, Italy).
Alessandra Spranzi’s exhibition Sortilegio is supported by the Arcade Gallery (London).
Our media partner for these two exhibitions is Mouvement magazine, which is now on sale…

Press Contacts
Guillaume Fontaine,
T. 01 70 05 49 80
Diana Madeleine,
T. 01 64 43 53 90

Centre Photographique d’Ile-de-France (CPIF)
Cour de la Ferme Briarde
107 avenue de la République
77 340 Pontault-Combault
T. 01 70 05 49 80

Free Entry
Wednesday to Friday from 1 pm to 6 pm
Saturday and Sunday from 2 pm to 6 pm
and on appointment

Paola De Pietri / Alessandra Spranzi

18 gennaio – 29 marzo 2015

Il Centro Fotografico de l’Île-de-France presenta il lavoro delle due artiste italiane attive a livello internazionale, Paola De Pietri e Alessandra Spranzi. Se queste due esposizioni monografiche si distinguono per due assi di ricerca differenti – l’una si interessa allo spazio aperto del paesaggio in quanto territorio in trasformazione e segnato dall’uomo, l’altra si concentra per lo più sullo spazio chiuso dell’universo domestico – le due opere hanno tuttavia in comune di mettere in discussione l’habitat o la casa, luogo d’iscrizione dell’umano nel mondo che sia temporaneo o più perenne.

Sortilegio di Alessandra Spranzi
Meravigliarsi, guardare le cose le più ordinarie come se fosse la prima volta e, esserne stupefatti: questa è l’esperienza che propone Alessandra Spranzi, ai visitatori della sua prima esposizione personale in Francia.
Il gesto artistico di Alessandra Spranzi consiste, qui, nell’appropriazione di fotografie preesistenti, prelevate metodicamente da dei manuali o riviste di piccoli annunci, e nella loro trasformazione. Queste immagini, che si riferiscono allo spazio domestico e ai suoi oggetti, vengono rimosse dal loro contesto originale, ri-fotografate e presentate per se stesse, o ancora utilizzate per degli assemblaggi. Alla fine di questo processo, l’artista conferisce a degli oggetti banali un carattere enigmatico, quasi metafisico, e ri-incanta, come per magia, il quotidiano.

Nigh Stories de Paola De Pietri
«Emerge dal lavoro di Paola De Pietri, la sensazione di uno spazio aperto, uno spazio di tutti, che è nello stesso tempo uno spazio privato ed esistenziale (…) dentro il quale la figura umana si pone in una maniera precisa ma anche precaria e misteriosa».
Roberta Valtorta, storica della fotografia.
Paola De Pietri s’interroga sulla maniera in cui i cambiamenti storici danno forma al paesaggio urbano e ‘naturale’ e sul posto che l’uomo vi occupa, fragile. La serie Istanbul New Stories, inedita in Francia, costituisce, attraverso la trasformazione delle periferie della città, un’osservazione in stile documentario e allo stesso tempo analitico e poetico dei luoghi di vita che si collocano tra demolizioni e nuove costruzioni. I paesaggi di To Face rivelano le stigmate della guerra: antichi rifugi quasi cancellati sulle linee di confine. I ritratti all’Aeroporto mettono sottilmente in luce le origini che sono alla base dell’identità degli individui.

Due modelli in azione di fronte all’accelerazione delle trasformazioni talvolta violente dei luoghi di vita.

Paola De Pietri e Alessandra Spranzi sono rappresentate rispettivamente dalla galleria Les Filles du Calvaire a Parigi, Francia e dalla galleria P420 a Bologna, Italia.
L’esposizione Nigh Stories – Paola De Pietri ha il sostegno della Biblioteca Panizzi di Reggio Emilia, Italia.
L’esposizione Sortilegio – Alessandra Spranzi ha il sostegno della galleria Arcade, Londra.
Ritorno in edicola della rivista Mouvement, media partner di queste due mostre.

Contatto ufficio stampa
Guillaume Fontaine,
T. 01 70 05 49 80
Diana Madeleine,
T. 01 64 43 53 90

Centre Photographique d’Ile-de-France (CPIF)
Cour de la Ferme Briarde
107 avenue de la République
77 340 Pontault-Combault
T. 01 70 05 49 80

Entrata libera
Aperto dal mercoledì al venerdì dalle 13h alle 18h
Sabato e domenica dalle 14h alle 18h e su appuntamento

1. Paola De Pietri, Istanbul New Stories, 2012-2013, inkjet on cotton paper, 129 x 156 cm. © Paola De Pietri. Courtesy galerie Les Filles du Calvaire
2. Alessandra Spranzi, Vendesi #431, 2012, C-print photograph, 30 x 45 cm. © Alessandra Spranzi. Courtesy galerie P420, Bologne
3. Alessandra Spranzi, Vendesi #165, 2012, C-print photograph, 30 x 45 cm. © Alessandra Spranzi. Courtesy galerie P420, Bologne
4. Alessandra Spranzi, Sortilegio #2, 2012, photogravure, 52 x 41,5 cm. © Alessandra Spranzi. Courtesy galerie P420, Bologne
5. Alessandra Spranzi, Osservazioni e Esperimenti #4, 2012, montage (polaroids, magazines, books), 20,5 x 29 cm. © Alessandra Spranzi. Courtesy galerie P420, Bologne
6. Alessandra Spranzi, Nello stesso momento #11, 2012, inkjet on paper, 42 x 35 cm. © Alessandra Spranzi. Courtesy galerie P420, Bologne
7. Alessandra Spranzi, Nello stesso momento #5, 2012, inkjet on paper, 42 x 35 cm. © Alessandra Spranzi. Courtesy galerie P420, Bologne
8-10. Paola De Pietri, Istanbul New Stories, 2012-2013, inkjet on cotton paper, 129 x 156 cm. © Paola De Pietri. Courtesy galerie Les Filles du Calvaire
11. Paola De Pietri, To face, 2008-2011, inkjet on paper, 123 x 156 cm. © Paola De Pietri. Courtesy galerie Les Filles du Calvaire



Cecilia Canziani In Bolzano, for the exhibition Soleil Politique, Pierre Bal-Blanc wanted to have the first piece you showed in a gallery: the door of your apartment, installed vertically on hinges in the exhibition space. The main part of the work, though, is the effect of this action: you lived without the door for almost two months back then. Who would come to the gallery would not be the same person passing by your apartment and perhaps peeping in. The work engaged two different kinds of public, each only perceiving half of the story, and reading the dislocation of the door in relation to the context from which they were witnessing it. Can you describe this first presentation and how it came to life?
Ron Tran I was invited to be in a group show by curator Juan Gaitán, which took place in Vancouver. It was more or less a survey of minimalist and conceptualist strategies and approaches. I have always been interested in performance art but don’t necessary consider myself to be a minimalist artist so I took this on as a challenge. Most of my projects are very simple but not minimalist by any means. The title of the show was Everything Should Be Made as Simple as Possible, but Not Simpler. I thought about it for a while, how can I make a piece relating to my performative practice but appearing to be minimalist art. I recalled not telling anyone including Gaitán what I was going to do for the show. I asked everyone to reserve a small wall space for me and planned to install the work on the day of the opening. It was a very strange feeling to unhinge my door off and walked away from my living space. My first audience was my neighbor who lived directly across from me. Coincidentally, he came home from work and witnessed me carrying the door away that day… I considered it was a performance moment. As well as anyone who enters my apartment while I’m there: I would consider it an unintentional performance and this is the audience outside of the gallery or the institution. The idea was too simple and I had trouble installing it when I brought it to the gallery. My original plan was just going to lean the door against the wall and leave it as that. However, I decided to install it on hinges so the audience could physically swing the door back and forth as it would normally do, but somehow it lost its functionality of protecting one’s private space. I also left my set of keys in the lock. I reckoned I wouldn’t need it anymore until the show ends. With this particular piece, I was interested in take a ready-made object and display it as art much like Duchamp’s Fountain but then later I destroyed this “art object” by returning it back to its origin and continued to use it afterward.

C.C. In Bolzano the public is confronted with a slide projecting onto a wall the view towards the entrance of your flat from within the apartment. The spectator shares your point of view, which may account as a third possibility to experience the piece…
R.T. I didn’t have a studio at that time and I work mostly from home so a lot of my projects became very personal. When I met up with Pierre Bal-Blanc at Bethanien, we have talked about the possibility to recreate this work but I didn’t feel like home there. Most of the household objects belonged to the institute and the whole entire building is occupied by international artists. It would be very strange for me to create this work at this residency and not in a flattering or challenging way. I didn’t think about using the image of my interior space looking out the doorless frame into the hallway and my neighbor much later on. I actually came to Bolzano with a documentation image from the installation of the show. I tested it out on the Museion’s wall but it didn’t work so we decided to use the interior photograph. This image was never meant to be an artwork to begin with, I took the photo using the camera on my phone to archive my visual memory somehow it became an artwork itself. This image has a totally different experience for the gallery goers compared to my original installation even though it came from the same project. The audience is informed with the concept of the work as well as getting a glimpse of my private space this time through an image. The fourth possible audience of this work are the people who have heard of this work or have asked me directly, in some way they don’t really need to see it, it became a story-telling.

C.C. Your show at Bethanien addresses the notion of artistic labor in Berlin: you invited a number of expat artists that moved to the city because of its economic conditions, but cannot support themselves through their work. You offered them a space, and helped them putting up an activity. For each person you created a special, working and comfortable space. There is something deeply gentle and delicate in this, which marks a difference between your project and many similar ones that aim at transforming the institution from space of contemplation into space of action. In your case, the institution makes visible the disfunctions of an economical system, and at the same time mends its failures by acting as business incubator.
R.T. This project was an interesting observation for me. I was supposed to produce and put on an exhibition to represent Canada at this international institution. After months from living in Berlin, I have attended many openings and other social gathers. There was an ongoing dialogue with the people I have met, mostly expats expressing their concerns about economic conditions in this city. Berlin is still considered to be one of the cheapest city to live in Europe although this notion is changing very quickly. Berlin becomes an international art hub for so many reasons besides the so-called affordable living standard. However, the biggest concern here is how the city is over-saturated with artists, how it is difficult to find work or at least make a living as an artist. I don’t come from a privileged background by any means or feel pity for anyone. I actually can relate to these artists. I figured since I don’t produce physical art objects perhaps I should embrace that notion and invited various acquaintances from different creative backgrounds where I made on numerous occasions in Berlin to be in the exhibition. Instead of producing and displaying their creative work, I offered these guests a place to experiment and expand their side gigs with a chance to start up their own business in the gallery space. I worked with these guests and designed their business identity, built and use my entire production budget to purchase any necessary thing for their needs. These guests were encouraged to continue with their artistic labor after the exhibition is over. There is something peculiar about how I have spent an entire year in Berlin to produce an exhibition that wasn’t my own work. When I return to Canada, I will bring back the same suitcase that I brought with me to Berlin except maybe a few extra books.

Project: Soleil politique
Protagonist: Ron Tran

Ron Tran, Apartment #201 (Artist’s apartment door removed and displayed in the gallery for duration of exhibiton), variable dimensions and objects, 2008, Photo: Ron Tran

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Vincent Honoré The Villa Arson is an institution that includes an art school, artist residencies, a multimedia library and a centre d’art. One could say that it’s an institution where contemporary art is taught, researched, produced and exhibited. The only thing missing is a collection, despite a few perennial works installed in 1989-90. How do you conceive your programme’s link to the site’s various other activities, particularly to the art school?
Eric Mangion We very simply try to programme exhibitions, meetings or residencies in relation to practices in or around the school. Sometimes we extend direct invitations to members of the teaching staff who are creating projects–as we did between February and May 2015 with the exhibition Bricologie led by Burkard Blümlein, Thomas Golsenne and Sarah Tritz, all teachers at the Villa Arson. This can also be more indirect projects with residents (Oliver Beer & Shingo Yoshida or Sébastien Remy & Cyril Verde), or invitations to external curators who develop research projects that are close to our interests, as we’ll be doing in 2016 with Géraldine Gourbe.

2. Ryan Gander. The Die Is Cast, 2009. Installation view

2. Ryan Gander. The Die Is Cast, 2009. Installation view

V.H. In a geographical area like yours, specifically what are the main responsibilities of a director of a centre d’art in 2014? And what is your relationship with politics?
E.M. I’m not the managing director of the establishment (that’s Jean-Pierre Simon’s job). So I have no direct involvement in the political side. On the other hand, when I arrived in Nice, I thought about the question of a political territory. This is why in 2007 and 2011 we conducted two research and exhibition projects on the history of performance and on the history of music and sound practices on the Côte d’Azur. These are two ventures that the local population isn’t very aware of, and yet they were rich in very fascinating contents. For me this was all about redefining our political view of a region known more for gloss than artistic experimentation. Quite frankly, it can’t really be said that it worked locally!

Roman Ondák, Door Leading to Many Directions, 1997

3. Roman Ondák, Door Leading to Many Directions, 1997. Installation view

V.H. The fact that the Villa doesn’t have responsibility for a collection: is this a flaw?
E.M. The Villa Arson has a very official status as a school that houses a centre d’art that paradoxically has no status. No school or centre d’art, as far as I know, has the mission of assembling a collection. We have so much else to do that I don’t even consider this question, and I don’t think anyone else here does either.

V.H. How can the DNA of a centre d’art be defined? What distinguishes it from other similar organisations?
E.M. In my view, the Villa Arson centre d’art should–like all of the other centres d’art –serve as a place for artistic experimentation. A place where you test art, where you thoroughly explore not contemporary art as a genre but contemporary creativity full stop. Experimenting means above all testing things without thinking of market values or meeting some predetermined measure of success. The luxury of Villa Arson is to work in a school with its workshops, its research programmes, its enormous library, its complex and multifaceted architecture, and its residencies. Our DNA is to work according to the modus operandi of a potluck, with everyone bringing their own knowledge and experience. However there’s no denying that this system has constraints. The educational concerns are not necessarily the same as the expectations of a centre d’art, and vice versa. Even if we keep up the spirit of a laboratory, we’re a big machine and this catches up with us quite often. We’re constantly living in our own paradoxes.

4. Diane Blondeau / Vivien Roubaud / Thomas Teurlai, Jambes de bottes, 2014

4. Diane Blondeau / Vivien Roubaud / Thomas Teurlai, Jambes de bottes, 2014

V.H. Why did you decide to take part in PIANO, and what’s the project you’re presenting?
E.M. PIANO enabled us to work with Italy, whose geographical and cultural proximity to Nice is well known, and especially to work with the Kunst Meran Merano Arte with which we very quickly shared the same idea. During preparatory meetings between the AMACI and the d.c.a, Valerio Dehò(artistic director of the Kunst Meran) suggested that we revive a project they had initiated in 2007 under the title FROM & TO. It was all about getting young artists to work together without imposing any themes or guidelines whatsoever. We thought this idea seemed just right in the context of an exchange between two organisations, two countries and, quite obviously, between different artists who initially had nothing to do with one another. So we assembled ten artists, five from Italy and five from France who had very different practices. We organised two workshops, then created an exchange platform. The collaborations didn’t live up to our hopes. On the other hand, what worked was that the exhibition very clearly reflects the practices of each artist without any added value. Even if it’s uneven as a whole, we revealed a work site, one that isn’t cohesive but is decidedly generous, and that was the purpose of the game.

5. Lorraine Château, Installation The Cloud, 2014

5. Lorraine Château, Installation The Cloud, 2014

Vincent Honoré La Villa Arson est une institution qui inclut une école d’art, des résidences d’artistes, une médiathèque et un centre d’art. C’est en quelque sorte un institut dans lequel l’art contemporain est enseigné, recherché, produit et montré. Seule manque une collection, malgré quelques œuvres pérennes installées en 1989/90. Comment concevez-vous l’articulation de votre programme avec les différentes autres activités du site, en particulier avec l’école d’art ?
Eric Mangion Nous essayons tout simplement de programmer des expositions, rencontres ou résidences en lien avec les pratiques menées dans ou à la frontière de l’école. Parfois il s’agit d’une invitation directe à des membres du corps pédagogique porteurs de projets – comme entre février et mai 2015 avec l’exposition Bricologie menée par Burkard Blümlein, Thomas Golsenne et Sarah Tritz, tous enseignants à la Villa Arson. Cela peut être aussi des projets plus indirects avec des résidents (Oliver Beer & Shingo Yoshida ou Sébastien Remy & Cyril Verde), ou des invitations faites à des commissaires extérieurs qui développent des projets de recherche proches de nos préoccupations tel que nous le ferons en 2016 avec Géraldine Gourbe.

V.H. Dans un secteur géographique comme le votre, en particulier, quelles sont les principales responsabilités d’un directeur de centre d’art en 2014 ? Et quelles sont vos relations avec le politique ?
E.M. Je ne suis pas directeur général de l’établissement (Jean-Pierre Simon assure cette fonction). Du coup je n’ai pas de prise directe avec le politique. Par contre quand je suis arrivé à Nice, je me suis posé la question d’un territoire politique. C’est pour cette raison que nous avons mené entre 2007 et 2011 deux projets de recherche et d’exposition sur l’histoire de la performance et sur l’histoire des pratiques musicales et sonores sur la Côte d’Azur. Ce sont deux aventures peu connues du public local et qui pourtant sont riches de contenus tout à fait passionnants. Il s’agissait pour moi de redéfinir le regard politique que nous portons sur une région plus connue pour ses strass que pour son expérimentation artistique. Pour être très franc, on ne peut pas dire que cela ait fonctionné localement !

V.H. Le fait que la Villa n’ait pas la responsabilité d’une collection : est-ce un manque ?
E.M. La Villa Arson a un statut très officiel d’école dans laquelle cohabite un centre d’art paradoxalement sans statut. Aucune école et aucun centre d’art n’ont à ma connaissance mission à constituer une collection. Nous avons tant d’autres choses à entreprendre que cette question ne se pose pas pour moi, ni je crois pour quelconque ici.

V.H. Comment définir l’A.D.N. du centre d’art, ce qui le singularise par rapport a d’autres structures similaires ?
E.M. Le centre d’art de la Villa Arson doit à mon sens – comme tous les autres centres d’art – fonctionner comme un lieu d’expérimentation artistique. Un lieu où l’on teste l’art, où l’on met à plat non pas l’art contemporain comme genre mais la création contemporaine tout court. Expérimenter c’est avant tout tester les choses sans penser aux valeurs du marché ou à une quelconque réussite programmée d’avance. Le luxe de la Villa Arson est de travailler dans une école avec ses ateliers, ses programmes de recherche, son énorme bibliothèque, son architecture complexe et multiple, et ses résidences. Notre ADN est de fonctionner selon le mode opératoire d’une auberge espagnole dans laquelle tout le monde amène son expérience et ses savoirs. Par contre on ne peut pas nier que ce système a ses contraintes. Les enjeux pédagogiques ne sont pas forcément les mêmes que les attentes d’un centre d’art. Et inversement. Même si nous entretenons l’esprit laboratoire, la grosse machine que nous sommes nous rattrape bien souvent. Nous vivons en permanence dans nos propres paradoxes.

V.H. Pourquoi avoir décidé de faire partie de PIANO et quel est le projet que vous présentez ?
E.M. PIANO a permis de travailler avec l’Italie dont on connaît la proximité géographique et culturelle avec Nice, mais surtout de travailler avec le Kunst Meran Merano Arte avec qui nous avons très vite partagé une pensée complice. Lors des rencontres préparatoires entre AMACI et d.c.a, Valerio Dehò (le directeur artistique du Kunst Meran) nous a proposé de réactiver un projet qu’ils avaient initié en 2007 sous le titre FROM & TO. Il s’agissait de faire travailler des jeunes artistes ensemble sans imposer de thème ni d’axe quelconque. Cette idée nous est apparue très juste dans le cadre d’un échange entre deux structures, deux pays et, bien évidemment, entre différents artistes qui au départ n’avaient rien à faire ensemble. Nous avons donc réuni dix artistes, dont cinq italiens et cinq français en fonction de pratiques très variées. Nous avons organisé deux workshops, puis créé une plateforme d’échanges. Les collaborations n’ont pas été à la hauteur de nos espérances. Par contre, ce qui a fonctionné c’est que l’exposition reflète très clairement les pratiques de chacun sans valeur ajoutée. Même si l’ensemble est inégal, nous avons mis au jour un plateau de travail, non pas cohérent mais résolument généreux, ce qui était le but du jeu.

1. Roberto Pugliese, Emergences acoustiques, 2014. Courtesy: Associazione Culturale Dello Scompigio, Vorno, Capannori (Italy) and Galerie Mario Mazzoli, Berlin
2. Ryan Gander, Cyclopean Illusion (Remi), 2009. C-print framed under serigraphed glass, 45 x 30 cm (photograph), 40 x 55 x 4 cm (frame). Courtesy of the artist; Ryan Gander, Gallery Cover, 2000-2007 installation (orange canvas, runners, 9 spots), dimensions of the room. Courtesy of the artist and Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam. Exhibition The Die Is Cast, Villa Arson, 26 June – 18 October 2009
3. Roman Ondák, Door Leading to Many Directions, 1997, installation, 168 x 95 x 27 cm. Courtesy of the artist. Exhibition Shaking Horizon, Villa Arson, 2 July – 17 October 2010
4. Diane Blondeau / Vivien Roubaud / Thomas Teurlai, Jambes de bottes, 2014
5. Lorraine Château, Installation The Cloud, 2014



double event related to Soleil Politique
8 pm, Wednesday 3rd December: Museion @ Filmclub, with Silvano Agosti
8 pm, Thursday 4th December: Round table discussion in Museion

A new double date for your diary, with two events related to the exhibition Soleil Politique, presented by Pierre Bal-Blanc, Museion’s guest curator for 2014. THE FILM AS EXHIBITION. THE EXHIBITION AS FILM is the title chosen for the two events, which set out to explore and compare the work of various directors of different eras featured in the exhibition.

The first event, scheduled for Wednesday 3rd December at Bolzano Filmclub, is entitled THE FILM AS EXHIBITION. The films Trionfo del vuoto and D’Amore si vive by Silvano Agosti will be screened. Independent screenwriter and director Agosti (Brescia, 1938, lives and works in Rome) has been producing his own films since the 1960s. As his works have been prevented from appearing in Italian cinemas, he set up his own cinema, the Azzurro Scipioni. This venue, devoted to independent and art house films, physically and symbolically hosts something that is normally viewed as a “non place”, to borrow an expression from the anthropologist Augé. On 3rd December Agosti will be present to introduce his work and talk about his experiences. The films on show link up with the themes in the exhibition at Museion, which investigates the role of the museum in terms of its history and urban setting. While Trionfo del vuoto is devoted to Fascist era architecture, D’amore si vive is a portrait of a city, Parma, in the form of a series of interviews with its inhabitants on the theme of love, intimacy and sexuality, and the link between them.

On Thursday 4th December it is Museion’s turn to play host, presenting the round table discussion entitled THE EXHIBITION AS FILM. The five artists featured in the video programme of Soleil Politique – Mauricio Guillén, Benoȋt Maire, Rä di Martino, Marie Voignier and Clemens von Wedemeyer – will be discussing strategies of resistance in the film and art industry, and independent forms of creation and production, forging a dialogue with historic examples and past generations, such as that of Silvano Agosti. The debate will also revolve around the medium of film as a device for creating narrations that link collective and personal history. “The film as exhibition, the exhibition as film” therefore adds another tile to the mosaic that is Soleil Politique, a show that goes beyond merely displaying works of art, giving rise to new stories and narrations.
At 9.30, after the round table discussion, there will be a screening of Rä di Martino’s latest film, The Show Mas Go On, a documentary on the Magazzini allo Statuto store in Rome, which earned her the SIAE Award and the Gillo Pontecorvo – Arcobaleno Latino Prize at the Venice Days, during the 71st Venice Film Festival.
The discussion will be held in English, and admission is free.

Film as an exhibition: Trionfo del vuoto & D’amore si vive by Silvano Agosti
Two films by director Silvano d’Agosti, whose work is also present in the exhibition Soleil Politique

03/12/2014, 8.00 p.m Filmclub Bolzano, Dr. Streiter Gasse 8/D


Protagonists: Pierre Bal-Blanc, Silvano Agosti, Mauricio Guillén, Benoȋt Maire, Rä di Martino, Marie Voignier, Clemens von Wedemeyer
Space: Museion
Project: Soleil politique

Rä di Martino, The Show Mas Go On, courtesy of the artist

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Costanza Paissan Your artistic research focuses on issues related to pop culture, geopolitics, capitalism, industrial economy and craft production in the global world. These ideas are transferred into pieces whose forms are essential, often tinged with irony and lightheartedness, poised between mass production and slow craftsmanship, mechanicity and organicity. I am thinking, for example, of the 2012 work The Rape of Europe, in which the threads of the Jacquard weaving recall the myth of Arachne but also the evolution of textile production in the history of the world economy. Or the punched cards of Kapital, which transfer the text of Marx’s Capital into a musical mechanism. Could you tell us about the process through which you transform your thoughts into form?
Leander Schwazer I have a special penchant for time in general. Exploring dormant stories in everyday objects is my obsession. I use techniques like détournement, alterations, the reversing or flipping of things: to make visible what is normally invisible to the everyday eye. I guess this is a reason for my interest in cracks and fractures: frailty is what seems to hold the world together. Art walks on a thin path between past and future.

C.P. In spring 2014, your work was exhibited at the Museion in Bolzano, in the exhibition Bikini. An operation of “archeology of the future” in which past, present and future intertwine to give shape to a complex trans-temporal universe consisting of photographic, pictorial and installation elements. Where does this work fit in your research?
L.S.Bikini was a meditation on certain connections between popular culture and war. Compared to the power of war machines, any artistic discipline looks weak. In a way, it becomes necessary to use as many as possible. When you start to dig deep into history, an “archeology of the future” is an attempt to break free from the spell of the past and start creating, without repressing but rather depicting history. However, it is impossible to predict the course of history. Only when seen from the future, the past becomes such.

C.P. Your participation in PIANO project was carried out during a residency at the Villa Arson in Nice, within the From & To exchange program, in which Italian artists worked in France and French artists in Italy. In addition to being an exhibition space, Villa Arson is also a place of education, in which dialogue with other artists is normal practice. Can you tell us about your experience?
L.S.I was happy to be in close contact with Sonia Leimer over the last year.  Although we were working independently, I consider the setting we worked with at Villa Arson as a collaboration. The space will be one of crisis, misunderstandings, big and small stories, subjectivity and objectivity. I am happy to present another montage piece from my longtime exploration of junk, how it is produced and circulates. The piece is inspired by a document which mentioned the word ‘junk’ in a western document for the very first time: the Mappa Mundi, made by the venetian monk Fra Mauro in the 15th century. Fra Mauro wrote a fascinating story of junks (Asian ships) rounding the Cape of Good Hope, arriving in Europe and then sailing back. Today my email inbox asked me what I wanted to do with my junk mail – electronic messages received from unknown senders. But of course history does not repeat itself.

Costanza Paissan La tua ricerca artistica si interessa ai temi legati alla cultura pop, alla geopolitica, al capitalismo, all’economia industriale e alla produzione artigianale nel mondo globale. Queste idee sono trasferite in lavori formalmente essenziali, spesso venati di sottile ironia e di leggerezza, sempre in bilico tra produzione seriale e lenta manualità, meccanismo e organicità. Penso per esempio al lavoro del 2012 The Rape of Europe in cui i fili della tessitura Jacquard richiamano il mito di Aracne così come le evoluzioni della produzione tessile nella storia dell’economia mondiale. O alle schede perforate di Kapital, che trasferiscono il testo del Capitale di Marx in un meccanismo musicale.Puoi spiegare attraverso quale processo metti in forma le tue riflessioni?
Leander Schwazer Quello che mi interessa in maniera particolare è il tempo in generale. Esplorare le storie dormienti negli oggetti quotidiani è la mia ossessione. Mi servo di tecniche come il détournement, le alterazioni, il ribaltamento o il rovesciamento delle cose: rendere visibile ciò che è invisibile allo sguardo di ogni giorno. Penso che sia questa la ragione del mio interesse nei confronti delle crepe e delle fratture: la fragilità tiene insieme il mondo. L’arte si muove sul sottile confine tra passato e futuro.

C.P. Nella primavera 2014 il tuo lavoro è stato esposto al Museion di Bolzano, nella mostra Bikini. Un’operazione di “archeologia del futuro” in cui passato, presente e avvenire si intrecciano per dare forma a un complesso universo trans-temporale composto di elementi installativi, fotografici e pittorici. Come si inserisce questo lavoro nella tua ricerca?
L.S. Bikini è una meditazione sui collegamenti tra la cultura popolare e la Guerra.. A confronto con la potenza delle macchine da guerra tutte le discipline artistiche appaiono deboli. Per così dire diventa necessario usarne il più possibile. Quando si inizia a scavare nella storia, l’“archeologia del futuro” è un tentativo per liberarsi dall’incantesimo del passato e iniziare a creare senza soffocare, anzi immaginando la storia. In ogni caso, è impossibile predire il corso della storia. Essa diventa passato solo se vista dal futuro.

C.P. La tua partecipazione al progetto PIANO si è realizzata nell’ambito di una residenza presso la Villa Arson di Nizza, all’interno del programma di scambio From & To in cui artisti di origine italiana hanno lavorato in Francia e artisti francesi in Italia. Villa Arson, oltre a essere uno spazio espositivo, è anche un luogo di formazione, in cui il dialogo con altri artisti rappresenta la quotidianità. Puoi raccontare la tua esperienza?
L.S. Sono stato felice di lavorare in stretto contatto con Sonia Leimer nel corso dell’anno passato. Anche se abbiamo portato avanti il nostro lavoro in maniera indipendente considero lo spazio che abbiamo immaginato aVilla Arson come il risultato di una collaborazione. Lo spazio sarà uno spazio di crisi, equivoci, grandi e piccole storie, soggettività e oggettività. Sono contento di poter presentare un altro lavoro a mosaico parte della mia lunga indagine sul Junk, la sua presenza e distribuzione. È ispirato dal documento in cui la parola Junk venne usata per la prima volta in un documento occidentale: la Mappa Mundi del frate veneziano Fra Mauro, risalente al XV secolo. Fra Mauro scrisse una favola affascinante: barche provenienti dall’Asia (Junks) che navigavano intorno al Capo di Buona Speranza, arrivavano in Europa e tornavano indietro. Oggi la mia posta in arrivo mi chiedeva cosa volevo fare del Junk, le e-mail ricevute da mittenti sconosciuti. Ma ovviamente la storia non si ripete.

Leander Schwazer, Globe, 2014. Photo: Augustin Ochsenreiter

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HIDING THE ELEPHANT by Goldschmied & Chiari and Lotta Melin

Performance « Hiding the elephant »

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014
at Passerelle Centre d’art contemporain, Brest

Choreographer: Lotta Melin
Installation: Goldschmied & Chiari
Dancer: Anna Westberg
Performers: Sara Goldshmied, Eleonora Chiari, Lotta Melin and dancers from Brest
Music: robin af Ekenstam
Videos and photos : Golschmied & Chiari and Lotta Melin

La performance « Hiding the elephant », chorégraphiée par Lotta Melin est un travail in situ qui interagit et dialogue avec l’exposition du duo d’artistes italiennes Goldschmied & Chiari. Le spectacle s’inspire d’une sélection des histoires des personnages mis en scène dans l’œuvre principale présentée à Passerelle Centre d’art contemporain, une installation constituée de 200 têtes en deux dimensions pendues au plafond. Chacune d’entre elles se compose d’un côté d’un photo-portrait et de l’autre d’un miroir. Tous les personnages représentés sont des politiciens, poètes ou journalistes mystérieusement disparus au cours du 20e siècle pour des raisons politiques. Comme dans un fascinant tour de magie, leurs têtes flottent au milieu de l’espace et inondent les murs de leurs réflexions lumineuses.

La performance est réalisée par des acteurs et danseurs professionnels et amateurs locaux.

samedi 22 mars 2014, 18:00
à Passerelle Centre d’art contemporain, Brest

Chorégraphe : Lotta Melin
Installation : Goldschmied & Chiari
Danseuse : Anna Westberg
Performeurs : Sara Goldshmied, Eleonora Chiari, Lotta Melin et des danseurs(ses) de Brest
Musique : robin af Ekenstam
Vidéos et photos : Golschmied & Chiari et Lotta Melin

Protagonists: Goldschmied & Chiari
Project: La démocratie est illusion / La democrazia è illusione
Spaces: Passerelle Centre d’art contemporain

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Vincent Honoré How the past history of the Villa Croce informs its programme and your vision of the museum? I am referring to its history as a building belonging to the Croce Family as well as to its more recent history as a museum.
Ilaria Bonacossa The museum was previously vital with a collection of abstract art and had slowed down, ending up hosting exhibitions that were financially sustainable with no exact criteria or project.
In Italy power and energy historically move around in the art world from place to place, often in smaller centres for limited periods: it is as if cities like Rome and Milan, which have a rich gallery scene, have a harder time activating their institutions. We have worked with the community and friends of Villa Croce to build a hub in a time that has obvious financial and (ideological?) philosophical challenges. After a period of national excess it seemed like, in some ways, there was an advantage to work with more limited resources. This situation offered a way to frame the desire of a community or wider group for contemporary art, to remember what we want to think, say and see.
The historical building, an 18th century neo-classical style building overlooking the sea, becomes an occasion for artists to work out of the white cube. Similarly Genoa, a city that was the financial capital of Europe in the 17th century, rich of history and past but off most tourist routes, offers artists the occasion to encounter beauty and history in a very personal and intimate way.

2. Museo Villa Croce, Genoa

2. Museo Villa Croce, Genoa

V.H. There are different models of what a museum should be, of what its missions should be. What is your vision, in 2014, of what a museum like yours in Genoa should be?
I.B. We wanted to look at diverse and polyvalent ways of making art and offered the space to different artists who used space and time in different ways. Every show has retransformed the museum, has potentially spoken to a different audience and offered a different kind of research or product. A museum as a space of knowledge and freedom. On the other hand with the “Genova maXter Program” every year for two weeks the museum becomes a school where young artists can discuss and experiment collaboratively their practice.

V.H. Similarly, what are the main responsibilities of a curator working in a museum nowadays?
I.B. A museum curator shoulddeal with administrations, corporations and other organizations and, at the same time, has to offer stimulations to other people in a rapidly changing, developing and in some ways devolving world. We have to think about the public, but it’s important to have a person-by-person attention rather than act in a populist way. All individuals need to be inspired and are looking for alternative ideas.

3. Thomas Grunfeld. Homey

3. Thomas Grunfeld. Homey

V.H. “A collection isn’t a shelter into which to retreat. It’s a source of energy for the curator as much as for the visitor” (Pontus Hultén). There had been lately some very interesting experiments with collections, collecting and the dynamic of conservation. How do you articulate the collection within the programme and how do you activate it in the museum?
I.B. Our collection is very specific and is mainly constituted by works from the same period. It includes some amazing works, that we have presented in a revised context with a series of smaller archive and art historical shows focusing on Italian artists that have in some way been overlooked by the market and art history. This is not only a way of giving new value to the collection, but a way of contextualizing the present art market and showing the fact that careers are a strange phenomenon.

3. Massimo Grimaldi, Slideshows

4. Massimo Grimaldi, Slideshows

V.H. PIANO intends to create a network of art spaces working together, exchanging and interacting. Why did you decide to join the project and how are you participating in it?
I.B. It’s a bit disingenuous to think about existing just in one place in these current times. Everyone is kind of everywhere now, we need to continuously negotiate and work in diverse and common directions. Institutions can work together and support experiments and forms of experimentation.



Vincent Honoré In che modo il programma di Villa Croce e la tua visione del museo sono influenzati dalla storia passata del luogo? Mi riferisco alla sua storia di edificio appartenente alla famiglia Croce e alla sua più recente identità di museo.
Ilaria Bonacossa Il museo ha avuto una sua precedente vitalità con una collezione di arte astratta e poi è decaduto, finendo per organizzare mostre economicamente sostenibili ma prive di un criterio o un progetto preciso.
In Italia le energie del mondo dell’arte si muovono di luogo in luogo, passando spesso in determinate fasi nei centri minori: è come se le città come Roma e Milano, dotate di una ricca scena di gallerie, avessero più difficoltà a rendere attive le proprie istituzioni. Abbiamo lavorato con la comunità e con gli amici di Villa Croce per costruire un hub in un momento di evidenti difficoltà finanziarie (ideologiche?) e filosofiche. Dopo un periodo di eccessi sul piano nazionale, sembra che ora ci sia in qualche modo un vantaggio nel lavorare con risorse più limitate. La situazione ha offerto la possibilità di dare una cornice al desiderio di una comunità o di un gruppo più ampio, di ricordare cosa vogliamo pensare, dire e vedere.
L’edificio storico, un palazzo del XVIII secolo in stile neoclassico affacciato sul mare, fornisce agli artisti l’occasione di lavorare fuori dal white cube. Allo stesso modo Genova, città che nel XVII secolo fu la capitale finanziaria d’Europa, ricca di storia e di passato ma esterna rispetto agli itinerari turistici tradizionali, offre agli artisti l’occasione di vedere la storia e la bellezza in un modo molto personale e intimo.

V.H. Ci sono diversi modelli di cosa dovrebbe essere un museo e di quale debba esserne la mission. Cosa pensi debba essere un museo nel 2014?
I.B. Volevamo mettere in luce modi diversi e polivalenti di fare arte e mettere a disposizione degli artisti lo spazio, facendo in modo che usassero lo spazio e il tempo in modi diversi. Ogni mostra ha ritrasformato il museo, rivolgendosi a un pubblico diverso e proponendo un genere inedito di ricerca o di prodotto. Un museo come spazio di conoscenza e libertà. In altro modo con il “Genova maXter Program” il museo si trasforma ogni anno per due settimane in una scuola in cui i giovani artisti possono confrontarsi e sperimentare la loro pratica in maniera collaborativa.

V.H. Quali sono oggi le principali responsabilità di un curatore museale?
I.B. Un curatore museale deve confrontarsi con le amministrazioni, le società e altre organizzazioni e al contempo deve offrire stimoli agli altri in un mondo in rapida trasformazione e sviluppo. Dobbiamo tenere conto del pubblico, ma è importante avere un’attenzione al singolo senza agire in modo populistico. Ogni individuo ha bisogno di essere ispirato e cerca idee nuove.

V.H. “Una collezione non è un rifugio nel quale ritirarsi. È una fonte di energia per il curatore così come per il visitatore” (Pontus Hultén). Ultimamente ci sono stati esperimenti molto interessanti con le collezioni, l’atto del collezionare e la dinamica della conservazione. Come gestisci la collezione all’interno del programma e come viene attivata nel museo?
I.B. La nostra collezione è molto particolare ed è costituita da opere risalenti al medesimo periodo. Contiene alcuni lavori eccezionali, da noi presentati in un allestimento inedito con una serie di mostre di dimensioni ridotte di carattere archivistico o storico-artistico, incentrate su artisti italiani che sono stati ignorati dal mercato o dalla storia dell’arte. Abbiamo così non solo voluto dare nuovo valore alla collezione, ma anche contestualizzare il mercato artistico di oggi e mostrare quanto le carriere artistiche siano uno strano fenomeno.

V.H. PIANO intende creare un network di spazi espositivi che lavorano insieme, attraverso lo scambio e l’interazione. Perché hai deciso di aderire al progetto e come si attua la tua partecipazione?
I.B. È sbagliato pensare di esistere solo in un luogo in questi tempi. Ognuno si trova ovunque ora, dobbiamo negoziare continuamente e lavorare in direzioni insieme differenti e comuni. Le istituzioni possono lavorare insieme e sostenere esperimenti e forme di sperimentazione.

1. Julieta Aranda. If a Body Meet a Body. Exhibition view at Villa Croce, 9 May – 30 June 2013. Courtesy Villa Croce. Photo: Nuvola Ravera
2. Museo Villa Croce, Genoa. Photo: Nuvola Ravera
3. Thomas Grunfeld. Homey. Exhibition view at Villa Croce, 21 March – 18 May 2014.  Courtesy Villa Croce. Photo: Nuvola Ravera
4. Massimo Grimaldi. Slideshows. Exhibition view at Villa Croce, 9 September – 18 November 2012. Courtesy Villa Croce. Photo: Simona Cupoli

Protagonist: Ilaria Bonacossa
Space: Villa Croce Museo d’Arte Contemporanea
Project: La démocratie est illusion

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Vincent Honoré In the mission statement of the museum, one reads: “Museion works as an international research laboratory and as a commissioner of works of art […]. The aim is to be interdisciplinary and these efforts can be seen in the fact that not only figurative art finds its place at Museion, but also architecture, music, performance, film and theatre all have a space in the yearly programme.” I am curious to know how structurally interdisciplinarity informs your programme? How do you articulate it? And, importantly, why is it still relevant to be interdisciplinary?
Letizia Ragaglia The fact that visual arts cannot be perceived in isolation from other forms of art is not a new discovery. Reference to such statements can be found in ancient periods as well as in the present. However, I see contemporary art as a hybrid construction – in a positive sense – which not only connects different cultural disciplines, but also integrates disciplines that are far beyond the cultural field. In my opinion, therefore, a museum of contemporary art has to underline and to create different links that move through the present-day cultural scene.
Museion’s “core business” is still visual art, but we want to show that rigid barriers cannot be erected. This Summer, for example, a young Italian artist, Luca Trevisani, was invited to create a video for our media façade: he, in turn, invited MK, a dance company, giving rise to an ensuing fruitful collaboration with the Bolzano dance festival. This Fall, moreover, we will present a show, in which Carol Bove, an American artist, interacts with the well-known architect Carlo Scarpa: how can a museum avoid considering architecture and, more particularly, reflecting on the display of works? In our show When Now Is Minimal. The Unknown Side of the Sammlung Goetz we hosted concerts with minimal music and we also pursue collaborations with designers such as Martino Gamper, who continuously move between art and design. These are just a few examples of how we articulate “interdisciplinarity,” although I must admit I’m not a fan of this word. Regarding the importance of interdisciplinarity: it is a mirror of how contemporary culture moves.

2. Danh Vo, We the people

2. Danh Vo, We the people, Museion, 2013

V.H. There are different models of what a museum should be, of what its missions should be. What is your vision, in 2014, of what a museum should be?
L.R. I can only answer for a museum of contemporary art, a museum which works predominantly with living artists and which, therefore, differs slightly from other museums that deal with artists and objects from the past. Although it is true that these other kinds of museums also constantly re-enact their collections and put them into a dialogue with the present, this process is accentuated in a museum for contemporary art, where the scientific work on the collections is continuously related to collaborations the museum has with the artists invited to create/produce new shows. Is the traditional museum dead? I don’t think so: a museum must constantly question its own role and, even if the years of institutional critique are over, it must remain aware of its public task and try to keep up with the times, providing new inputs to the traditional tasks of conserving, researching, exhibiting and communicating.

3. Klara Lidén, Invalidenstraße

3. Klara Lidén, Invalidenstraße, Museion, 2013

V.H. I particularly appreciate a question asked by Nikolaus Hirsch: “who are the authors in the construction of institutional space?”. Who are the authors of Museion?
L.R. Last year, Museion invited Carol Yinghua Lu and Liu Ding as guest curators and they created a very interesting show, Little Movements. Self-practices in Contemporary Art. The show analyzed different individual practices in the field of contemporary art and pointed out the importance of individual movements/actions. At the same time, the show gave us the chance to go through each different individual practice in our team, from the security guards in the exhibition rooms, to the accountant and the secretary. Each employee made a presentation to the public on a separate occasion and offered a glance into their own, special task within the “Museion machine:” for me, it is all of those people that are the authors of Museion.

4. Paweł Althamer, Polyethylene, Museion, 2012

4. Paweł Althamer, Polyethylene, Museion, 2012

V.H. Who do you speak to? How would you describe the persons visiting Museion: a public, an audience, actors, spectators, clients?
L.R. That’s a tricky question! In 2014, the guest curator of Museion is Pierre Bal-Blanc. We will talk about him further on in relation to the PIANO collaboration. I invited Pierre Bal-Blanc because I saw his show The Death of the Audience at the Secession in Vienna. Among the many inspirations I received from that show, I read between the lines that nowadays there is not one single public, but a number of different ones. At this point, I would also like to quote Félix González-Torres, who once said that one (i.e. the public) cannot look at an artwork without considering his or her political, social, economic and sexual background. I would never use the word “clients” nor “spectators” or “actors”: audience and public is fine, but much more important than the definition itself is the fact that I/we really believe that it is very important to make the museum accessible for everybody. We have high, even “elitist” contents, but we want everybody to share them with us, therefore we offer a large variety of mediation services, that can be accepted or ignored. I think that one should never underestimate his or her public! And if you keep in mind Félix González-Torres you have to go further and consider that your public may also come from non-western cultures or, for example, that elderly people may have different needs than younger ones.
Furthermore, I have a dream: to eliminate the word “comprehension.”. We want to be there for people who want to engage and have an experience. This involves delving much farther beyond our rationality.

5. Museion, Media façade: Michael Fliri, the unseen looks like something you have never seen, 2011

5. Museion, Media façade: Michael Fliri, the unseen looks like something you have never seen, 2011

V.H. PIANO intends to create a network of art spaces working together, exchanging and interacting. Why did you decide to join the project and how are you participating in it?
L.R. I have to be sincere and explain that Museion had already thought about a collaboration with Pierre Bal-Blanc and the CAC Brétigny before the possibility of the PIANO platform arose. Once we heard about that, though, we were obviously enthusiastic about collaborating in a wider network. I strongly believe in exchanges and collaboration with other institutions, especially if the partners share needs and mission-statements. As a guest curator, Pierre Bal-Blanc has done a lot of research on our territory and brought his perspective from outside in order to make us perceive our context in a different way. Thanks to his excellent skills, he has managed to produce a “local” exhibition of international relevance. And I think that the fact that the show is present on the PIANO platform has added value to it.


Vincent Honoré Nella mission del museo si legge: “Museion è un laboratorio internazionale di ricerca e un committente di opere d’arte […]. Museion coltiva una vocazione all’interdisciplinarità: non solo l’arte figurativa, ma anche l’architettura, la musica, la performance, il cinema e il teatro trovano espressione nel programma annuale”. Mi interessa sapere in che modo il programma di Museion sia improntato strutturalmente all’interdisciplinarietà. Come viene articolato? E, cosa ancor più rilevante, perché è ancora importante essere interdisciplinari?
Letizia Ragaglia Il fatto che le arti visive non possano essere percepite in maniera isolata rispetto ad altre forme d’arte non è una scoperta. L’applicazione di questa idea può essere rintracciata nell’antichità così come nel presente. In ogni caso, ritengo che l’arte contemporanea sia una costruzione ibrida, in senso positivo, che non solo si ricollega agli altri campi culturali, ma integra in sé discipline anche lontane dalla cultura. A mio avviso un museo d’arte contemporanea deve insistere e creare diversi collegamenti all’interno della scena culturale attuale.
Il “core business” di Museion resta l’arte visiva, ma sentiamo il bisogno di oltrepassare la rigidità dei confini. Quest’estate, per esempio, un giovane artista italiano, Luca Trevisani, è stato invitato a realizzare un video per la nostra facciata mediale: a sua volta, ha invitato MK, una compagnia di danza, dando vita così a una fertile collaborazione con il festival di danza di Bolzano. Quest’autunno, inoltre, presenteremo una mostra, in cui l’artista americana Carol Bove interagirà con il noto architetto Carlo Scarpa: come può un museo esimersi dalla relazione con l’architettura e, in particolare, dalla riflessione sul display delle opere? Nella nostra mostra When Now Is Minimal. The Unknown Side of the Sammlung Goetz, abbiamo ospitato concerti di musica minimale e portato avanti collaborazioni con designer come Martino Gamper, che si muovono continuamente tra l’arte e il design. Sono solo alcuni esempi di come articoliamo l’idea dell’“interdisciplinarietà”, anche se devo ammettere che non amo questo termine. Sempre a proposito dell’importanza dell’interidisciplinarietà: è lo specchio di come si muove la cultura contemporanea.

V.H. Ci sono diversi modelli di cosa dovrebbe essere un museo e di quale debba esserne la mission. Cosa pensi debba essere un museo nel 2014?
L.R. Posso rispondere solodal punto di vista di un museo d’arte contemporanea, ossia un museo che lavora specificamente con artisti viventi e che, per questo, differisce in maniera significativa dagli altri musei che hanno a che fare con artisti e oggetti del passato. Sebbene anche gli altri tipi di museo riallestiscano costantemente le loro collezioni e le facciano dialogare con il presente, questo processo si accentua in un museo d’arte contemporanea, in cui il lavoro scientifico sulle collezioni è sempre legato alle collaborazioni che il museo intesse con gli artisti invitati a realizzare/produrre nuove mostre. Il museo tradizionale è morto? Non credo: un museo deve interrogarsi senza sosta sul proprio ruolo e, anche se gli anni dell’institunional critique sono passati, deve continuare a prestare attenzione al proprio compito pubblico e cercare di tenersi al passo con i tempi, dando nuova vita alle tradizionali funzioni di conservazione, ricerca, esposizione e comunicazione.

V.H. Trovo molto interessante questa domanda formulata da Nikolaus Hirsch: “chi sono gli autori della costruzione di uno spazio istituzionale?”. Chi sono gli autori di Museion?
L.R. Lo scorso anno, Museion ha invitato come guest curators Carol Yinghua Lu e Liu Ding, che hanno realizzato una mostra molto interessante, Little Movements. Self-practices in Contemporary Art. Il progetto prendeva in esame diverse pratiche individuali nel campo dell’arte contemporanea e insisteva sull’importanza dei movimenti/azioni individuali. Allo stesso tempo, la mostra ci ha dato l’opportunità di mettere in luce le pratiche individuali di ciascun membro del nostro staff, dal personale di sicurezza all’interno delle sale espositive al personale amministrativo e della segreteria. Ogni impiegato ha fatto una presentazione personale al pubblico e offerto la possibilità di gettare uno sguardo sul proprio specifico compito all’interno della “macchina Museion”: per me gli autori di Museion sono tutte queste persone.

V.H. A chi ti rivolgi? Come descrivile persone che visitano Museion: un pubblico, un’audience, attori, spettatori, clienti?
L.R. Domanda insidiosa! Nel 2014 il guest curator di Museion è Pierre Bal-Blanc. Ne parleremo più avanti in relazione alla collaborazione di PIANO. Ho invitato Pierre Bal-Blanc dopo aver visto la sua mostra The Death of the Audience alla Secession di Vienna. Tra le molte ispirazioni che ho tratto da quella mostra, mi pare di aver letto tra le righe che oggi non esiste un unico pubblico, ma diversi. A tal proposito vorrei anche citare Félix González-Torres, che una volta ha affermato che il pubblico non può guardare un’opera senza tenere conto del proprio background politico, sociale, economico e sessuale. Non userei mai i termini “clienti” o “spettatori” o “attori”: audience e pubblico funzionano meglio, ma ciò che conta di più, al di là della definizione, è il fatto che credo e crediamo fortemente nell’importanza di rendere il museo accessibile a tutti. Proponiamo contenuti elevati, persino “elitari”, ma desideriamo condividerli con tutti, motivo per cui forniamo una gran varietà di servizi di mediazione, che possono essere utilizzati o meno. Penso che non si debba mai sottovalutare il pubblico! E, tendendo a mente Félix González-Torres, bisogna andare oltre e considerare la possibilità che il pubblico possa essere composto anche da non-occidentali, per esempio, o il fatto che le persone anziane hanno bisogni diversi rispetto a quelle giovani.
E poi, ho un sogno: cancellare la parola “comprensione”. Vogliamo avere a che fare con persone che desiderano essere coinvolte e vivere un’esperienza, andando a fondo e superando i confini della razionalità.

V.H. PIANO intende creare un network di spazi espositivi che lavorano insieme, attraverso lo scambio e l’interazione. Perché hai deciso di aderire al progetto e come si attua la tua partecipazione?
L.R. Devo dire la verità: Museion aveva già pensato di avviare una collaborazione con Pierre Bal-Blanc e il CAC Brétigny prima che si presentasse la possibilità della piattaforma PIANO. Una volta che questa è emersa, abbiamo reagito con entusiasmo alla possibilità di collaborare all’interno di una rete più ampia. Credo fortemente nello scambio e nella collaborazione con altre istituzioni, specialmente se i partner hanno gli stessi bisogni e le stesse mission. Pierre Bal Blanc, in qualità di guest curator, ha portato avanti una approfondita ricerca sul nostro territorio e ha offerto il proprio punto di vista esterno per farci percepire il nostro contesto in maniera diversa. Grazie alle sue eccezionali qualità, è riuscito a produrre una mostra “locale” di rilevanza internazionale [Soleil politique]. E penso che l’inserimento della mostra nella piattaforma PIANO non faccia altro che aggiungere valore all’iniziativa.

1. Museion. Photo: Ludwig Thalheimer / Lupe
2. Danh Vo, We the people. Exhibition Fabulous Muscles, Museion, 2013. © Danh Vo, courtesy Galerie Chantal Crousel. Photo: Othmar Seehauser
3. Klara Lidén, Invalidenstraße, exhibition view, Museion 2013. Courtesy Galerie Neu, Berlin / Reena Spaulings, NY / the artist. Photo: Othmar Seehauser
4. Paweł Althamer, Polyethylene, Museion, 2012. © Pawel Althamer, courtesy neugerriemschneider, Berlin and Foksal Gallery Foundation, Warsaw. Photo: Othmar Seehauser
5. Museion, Media façade: Michael Fliri, the unseen looks like something you have never seen, 2011, Collection Museion. Photo: Othmar Seehauser

Protagonist: Letizia Ragaglia
Space: Museion
Project: Soleil politique

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Andrea Bruciati Hi Daniele, could you tell me about the spirit with which you are going about this experience?
Daniele Pezzi First, the residence I was selected for is somewhat atypical: I will spend 45 days staying at three art centers located in the region of Midi-Pyrénées. In each of these (in order of time: Maison des Arts Georges Pompidou in Cajarc, Chapelle St Jacques in Saint-Gaudens, and BBB in Toulouse), I will spend 15 days. The residence theme focuses on movement and utopia, both from a practical point of view (the experience of the artist who has to bring together within the project the various art centers involved, which are physically distant from each other), and from the point of  view of theory (hence the choice of selecting my work method for this residence). These characteristics and associated limitations represent the challenge that I have to face and the stimulus to imagine possible solutions.


A.B. What process/project do you intend to develop?
D.P. In the project, I want to continue to study unexpected solutions for the fusion between reality and fiction: I shall follow a process that I have been developing in the last few years, through a series of videos designed and produced while constantly on the move. A variable condition in which it is impossible to work according to a screenplay or a rigid schedule; it is not possible to predict the weather, the difficulties of accessibility of a given location, the physical limitations etc. Unlike previous projects, which unfolded gradually during the course of the work, this time I was forced to define in advance a range of possibilities and potentialities from which to draw to make the most of the short time available. If I were to give a title to the shapeless mass of ideas, techniques and scenes that make up the project at this time, it could be “The Unmasking”.


A.B. Specifically, what is it about?
D.P. In every location of the residence I will select one or more volunteering actors (professional and amateur) with whom to activate a process of definition of the character that they will interpret. I am interested in a fully collaborative approach in which I put aside the control ravings typical of the ‘dictauthor’. The result of these meetings will be characters sprouting naturally from a compromise between my idea, the personality of the interpreter and the limitations of the context in which we will take action. For several years, I’ve been working on a wandering figure who observes the contexts it goes through, and at the same time struggles with having to adapt to the changing environmental conditions.


A.B. A sort of almost plastic metamorphosis on the one hand, and a Zelig-style changing character on the other.
D.P. As the scenery, the temperature, the architecture change, so does the character, psychologically (varying its mood and dramatics) but also physically (because played by different actors). The character becomes a flexible and pliable being that each time becomes other than itself; while retaining a few elements of resemblance, such as clothes style, physical aspect, etc., depending on the situation his/her attitude can be aggressive, or collapse under the weight of a constraint, thus becoming fragile. If this character had a model, he/she would look like the protagonist of Pasolini’s Petrolio, who alternatively switches between being a man and a woman, as a result of a trauma that would otherwise be impossible to recount.


A.B. What result would you ultimately like to reach from this relentless transformation flow?
D.P. The film that will result from this process will be divided in areas: natural or manmade places where one will see the characters act and mature, go through and look at the situations that they face. The backdrop to this staging will be reality, the one that I will find in that region of France, expressed in a documentary fashion. The way in which the real and unexpected event will inevitably influence the project, will form the backbone, will determine the urge. We will start logistically from the peaks of the Pyrenees, in search of the routes of smugglers and illegal immigrants to arrive at Saint-Gaudens, overcoming mountains that have always represented natural boundaries and limits. We will cross the countryside and forests of Cajarc, trying to uncover the signs of the influence of today’s political propaganda and media, to close at a library at the University of Toulouse, where we will attend a debate between a group of people trying to find an agreement on the perfect model of democracy to pursue. Toulouse was in fact the city where the Veneto-born Silvio Trentin opened the library which soon became the reference point of the anti-fascist movements in Europe: the place where people met to discuss utopias and resistance.


A.B. A sort of documentary, or you are looking for a different film language?
D.P. The film is certainly not intended to come to an end in the classic sense – quite the opposite. The result of the construction, which I will work on in the months after my coming back, will be the most effective arrangement of a wealth of material collected in a period of intense work and discovery, with a number of concerns and questions that will guide the entire process. From a technical point of view I will use a different shooting style for each residence location; although there will never be a more overtly “documentary” part, in the sense of improvised aesthetic. The goal, in fact, is to manage to build a solid narrative and emotional experience in which the character and its alterations can be reflected deeply in the viewer.

Andrea Bruciati Ciao Daniele, puoi raccontarmi lo spirito con cui ti accingi ad intraprendere questa esperienza?
Daniele Pezzi Per prima cosa la residenza per cui sono stato selezionato è in qualche modo atipica: trascorrerò 45 giorni spostandomi tra tre centri d’arte situati nella regione del Midi-Pyrénées. In ognuno di questi (in ordine di successione: Maison des Arts Georges Pompidou di Cajarc, Chapelle St Jacques di Saint-Gaudens e BBB di Toulouse) trascorrerò un periodo di tempo di 15 giorni. Il tema della residenza verte sullo spostamento e l’utopia, sia da un punto di vista pratico (l’esperienza dell’artista che deve unire nel suo progetto i vari centri d’arte che sono fisicamente distanti tra loro) sia da un punto di vista teorico (da cui la scelta di selezionare il mio metodo di lavoro per questa residenza). Queste caratteristiche e le limitazioni che ne derivano rappresentano la sfida che mi trovo di fronte e la propulsione a immaginare possibili soluzioni.

A.B. Quale processo/progetto intendi sviluppare?
D.P. Nel progetto voglio continuare a studiare le soluzioni inaspettate della fusione tra reale e fiction: seguirò un processo che ho sviluppato negli ultimi anni, attraverso una serie di video concepiti e realizzati in continuo spostamento. Uno stato variabile in cui è impossibile lavorare basandosi su una sceneggiatura o uno schema rigido di progetto; non è infatti possibile prevedere le condizioni meteo, le difficoltà di accessibilità di un determinato luogo, i limiti fisici ecc. A differenza dei precedenti, che si svelavano completamente solo in corso d’opera, questa volta sono stato obbligato a definire anticipatamente un ventaglio di possibilità e potenzialità da cui attingere per sfruttare al massimo il breve periodo di tempo a disposizione. Se dovessi dare un titolo alla massa informe di idee, tecniche e scene che formano il progetto in questo momento, potrebbe essere “Lo Smascheramento”.

A.B. Nello specifico di cosa si tratta?
D.P. In ogni luogo della residenza selezionerò uno o più attori volontari (professionisti e non) con cui attivare un processo di definizione del personaggio che andranno a interpretare. Sono interessato a un approccio totalmente collaborativo in cui metto da parte le smanie di controllo tipiche del ‘dittautore’. Il risultato di questi incontri saranno personaggi che germoglieranno naturalmente dal compromesso tra la mia idea, la personalità dell’interprete e i limiti del contesto in cui ci troveremo ad agire. Da diversi anni, infatti, lavoro su una figura errabonda che è osservatore del contesto che attraversa, e allo stesso tempo alle prese con l’adattamento a condizioni ambientali variabili.

A.B. Una sorta di metamorfosi quasi plastica da un lato e un personaggio cangiante alla Zelig dall’altro.
D.P. Come cambiano il paesaggio, la temperatura, l’architettura, allo stesso tempo muta il personaggio, psicologicamente (variando stato d’animo e drammaturgia) ma anche fisicamente (essendo interpretato da attori diversi). Il personaggio diventa quindi un essere elastico e malleabile che diventa di volta in volta altro da sé; pur mantenendo alcuni elementi di somiglianza, come lo stile degli abiti, la costituzione fisica, ecc., a seconda delle situazioni  il suo atteggiamento può essere aggressivo, o crollare sotto il peso di una costrizione, e diventare fragile. Se questo personaggio dovesse trovare un modello assomiglierebbe al protagonista di Petrolio di Pasolini, che si ritrova a essere alternativamente uomo o donna, come effetto di un trauma che sarebbe impossibile raccontare diversamente.

A.B. Quale risultato ultimativo vuoi perseguire da questo incessante flusso in trasformazione?
D.P. Il film che risulterà da questo processo sarà suddiviso per ambienti: luoghi naturali o antropizzati in cui si vedranno i personaggi agire e maturare, attraversare e osservare, le situazioni che si troveranno di fronte. L’orizzonte di questa messa in scena sarà la realtà, quella che troverò nella Francia di quella regione, espressa con una prassi affine al documentario. Il modo in cui l’evento reale e inaspettato influenzerà inesorabilmente il progetto ne formerà l’ossatura, ne determinerà l’urgenza. Si partirà logisticamente dalle cime dei Pirenei, cercando i tragitti dei contrabbandieri e dei clandestini per arrivare a Saint-Gaudens, superando montagne che da sempre sono confini e limiti naturali. Si attraverseranno le campagne e i boschi di Cajarc cercando di svelare i segni dell’influenza della propaganda politica e mediatica di oggi, fino a chiudere in una biblioteca dell’università di Tolosa, dove assisteremo a un dibattito tra un gruppo di persone che cercherà di trovare un accordo sul modello perfetto di Democrazia da perseguire. Tolosa è stata infatti la città dove il veneto Silvio Trentin aprì la libreria che diventò presto il punto di riferimento dei movimenti anti-fascisti europei: il luogo dove si ritrovavano per discutere di utopie e di resistenza.

A.B. Una sorta di documentario o sei alla ricerca di un linguaggio cinematografico differente?
D.P. Il film non sarà sicuramente inteso per essere concluso in senso classico, al contrario. Il risultato del montaggio, che seguirò nei mesi successivi al mio ritorno, sarà la configurazione più efficace di un bagaglio di materiali costruiti in un periodo di intenso lavoro e scoperta, con una serie di preoccupazioni e di punti interrogativi che guideranno l’intero processo. Da un punto di vista tecnico utilizzerò uno stile di ripresa diverso per ogni luogo di residenza; non ci sarà mai però una parte più dichiaratamente “documentaristica”, intesa come estetica improvvisata. L’obiettivo, infatti, è riuscire a costruire una solida esperienza narrativa ed emozionale in cui il personaggio e le sue alterazioni possano riflettersi profondamente nello spettatore.

cover. Daniele Pezzi, Tutulma, 2010-2013, video still HD. Courtesy of the artist
other pictures: video stills and reasearch images

Project: Piano – alto!
Spaces: Maison des Arts Georges Pompidou CAC, CAC Chapelle St Jacques, BBB centre d’art
Protagonists: Daniele Pezzi

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Marianne Maric
Trailer « Soleil politique », 2014
Episode I

Marianne Maric
Trailer « Soleil politique », 2014
Episode II

Marianne Maric
Trailer « Soleil politique », 2014
Episode III

For Soleil politique, Marianne Maric is presenting a video trailer in several episodes that associate certain elements from the exhibition with her own work. These will be distributed on the Internet before and during the exhibition.


Per Soleil politique Marianne Maric propone un trailer in più episodi, realizzati e diffusi su Internet prima  e durante la mostra. Queste sequenze collegano alcuni elementi dell’esposizione con il  suo lavoro.

Pour « Soleil politique », Marianne Maric propose une bande-annonce vidéo en plusieurs épisodes, réalisés et diffusés sur Internet avant et pendant l’exposition. Ces séquences associent certains des éléments de l’exposition à son propre travail.



Le char de Tito, Sarajevo, 2012. Photo © Marianne Maric



October 29th, 2014 – 8 pm
Museion 4th Floor
In the frame of Bolzano’s Festival of Contemporary Music

Audio file

The work Economic Score transposes a cultural economy into a musical score. For the version Economic Score: Soleil politique, the exhibition budget, including production costs and private financial support, has been transcribed as a musical score. The score will be performed on October 29, 2014, during Bolzano’s Festival of Contemporary Music. The work refers to aspects of social and economic life that, given their immaterial nature and omnipresence, escape direct perception and yet nevertheless dictate and mold attitudes, discourses, social relations, and daily activities. The ideological imprint of material production is appropriated as a medium in order to investigate the tensions of social space, along with the relation between aesthetic perception and the economic activities that govern it. Another way of raising similar questions is Calendar of Revolts, which takes the form of a calendar for the year 2015 that replaces the celebrations of the patron saints on all 365 days of the year with the anniversaries of popular revolts taken from the pages of modern and ancient history.


Image: Emilio Prini, Stampa di un consumo.Monaco ’71. Il caffè del Kunstverein, 1971 (detail)

Protagonist: Matthieu Saladin
Project: Soleil politique



Curated by Sam Korman
Artists: Elaine Cameron-Weir, Jacob Kassay, David Knowles, Josh Tonsfeldt 

3 October 2014 – 11 January 2015
Opening: 2 October 2014, 7 p.m. 

From 3 October 2014 to 11 January 2015, GAMeC’s SpazioZero is hosting the exhibition project Mississippi for the seventh Edition of Premio Lorenzo Bonaldi per l’Arte – EnterPrize.

Sam Korman has been proposed last year by Dominic Molon (at that time Chief Curator of Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis and current Richard Brown Baker Curator of Contemporary Art at the RISD Museum, Providence, Rhode Island), and awarded in November 2013 from an international panel composed by

Pierre Bal-Blanc - Director, CAC – Centre d’Art Contemporain de Brétigny
Mirjam Varadinis - Curator, Kunsthaus Zürich
Giacinto Di Pietrantonio - Director, GAMeC, Bergamo
Stefano Raimondi - Curator, GAMeC, Bergamo

The jury awarded the project with the following statement:

Sam Korman’s project convinced the jury in its coherency both on a conceptual and curatorial level. Using the metaphor of the mythical river Mississippi, the artist invites us to reflect upon important questions of our times, such as constant change and the notion of instability.
Instead of creating an exhibition with a specific selection of art works, the curator invites three young American artists to use the exhibition space as their studio, one after the other.
We are sure that this will be a stimulus for discovering a new territory, as it happened to Giacomo Costantino Beltrami, the citizen of Bergamo who, motivated by a huge passion, discovered the headwaters of the Mississippi River in 1823.
Sam Korman’s creative way of approaching the idea of an exhibition seemed to the jury very convincing in the context of a curatorial prize that right from the beginning aimed to bring in the city of Bergamo the most innovative and original curatorial practices.
We are sure that the project of Sam Korman is an experimental challenge and a great opportunity for the citizens of Bergamo and for the public of the museum to come closer and to be involved in contemporary art production. 

The awards ceremony took place on October 28th, at the end of Qui Enter Atlas. International Symposium of Emerging Curators, during which 9 curators under the age of 35 have compared their personal experiences and theoretical and methodological positions.

The Premio Lorenzo Bonaldi per l’Arte – EnterPrize was presented for the first time in 2003 by the GAMeC with the support of the Bonaldi family as a result of the family’s wish to commemorate Lorenzo Bonaldi’s passion for art and collecting. The prize is the only one of its kind: its aim is to search out talented curators under the age of 30 and to mount the winner’s proposed exhibition. Its purpose is to draw attention to the importance of the curator in the international art field and to encourage and support the talent of a young curator at an extremely dynamic moment of his or her professional career. The idea behind this prize was to create not a competitive situation, but an opportunity for professional growth and comparison. This is why, in 2005, the idea arose to accompany the award ceremony with a biennial convention, Qui Enter Atlas – International Symposium of Emerging Curators.

Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot.

Per G.G., Chief of Ordnance

- Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn 

In Mark Twain’s novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the Mississippi River is a space of conversation, self-realization, and flux. Essentially, nothing is fixed on the river and Huck Finn and his traveling companion, Jim, are free from the strict moral codes that would otherwise govern their behavior and dictate their station within the conservative Antebellum South, during which period the novel is set.

The exhibition Mississippi borrows from Twain’s metaphor, re-interpreting the museum as a space free from the constraints and codes that would otherwise dictate the ways in which artists, museum, and audience interact with one another, attempting to create a fluctuating space that mirror’s Huck Finn’s river voyage – a free space that does not privilege any one perspective.

Comprising four chapters, Mississippi provides three artists – Jacob Kassay, Elaine Cameron-Weir, and Josh Tonsfeldt – with financial resources to use GAMeC’s Spazio Zero as a studio or salon for three weeks each, with the final chapter dedicated to exhibiting both the works created during the residency, and the tools, leftover materials, and possible foodstuffs that the artists have left to litter the gallery.

In addition, the designer David Knowles will come to Italy to design a publication that reflects his perambulations around Bergamo and his interaction with the artists working on site.

Mississippi serves as a starting point from which the exhibition may emerge, collapsing the space of production and reception, and allowing each participant the opportunity to respond freely to the space and the others’ work. Eschewing theme or curatorial construct, the exhibition respects the artists’ interpretive freedom, and, in the last chapter of the exhibition (as well as throughout the show), the audience’s freedom to draw connections in conversation with that which the artists undertook in response to the museum and one another.

Mississippi asks, “What actually makes the work: the artist, the curator, the designer, the viewer?” It offers an alternative to these strict roles that is grounded in the action, rather than the product –making, organizing, designing, seeing – recognizing that these are simultaneous acts by creating a space of experience.

Thursday, 18 December 2014, at 7 p.m., the show Mississippi will be presented for the first time as a single project. The curator Sam Korman will explain the artistic interventions that have been conducted on the exhibition space since October.

Biographical Notes
Sam Korman is an independent curator and writer. He was most recently the assistant director of White Flag Projects, St Louis. From 2009-2010, he was the founder and director of Car Hole Gallery in Portland, Oregon, the collected writing from which can be found in Notes From A Young Curator (Publication Studio). He has curated shows independently in Portland, Marfa, Baltimore, and New York. Korman was co-founder of YA5, a semi-quarterly art and culture journal. He has contributed to BOMBlog, Mousse, and his writing has appeared in numerous other publications and exhibition catalogues. He lives and works in Europe.

GAMeC – Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Bergamo
Via San Tomaso, 53 – 24121 Bergamo
Tel. +39 035 270272 / Fax +39 035 236962



Through what strategies can museums, art centers, exhibition spaces and commercial galleries define new models of collaboration? What tools of communication, sharing of information, exchange and dialogue can these realities adopt to develop meeting occasions otherwise unfeasible? What meeting point could there be between ideology and pragmatism, cultural policy and artistic and curatorial action? These are just some of the questions that the roundtable Prepared Piano – Models for New Ways of Collaboration, organized by the d.c.a during FIAC 2014 within the program PIANO – Prepared Platform for Contemporary Art, attempted to answer.
The meeting, hosted and moderated by Etienne Bernard, director of Passerelle Centre d’art contemporain in Brest, highlighted different approaches to the idea of collaboration and exchange, through very diverse case studies as regards background, design, setting and development. If the cultural and artistic aspects, the financial formulas and organizational methods differ, the common element of these innovative forms of cultural production is the interest in the infinite possibilities offered by dialogue. The boundaries of this object of analysis are blurred and flexible by definition: we are facing an expanding territory, whose geography is still widely unexplored because of its constant transformation.
The starting point is a very special example of collaboration, carried out in a context in which competition could theoretically act as a barrier to exchange. The Fair Gallery is instead a fruitful experiment, an informal network which since 2007 has been connecting four galleries (gb agency in Paris, Raster Gallery in Warsaw, Hollybush Gardens in London and Jan Mot Gallery, with two premises in Brussels and Mexico City), in the name of a common attitude to fair play and a shared interest in communication between artists, collectors, institutions, and curators, within the broader field of the art system. This is the way through which Jan Mot, director of the homonymous gallery, outlines the contours of an unanticipated collaborative approach, which sees galleries join to commission exhibition projects to curators (as in the case of the exhibitions curated by Aurélie Voltz and Pierre Bal-Blanc in 2007 and 2008 for Frieze Art Fair) or promote educational programs (such as with the training project The Gallerist Program, launched jointly with the De Appel Arts Centre).
A very different approach is the one taken by Cluster network, which from 2011 has included eight exhibition spaces in small and medium residential areas on the outskirts of large cities in Europe and around the Mediterranean: CAC Brétigny and Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers, both on the outskirts of Paris, Centro Dos de Mayo, in the urban area of Madrid, Casco in Utrecht, The Showroom in West London, Zavot PARASITE in Ljubljana, The Israeli Centre for Digital Art in Holon, a Tel Aviv suburb, and Tensta Konsthall in Spånga, in the Stockholm area. The director of this space, Maria Lind, presented the program insisting on the aspects of proximity of the various art centers and the importance of the preliminary exchange of experiences and knowledge, promoted by the network through regular meetings between the directors, events, round tables and public talks. Cluster overlaps and intersects with other similar initiatives, such as Klister network, which connects different Swedish exhibition spaces, in turn inspired by Common Practice, a group of London-based art institutions working side by side in the field of production, commissioning, research, publishing and exhibition projects.
Emily Pethick, director of The Showroom, a space that is also part of Cluster, explained the characteristics of another exchange program, whose name clearly describes its ambitions and objectives: How To Work Together. In this case, the purpose is very clear: the three non-profit London exhibition spaces Chisenhale Gallery, Studio Voltaire and The Showroom develop the ideal and material space to work together and produce new artistic projects and exhibition events, while coordinating an online think tank that works as a catalyst for the gathering of experiences. Since its inception two years ago, the project has involved the artists Gerry Bibby, Céline Condorelli, Ella Kruglyanskaya, Ahmet Öğüt, Wendelien van Oldenborgh, Sanya Kantarovsky.
Six Ways to Sunday is instead a multi-year project sponsored by the independent space Peep-Hole in Milan. Founded, in the words of its director Vincenzo De Bellis, as a museum project room without a museum around it, Peep-Hole aims to fill that very absence by activating a satellite and mobile project room, in collaboration with several institutional spaces: Museion, CAC Vilnius, CAC Brétigny, Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen, FRAC Champagne-Ardenne, CAG Vancouver. Six approaches to production, six tools to multiply contacts and relationships. Since 2010, the project has presented the works of Alicja Kwade, Dalia Dudenaite & Elena Narbutaite, Kilian Rüthemann, Antoine Catala and the project Reversibility.
The program L’Internationale was instead born within a typical museum environment, and consists of a confederation both horizontal and rhizomatic of six European art institutions: Moderna Galerija in Ljubljana, Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, MACBA in Barcelona, M KHA in Antwerp, SALT in Istanbul and Ankara, and finally Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, whose research curator, Steven ten Thije, explained the whole program. In the name of a reimagined internationalism, a new interpretation of institution, far from self-referentiality and centralism, of a shared use of archives and collections, a different ethic that identifies art as the catalyst for renewed notions of democracy and citizenship at a European level, of strong roots in the history of the continent, L’Internationale defines a comprehensive, long-term framework designed to encompass the programs of the various museums. After the first part, From theDecline of Modernism to the Rise of Globalisation, which lasted from 2010 to 2012, the second part, The Uses of Art – The Legacy of 1848 and 1989, is now in progress, ending in 2017. Again the web works like a sounding board, a tool for contacts, a content generator.
The five examples of collaborative networks presented at the roundtable offer perspectives on the potential of an open approach to cultural action. Overcoming geographical, institutional, managerial and cultural borders, these networks define alternative spaces for the presentation and reflection on the production of art in the broad sense.

The Fair GalleryClusterHow To Work TogetherSix Ways to SundayL’Internationale

Grand Palais, FIAC Paris

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Vincent Honoré in conversation with Claire Le Restif, Centre d’art contemporain d’Ivry – le Crédac, Ivry-sur-Seine

Vincent Honoré How was the Crédac created and what is its fundamental purpose?
Claire Le Restif The art centre was created in 1987, instigated by artists and political will. It is one of the first art centres in Île-de-France. Situated in Ivry-sur-Seine, the Crédac is a place whose visitors comprise locals from Ivry and French residents passing through the region or from Paris to visit the exhibitions or attend meetings. The question of public transit is central, as is the relationship between Paris and its outskirts.
Although the art centre is the location of the artist’s project above all, it remains no less a laboratory for the transmission of art, its questions, utopias and forms.

V.H. The Crédac is one of many art centres that form a dynamic network in France and without which a large proportion of contemporary culture and art would undoubtedly be inaccessible. How does its DNA differentiate it in this network?
C.L.R. The art centre is a public place. Also the project that I am developing strives to eliminate as far as possible the notion of personal taste or aesthetic line to the benefit of exhibiting a wider range of creativity and its aesthetic and critical issues. I express more of a relationship with art by inviting artistic projects that develop different issues embodied by forms that interpret the wealth of current artistic expression. I also regard certain forms of publication as spaces to ‘curate’. We do not publish exhibition booklets but a free publication called Le Mecca. It provides information about activity issues at the Crédac, the planning and mediation alike. It also opens an additional avenue for reinterpretation and memory.
Lastly, there is Royal Garden, a virtual world extension of Crédac’s artistic mission. It’s a sort of virtual review montage, a multidisciplinary place of production and critical, theoretical and artistic exquisite corpse.

6. Lara Almarcegui, Ivry souterrain

2. Lara Almarcegui, Ivry souterrain, 2013

V.H. There is a fundamental phrase in the presentation of the centre: ‘an art centre is not just a space defined in terms of square metres. For artists it is also a place for intellectual, critical and technical mentoring.’ I would like you to elaborate on this notion of mentoring.
C.L.R. An art centre is not just a place measured in square metres, a showcase… For the artists it is a place to carry out research, to experiment and for intellectual, critical and technical support. It is a place for artistic yet all too often illegitimate, freedom.
When I talk about mentoring, it is regarding the artists for whom we are benchmarks when required, but it is also the mentoring that has been instigated between art centres.

V.H. I am more interested in the programme than the exhibition in my interviews with institution directors, both for the project PIANO and CURA. magazine. That is, in the structure behind a vision, a dynamic and a horizon for a place, a project and a team. This problem interests me all the more as the gap between spheres of intellectual strength or experiment and sanctuaries of global culture is widening (without personal preference for one or the other). In your opinion, what is the role of an art centre director in 2014?
C.L.R. To ensure that the venues at best develop and consolidate, and in the worse case scenario they are sustained! We have to be in permanent contact with the artists and liaise with civil society, another mission that is important in my eyes! But the context in which we work is very important. It should be taken into consideration in a peaceful but also resistant way (laughter). To support what we believe should be stated and exhibited, sometimes against the advice of fashion, the art market and public taste!
To explain our relationship with art, to feel part of the cultural heritage of an exhibition history as a source for reflection even about the history of recent art, whilst putting to the test our ability to continue to invent new forms of exhibits and more broadly new ways of working together.

3. View of the exhibition Mathieu Mercier

3. View of the exhibition Mathieu Mercier. Sublimations, 2012

V.H. Charles Esche described his ideal museum as being inherently uncertain: simultaneously and integrally a community centre, a laboratory, an institute and a gallery. A place where the production is not necessarily ‘productive,’ but a continual process of reconfiguration and a form open to incomplete architecture. How did you structure the curatorial approach to the venue, the institution?
C.L.R. The programme that I drew up for the Crédac when I arrived was very bound to the context and the topography of the underground location, situated until 2011 within the foundations of the Jeanne Hachette Centre, built by the architect Jean Renaudie between 1970 and 1975. To kick off, I set up an exhibition in two parts called La partie continue (The Games Goes On), a small show to present the goals of my programme. The project was initially inspired by this unusual venue, the sloping white cube and compromised geometry. This title bore the notion of continuous and discontinuous play. Having formulated the concepts of citing, misappropriation, mixing and borrowing, it was more the loss of the notion of authority, of ownership and the calling into question of inheritance that interested me.
We left this venue for a factory built in 1913. La Manufacture has thus resumed its original production studio activity: studios in which artists can create, mature and produce; studios for artistic practices, experimentation and mediation for different audiences; studios for discussion and reflection during workshops, meetings and debates.

V.H. PIANO wishes to create a space for exchange and dialogue between Italian and French art venues. Why did you want to participate and what programme are you offering?
C.L.R. We have the impression, most notably with Sandra Patron and Lorenzo Benedetti, that the role of art centres is not studied, analysed and promoted enough. I feel it is crucial to defend the role played by art centres in implementing networks for artistic presentation on a European level.
How would a museum collection become established today if the network of European art centres ever disappeared? What issues would occur for an artistic community without a local venue for peripheral circulation? Lastly, how does the economic crisis endanger the art ecosystem?
I had an in-depth discussion concerning these questions with Chris Sharp who had his project The Registry of Promise in mind. My idea was to set up an association of four dynamic venues that he is also in regular contact with: the Fondazione Giuliani in Rome, Parc Saint Léger in Pougues-les-Eaux and De Vleeshal in Middelburg.

5. Boris Achour,

4. Boris Achour, Une partie d’Assemblée, 2012


Vincent Honoré Comment a été créé le Crédac et quelle est sa mission fondamentale ?
Claire Le Restif Le Centre d’art a été créé en 1987 à partir d’une initiative d’artistes et d’une volonté politique. Il est un des centres d’art pionniers en Île-de-France. Situé à Ivry-sur-Seine, le Crédac est un lieu dont le public est constitué à la fois d’Ivryens et de métropolitains qui traversent la région ou qui viennent de Paris pour visiter les expositions ou assister à des rencontres. Cet enjeu de déplacement des publics est central, comme l’est la relation qu’entretient Paris avec sa périphérie.
Bien que le centre d’art soit avant tout le lieu du projet de l’artiste, il n’en demeure pas moins un laboratoire de transmission de l’art, de ses questions, de ses utopies et de ses formes.

V.H. Le Crédac fait partie des nombreux centres d’art qui forment en France un réseau dynamique, et sans qui une grande part de la culture contemporaine et de l’art contemporain ne serait certainement pas visible. Dans ce réseau, quel est son ADN, sa différence ?
C.L.R. Le centre d’art est un lieu public, aussi le projet que je développe tente de gommer le plus possible la notion de goût personnel ou de ligne esthétique au profit de l’exposition d’un état élargi de la création, de ses enjeux esthétiques et critiques. J’énonce davantage un rapport à l’art en invitant des projets artistiques qui développent des enjeux différents incarnés par des formes traduisant la richesse des langages artistiques actuels. Je considère aussi que certaines formes de publication sont des espaces à « curater ». Nous n’éditons non pas des journaux d’exposition mais une publication gratuite intitulée Le Mecca. Elle donne des indications sur les enjeux des activités du Crédac, la programmation comme les actions de médiation. Elle ouvre également une voie supplémentaire, celle de la relecture et de la mémoire.
Enfin, il y a Royal Garden, véritable prolongement sur le mode virtuel du projet artistique du Crédac. C’est une sorte de revue virtuelle hirsute, un lieu de production pluridisciplinaire, un cadavre exquis critique, théorique et artistique.

V.H. Dans la présentation du centre, il y a cette phrase fondamentale : « un centre d’art n’est pas simplement un espace qui se définit en mètres carrés. C’est aussi, pour les créateurs, un lieu de compagnonnage intellectuel, critique et technique ». J’aimerais que vous reveniez sur cette notion de compagnonnage et que nous la définissions davantage.
C.L.R. Un centre d’art ce n’est pas simplement un lieu, des mètres carrés, une vitrine… C’est, pour les artistes, un lieu de recherche, d’expérimentation, d’accompagnement intellectuel, critique et technique. C’est un lieu de permission pour les artistes, mais qui reste trop souvent encore illégitime.
Lorsque j’aborde l’idée du compagnonnage, c’est envers les artistes pour lesquels nous sommes des référents lorsqu’ils ont besoin d’aide, mais c’est aussi le compagnonnage que l’on met en place entre centres d’art.

V.H. Dans mes entretiens avec des directeurs d’institutions, tant pour le projet PIANO que pour CURA. magazine, je m’intéresse davantage au programme qu’à l’exposition. Davantage à la structure qui sous-tend une vision, une dynamique et un horizon pour un lieu, un projet et une équipe. Cette problématique m’intéresse d’autant plus que l’écart entre zones de résistances intellectuelles ou d’expérimentations et temples de la culture globale se creuse (sans aucune préférence personnelle pour l’un ou l’autre). Selon vous, quel est le rôle d’un directeur de centre d’art en 2014 ?
C.L.R. Faire en sorte que les lieux, au mieux se développent et se consolident, et au pire qu’ils se maintiennent ! Il faut être en contact permanent avec les artistes et faire le lien avec la société civile, autre mission qui est, à mes yeux, importante. Mais le contexte dans lequel nous travaillons importe beaucoup. Il faut tour à tour en tenir compte de manière pacifiée mais aussi hostile (rires). Maintenir ce qui nous semble devoir être énoncé et exposé, parfois contre l’avis de la mode, du marché de l’art, du goût du public !
Exposer notre rapport à l’art, se sentir héritiers d’une histoire de l’exposition comme support de réflexion, jusqu’à l’histoire de l’art récente, tout en mettant à l’épreuve notre capacité à inventer toujours de nouvelles formes d’expositions et plus largement de nouvelles manières de travailler ensemble.

V.H. Charles Esche a décrit son musée idéal comme étant fondamentalement incertain : à la fois simultanément et intégralement, centre communautaire, laboratoire, institut, galerie. Un lieu où la production n’est pas obligatoirement « productive », un lieu en permanente reconfiguration, une forme ouverte à l’architecture incomplète. Comment avez-vous structuré l’approche curatoriale du lieu, de l’institution ?
C.L.R. Le programme que j’avais défini pour le Crédac à mon arrivée était très lié au contexte et à la topographie du lieu underground, situé jusqu’en 2011 dans les fondations du Centre Jeanne Hachette, construit par l’architecte Jean Renaudie entre 1970 et 1975. Pour démarrer, j’avais mis en place une exposition en deux volets intitulée La partie continue, un petit manifeste pour présenter les enjeux de mon programme. Le projet était inspiré au départ par ce lieu à la topographie singulière, le white cube en pente et à la géométrie contrariée. Ce titre portait en lui la notion de jeu entre continuité et discontinuité. Une fois les concepts de citation, de détournement, de mixage et d’emprunt posés, c’était davantage la disparition de la notion d’autorité, de propriété, et la remise en question des héritages qui m’intéressaient.
Nous avons quitté ce lieu pour une usine construite en 1913. La Manufacture est ainsi rendue à son activité initiale d’atelier de production : ateliers de création, de mûrissement et de production pour les artistes ; ateliers de pratiques artistiques, d’expérimentation et de médiation pour les différents publics ; ateliers de discussion et de réflexion lors de workshops, de rencontres et de débats.

V.H. PIANO veut créer un espace d’échange et de dialogue entre des lieux d’art italiens et français. Pourquoi avez-vous souhaité participer et quel programme proposez-vous ?
C.L.R. Nous avions le sentiment, avec Sandra Patron et Lorenzo Benedetti notamment, que le rôle des centres d’art n’était pas assez étudié, analysé et mis en avant. Il me paraît essentiel de défendre le rôle joué par les centres d’art dans la mise en place de réseaux de diffusion artistique au niveau européen.
Comment se constituerait la collection d’un musée aujourd’hui si d’aventure le réseau des centres d’art européens disparaissait ? Quels seraient les enjeux d’une communauté artistique sans lieu de diffusion périphérique et de proximité ? Enfin, comment la crise économique met en danger l’écosystème de l’art ?
J’avais un échange riche sur ces questions avec Chris Sharp qui avait en tête son projet The Registry of Promise. J’ai eu l’idée de mettre en place une association de quatre lieux dynamiques et qui sont également en dialogue régulier avec lui. La Fondazione Giuliani à Rome, le Parc Saint Léger à Pougues-les-Eaux et le centre d’art de Vleeshal à Middelburg.

1. Mandla Reuter, The Agreement, Vienna, 2011, armoire, 198 x 129 x 85 cm. Installation view Galerie Mezzanin, 2011. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Mezzanin. Photo: Karl Kühn
2. Lara Almarcegui, Ivry souterrain, 2013, book, 80 pages, 11 x 18 cm, 22 black-and-white illustrations, 2000 copies. Photo: © André Morin / le Crédac. Courtesy of the artist & Ellen de Bruijne Projects, Amsterdam. Exhibition Lara Almarcegui. Ivry souterrain, 19 April – 23 June 2012
3. View of the exhibition Mathieu Mercier. Sublimations, 20 January – 25 March 2012, Centre d’art contemporain d’Ivry – le Crédac. Photo: © André Morin / le Crédac. Courtesy of the artist
4. Boris Achour, Une partie d’Assemblée, 2012, video, 15 mn. Photo: © André Morin / le Crédac. Courtesy of the artist. Exhibition Boris Achour. Séances (Sessions), 13 April – 3 June 2012

Space: Centre d’art contemporain d’Ivry – le Crédac
Protagonist: Claire Le Restif
Project: The Registry of Promise

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Céline Flécheux Thepiece presented in the exhibition at the Fondazione Giuliani in Rome curated by Chris Sharp is called Bronze of Lost Flesh. You produced it in Burkina Faso. Why are the means of production so important in your work?
Jean-Marie Perdrix I have been working with bronze smiths in Burkina for 20 years. I have developed a process with them to recycle plastic waste substituting wood and enabling waste to be collected. They won the innovation award in Bamako, where a permanent workshop has been built. It was a veritable North-South collaboration implemented in stages. I developed and produced projects on my scale to initiate this workshop to recycle and mould household objects. The objects that I produce are from an economy where every moment is appreciated.

C.F. How did you come up with the idea of a bronze animal?
J.-M.P. First of all, my partners are bronze smiths (Burkina has a tradition for bronze) and I had the opportunity to experiment with small bronze pieces. This is what happened: during casting the crucible leaked by accidentand the molten bronze mixed with the coal and ash at the bottom of the oven; I salvaged this what I found beautiful scoria and I thought that I would like a cast with this entity. Hence the idea of bronze ‘of lost flesh,’ that I then wanted to use it to form a horse or a dog.
These animals are totems for my partners, but I did not know that. Of course, I am not involved in the animal’s death. Horse is found in the butcher’s shop in Ouagadougou; as for dogs, there is a whole unofficial network for dead dogs.

Jean-Marie Perdrix, Cheval, bronze à la chair perdue 3, 2013

2. Jean-Marie Perdrix, Cheval, bronze à la chair perdue 3, 2013

C.F. What does ‘bronze of lost flesh’ mean exactly?
J.-M.P. The title is very important, as a misappropriation of the traditional lost-wax bronze casting process. Usually, to smelt bronze, a crucible is surrounded by coal and the forced air increases the temperature. When I have modelled the animal’s head (horse or dog) or a part of its body in clay, I burn it until bones turned to ash are all that remain. I thus made a ceramic that I fill with coal and air again, reproducing the initial crucible. I mix my molten bronze in the coal, in the bones and everything else, as if I had brought together all the production stages of a traditional bronze. The resulting bones, ash, coal and bronze mixture makes it lighter. What is important here is that the bronze finds its own way through the blend of ash and bits of grit. Therefore, I cannot predict what image I will obtain after the leak, once the piece is removed from the mould. Salif Dermé, my bronze smith partner, often says that I am looking for magic, as the image that will be obtained is not known in advance. He fully understood that I was exploring the opportunities available in this country.

3. Cheval, bronze à la chair perdue 1, 2012

3. Jean-Marie Perdrix, Cheval, bronze à la chair perdue 1, 2012

C.F. Did you invent this process?
J.-M.P. I will outline two things. First of all, Salif encounters many western artists who come to Burkina specifically to make bronzes, but generally what they want, is a bronze that is produced more cheaply than in Europe. They are not interested in the local economy, or in the means of production. They are seeking the same image as their model, but in bronze. For my work, in contrast, I am not looking for an impression of the skin, nor the image of the body, as the casting is less important than capturing the journey the bronze has made in the mould between the coal and the bones reduced to dust. I end up with an object that bears the marks of the smelting and burning with a sort of bronze lacework that contrasts with the intensity of the method.
Then, regarding the method itself, I had seen small objects produced directly from a cast before. I even have a necklace of peanuts made like that. But I changed the scale and starting point. I chose an animal and a much larger size, so that the way the bronze penetrates the mould is much more random.

Jean-Marie Perdrix, Chien et chienne à la chair perdue, 2012

4. Jean-Marie Perdrix, Chien et chienne à la chair perdue, 2012

C.F. Is the horse that you are exhibiting at the Fondazione Giuliani unique?
J.-M.P. Each piece is unique. To date, I have produced three horses and five dogs. This kind of piece takes a while to make as the coal burns very slowly. The coal that was burnt in the head was in equal measure with the coal used to make the bronze. In the piece presented in Rome, the mouth of the horse disappeared, because the concentration of ash was too high and the liquid bronze did not reach the end of the mould, it disappeared in the blend formed by the coal, ash and bones. That is why the object obtained is a distortion of the image expected. The horse is dead, the neck is therefore already very narrow, as it is no longer attached to the withers the volume disappears. As for the ear, it is straight as if the animal were still alive and listening. In another piece, another horse, I achieved an open mouth with the outline of worn down teeth, but without the ears. When I work with dogs, the body is often incomplete; sometimes it is difficult to recognise the animal in the final form.

5. Jean-Marie Perdrix, Cheval, bronze à la chair perdue 2, 2012

5. Jean-Marie Perdrix, Cheval, bronze à la chair perdue 2, 2012

C.F. Do you consider bronze as precious?
J.-M.P. In these horses and dogs, the quality of the bronze is very poor, because they are the reverse of what is traditionally sought in bronze. Bronze is not there to add any additional market value to the piece: my partners are experienced bronze smiths and my work is linked to their economy. A very rich texture is achieved through a direct and intense process. The interior density is visible. To some extent, with the horse the history of the process used to achieve the object and the object itself are contemplated in equal measure.

6. Jean-Marie Perdrix, Chien à la Chair Perdue 2, 2013

6. Jean-Marie Perdrix, Chien à la Chair Perdue 2, 2013

C.F. Should your work be considered from an anthropological point of view?
J.-M.P. The geographical origin of these ‘bronzes of lost flesh’ is important: these pieces bear a mental subjectivity linked to the imagination of a developing African country. I am delighted that the outer appearance has a Baroque style. Indeed, I strive to make objects that have a certain timelessness (it is not important whether they were made now or ten years ago) and universality (I am not meticulous regarding specific cultural elements). At the same time, my work follows in the tradition of great sculptors and, in certain respects, witchcraft with skin, hair, fetishes, horns and teeth: anything from an animals that conjures up its symbolic aspect. The recipe for making these pieces is very exciting, like in the devil’s workshop. I didn’t choose sheep, goats or cows, as these animals are meat. I chose dogs and horse. These are meat, but above all they are also animals closely related to man. There is something disturbing about working with a dead animal as the starting point; predation and sacrificing animals comes to mind. But I do not reduce animals to a metaphor. A dead dog is more moving than the mass unemployment of young Africans. What I do with these animals is only possible because my partners are very cooperative, armed with a good knowledge of the land and a long-standing friendship. But I practice sculpture, not art brut. These objects are exhibited in galleries, contemporary art fairs, exhibitions and collections, for my artistic practice takes into account the objects per se as well as the whole process that results in a horse’s head produced with the ‘bronze of lost flesh.’


Céline Flécheux Lapièce que tu présentes à la Fondazione Giuliani à Rome dans l’exposition de Chris Sharp s’intitule Bronze à la chair perdue. Elle a été réalisée au Burkina Faso. Pourquoi les modes de production importent tant dans ton travail ?
Jean-Marie Perdrix Je travaille au Burkina avec des artisans bronziers qui sont mes partenaires depuis 20 ans. J’ai développé avec eux un procédé de recyclage des déchets plastiques qui est un substitut du bois permettant une collecte des déchets. Ils ont gagné un premier prix d’innovation à Bamako, où ils ont construit un véritable atelier qui est pérennisé. Il s’agit d’une véritable coopération Nord-Sud qui s’est mise en place par étapes. Pour monter cet atelier de recyclage et de moulage d’objets utilitaires, j’ai fait toute la recherche du développement en auto-production avec des projets qui étaient à mon échelle. Les objets que je produis sont issus d’une économie dont tous les moments sont pensés.

C.F. Comment es-tu arrivé à l’idée d’un animal en bronze ?
J.-M.P. D’abord, mes partenaires sont des bronziers (le Burkina a une tradition du bronze ancestrale) et il m’est arrivé de faire des expériences avec de petites pièces en bronze. Voilà comment ça s’est passé : par accident, lors d’une coulée, le creuset a fuité et la quantité de bronze en fusion s’est mélangée au charbon et à la cendre au fond du four ; j’ai récupéré cette scorie que j’ai trouvée très belle et j’ai pensé que je voulais avoir un moulage avec cette matérialité-là, de là l’idée de bronze « à la chair perdue », que j’ai souhaité réaliser ensuite avec un cheval ou un chien.
Ces animaux sont des totems de mes partenaires, mais je ne le savais pas. Bien entendu, je n’interviens pas dans la mort de l’animal. On trouve le cheval en boucherie à Ouagadougou ; quant au chien, il y existe tout un circuit informel où les chiens morts circulent.

C.F. Que signifie exactement « bronze à la chair perdue » ?
J.-M.P. Le titre est très important, car c’est un détournement du procédé traditionnel du bronze à la cire perdue. Normalement, pour fondre du bronze, on met un creuset dans une enceinte de charbon et avec de l’air pulsé, on monte la température. Quand j’ai surmodelé en argile la tête de l’animal (le cheval ou le chien) ou une partie de son corps, je le brûle jusqu’à ce qu’il ne reste que les os en cendres. J’ai fabriqué ainsi une céramique que je remplis à nouveau de charbon et d’air, reproduisant le creuset initial. Je mélange mon bronze en fusion dans le charbon, dans les os et tout cela, comme si j’avais rassemblé en une fois les étapes de fabrication d’un bronze traditionnel. L’amalgame os-cendres-charbon-bronze, qui est le résultat, me permet d’alléger l’ensemble. Ce qui est important, ici, c’est que le bronze doit trouver son propre chemin dans le mélange entre la cendre et les escarbilles. Donc, je ne peux pas prévoir quelle image j’obtiendrai après la coulée une fois la pièce démoulée. Salif Dermé, mon partenaire bronzier, me dit souvent que je cherche la magie, car on ne connaît pas à l’avance l’image que l’on va obtenir. Il a parfaitement compris que je menais une expérience avec les possibilités que je pouvais trouver dans ce pays.

C.F. Est-ce toi qui a inventé ce procédé ?
J.-M.P. Je distinguerai deux choses. D’abord, Salif voit beaucoup d’artistes occidentaux qui viennent au Burkina spécialement pour faire des bronzes, mais ce qu’ils veulent, en général, c’est un bronze moins cher que ce qu’ils auraient eu à payer en Europe. Ils ne s’intéressent ni à l’économie locale, ni aux moyens de production. Ils recherchent la même image que leur modèle, mais en bronze. Dans mon travail, au contraire, je ne recherche ni l’empreinte de la peau, ni l’image du corps, car c’est moins le moulage qui compte que la saisie du trajet du bronze dans le moule entre le charbon et les os réduits en poussière. J’obtiens un objet qui porte les marques de la fusion et des brûlures avec une espèce de dentelle de bronze qui contraste avec la violence du procédé.
Ensuite, quant au procédé à proprement parler, j’avais déjà vu des petits objets réalisés à partir d’un moulage direct, j’ai même un collier de cacahuètes fait comme cela. Mais j’ai changé d’échelle et de point de départ. J’ai choisi un animal et une taille beaucoup plus grande, donc la manière qu’a le bronze de pénétrer le moule est beaucoup plus aléatoire.

C.F. Le cheval que tu exposes à la Fondazione Giuliani est-il une pièce unique ?
J.-M.P. Chaque pièce est unique. À ce jour, j’ai réalisé trois chevaux et cinq chiens. Ce genre de pièce est long à faire car le charbon a brûlé très lentement. On a utilisé autant de charbon qui a brûlé dans la tête que de charbon qui a servi à faire le bronze. Dans la pièce montrée à Rome, la gueule du cheval est perdue, parce qu’il y avait une concentration de cendres trop importante et le bronze liquide n’est pas arrivé pas jusqu’au bout du moule, il s’est perdu dans le mélange formé par le charbon, la cendre, les os. C’est pour cela que l’objet obtenu est une distorsion de l’image attendue. Le cheval est mort, donc le cou est déjà très étroit, car il n’est plus rattaché au garrot, il a perdu tout son volume. Quant à l’oreille, elle est dressée comme si l’animal écoutait encore, vivant. Dans une autre pièce, un autre cheval, j’ai obtenu une gueule ouverte avec l’empreinte de l’usure des dents, mais sans les oreilles. Quand je travaille avec des chiens, le corps n’est souvent pas entier, on a même un peu de peine à reconnaître l’animal dans la forme obtenue.

C.F. Accordes-tu une valeur précieuse au bronze ?
J.-M.P. Dans ces pièces, les chevaux et les chiens, la qualité du bronze est à peu près au niveau zéro, parce qu’elles sont l’envers de ce qu’on cherche à faire traditionnellement en bronze. Le bronze n’est pas là pour donner un surplus de valeur marchande à la pièce : mes partenaires sont bronziers, ils savent le faire, mon travail est lié à leur économie. Ce qu’on obtient, c’est une grande richesse de texture par un procédé direct et assez brutal. La densité intérieure est visible. En quelque sorte, c’est autant l’objet que l’histoire du procédé pour obtenir l’objet que l’on contemple avec le cheval.

C.F. Ton travail est-il à comprendre du point de vue anthropologique ?
J.-M.P. L’origine géographique de ces « bronzes à la chair perdue » est importante : ce sont des pièces qui portent avec elles toute une subjectivité mentale liée à l’imaginaire d’un pays africain en développement. Que l’aspect extérieur soit baroque me plaît beaucoup. En effet, je cherche à faire des objets qui ont une certaine intemporalité (il n’y a pas grand intérêt de savoir qu’ils sont faits maintenant ou il y a dix ans) et une universalité (je ne convoque pas des éléments pointus de la culture). En même temps, mon travail s’inscrit à la fois dans la tradition des grands sculpteurs et, à certains égards, dans le registre de la sorcellerie avec des peaux, des poils, des fétiches, des cornes, des dents : tout ce qui dans l’animal convoque son aspect symbolique. L’espèce de cuisine pour faire ces pièces est très excitante, comme dans l’atelier du diable. Je n’ai pas choisi le mouton ou la chèvre, ni la vache, car ces animaux-là sont de la viande. J’ai choisi le chien et le cheval, qui peuvent être de la viande, mais qui sont surtout des animaux proches de l’homme. Il y a quelque chose de dérangeant à travailler à partir d’un animal mort ; on est dans des idées de prédation et de sacrifice animal. Mais je ne réduis pas l’animal à une métaphore. On s’émeut plus sur le cadavre d’un chien que sur le chômage de masse des jeunesses africaines. Ce que je fais avec ces animaux n’est possible que parce qu’il y a une grande coopération entre moi et mes partenaires, une bonne connaissance du terrain et une amitié de longue date. Mais je fais de la sculpture, pas de l’art brut. Ces objets sont montrés dans des galeries, des foires d’art contemporain, des expositions et dans des collections, car ma pratique artistique compte aussi bien les objets à proprement parler que tout le processus qui mène à une tête de cheval réalisée avec du « bronze à la chair perdue ».

1-2. Jean-Marie Perdrix, Cheval, bronze à la chair perdue 3, 2013, cast of copper alloy, carbon and ash, 25 x 77 x 33 cm
3. ean-Marie Perdrix, Cheval, bronze à la chair perdue 1, 2012, cast of copper alloy, carbon and ash, 29 x 59 x 21 cm. Courtesy Jean-Marie Perdrix & Desiré Saint Phalle, Mexico City. Photo: Enrique Macias
4. Jean-Marie Perdrix, Chien et chienne à la chair perdue, 2012, cast of copper alloy, coal and ashes, 32 x 33 x 16 cm & 37 x 29,5 x 15cm, 24 & 25 kg. Courtesy Jean-Marie Perdrix & Desiré Saint Phalle, Mexico City. Photo: Enrique Macias
5. Jean-Marie Perdrix, Cheval, bronze à la chair perdue 2, 2012, cast of copper alloy, carbon and ash, 29 x 59 x 21 cm (Private collection). Photo: Philippe Munda
6. Jean-Marie Perdrix, Chien à la Chair Perdue 2, 2013, cast of copper alloy, coal and ashes,14 x 39 x 32.5 cm. Coutesy Jean-Marie Perdrix & Desiré Saint Phalle, Mexico City. Photo Jean-Marie Perdrix

Protagonist: Jean-Marie Perdrix
Project: The Registry of Promise

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Vincent Honoré When was the Cneai formed and what triggered its creation?
Sylvie Boulanger The history of the place prepared the art centre to adopt the question of art as media. Indeed, it was there that the Fauve artists Maurice de Valminck and André Derain practised the craft of engraving from 1905 for the publication of a young Guillaume Apollinaire’s L’Enchanteur pourrissant (The Rotting Magician) by Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler. When the art centre was created in 1997, the question was whether to make it a place for engraving, but three years of research and production with thirty or so artists including Claude Closky, Robert Morris and Peter Downsbrough, led us to consider engraving as an original form of publication. Historically desktop publishing originated in Dada and Russian Constructivism and developed in the ’60s. A new generation of curators has recently formed, considering space made public as public space and the act of publishing as an artistic act. They adjust to current artistic crises: fluidity, network, complexity of sources and exchanges, sharing of authority, collaborative gestures, nomadic artistic practices, interwoven with creation, quotes and interpretation.
Alongside the exhibition, production and publishing programme, we have therefore created tools at the service of this scene: in 1997 exhibition spaces, in 2000 FMRA research funds (ephemera), in 2007 the Floating House – designed by Erwan and Ronan Bouroullec – which acts as residence, lastly in 2011 the new space designed by Philippe Bona and Elisabeth Lemercier. Other ideas are being finalised …

Cneai’s staircase by Bona-Lemercier

Cneai’s staircase by Bona-Lemercier

V.H. The projects seem quite diverse reading the venue’s statement of intent. How can the first intent, that is its very essence be summed up?
S.B. The subject is redefined every day according to artistic needs: a parallel history of art generated by distribution matters that at once establish distribution as an act of criticism. The definition of artistic activity, wrote Marcel Broodthaers with a certain provocation, ‘is found, above all, in the field of distribution.’
Editorial practice is a field of research that we are passionate about, as it compromises the act of distribution as a critical act and collaborative practice. And if publishing etymologically means to make public, it is recognised that the transmission, distribution and reception of art are three fundamental indices of the work of the Cneai.
It is also a place that we try to keep free from any institutional project, that is open to projects by art protagonists who invent a new function for a decompartmentalised art scene, emancipated from academic categories and therefore extended to sound, writing and performance… as well as collaborative fields.

V.H. The Cneai is responsible for a collection comprising 11,000 pieces. How does the collection initiate the programme, or even the structure of the site? Pontus Hultén declared: ‘A collection isn’t a shelter into which to retreat. It’s a source of energy for the curator as much as for the visitor.’ What about the Cneai collection?
S.B. This quote is new to me and I love it. The energy between the collection and the programme is prolific. The value of an artist’s publication lies in action – reading, listening, exhibition… – so it is both an account but also a tool.
That is exactly why we have had the Cneai redeveloped and expanded by Elisabeth Lemercier and Philippe Bona to enable this exchange of energy between the collection and the programme. In order to be able to offer a new programme model in the form of scenarios from several points of view where the exhibition registers and the presentation of the collections blend with the presentation of an isolated work or a publication.
We use pieces from the collection for their research potential, and we increase the collection according to the needs of the artists and guest curators. This double movement gives meaning to the establishment of the fund, likewise the programme.

Cneai’s Maison Flottante

Cneai’s Maison Flottante

V.H. Since the end of the ’90sthearchitecture of museums and art centres, has become the subject of debates about the mission of museums and art centres: there has been a change, as analysed by Charlotte Klocek, from the ‘educated citizen’ (19th century) to the ‘informed consumer’ (20th century). The spectacular architecture of Gehry, Hadid, Nouvel, and Herzog & de Meuron are visible signs of it. How do you situate the Floating House in this context?
S.B. Surprisingly this architecture by the Bouroullec brothers was very badly received by certain local cultural players! It seems that in small towns journalists, curators and other cultural producers, who are neither educated citizens nor informed consumers, confront us. The Floating House installation traumatised all those who were living on their island, because of their nostalgic for their status as curators from the time of the impressionists.
The art centre and the Floating House are located sufficiently far from the town, from work, but relatively close to housing areas, a little isolated in nature, in the middle of a wooded island, between the two banks of the Seine and near to a park, with walkways and stopping places to eat, picnic and play. The location gives a feeling of privacy and vacuity, a condition necessary for encountering art… The Floating House is both an extremely simple and intuitive to use residential property and an object for contemplation.

V.H. Charles Esche described his ideal museum as fundamentally vague: both, simultaneously, and integrally, a community centre, laboratory, institute and a gallery. It is a place where production is not necessarily ‘productive’ and a place under constant reconfiguration; a form open to incomplete architecture. How did you structure the curatorial approach to the place, to the institution?
S.B. The art centre is in fact for me a place ‘void of project,’ whose artistic project is by definition in a state of perpetual movement triggered by the artists and players themselves. Consequently it is more about creating a context than a place or a programme.
The Cneai therefore proposes a new dynamic model:
- collaborative: artists, curators, editors are invited to share the artistic programme. Currently, Christophe Lemaitre has been invited to share the art direction, for Yona Friedman it is a forum for experimentation, for three years Jef Geys has been an important partner to test the levels of values in art;
- cooperative: the projects are proposed to a network of fellows so that they can also be developed elsewhere and to others. We work on average with about a hundred partners every year;
- cultural: beyond the scope of art is acceptable as a source of work and as such been made visible in the programme: music, cinema, science etc;
- transmissible : each invitation leads to several forms of transmission, from exhibition to performance including publication and research residencies. Festivals and study days have replaced previews…

Cneai’s exhibition space

Cneai’s exhibition space

V.H. What is the role of a contemporary art centre director in 2014?
S.B. To resolve a multitude of paradoxical equations:
- to create a context for creation and research in a venue destined for a wide audience and therefore to have the power to believe in humans;
- to reconcile the often contradictory objectives of the artists and figures in the art scene with those of the financial partners and to be a mediator between them;
- to produce personal research whilst remaining devoted to a team and a programme;
- to enrol the place in a synthetic vision between the history of art, current events and movements taking place;
- and above all, to take sides between figures who seek to gain financially or through the media – and those for whom the pleasure remains in spite of it all, the transmission of the artistic experience.
The M/M (Paris) aptly named the role of art centre director when, at the end of their exhibition at the Cneai, I was treated like a Swiss Army knife… Finally, it means to continually entice first-hand experience at reinventing a place as a desirable space.

V.H. PIANO wishes to create a space for exchange and dialogue between Italian and French art venues. Why did you want to participate and what programme are you offering?
S.B. The first residency in the Floating House by Daniele Balit, Maria Alicata and Adrienne Drake, three Italian curators, fired up passionate discussions about the question of version. We have identified works from the collection that have been considered in reference to other older works, whether from the visual arts, musical, cinematic or any other domain. Now it is a question of inviting these artists to develop or activate their old projects (version 3) here and now, at the MACRO and at the Cneai, during two exhibitions that will take place in October 2014 in Rome and in autumn 2015 at the Cneai.
The project is largely research carried out within two archives, one Italian (1:1projects), the other French (FMRA collection).
Our project will attempt to provide concrete answers to questions about formal frontiers (objects, performances, images); about cultural borders (literary, musical, film, scientific, design…); about derived artistic processes (curatorial, editorial, collection and research); and about hybridization of the figures (artists, editors, curators, collectors, sellers or researchers).


Vincent Honoré Quand a été créé le Cneai et qu’est-ce qui a présidé à sa création ?
Sylvie Boulanger L’histoire du lieu prédisposait le centre d’art à se situer sur la question de l’art comme média. En effet, les peintres fauves Maurice de Valminck et André Derain y expérimentent dès 1905 la technique de la gravure pour l’édition de L’Enchanteur pourrissant du jeune Guillaume Apollinaire par Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler. Quand le centre d’art est créé en 1997, la question se pose d’en faire le lieu de la gravure, mais trois années de recherches et de production avec une trentaine d’artistes dont Claude Closky, Robert Morris ou Peter Downsbrough, nous amènent à considérer la gravure comme une forme de publication originale. Historiquement la pratique de la micro-édition prend sa source dans Dada et le Constructivisme russe et se développe dans les années 60. Une nouvelle génération de curateurs s’est constituée récemment, considérant l’espace publié comme un espace public et l’acte de publier comme un acte artistique. Ils s’ajustent aux urgences artistiques actuelles : fluidité, réseau, complexité des sources et des échanges, partage de l’autorité, actes collaboratifs, pratiques artistiques nomades, métissées de création, de citations et d’interprétation.
Aux côtés du programme d’exposition, de production et d’édition, nous avons donc créé les outils au service de cette scène : en 1997 les espaces d’expositions, en 2000 les fonds de recherche FMRA (éphéméras), en 2007 la Maison Flottante – dessinée par Erwan et Ronan Bouroullec – qui nous sert de résidence, enfin en 2011 les nouveaux espaces dessinés par Philippe Bona et Elisabeth Lemercier. D’autres idées sont en cours de définition…

V.H. En lisant la note d’intention du lieu, ses missions semblent assez diverses. Comment en résumer l’intention première, l’essence ?
S.B. Le sujet se redéfinit chaque jour avec les nécessités artistiques : une histoire de l’art parallèlegénérée par des questions de distribution qui instaurent d’emblée la diffusion comme acte critique. La définition de l’activité artistique, écrivait Marcel Broodthaers avec une certaine provocation, « se trouve, avant tout, dans le champ de la distribution ».
La pratique éditoriale est un champ de recherche qui nous passionne, car il met en jeu l’acte de diffusion comme acte critique et pratique collaborative. Et si publier signifie étymologiquement rendre public, on comprendra que la transmission, la diffusion et la réception de l’art sont trois indices fondamentaux de l’activité du Cneai.
C’est aussi un lieu que nous tentons de garder vide de projet institutionnel, c’est à dire ouvert au projet des acteurs de l’art qui inventent un nouveau fonctionnement pour une scène artistique décloisonnée, émancipée des catégories académiques et donc à la fois étendue aux domaines du son, de l’écrit, de la performance… et collaborative.

V.H. Le Cneai est responsable d’une collection de 11.000 pièces. Comment la collection informe le programme, voire la structure du lieu ? Pontus Hultén a pu déclarer : « A collection isn’t a shelter into which to retreat. It’s a source of energy for the curator as much as for the visitor ». Qu’en est-il de la collection au Cneai ?
S.B. Je ne connaissais pas cette citation, elle me ravit. Les liens d’énergie entre la collection et le programme sont prolifiques. Une publication d’artiste tient sa valeur de l’action – lecture, écoute, exposition… – dont elle est à la fois le témoignage mais aussi l’outil.
C’est précisément pour permettre cet échange d’énergie entre la collection et la programmation que nous avons fait agrandir et réaménager le Cneai par Elisabeth Lemercier et Philippe Bona. Afin de pouvoir proposer un nouveau modèle de programmation sous forme de scénarios en plusieurs points de vue où les registres de l’exposition et de la présentation des collections se conjuguent à la présentation d’une œuvre isolée ou d’une publication.
Nous utilisons les pièces de la collection pour leur potentiel de recherche, et nous augmentons la collection en fonction des besoins des artistes et curateurs invités. Ce double mouvement donne tout son sens à la constitution du fonds, comme au programme.

V.H. L’architecture des musées et des centres d’art, depuis la fin des années 90, est devenu l’objet de débats sur la mission des musées et des centres d’art : on est passé, comme l’a analysé Charlotte Klocek, du « citoyen éduqué » (XIXe siècle) au « consommateur informé » (XXe siècle). Les architectures spectaculaires de Gehry, Hadid, Nouvel, ou Herzog & de Meuron en sont les signes évidents. Comment situez-vous la Maison Flottante dans ce contexte ?
S.B. L’architecture des frères Bouroullec a étrangement été très mal accueillie par certains acteurs culturels locaux ! Il semble que nous soyons confrontés, dans les petites villes, à des journalistes, conservateurs et autres producteurs culturels qui ne soient ni citoyens éduqués, ni consommateurs informés. L’installation de la Maison Flottante a provoqué un traumatisme pour tous ceux qui vivaient sur leur île, par leur statut nostalgique de conservateurs du temps des impressionnistes.
Le centre d’art et la Maison Flottante sont situés suffisamment loin de la ville, du travail, mais relativement proche des quartiers d’habitations, plutôt isolé dans la nature, au milieu d’une île arborée, entre les deux berges de la Seine et à proximité d’un parc, avec des chemins de marche et des haltes pour se restaurer, pique-niquer ou jouer. La situation donne une sensation d’intimité et de vacuité, état nécessaire à la rencontre de l’art… La Maison Flottante est à la fois un objet d’habitation d’usage extrêmement simple et intuitif et un objet de contemplation.

V.H. Charles Esche a décrit son musée idéal comme étant fondamentalement incertain : à la fois, simultanément, et intégralement, centre communautaire, laboratoire, institut, galerie. Un lieu ou la production n’est pas obligatoirement « productive », un lieu en permanente reconfiguration, une forme ouverte à l’architecture incomplète. Comment avez-vous structuré l’approche curatoriale du lieu, de l’institution ?
S.B. Le centre d’art est en effet pour moi un lieu « vide de projet », dont le projet artistique est par définition dans un perpétuel mouvement déclenché par les artistes et les acteurs eux-mêmes. Par conséquent il s’agit plus de créer un contexte qu’un lieu ou un programme.
Le Cneai propose donc un nouveau modèle, de type dynamique :
- collaboratif : des artistes, curateurs, éditeurs sont invités à partager le programme artistique. Actuellement, Christophe Lemaitre est invité à partager la direction artistique, Yona Friedman en fait son lieu d’expérimentation, Jef Geys est un partenaire important pour expérimenter depuis trois ans les niveaux de valeurs dans l’art… ;
- coopératif : les projets sont proposés à un réseau de confrères pour qu’ils puissent se développer aussi ailleurs et à plusieurs. Nous travaillons en moyenne avec une centaine de partenaires tous les ans ;
- culturel : le hors-champs de l’art est assumé comme source de travail et à ce titre rendu visible dans les programmations : musique, cinéma, sciences… ;
- transmissible : chaque invitation donne lieu à plusieurs formes de transmission, de l’exposition à la performance en passant par l’édition ou la résidence de recherche. Les festivals et les journées d’études ont remplacé les vernissages…

V.H. Quel est le rôle d’un directeur de centre d’art contemporain en 2014 ?
S.B. Résoudre une multitude d’équations paradoxales :
- créer un contexte de création et de recherche dans un lieu destiné aux publics les plus larges et donc croire absolument en l’humain ;
- concilier les objectifs souvent contradictoires des artistes et acteurs de l’art avec ceux des partenaires financiers et donc être traducteur français/français ;
- produire une recherche personnelle tout en se consacrant à une équipe et un programme ;
- inscrire le lieu dans une vision synthétique entre l’histoire de l’art, l’actualité et les mouvements en train de se faire ;
- et surtout, choisir son camp entre les acteurs qui poursuivent le profit par l’art – financier ou médiatique – et ceux dont le plaisir reste en dépit de tout, la transmission de l’expérience artistique.
Les M/M(Paris) ont bien nommé le rôle d’un directeur de centre d’art quand, à l’issu de leur exposition au Cneai, ils m’ont traitée de couteau suisse… Finalement, il s’agit de tenter éternellement une expérience concrète de réinvention d’un lieu comme espace désirable.

V.H. PIANO veut créer un espace d’échange et de dialogue entre des lieux d’art italiens et français. Pourquoi avez-vous souhaité participer et quel programme proposez-vous ?
S.B. La première résidence sur la Maison Flottante de Daniele Balit, Maria Alicata et Adrienne Drake, les trois curateurs italiens, a généré des discussions passionnantes sur la question de la version. Nous avons identifié des œuvres de la collection qui avaient été pensées en références à d’autres œuvres plus anciennes, qu’elles soient issues du domaine plastique, musicale, cinématographique ou autre. Il est question maintenant d’inviter ces artistes à développer ou activer leurs anciens projets (version 3) ici et maintenant, au MACRO et au Cneai, lors de deux expositions qui auront lieu en octobre 2014 à Rome et à l’automne 2015 au Cneai.
Le projet se résume donc en une recherche effectuée au sein de deux archives, l’une italienne (1:1projects), l’autre française (collection FMRA).
Notre projet tentera d’apporter des réponses concrètes aux questions de frontièresformelles (objets, performances, images) ; de frontières culturelles (littéraire, musicale, filmique, scientifique, design…) ; d’actes artistiques dérivés (curatoriaux, éditoriaux, de collection et de recherche) ; et d’hybridation des acteurs (artistes, éditeurs, curateurs, collectionneurs, vendeurs ou chercheurs).

1. Jef Geys, Coloring book for adults, 1963-2014. Photo: Steven Decroos. Courtesy Mu.ZEE, Ostend. Exhibition Jef Geys. C’est aujourd’hui dimanche, tiens ma jolie maman voilà des roses blanches, toi qui les aimes tant!, 8 February – 22 June 2014
2. Cneai’s staircase by Bona-Lemercier. Photo: Cneai
3. Cneai’s Maison Flottante. Photo: Sebastien Agnetti
4. Cneai’s exhibition space. Photo: Aurélien Mole

Protagonist: Sylvie Boulanger
Space: Cneai =
Project: Ephemera

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Two calls for Vajont – International Contemporary Art Contest published by Dolomiti Contemporanee

Dolomiti Contemporanee announces an Artistic Contest aimed at the creation of two artworks. The contest will take place between Spring and Fall 2014.
It proposes two themes:
a call for a wall is the Contest that is going to concern the southern front of the New Venue of Casso.
a call for a line is the Contest that is going to concern the eastern side (the Friulian one) of the Vajont Dam.

1. General objective and meaning of the Contest
2. The Contest concerning the front of the New Venue of Casso: a call for a wall
3. The Contest concerning the Vajont Dam: a call for a line
4. General Approaching Indications for the artists
5. Contest Rules
6. Phases of the Contest, promotion and communication

1. General objective and meaning of the Contest
To be consistent with Dolomiti Contemporanee’s cultural policy, particularly in Casso where a cultural “construction site” designed to produce innovative images has been initiated in 2012, this double Contest is being held in the Vajont area.
The intention is to demonstrate through the Contest itself that, right in this place, that for decades has been identified and understood by public opinion exclusively as the place of the tragedy, is definitely possible, and indeed necessary, to develop, through an intellectual and creative reflection, a propositional activity that will contribute to generate a new cultural perspective for this area, responsibly looking at the future.
The human being, as such, expresses itself, and can’t avoid doing so.
No happening, as terrible as it could be, can be ultimately incommensurable, preventing the human to continue to act, through constructive actions of meaning, in the organic process of history.
The famous Sallustian expression “faber est suae quisque fortunae”, that here, for 50 years, has echoed like a sentence and a warning, can at this point be true in a positive light as well, morphing from epitaph into new perspective.
The Contest asserts the primate of the expression as constructive and propulsive identity peculiar to the human being.

2. The Contest concerning the front of the New Venue of Casso: a call for a wall
The Contest call for a wall will involve the southern external front of the New Venue of Casso. This wall constitutes in itself the theme of the project. It physically represents a fundamental relationship: the one between past and present; between what has been yesterday and what is proposed and planned today.
The New Venue of Casso is situated in an exceptional position. Only from this spot, in fact, and particularly from the narrow square opposite the southern front of the building, and from the cantilever footbridge placed on the upper level, is possible to fully comprehend what has actually been the Vajont Tragedy, the true extent of the event.
The Spazio stands exactly in front of the scar left by the huge landslide that, in 1963, detached from Mount Toc, causing the Disaster, less than a kilometre away as the crow flies from that enormous sign.
The front itself bears to this day the marks of the happening: the re-climbing wave, 200 meters tall, reached Casso, and hit the building that, at the time, housed the elementary school, damaging it heavily.
The building was reopened by Dolomiti Contemporanee in September 2012, becoming the New Venue of Casso, and thus going back to the carrying out a public function, after almost half a century.
The southern front of the New Venue of Casso, now active in this territory as an artistic and cultural engine, is therefore the exact point where the tragic history of these locations comes in contact with a new ability to plan, which proposes a new model of cultural opening. Through this model, that finds expression in the Contest, the contemporary person affirms the meaning and the worth of their presence here.
This wall, that faces the Toc is thus a passage, a border, a bilicum. It was decided to intervene precisely over it, by virtue of its exemplary nature of limit, of diaphragm of meaning, proposing an artistic intervention of an installative nature.
The artists who intend to adhere to the Contest are encouraged to propose a project for an artwork that is going to be placed on the front of the Spazio.
The artwork will be realised with light technology, thanks to the collaboration of Neonlauro, a partner of the project.
The artwork will have a temporary nature and will remain installed on the front of the Spazio for a six months period, and will be removed after that.
The artwork can constitute of a word, a sentence, an expression, a shape, an object. The artworks that will be able to relate to the context of the Vajont in a non-rhetoric, non-verbatim, poetically-free manner, will be considered with more favour.
The artists aren’t however obliged to refer, directly or indirectly, in an exclusive manner, to the facts connected to the Vajont.
Other elements of this territorial setting, linked for example to the natural environment or to aspects of the sociality and the local culture, will be able to be realised through the artistic projects.

3. The Contest concerning the Vajont Dam: a call for a line
A call for a line is the Contest that is going to concern the eastern side (the Friulian one) of the Vajont Dam.
The line that is being referred to is the one that, on the 9th of October 1963 marked the water’s altitude inside the artificial basin, twenty meters below the current height of the Dam.
Thus, the desire is to create an artwork that highlights that altitude.
This artwork will be permanent.
As anybody knows, the Dam, even more than the former school of Casso, is the monument that represents in an emblematic manner the tragic history of the Vajont.
This artefact, mighty bastion made of cement, the only true survivor of the Disaster of 1963, owns a huge symbolic power.
Its significance, its identity, are completely determined by that fact.
Tens of thousands of people, every year, come to visit it. To those who participate in this silent pilgrimage, the Vajont Dam is a gigantic cement tombstone. The Dam and the line of detachment of Mount Toc’s landslide are the two enormous signs, horrified and mute witnesses, that remain, as a perpetual reminder of what happened then.
Wanting to intervene directly on this artefact means having complete understanding of its meaning. The basic belief, that is the foundation of the Contest, is that these locations shouldn’t, for all eternity, embody and represent exclusively the history of that tragedy and that is instead necessary, precisely here, to responsibly decide to say something else, to bring, precisely here, other meaningful words and images.
We are convinced that ideas, the intellectual and creative motivations, the creative impulses, are the foremost meaning of the human life, and thus, as long as the human being will have the strength to elaborate creatively the meaning of the facts that make up its own history, terrible happenings included, this history will continue to be generated by the human being itself, and no fact, of any kind, will be able to exclude it from this vital project, that the human owns, making it exactly human.
This is why the Memory of the fact must be in itself a productive moment. It is clear that we are talking, in this instance, of public and not private Memory: the Tragedy of the Vajont is a public happening, that concerns the whole of Humanity, and this is the area that interests us.
The Memory can’t take up the desolating role of perpetrating a closed off picture of death. Memory can’t ever coincide with surrender.
The public Memory doesn’t have to become, or continue to be, a passive space that guards and preserves, suspending it, a still image stuck in the past, through commemoration. Memory has to, instead, be able to live as well, constituting an occasion of continuative creative processing, that is to say of history, in turn, intended as inevitable living destiny of the human. Memory can’t prevent history: it has to help the human, instead, to understand itself, and its destiny.
Thus, working directly and physically, on the Dam, the artefact, means to be willing to responsibly commit to the activation of this place (to this day blocked) a construction site of productive Memory, of cultural processing that, through the deployment of vital energies, will sight history, comparing to it.
Art is one of the methods owned by the human to climb the meaning of the things, earthly and celestial alike.
Art is a tremendous instrument that links soul and wit, and produces alive images, while it doesn’t accept to remain closed. Art is enthusiasm and openness: that is why art is now coming to the Dam, to open it.
This sign will therefore collide with great strength, the vital strength of culture that creates images of meaning, in this so very sensible location.
On the other hand, a spectacular mean for this intervention is not sought after.
The sign will not be strong in virtue of an aggressive visibility, but inasmuch it’ll constitute a projective processing of an active Memory.
The winning project will have to demonstrate to be able to integrate itself, through a precisely calibrated sensibility, to the specific situation.
A qualified Jury (see paragraph below), will thus be able to fulfill appropriate evaluations on the presented projects.
We think that this is therefore a big occasion to demonstrate the designative value, as opposed to the mere decorative one, of art.
We think, also, that on the wake of the Celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Tragedy, this too is the most suitable moment to think about an intervention such as this one.
After 50 years, some questions are in order: what will the Vajont be from now on? Is there space, will, capacity, to produce a new series of images, here? Images of meaning and sensibility, analytic and critic and poetic images, that will go and accompany the ones already known, providing their own contribution to the history, and the life, of this place?With this Contest, the reply is given in a positive light: there is this space, and now it is its time.
No indication will be given in regards of the media or the techniques to employ, except that they must take into consideration the size of the intervention (total length of the line: 180 meters: the artwork won’t necessarily have to cover the entire length), clarifying the foreseen modality, techniques and costs of realisation as well.
The Vajont Foundation and Enel support the project, sharing the cultural intent and the manner of action.

4. General Approaching Indications for the artists
Hereby will be supplied some general indications that can contribute to give direction the artistic projects.
It is clear the absolute peculiarity of the context in which the artists will find themselves to operate.
Such context, difficult and delicate, is in that sense stimulating.
We think it is imperative, to understand said context correctly, to physically visit these locations, carrying out at least one preventive survey.
As it’s already been said, the Contest is created with the intention of proposing and producing a series of innovative images, that will be able to analyze, interpret, translate and represent, the peculiarity of this place.
It is clear that in this place, no artwork could, in any way, avoid relating with the theme of the Vajont.
But, through the Contest, it is in no way the intention to have the artists exclusively work on the theme of Tragedy and Memory.
The proposals that will limit themselves on these themes, will not be considered interesting.
The meaning of the Contest isn’t, indeed, to celebrate, more or less rhetorically, the Tragedy and the Memory, but to propose new ideas and to realize images that are other, in this location, interpreting the history, the signs, in a critical, free and projective manner.
It is believed that, right here, it is extremely necessary to commit to the generation of new figures of meaning, and that the art is able to actively participate in a meaningful way in this critical process of redefinition, enrichment, recovery, redemption, of the identity of these places, and of the people who inhabit them.
Art is imagination, and production of the image itself. The image is the formalization of a thought, of a critical and vital intention, and in that it is the farthest away from the resigned celebrative ceremony of mourning as it is conceivably possible.
Art doesn’t neglect or forget anything, but comes in to bring innovative promptings, refuting the retroverted logic of “eternal grave”.
The respect for these places and for their history is precisely what moves and determines the Contest itself.
But the attention and the respect of the contemporary person (that is to say the person who lives responsibly their time, the present time, without shutting themselves off in a mute past) in the face of such a terrible happening can at this point manifest itself solely thought purposeful actions.
What that is purposeful, and propelling, can’t be in any way commiserative.
The Contest isn’t needed to “overcome” the Tragedy of the Vajont, which isn’t possibly ever overcome, and shouldn’t be overcome.
Nor to commemorate it for the umpteenth time.
It is needed to declare, and to demonstrate the possibility, and the will, to undertake, finally, an active path.
As mentioned before, the human is its own history, and no happening can prevent it to keep on generating daily, to create its own history, that is to say, to live.

5. Contest Rules
The rules will be published on the website and supplied to the artists. They will comprehend:
1. Indications on the means of enrolment and participation and on the schedule of the Contest;
2. Introductive and explicative materials (cartography, photos, videos, texts);
3. Technical indications regarding the characteristic of the artwork and of their actual feasibility (size, materials, economical and geometrical parameters, logistics, etc.);
4. Modality of presentations of the projects and the materials to be produced in the needed formats for the publications (biography of the artist or of the members of the group, description of the artwork’s concept, sketch of the realization, images, renders, texts);
5. Prizes.

6. Phases of the Contest, promotion and communication
The main objective of the Contest is thus to reach the point of realization of two works of contemporary art, that will demonstrate the possibility, the plausibility, the opportunity, on a human, social, cultural level, to trigger breeding-grounds of innovative action in the context of the Vajont, to this day heavily oppressed by the heritage, paralyzing in places, of the Tragedy, that has determined in an univocal and objectifying manner the identity of these places.
In the first phase, between July and October 2014, the best projects gathered will be published on a dedicated website. In regard of this first conception phase an intense promotional and communicational activity will be carried out on a national level.
The “open call” formula will allow, then, to gather all the projects of those artists that will want to freely adhere to the Contest.
The participation is therefore open to all artists, with no limits of age, sex, nationality and experience. Every artist will be able to participate in both sections.
We appointed a qualified technical composed by critics and curators, contemporary art experts, selected from the directors of some important Italian Museums, representatives of cultural institutions.
We think that this Contest possesses an elevated cultural value, before having an artistic one, and that thus the Jury should not only include exclusively art expects, but on the contrary a series of relevant personalities in a broader cultural setting.
These are the judges of the Contest: Marc Augè, Pierluigi Basso Fossali, Maria Centonze, Cristiana Collu, Gianluca D’Incà Levis, Alfredo Jaar, Marcella Morandini, Franziska Nori, Fabrizio Panozzo, Angela Vettese.
At the end of the Contest, in November 2014, the projects will be evaluated, and the two winning artworks will be made. For both sections of the Contest a Special Prize will be assigned to the best non-feasible project idea.
We are convinced that this Contest has a very strong attractive potentiality, for both the artist and the public opinion, in light of all the considerations that we have expressed in this document.
Everything will be carried out with the outmost professional commitment to guarantee the maximum possible amount of visibility, with the conviction that the perspective that the Contest tries to propose, is positive, from a cultural and human standpoint, and that it should be offered, and shared, with the maximum possible number of people, because it constitutes as an open occasion and public innovative reflection on this location, that to this day keeps on living.
Among the individuals that support the Contest, there are: Ministry of the Environment, Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia, Region of Veneto, Dolomites Unesco Foundation, Vajont Foundation, Province of Pordenone, Province of Belluno, CNAPPC (National Council of Architects), Municipality of Erto and Casso, Municipality of Cimolais, Municipality of Claut, Municipality of Vajont, Municipality of Belluno, Municipality of Longarone, Confindustria Belluno Dolomiti (confederation of industries of the Belluno area), Consortium Bim Piave, Enel, Acqua Dolomia, Neonlauro, Bevilacqua La Masa Foundation, Merz Foundation, Mart Museum of Modern and Contemporary art of Trento and Rovereto and CCC Strozzina.

Gianluca D’Incà Levis
Curator of Dolomiti Contemporanee, director of the New Venue of Casso

Casso, 10 January 2014


Two calls for Vajont – Concorso Internazionale d’Arte Contemporanea bandito da Dolomiti Contemporanee

Dolomiti Contemporanee bandisce un Concorso artistico finalizzato alla realizzazione di due opere d’arte.
Il concorso si svolgerà tra la primavera e l’autunno 2014.
Esso propone due temi/situazioni:
a call for a wall è il Concorso che riguarderà la facciata sud del Nuovo Spazio di Casso;
a call for a line è il Concorso che riguarderà il lato est (versante friulano) della Diga del Vajont.

1. Obiettivo generale e significato del Concorso
2. Il Concorso per la facciata del Nuovo Spazio di Casso: a call for a wall
3. Il Concorso sulla Diga del Vajont: a call for a line
4. Indicazioni generali d’approccio per gli artisti
5. Regolamento del Concorso
6. Fasi del Concorso, promozione e comunicazione

1. Obiettivo generale e significato del Concorso
In coerenza con la politica culturale di Dolomiti Contemporanee, in particolare a Casso, dove, a partire dal 2012, si è avviato un cantiere culturale volto alla produzione di immagini rinnovative, si indice questo doppio Concorso nell’area del Vajont.
Si intende con esso dimostrare che, proprio in questo luogo, che per decenni è stato identificato e inteso dall’opinione pubblica esclusivamente come il luogo della tragedia (Tragedia del Vajont, 1963), è senz’altro possibile, e anzi necessario, sviluppare, attraverso una riflessione intellettuale creativa, un’attività propositiva, che contribuisca a generare una prospettiva culturale per quest’area, volgendosi responsabilmente al futuro.
L’uomo, in quanto tale, si esprime, e non può evitare di farlo.
Nessun fatto, per quanto terribile, può risultare definitivamente incommensurabile, impedendo all’uomo di continuare a compiersi, attraverso azioni costruttive di senso, nel processo organico della storia.
La celebre locuzione sallustiana faber est suae quisque fortunae, che qui, per 50 anni, ha risuonato come sentenza e monito, può a questo punto esser fatta valere anche nel bene, trasformandosi da epitaffio in prospettiva.
Il Concorso rivendica il primato dell’espressione quale identità costitutiva e propulsiva propria dell’uomo.

2. Il Concorso per la facciata del Nuovo Spazio di Casso: a call for a wall
Il Concorso a call for a wall riguarderà la facciata esterna sud del Nuovo Spazio di Casso.
Questo muro costituisce in sé il tema di progetto. Esso rappresenta fisicamente un rapporto fondamentale: tra passato e presente; tra ciò che è stato ieri e ciò che si propone e progetta oggi.
Il Nuovo Spazio di Casso è collocato in una posizione eccezionale. Solo da questo punto infatti, e in particolare dallo stretto piazzale antistante la facciata sud dell’edificio dell’ex scuola e dalla passerella a sbalzo collocata al livello superiore, è possibile comprendere pienamente cosa sia stata la Tragedia del Vajont, l’entità dell’evento.
Lo Spazio si trova esattamente di fronte alla cicatrice lasciata dall’enorme frana che nel 1963 si staccò dal Monte Toc, provocando il Disastro, a meno di un chilometro, in linea d’aria, da quel segno immane.
La facciata stessa porta ancora oggi i segni dell’evento: l’onda di risalita, alta 200 metri, raggiunse Casso, e investì l’edificio, che ospitava allora la scuola elementare, danneggiandolo pesantemente.
Esso è stato riaperto da Dolomiti Contemporanee a settembre del 2012, divenendo il Nuovo Spazio espositivo di Casso, e tornando così a svolgere una funzione pubblica dopo quasi mezzo secolo.
La facciata sud dello Spazio di Casso, ora attivo in questo territorio come motore artistico-culturale, è dunque il punto esatto in cui la storia tragica di questi luoghi viene a contatto con una progettualità nuova, che propone un modello d’apertura culturale. Attraverso tale modello, che si esplica nel Concorso, l’uomo contemporaneo afferma il significato e il valore della propria presenza qui.
Questo muro, che fronteggia il Toc, è dunque un passaggio, un confine, un bilicum.
Proprio su di esso, in virtù di questo carattere esemplare di limine, di diaframma di senso, si è deciso di intervenire, proponendo un intervento artistico a carattere installativo.
Gli artisti che aderiranno al Concorso, sono invitati a proporre il progetto per un’opera da collocare sulla facciata.
L’opera sarà realizzata con tecnologia luminosa, grazie alla collaborazione del partner Neonlauro.
L’opera avrà carattere temporaneo, e rimarrà installata sulla facciata per un periodo di sei mesi, per poi essere rimossa.
L’opera potrà essere costituita da una parola, una frase, un’espressione, una forma, un oggetto.
Saranno considerate con maggior favore quelle opere che sapranno relazionarsi al contesto legato al Vajont in modo non retorico o pedissequo, poeticamente libero.
L’artista non è tuttavia obbligato a riferirsi, direttamente o indirettamente, in modo esclusivo, ai fatti connessi al Vajont.
Altri elementi di questo ambito territoriale, legati per esempio all’ambiente naturale o ad aspetti della socialità e della cultura locale, potranno essere svolti attraverso i progetti artistici.

3. Il Concorso sulla Diga del Vajont: a call for a line
A call for a line è il Concorso che riguarderà il lato est (versante friulano) della Diga del Vajont.
La linea a cui si fa riferimento, è quella che, il 9 ottobre del 1963, marcava la quota a cui si trovava l’acqua all’interno del bacino artificiale, venti metri sotto al livello del coronamento attuale.
Si vuole dunque realizzare un’opera che metta in evidenza quella quota.
Quest’opera sarà permanente.
Come ognuno sa, la Diga, ancor più della facciata dell’ex scuola di Casso, è il monumento che rappresenta in modo emblematico la storia tragica del Vajont.
Questo manufatto, poderoso baluardo di cemento, unico vero sopravvissuto del Disastro del 1963, possiede un enorme potere simbolico.
Il suo significato, la sua identità, sono totalmente determinati da quel fatto.
Decine di migliaia di persone, ogni anno, vengono a visitarlo. Per chi partecipa a questo pellegrinaggio silenzioso, la Diga del Vajont è una enorme lapide di cemento. La Diga e la linea di distacco della frana del Monte Toc, sono i due segni giganteschi, impressionanti testimoni muti, che rimangono, a eterno ricordo di ciò che accadde allora.
Voler intervenire direttamente su questo manufatto, significa avere totale consapevolezza del suo significato.
La convinzione basilare, che è alla base del Concorso, è che questi luoghi non debbano, per l’eternità, incarnare e rappresentare esclusivamente la storia di quel dramma, e che sia invece necessario, precisamente qui, decidere responsabilmente di dire qualcos’altro, di portare, proprio qui, altre parole, e immagini, di senso.
È la convinzione che le idee, le motivazioni intellettuali e creative, gli impulsi produttivi, siano il senso primo della vita dell’uomo, e che quindi, fino a quando l’uomo avrà la forza di elaborare creativamente il significato dei fatti che costituiscono la propria storia, compresi i fatti terribili, questa storia continuerà a essere da lui stesso generata, e nessun fatto, di nessun genere, potrà escluderlo da questo processo vitale, che gli appartiene, facendolo appunto uomo.
Per questo motivo, la Memoria del fatto dev’essere anch’essa un momento produttivo. È evidente che parliamo qui di Memoria pubblica e non privata: la Tragedia del Vajont è un fatto pubblico, che riguarda l’Umanità intera, questa è la dimensione che ci interessa.
La Memoria non può assumere la funzione desolante di perpetrare una chiusa immagine della morte. La Memoria non può corrispondere, mai, a una rinuncia.
La Memoria pubblica non deve divenire, o continuare a essere, uno spazio passivo, che custodisce e conserva, congelandola, un’immagine ferma nel passato, attraverso la commemorazione. La Memoria deve invece poter vivere anch’essa, costituendo un’occasione di elaborazione creativa continua, ovvero, a propria volta, di storia, intesa come inevitabile destino vitale dell’uomo. La Memoria non può impedire la storia: essa deve invece aiutare l’uomo a comprendere sé stesso, e il proprio destino.
Operare direttamente, fisicamente, sul manufatto della Diga, significa dunque volersi responsabilmente impegnare ad attivare in questo luogo, ancor oggi bloccato, un cantiere di Memoria produttiva, di elaborazione culturale, che, attraverso il dispiegamento di energie vitali, traguardi la storia, commensurandosi a essa.
L’arte è uno dei sistemi che l’uomo possiede per scalare il significato delle cose, terrene e celesti.
L’arte è un formidabile strumento che connette anima e  ingegno, e produce immagini vive, mentre non accetta di chiudersi. L’arte è slancio e apertura: per questo motivo, l’arte viene ora alla Diga, per aprirla.
Questo segno, impatterà dunque con grande forza, la forza vitale della cultura che costruisce immagini di senso, in questo luogo tanto sensibile.
Non si ricerca d’altro canto una misura spettacolare per l’intervento.
In segno non sarà forte in virtù di una visibilità prepotente, ma in quanto costituirà una elaborazione proiettiva di una Memoria in atto.
Il progetto vincitore dovrà dimostrare di sapersi integrare, attraverso una sensibilità correttamente calibrata, alla situazione specifica.
Una Giuria qualificata, saprà in tal senso compiere valutazioni appropriate sui progetti presentati.
Riteniamo che questa sia dunque una grande occasione per dimostrare il valore propositivo, e non decorativo, dell’arte.
Riteniamo anche che, all’indomani della Celebrazione del 50esimo anniversario della Tragedia, questo sia anche il momento più opportuno per pensare a un intervento di questo genere.
Dopo 50 anni, occorre interrogarsi: cosa sarà il Vajont d’ora innanzi? C’è lo spazio, la volontà, la capacità, di produrre una serie di nuove immagini, qui? Immagini di senso e sensibilità, immagini analitiche, e critiche, e poetiche, che vadano ad accompagnarsi a quelle che già si conoscono, fornendo il proprio contributo alla storia, e alla vita, di questo luogo?
Con questo Concorso, si risponde in modo positivo: questo spazio c’è, e questo è il suo tempo.
Non verranno fornite indicazioni agli artisti riguardo ai media o alle tecniche da impiegare, salvo che essi dovranno tenere conto della dimensione dell’intervento (lunghezza totale della linea: 180 metri, l’opera non dovrà necessariamente coprire l’intera lunghezza), chiarendo anche le modalità tecniche di realizzazione e i costi presunti.
Fondazione Vajont ed Enel sostengono il Concorso, condividendone l’intento culturale e la modalità d’azione. Anche il Ministero dell’Ambiente e la Fondazione Dolomiti Unesco patrocinano il progetto.

4. Indicazioni generali d’approccio per gli artisti
Vengono fornite qui di seguito alcune indicazioni generali che possono contribuire a orientare i progetti artistici.
È evidente l’assoluta specificità del contesto in cui ci si trova a operare.
Tale contesto, difficile e delicato, è in ciò stimolante.
Riteniamo sia indispensabile, per comprenderlo correttamente, visitare fisicamente questi luoghi, compiendovi almeno un sopralluogo preventivo.
Come si è già affermato, il Concorso viene bandito con l’intenzione di proporre e produrre una serie di immagini rinnovative, che sappiano analizzare, interpretare, tradurre e rappresentare, la specificità di questo luogo.
È evidente come, in questo luogo, nessun’opera possa, in alcun modo, evitare di relazionarsi con il tema del Vajont.
Ma, attraverso il Concorso, non si vuole in alcun modo spingere gli artisti a lavorare esclusivamente sul tema della Tragedia e della Memoria.
Le proposte che si limiteranno a questo, non saranno considerate interessanti.
Il significato del Concorso non è infatti quello di celebrare, più o meno retoricamente, Tragedia e Memoria, ma quello di proporre idee nuove e di realizzare immagini altre, in questo luogo, interpretandone la storia, i segni, in modo critico, libero, e proiettivo.
Si ritiene che, proprio qui, sia quanto mai necessario impegnarsi a generare nuove figure di senso, e che l’arte sia in grado di partecipare attivamente in modo significativo a questo processo critico di ridefinizione, arricchimento, recupero, riscatto, dell’identità di questi luoghi, e delle genti che li abitano.
L’arte è immaginazione, e produzione d’immagine. L’immagine è la formalizzazione di un pensiero, o di un’intenzione, critica e vitale, e in ciò essa è quanto di più lontano possibile dalla rassegnata cerimonia celebrativa di un lutto.
L’arte non trascura né dimentica nulla, ma viene per portare spunti rinnovativi, rifiutando la logica retroversa dell’eterno tumulo.
Il rispetto per questi luoghi e per la loro storia è precisamente ciò che muove e determina il Concorso stesso.
Ma l’attenzione e il rispetto dell’uomo contemporaneo (cioè a dire dell’uomo che abita responsabilmente il proprio tempo, il tempo presente, senza chiudersi in un passato muto) rispetto a un fatto tanto grave può a questo punto manifestarsi solamente attraverso azioni propositive.
Ciò che è propositivo, e propulsivo, non può in alcun modo essere commiserativo.
Il Concorso non serve a “superare” la Tragedia del Vajont, che non è superabile, e non va superata.
Né a commemorarla per l’ennesima volta.
Esso servo a dichiarare e a dimostrare la possibilità e la volontà, di intraprendere, finalmente, un cammino attivo.
Come abbiamo già detto, l’uomo è la propria storia, e nessun fatto può impedirgli di continuare a generare quotidianamente, di creare, la propria storia, ovvero di vivere.

5. Regolamento del Concorso
Verrà pubblicato sul website e fornito agli artisti un Regolamento comprensivo di:
- indicazioni sulle modalità di iscrizione e di partecipazione e sulle tempistiche del Concorso;
- materiali esplicativi e introduttivi (cartografia, foto, video, testi);
- indicazioni tecniche in merito alle caratteristiche delle opere e alla effettiva loro realizzabilità (dimensioni, materiali, parametri economici e geometrici, logistiche ecc.);
- modalità di presentazione dei progetti e dei materiali da produrre nei formati richiesti per la pubblicazione (biografia dell’artista o dei componenti di un gruppo, descrizione del concetto dell’opera, schizzi della realizzazione, immagini, render, testi);
- premi.

6. Fasi del Concorso, promozione e comunicazione
L’obiettivo principale del Concorso è dunque quello di giungere alla realizzazione di due opere d’arte contemporanea, che dimostrino la possibilità, la plausibilità, l’opportunità, a livello umano, sociale, culturale, di innescare focolai d’azione rinnovativa nel contesto del Vajont, ancor oggi pesantemente gravato dall’eredità, a tratti paralizzante, della Tragedia, che ha determinato in modo univoco e spersonalizzante l’identità di questi luoghi.
Nella prima fase, tra giugno e ottobre 2014, i progetti migliori raccolti verranno pubblicati su un sito web dedicato. Rispetto a questa prima fase ideativa, sarà svolta un’attività intensa di promozione e comunicazione a livello nazionale.
La formula dell’open call consentirà di raccogliere i progetti di tutti quegli artisti che vorranno liberamente aderire al Concorso.
La partecipazione è dunque aperta a tutti gli artisti, senza limiti di età, sesso, nazionalità ed esperienza. Ogni artista potrà partecipare a entrambe le sezioni.
È stata nominata una Giuria tecnica qualificata. Tra i giurati, vi sono alcuni critici e curatori, esperti d’arte contemporanea, scelti tra i direttori di alcuni importanti Musei italiani, alcuni rappresentanti di Istituzioni culturali.
Riteniamo che questo Concorso possieda un elevato valore culturale, ancora prima che artistico, e che quindi la Giuria non debba comprendere esclusivamente degli esperti d’arte, quanto piuttosto una serie di personalità rilevanti in un più ampio ambito culturale.
Questi i membri della Giuria del Concorso: Marc Augé, Pierluigi Basso Fossali, Maria Centonze, Cristiana Collu, Gianluca D’Incà Levis, Alfredo Jaar, Marcella Morandini, Franziska Nori, Fabrizio Panozzo, Angela Vettese.
Alla fine della Concorso, a novembre 2014, i progetti pervenuti verranno giudicati, e le due opere vincitrici verranno realizzate. Per le due sezioni del Concorso verrà inoltre assegnato un Premio Speciale alla migliore idea progettuale non realizzabile.
Siamo convinti che questo Concorso possieda una potenzialità attrattiva molto forte, e per gli artisti, e per l’opinione pubblica, in virtù di tutte le considerazioni che abbiamo espresso in questo documento.
Si lavorerà con il massimo impegno professionale per garantire a esso la massima visibilità possibile, nella convinzione che la prospettiva, che con esso si vuole indicare, sia positiva, dal punto di vista culturale, e umano, e che essa vada offerta, e condivisa, con il maggior numero di persone possibile, perché essa costituisce un’occasione aperta e pubblica di riflessione rinnovativa su questo luogo, che oggi continua a vivere.
Tra i soggetti che sosterranno il progetto, vi sono: Ministero dell’Ambiente, Regione Friuli Venezia Giulia, Regione Veneto, Fondazione Dolomiti Unesco, Fondazione Vajont, Provincia di Pordenone, Provincia di Belluno, Consiglio Nazionale degli Architetti, Pianificatori, Paesaggisti e Conservatori, Comune di Erto e Casso, Comune di Cimolais, Comune di Claut, Comune di Vajont, Comune di Belluno, Comune di Longarone, Confindustria Belluno Dolomiti, Consorzio Bim Piave, Enel, Acqua Dolomia, Neonlauro, Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, Fondazione Merz, Mart di Trento e Rovereto e CCC Strozzina.

Gianluca D’Incà Levis
curatore di Dolomiti Contemporanee, direttore del Nuovo Spazio di Casso

Casso, 10 gennaio 2014


Two calls for Vajont – Concours International d’Art Contemporain organisé par Dolomiti Contemporanee.

Dolomiti Contemporanee annonce un concours artistique ayant comme but la réalisation de deux œuvres. Le Concours qui se tiendra du printemps à l’automne 2014 propose deux thèmes ou situations :
a call for a wall concerne la façade sud du Nuovo Spazio di Casso;
a call for a line le côté est du Barrage de Vajont.

1. Le contexte: la catastrophe de Vajont (1963)
2. Objectif génénéral et signification du Concours
Le Concours pour la façade du Nuovo Spazio di Casso: a call for a wall
Le Concours sur la Barrage de Vajont: a call for a line
5. Indications d’approche pour les artistes
6. Règlement du Concours
7. Phases du Concours, promotion et communication

1. Le contexte: la catastrophe de Vajont (1963) (source: wikipedia)
La SADE (Società Adriatica Di Elettricità), société qui a construit le Barrage, a affirmé que la géologie de la gorge avait été étudiée, y compris l’analyse d’éventuels glissements de terrain, on croyait ainsi que celui-ci serait suffisamment stable. Cependant, lors du remplissage du Barrage on a pu constater une modification dans la roche ; un premier glissement de terrain a eu lieu le 4 novembre 1960. On a donc fait baisser le niveau du lac qui a alors été contrôlé attentivement. Les recherches ont conclu qu’une catastrophe était peu probable. Le lac fut entièrement rempli puis vidé à trois reprises.
À ce moment-là, l’Italie débutait une nationalisation des centrales électriques, et la SADE était impatiente de vendre ce Barrage à un service public. Le 9 octobre 1963 à 22 h 39, un glissement de terrain fait s’écrouler 260 millions de mètres-cubes de terres et de roches dans le lac de retenue du Barrage, à plus de 110 km/h. Au passage, l’éboulement emporte les systèmes de lignes d’alimentation électrique, plongeant ainsi Longarone dans le noir sur un kilomètre et demi. Deux vagues de 25 millions de mètres cubes d’eau chacune se propagent d’amont en aval du lac de retenue en débordant du Barrage. La masse d’eau détruit les localités de Longarone, Pirago, Rivalta, Villanova et Faè, et touche d’autres nombreux petits villages aux alentours (Castellavazzo, Erto e Casso…). On estime à environ 1 900 le nombre de personnes tuées par le mégatsunami. Le Barrage, lui, n’a pratiquement pas été endommagé.
Les signes avant-coureurs de ce glissement de terrain dûment mesurés chaque jour étaient suivis depuis des mois par les ingénieurs. L’un des responsables du désastre se suicidera. Pour la plupart, les autres responsables politiques et techniques ont été absous faute de preuves, en dehors de l’ingénieur en chef du projet, Alberico Biadene, condamné à 5 ans de prison en 1977 (et ayant bénéficié d’une mesure de grâce au bout d’un an).
Depuis un demi-siècle, le site a fait l’objet de nombreuses investigations scientifiques qui ont notamment révélé, entre le sol instable qui s’était effondré et la roche dure sous-jacente, la présence d’une mince couche d’argile. Celle-ci avait été fragilisée par les variations de niveau du lac conduites par les ingénieurs. La nuit fatidique, après un lent processus de plusieurs semaines, cette couche d’argile, sous l’effet conjugué de la pression des terres et de l’eau qui l’imbibait, a fini par se fragmenter totalement, entraînant vers le lac les 40 m d’épaisseur de sol meuble qui s’appuyaient sur elle depuis des millénaires. Les sondages trop peu profonds des sols, effectués lors des études préliminaires du projet de Barrage n’avaient pas révélé la présence de cette couche d’argile, sinon le projet aurait été annulé.

2. Objectif général et signification du Concours
C’est à l’emplacement du Vajont, et à Casso en particulier, que se tient ce double Concours, en conformité avec la politique culturelle de Dolomiti Contemporanee, car depuis 2012 on a fondé ici un chantier culturel destiné à la production d’images renouvelées.
L’intention est de prouver qu’il est possible et même nécessaire de développer autre chose, justement dans ce lieu, identifié uniquement comme lieu de la tragédie et ainsi perçu par l’opinion publique : au moyen d’une réflexion intellectuelle créative, nous proposons une activité capable d’inventer une perspective culturelle pour cette zone à l’avenir.
L’homme, en tant que tel, s’exprime et ne peut s’en empêcher.
Aucun événement, pour terrible qu’il soit, ne peut se qualifier éternellement d’incommensurable; rien n’empêchera l’évolution de l’homme, grâce à des actions pleines de sens, dans le processus naturel de l’histoire.
Depuis 50 ans retentissait ici l’avertissement de Salluste : faber est suae quisque fortunae. Autant s’en servir maintenant pour le bien, transformant l’épitaphe en perspective d’avenir.
Le Concours revendique la suprématie de l’expression comme identité propulsive de l’homme.

3. Concours pour la façade du Nuovo Spazio di Casso: a call for a wall
Le Concours a call for a wall concerne la façade extérieure sud du Nuovo Spazio di Casso.
Ce mur constitue en soi le thème du projet. Il représente physiquement un rapport fondamental entre passé et présent, entre ce qui a existé hier et ce que l’on veut faire aujourd’hui.
Le Nuovo Spazio di Casso est situé dans un environnement exceptionnel. C’est seulement d’ici que l’on peut vraiment comprendre ce qu’a été la catastrophe de Vajont, l’ampleur de l’événement: l’ étroit parvis devant la façade sud de l’ancienne école et la passerelle en encorbellement dominent le paysage.
Le Spazio se trouve exactement en face de la cicatrice qu’a laissée l’énorme éboulement tombé du Monte Toc en 1963 qui a provoqué le désastre, à moins d’un kilomètre de distance à vol d’oiseau de cette trace effrayante.
La façade montre encore la marque de l’événement : une vague de 200 mètres remonta sur Casso et frappa l’édifice qui était alors l’école primaire, provoquant d’importants dommages.
En septembre 2012, le bâtiment a été rouvert par Dolomiti Contemporanee : le Nuovo Spazio di Casso le rend à la fonction publique au bout d’une cinquantaine d’années.
Le Spazio di Casso est désormais actif sur ce territoire comme moteur artistique et culturel et la façade sud est l’endroit même où l’histoire tragique entre en contact avec les projets nouveaux, proposant ainsi un modèle d’ouverture culturelle. C’est à travers ce modèle, imaginé pour le Concours, que l’homme d’aujourd’hui affirme le sens et la valeur de sa présence ici.
Ce mur, en face du Toc, représente donc un passage, une frontière, un bilicum.
Etant donné son caractère exemplaire de limine, de diaphragme de sens, on a décidé d’intervenir sur le mur en proposant des installations.
Les artistes qui participeront au Concours sont invités à proposer une œuvre à placer sur la façade.
L’œuvre sera réalisée avec une technique lumineuse. Elle restera installée sur la façade pendant six mois et sera déplacée par la suite.
L’œuvre pourra se constituer d’un mot, d’une phrase, d’une expression, d’une forme, d’un objet.
Les œuvres qui sauront se rapporter au contexte du Vajont seront préférées, si toutefois elles ne présentent aucun caractère emphatique ou obséquieux mais expriment librement la poésie.
Mais l’artiste n’est pas obligé de se référer directement ou indirectement de façon exclusive aux événements du Vajont.
D’autres éléments du territoire pourront être développés dans les projets artistiques tels que l’environnement ou l’anthropologie sociale et culturelle.

4. Le Concours sur le Barrage de Vajont: a call for a line
A call for a line
est le Concours qui concerne la côté est (versant frioulan) du Barrage de Vajont.
La ligne dont il est question est celle qui marquait le niveau d’eau à l’intérieur du bassin artificiel le 9 octobre 1963, c’est-à-dire 20 mètres au-dessous du couronnement actuel.
On veut donc réaliser une œuvre qui mette en évidence ce niveau et elle restera en permanence.
Bien plus que la façade de l’ancienne école de Casso, c’est le Barrage, on le sait, qui représente le monument emblématique de la tragique histoire du Vajont.
Le seul vrai survivant du catastrophe de 1963 est ce puissant rempart de ciment et l’ouvrage possède un immense pouvoir symbolique. Il n’a de sens que par l’événement qui détermine entièrement son identité. Chaque année, plus de dix mille personnes viennent le voir. Pour ceux qui participent en silence au pèlerinage, le Barrage de Vajont est une énorme plaque commémorative en ciment. Le Barrage et la ligne de rupture de l’éboulement du Monte Toc sont les deux marques gigantesques qui demeurent, tels d’impressionnants témoins muets, nous rappelant pour toujours ce qui s’est passé.
Le fait de vouloir agir directement sur cet ouvrage prouve que l’on a pleine conscience de sa signification. Le point de départ, à la base du Concours, est la conviction que ces lieux ne doivent pas représenter uniquement et pour toujours l’histoire du drame; mais, au contraire, il convient nécessairement de dire autre chose, d’apporter ici justement d’autres paroles, des images différentes qui aient un sens.
Nous sommes convaincus que ce sont les idées, les motivations intellectuelles et créatives, l’élan productif qui donnent un sens avant tout à la vie de l’homme; tant que l’homme aura la force de construire la signification des faits qui forment son histoire, y compris les événements terribles, cette histoire continuera à être déterminée par lui; quelle qu’en soit la nature, aucun fait ne pourra l’exclure du processus vital qui lui appartient et fait de lui précisément un homme.
C’est pourquoi la mémoire du fait doit aussi devenir un moment productif. Il s’agit évidemment de mémoire publique et non privée: la tragédie de Vajont est un fait public qui concerne l’humanité entière et cette dimension nous intéresse.
La mémoire ne peut assumer le rôle désolant de perpétrer une image figée de la mort. La mémoire ne peut jamais correspondre à un renoncement.
La mémoire publique ne doit pas devenir un espace de passivité, ou continuer à l’être, ce qui protège et conserve une image bloquée du passé en la paralysant dans la commémoration. En revanche, la mémoire doit pouvoir vivre et constituer une occasion d’élaboration créative continuelle, ou plutôt la capacité de faire l’histoire, à son tour, en tant qu’inévitable destin vital de l’homme. La mémoire ne peut empêcher l’histoire: elle doit, au contraire, aider l’homme à se comprendre soi-même ainsi que son destin.
Travailler directement, physiquement, sur le Barrage, cela veut dire prendre la responsabilité de construire un chantier de mémoire productive en ce lieu encore bloqué, s’engager à créer l’élaboration culturelle et atteindre l’histoire grâce à l’énergie vitale.
L’art est un des systèmes que l’homme possède pour franchir le sens des choses de la terre et du ciel : un outil formidable qui relie l’âme et l’esprit et produit des images vivantes, sans accepter de clôture. L’art est l’élan et l’entrée et il vient au Barrage pour l’ouvrir.
Ce signe produira un impact très marqué sur la force vitale de la culture qui construit des images de sens en ce lieu si vulnérable.
D’autre part, aucune mesure spectaculaire n’est recherchée pour ce projet.
Le signe ne prendra pas sa force de la visibilité impérieuse, mais s’affirmera s’il constitue une élaboration projective d’une mémoire en acte.
Le lauréat dans son projet devra montrer sa capacité d’intégration à la situation spécifique, fort d’une sensibilité s’exprimant avec justesse.
Un jury qualifié (voir paragraphe successif) saura juger pertinemment dans ce sens les projets présentés.
Nous pensons disposer ainsi d’une grande occasion pour montrer que l’art possède la valeur de proposer plutôt que de décorer.
Au lendemain de la 50ème anniversaire de la tragédie, le meilleur moment est venu pour penser à une intervention de ce genre. Au bout de 50 ans, nous nous posons la question suivante : que deviendra le Vajont à partir de maintenant? Existe-t-il ici la place, la volonté, la capacité de produire une série de nouvelles images ? images de sens et de sensibilité, images analytiques, critiques, poétiques qui puissent se raccorder à celles connues de tous, afin d’offrir une contribution propre à l’histoire et à la vie de ce lieu ?
Avec ce Concours, notre réponse est positive: l’espace est là et c’est maintenant.
Les artistes ne recevront pas d’indication sur les moyens ou les techniques, cependant ils devront tenir compte des dimensions (longueur totale de la ligne : 180 mètres ; l’œuvre ne devra pas nécessairement couvrir toute la longueur) et définir les modalités de réalisation technique et prévoir les dépenses présumées.
Fondazione Vajont et Enel accordent leur parrainage au Concours en soutenant la finalité culturelle et la modalité de l’intervention.

5. Indications d’approche pour les artistes
Nous donnons ci-dessous quelques indications générales servant à orienter les projets artistiques.
Il est évident que nous travaillons dans un contexte tout à fait spécifique.
Il s’agit d’un domaine difficile et délicat et, par conséquent , d’autant plus stimulant.
Afin de comprendre honnêtement ces lieux, il convient de venir ici; nous pensons qu’une visite est indispensable pour se rendre compte de la réalité.
Comme nous l’avons affirmé, le Concours est organisé dans le but de produire une série d’images renouvelées capables d’analyser, d’interpréter, de traduire et de représenter la spécificité de ce lieu.
Ici aucune œuvre ne peut éviter évidemment de se rapporter au thème du Vajont.
Toutefois nous n’invitons pas les artistes à travailler exclusivement sur le sujet de la tragédie e de la mémoire.
Les œuvres se limitant à cela ne seront pas jugées intéressantes.
La signification du Concours n’est pas la célébration, plus ou moins habituelle, tragédie e mémoire, mais l’intention réside dans la proposition d’idées nouvelles et la production d’images autres, en ce lieu, tout en sachant interpréter l’histoire, les signes, dans un esprit critique, libre et projectif.
Nous pensons que c’est ici qu’il faut s’engager à créer de nouvelles figures de sens : l’art peut participer activement, de façon significative, au processus critique de redéfinition, d’enrichissement; il sait récupérer, rédimer l’identité de ces lieux et de ses habitants.
L’art est imagination et production d’images. L’image est la formation d’une pensée ou d’une intention critique et vitale: elle se situe donc le plus loin possible de la cérémonie de célébration résignée du deuil.
L’art ne néglige ni n’oublie rien; il arrive avec ses idées neuves et refuse la logique du regard en arrière de l’éternelle sépulture.
Le respect de ces lieux et de leur histoire fondent précisément le Concours.
Or le respect et l’attention de l’homme contemporain pour un événement si grave ne peut se manifester qu’en proposant des idées nouvelles (l’homme habitant son temps consciemment, le présent, sans se replier sur le passé muet).
Ce qui propose et pousse en avant ne peut d’aucune façon demeurer dans la commisération.
Le Concours ne sert pas à dépasser la tragédie de Vajont, car on ne peut pas passer outre et il ne faut pas le faire.
Il ne convient pas non plus de la commémorer pour la énième fois.
Le Concours sert à déclarer que l’on peut enfin prendre un nouveau chemin : ainsi prouve-t-on la volonté d’agir autrement.
L’homme est sa propre histoire et aucun événement ne peut l’empêcher de créer encore, tous les jours, son histoire, puisqu’ il vit.

6. Règlement du Concours
Le règlement publié dans le site sera fourni aux artistes et comprendra :

- indications sur les modalités d’inscription et de participation; calendrier du Concours.
- matériels d’explication servant d’introduction (cartographie, photo, vidéo, textes).
- indications techniques sur les caractéristiques des œuvres et sur leur réalisation effective (dimensions, matériaux, facteurs économiques, données géométriques, questions logistiques, etc…).
- modalités de présentation des projets et des matériaux à produire selon les formats requis pour la publication (biographie de l’artiste ou des membres du groupe, description conceptuelle de l’œuvre, esquisse de la réalisation, images, render, textes).
- prix.

7. Phases du Concours, promotion et communication
Le principal objectif du Concours est d’arriver à réaliser deux œuvres d’art contemporain qui sachent enclencher un foyer d’action dans le contexte du Vajont, si pénalisé encore par cette hérédité parfois paralysante de la tragédie ; l’identité des lieux en a été déterminée de façon univoque au point de la banaliser. Cela donnera la preuve que l’idée est possible, que c’est une opportunité sur le plan social et culturel.
Dans la première phase, entre Juin et Octobre 2014, nous publierons dans le site web les meilleurs projets reçus. Dès le mois de Juin, nous nous occuperons activement de promotion et de communication au niveau national.
La formule open call permettra de rassembler les projets de tous les artistes qui voudront librement se présenter au Concours.
La participation est donc ouverte à tous les artistes, sans limite d’âge, de sexe, de nationalité et d’expérience. Chaque artiste pourra participer aux deux sections du Concours.
Nous avons nommé un jury techniquement qualifié : des critiques d’art, des éditeurs, des experts d’art contemporain choisis parmi les directeurs de certains grands musées italiens, des personnalités représentant les Institutions culturelles.
Nous sommes certains que ce Concours présente une valeur culturelle élevée, encore davantage par rapport au domaine artistique: ainsi le jury n’est pas formé exclusivement d’experts d’art mais plutôt de personnalités marquantes du plus vaste domaine culturel.
Voici les nomes des juges : Marc Augé, Pierluigi Basso Fossali, Maria Centonze, Cristiana Collu, Gianluca D’Incà Levis, Alfredo Jaar, Marcella Morandini, Franziska Nori, Fabrizio Panozzo, Angela Vettese.
En Novembre 2014, à la fin du Concours, les projets que nous aurons reçus seront jugés et les deux œuvres gagnantes seront réalisées. Pour les deux sections de la compétition il y aura aussi la chance de gagner un prix spécial pur la meilleur idée pas réalisable.
Ce Concours possède certainement un fort pouvoir d’attraction soit pour les artistes, soit pour l’opinion publique, en vertu de toutes les considérations exprimées ici.
Nous travaillerons avec la plus grande application professionnelle afin de nous faire connaître et dans une perspective positive sur le plan culturel et humain. Nous espérons partager tout cela avec le plus grand nombre possible, parce que ce Concours offre une occasion ouverte et publique de réflexion et de renouveau en ce lieu qui continue à vivre.
Voici les sujets qui appuient le Concours : Ministero dell’Ambiente, Regione Friuli Venezia Giulia, Regione Veneto, Fondazione Dolomiti Unesco, Fondazione Vajont, Provincia di Pordenone, Provincia di Belluno, Consiglio Nazionale degli Architetti, Pianificatori, Paesaggisti e Conservatori, Comune di Erto e Casso, Comune di Cimolais, Comune di Claut, Comune di Vajont, Comune di Belluno, Comune di Longarone, Confindustria Belluno Dolomiti, Consorzio Bim Piave, Enel, Acqua Dolomia, Neonlauro, Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, Fondazione Merz, Mart di Trento e Rovereto, CCC Strozzina.

Gianluca D’Incà Levis
curateur du Dolomiti Contemporanee, directeur du Nuovo Spazio di Casso

Casso, 10 Janvier 2014


en - it


The PIANO project aims at transforming the tools of cultural exchange, involving a renewed use of space, relationships, exhibition time. The network for the exchange of exhibitions and residencies within the program questions the very boundaries of the institutions involved, according to the widespread idea of New Institutionalism, which in the last few years has become a foundation for the reflection and action of many cultural organizations worldwide. The subject was at the center of the round table held at Villa Médicis, May 9, 2014, with the title Prepared Piano – Model for a New Institutionalism.  “The Rise and Fall of New Institutionalism – Perspectives on a Possible Future” published on in 2007 by Nina Möntmann was a source. The article by Jens Hoffmann, published in June 2010 in MOUSSE magazine, highlights the extent of this cultural phenomenon, in which the radical approaches to the exhibition go together with the merging of fields of knowledge, languages and different models.

(article published on MOUSSE MAGAZINE, Issue #24, June 2010)

by Jens Hoffmann

The time has come to get rid of obsolete, uninspiring exhibition categories—the solo show, the mid-career survey, the group show. Over the last four decades, the diversification of artistic practices has suggested a new approach to the activity of curating. The traditional concept of organizing an exhibition has given way to a flourishing of “events”, talks, performances, films… A growing number of curators, ranging from Catherine David to Okwui Enwezor, from Hans Ulrich Obrist to Ute Meta Bauer, to Matthew Higgs, have introduced alternative models, aimed at debate and dialogue with other fields of knowledge, and at political involvement and radical exhibition strategies. Jens Hoffmann offers us an overview of this exciting mutation.

Take Me (I’m Yours), Serpentine Gallery, London, 1995

2. Take Me (I’m Yours), Serpentine Gallery, London, 1995

That curatorial practice has developed rapidly over the last few decades is not exactly news. Particularly in Europe, where museums are less dependent on private donors and foundations than in the United States, and thus issues of fundraising are less of a concern to curators, we have seen quite radical programming emerge. Curating has marched forward with big steps and has become increasingly diversified.

Take Me (I’m Yours), Serpentine Gallery, London,, 1995

3. Take Me (I’m Yours), Serpentine Gallery, London, 1995

This diversification has allowed the field to move beyond traditional ideas of exhibition making. But new tendencies in curating have been less about what novel models of exhibition making could be, and more about how to overcome the idea of exhibition making itself. In some cases the “death of the exhibition” has already been proclaimed! Of particular focus has been the expansion of related programming such as educational events, artistic and curatorial residencies, publications, talks, films, and performances, and how to eventually make all of these activities the core of curatorial undertakings. These trends are the results of a number of developments, among them the expansion and diversification of artistic practices over the last four decades. They are also motivated by a desire on the part of curators, infused with political consciousness and intellectual curiosity, to connect with the broader social and political issues of our times, which inform, and perhaps surpass in importance, artistic practices.

MoMA's interior

4. MoMA’s interior

Larger institutions try to attract and widen their audiences through so-called events such as film screenings, lecture series, and performance evenings. While many of these additional programs initially originated from the desire to present art forms that could not be shown in the galleries and to provide context for exhibitions on view, of late this aspect of institutional programming has, for better or worse, taken on a life of its own. It is not surprising that a static display of art objects in the form of an exhibition could be perceived as insufficiently attractive, not dynamic or entertaining enough, since it does not much enable social interaction and it requires not only patience but also effort on the part of the audience to engage with seemingly difficult artistic and curatorial arguments. This is not to say that exhibitions should not be entertaining. But they surely should not be entertainment; looking at a well-curated exhibition should be an effort, an effort that is not easily digestible. It should ultimately be an educational, intellectually stimulating, inspiring experience.

United Nation Plaza, Berlin

5. United Nation Plaza, Berlin

While larger museums have used non-exhibition-centered programming to attract bigger and more diverse audiences, smaller institutions that are less audience-focused and more intellectually and politically minded have discovered that these non-exhibition-based curatorial efforts offer ways to move beyond the traditional concept of exhibitions as displays of artworks in a white cube. In the last 20 or so years, with the academization of curatorial practice and the growth of discourse-oriented artistic practices, theory has become a key aspect not only of the eloquent argument of the premise of a specific exhibition, but also of the analysis of culture and politics at large, with or without any obvious relationship to actual artistic production. Catherine David’s Documenta X (1997) was a prime example of an exhibition whose accompanying program, 100 Days – 100 Guests, enabled academic art-world discourses outside the exhibition space. Okwui Enwezor’s Documenta XI (2002) took the idea even further with five symposia, the Platforms, which took place around the world. Critical and expanded programming is now a core element of any respectable art institution. Seminars and the publication of academic materials have become standard offerings, often replacing traditional catalogues. One recent trend has been the investigation of new pedagogical modes and alternative education models such as temporary schools, evening workshops, weekend seminars, and traveling libraries within the walls of the museum. The unsuccessful attempt to start an art school by the curators of Manifesta 6 (titled “Exhibition as School”) in Cyprus in 2006 finally found form in a number of public presentations and educational activities at the United Nations Plaza in Berlin. Initiated by one of the Manifesta 6 co-curators, Anton Vidokle, these lasted from 2006 until 2009 and extended to New York through the New Museum’s Night School (2008-9).

Robert Gober, Untitled (Shoe), 1990

6. Robert Gober, Untitled (Shoe), 1990

Many non-exhibition-based curatorial activities of the last decade were originally connected with New Institutionalism, a term coined in 2003 by the Norwegian curator Jonas Ekeberg and later analyzed by the German curator Nina Möntmann in her 2006 book Art and Its Institutions: Current Conflicts, Critique, and Collaborations. New Institutionalism was never a coherent curatorial movement, but rather a short-lived phenomenon triggered by unorthodox curatorial models with a social and political bent. It was associated with the curators Charles Esche, Maria Lind, Maria Hlavajova, Vasif Kortun, and several others, and disappeared quickly but still casts a shadow over how curators today understand institutional programming. While perhaps not directly connected with New Institutionalism, the work of curator Ute Meta Bauer and to a certain extent the programming of the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) under director Manuel J. Borja-Villel should be mentioned here. Both have, in different ways, strongly advocated a more theoretically conscious, critically aware, and politically sensitive curatorial approach that often prioritizes non-exhibition-based curatorial undertakings over the display of artworks.

8. Lewis Baltz, Park City, Interior, Number 14 (detail), 1979

7. Lewis Baltz, Park City, Interior, Number 14 (detail), 1979

Meta Bauer often takes a kind of hybrid approach in these terms, integrating archives and visual material related to social and political research into a structure that is part exhibition, part arena for intellectual exchange and political debate. Not at all turning away from the idea of an exhibition as a forum for the display of art objects, Meta Bauer’s practice combines rigorous academic thinking with a radical approach to exhibition formats. Her exhibition ?, part of the now-legendary exhibition NowHere (1996) at the Louisiana Museum outside of Copenhagen, stands out as an early example of a more theoretically inclined method of exhibition making. NowHere incorporated institutional critical thinking into the curatorial process and analyzed exhibitions as social events by trying to examine the history of the venue as a bastion of humanist and liberal, yet elitist and bourgeois, ideology. While it was not perceived as a success – it perhaps broke too radically with traditional exhibition formats – it was valuable as an early experiment in attempting a dialogue with more discourse-oriented artistic practices. In many ways it predated what was later described as the “curatorialization of institutional critique”, a way of curating that borrowed heavily from the critical and self-reflexive practices of artists such as Andrea Fraser, Renée Green, or Michael Asher, to mention only a few – a mode that affected not only the content and message of an exhibition, but also its form.

8. David Hammons: The Unauthorised Retrospective, installation view at Triple Candie, New York, 2006

8. David Hammons: The Unauthorised Retrospective, installation view at Triple Candie, New York, 2006

When speaking about innovation in exhibition making, it is important to distinguish between content-related innovations, such as the integration in the 1990s of new discourses related to identity politics and post-colonialism into the exhibition premise (in many cases these simply replaced older debates) and innovations involving the form of the exhibition itself, moving it away from the traditional white-cube presentation. The evolution of the large-scale international biennial (away from the original Venice model with the national pavilions) is certainly one of the biggest innovations in exhibition making of the last two decades. Yet there is surprisingly little diversity in the curating of biennials; most of them end up being global overviews, presenting what is going on around the world in the sphere of contemporary art at a given time under some vague theme. Yet there are isolated exceptions that are more consistent and theoretically rigorous. The 11th International Istanbul Biennial in 2009, titled What Keeps Mankind Alive?, offered just such an exception. And it is worth mentioning the radical changes that Manifesta, the nomadic European biennial, has undergone in its recent iterations, concerning itself more and more with European politics: immigration, deindustrialization, and Europe’s relationships with its neighbors in Africa and the Middle East and moving further away from the pure display of artworks.

9. David Hammons: The Unauthorised Retrospective”, installation view at Triple Candie, New York, 2006

9. David Hammons: The Unauthorised Retrospective, installation view at Triple Candie, New York, 2006

One of the major innovators in exhibition making has clearly been the Swiss curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, who began his career in the early-1990s and certainly owed much of his creative impulse to the more unorthodox curators working in the 1970s and 1980s (Harald Szeemann, Johannes Cladders, Walter Hopps, Lucy Lippard, Jan Hoet, Kasper König, and Pontus Hultén, to mention only a few). Obrist vehemently supported the idea of looking at artworks in relation to other fields and connected the display of artworks with the disciplines of architecture, filmmaking, literature, and science. He presented exhibitions in unusual locations, such as the houses of historically important architects and writers, his kitchen, a hotel room. In other cases he relied heavily on audience participation, in exhibitions such as Do It (begun in 1993) and Take Me (I’m Yours)” (1995). As of late even Obrist seems to have moved away from the exhibition as the main focus of his curatorial undertakings and centers his activities more on publishing, in particular his interview project and the conversation marathons. However, almost all of the innovative work done by exhibition makers in mainstream art institutions over the last decade owes much to ideas that Obrist first introduced. Another curator who should be mentioned here is Matthew Higgs, who has been developing alternative exhibition models for years, since 2004 as the director of White Columns in New York, and before that at the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts in San Francisco. What makes Higgs’s work exceptional is not so much the exhibitions themselves as the way they come about, and the diversity of elements combined within them: everything from art historical artifacts to music, outsider art, and elements of popular culture.

10. David Hammons: The Unauthorised Retrospective, installation view at Triple Candie, New York, 2006

10. David Hammons: The Unauthorised Retrospective, installation view at Triple Candie, New York, 2006

Some innovation has also come from the involvement of artists in the curatorial process, especially in the arena of collection displays. While the trend of artists curating exhibitions was initially an interesting way both to examine how artists think about exhibition making, art history, and other artists as well as to question institutional hierarchies and roles, it quickly spun out of control. One particularly unfortunate instance was the Jeff Koons-curated show Skin Fruit (E) (2010) at the New Museum in New York, which was based on the collection of the Greek collector Dakis Joannou. A more positive example, on the other hand, is Houseguests, the Hammer Museum’s series of displays from their Grunwald collection of prints and drawings, initiated in 2008 by Hammer curator Allegra Pesenti. Curated, or perhaps better, selected, by Los Angeles-based artists, Houseguests has thus far involved the artists Jennifer Bornstein and Francesca Gabbiani. These modest, small-scale presentations give the historical Grunwald Center works a new spin, making them attractive to audiences mostly interested in contemporary art. Both editions thus far have been notable for their meticulous installation, the dialogue they created between past and present, and their clear and yet sophisticated curatorial premises.

11. Hans Baldung Grien, The Bewitched Groom, 1544

11. Hans Baldung Grien, The Bewitched Groom, 1544

In conclusion I would like to mention two very different, and both highly innovative, makers of exhibitions. The first is the independent art space Triple Candie in Harlem, New York. Although to call Triple Candie an alternative or independent art space does not do it justice. Since its inception in 2001 it has become a bastion of curatorial innovation, in particular with what the organization calls “exhibitions about art without art”. Two of its best-known exhibitions have been David Hammons: The Unauthorized Retrospective (G) (2005), which was realized via photocopies and computer printouts and without the artist’s approval, and Cady Noland Approximately: Selected Work, 1984-2000 (2006), the first survey of Noland’s art, consisting of 13 sculptural approximations built using incomplete information gathered on the internet. Both of these exhibitions were highly controversial but introduced a number of innovations, among them simply new ways to organize radical exhibitions without much of a budget.

12. Paul Klee, Die Hexe mit dem Kamm (The Witch bracelets, and Victorian-era billy clubs with works with the Comb), 1922

12. Paul Klee, Die Hexe mit dem Kamm (The Witch bracelets, and Victorian-era billy clubs with works with the Comb), 1922

The second is the Toronto-based collector, artist, scholar, philanthropist, and curator Ydessa Hendeles. The unique and innovative qualities of her work have fortunately received increased attention over the last few years, yet only a small handful of people have ever had the privilege of seeing her exhibitions in person. With such shows as her now-legendary The Teddy Bear Project (2002), Partners (2003), Predators and Prey (2006), and Dead! Dead! Dead! (2007), Hendeles pushed the idea of radically subjective curating to an entirely new level by often dealing with her childhood agonies and her families past, and also, perhaps because of her personal involvement with the subjects of her shows, examined how contemporary art can occupy a context populated by objects from the larger sphere of cultural history. Dead! Dead! Dead! was loosely organized around the traditional British puppet show featuring the characters of Punch and Judy. Hendeles combined a large selection of historical Punch and Judy puppets, Joan Crawford’s charm bracelets, and Victorian-era billy clubs with works by Charles Ray, James Coleman, Thomas Schütte, Louise Bourgeois, Marcel Dzama, and others to create a complex collage that spoke eloquently about violence, death, power, discontent, frustration, and class society.

13. Michael Le Blon, design for watch covers, c. 1620-1664

13. Michael Le Blon, design for watch covers, c. 1620-1664

These and other examples of innovative excellence from the last decade reveal not only that the art exhibition is alive and well, but that there is an enormous amount of work still to be done. Unfortunately, looking at most major art museums today, particularly in the United States, we see very little innovation in exhibition making. I personally like to wonder what would have happened if we curators had put our efforts of the last 20 years less into expanding and diversifying what curating could mean outside the white cube, and more into radically examining what takes place within the four walls of the gallery space – a space to which I personally feel extremely dedicated. Making exhibitions is necessary, not only for the presentation of artworks but also as a very particular mode of rendering intellectual thinking in a creative, visual, and experiential way.

13. Ed Ruscha, Hollywood, 1969

14. Ed Ruscha, Hollywood, 1969

Perhaps some curators have abandoned the idea of exhibition making too soon – before it was ever fully explored. New forms will emerge more readily if we can only relinquish the tired categories of solo, mid-career, group, historical survey, and so on, striving instead for the personal and quixotic as well as the academically rigorous. It is also always useful for contemporary art curators to look beyond the realm of visual art. A visit to a natural or cultural history museum can be an illuminating experience, making dramatically apparent the boundless potential of the exhibition, and I personally have always enjoyed escaping the confines of the contemporary art world in such ways. Hopefully we will see more and more innovation directed toward the form of the exhibition in the years to come. I certainly promise to do my part.

14. James Welling, Finish BA C-10, Serra from New Genres Balcony, 1979

15. James Welling, Finish BA C-10, Serra from New Genres Balcony, 1979

Il progetto PIANO si propone di trasformare gli strumenti dello scambio culturale, in nome di un uso rinnovato degli spazi, delle relazioni, dei tempi espositivi. La rete di scambio di mostre e residenze attivata dal programma mette in discussione i confini stessi delle istituzioni coinvolte, aderendo all’idea diffusa del New Institutionalism, da qualche anno alla base della riflessione e dell’azione di molte realtà culturali nel mondo. Il tema è stato al centro della tavola rotonda tenutasi a Villa Medici il 9 maggio 2014, sotto il titolo Prepared Piano – Model for a New Institutionalism. “The Rise and Fall of New Institutionalism – Perspectives on a Possible Future” pubblicato da Nina Möntmann sul sito web nel 2007 costituisce una fonte di quelle riflessioni.  L’articolo di Jens Hoffmann, pubblicato nel giugno 2010 su MOUSSE magazine, mette in luce l’ampiezza di questo fenomeno culturale, in cui la radicalità delle modalità espositive si accompagna alla fusione di campi del sapere, linguaggi e modelli diversi.

(articolo pubblicato su MOUSSE MAGAZINE, Issue #24, Giugno 2010)

È arrivata l’ora di sbarazzarci di categorie espositive obsolete e poco stimolanti – la mostra monografica, la retrospettiva di metà carriera, la collettiva. Negli ultimi quattro decenni, la diversificazione delle pratiche artistiche ha suggerito ai curatori un approccio nuovo alla loro attività. Il concetto di organizzazione di mostra tradizionale è stato superato a favore di un florilegio di “eventi”, conferenze, performance, film… Un crescente numero di curatori, da Catherine David a Okwui Enwezor, da Hans Ulrich Obrist a Ute Meta Bauer, a Matthew Higgs, ha introdotto modelli alternativi orientati tanto al dibattito quanto al confronto con altri campi del sapere, tanto al coinvolgimento politico quanto a modalità radicali d’esposizione. Jens Hoffmann ci offre uno spaccato di quest’entusiasmante mutazione.

Il fatto che la pratica curatoriale si sia sviluppata rapidamente negli ultimi decenni non è esattamente una novità. In particolare, in Europa, dove i musei dipendono in minor misura dai donatori privati e dalle fondazioni e, quindi, la questione della raccolta dei fondi preoccupa meno i curatori, abbiamo assistito all’emergere di una programmazione piuttosto radicale. L’attività dei curatori ha fatto grandi passi avanti e si è diversificata sempre più.

Questa diversificazione ha permesso al campo di superare le concezioni tradizionali di organizzazione espositiva. Ma le nuove tendenze della pratica curatoriale hanno riguardato non tanto le possibili nuove modalità di dar vita a un’esposizione quanto il superamento stesso del concetto di allestimento di una mostra. In alcuni casi è già stata proclamata la “morte della mostra”! Particolarmente interessante è l’espansione della programmazione collegata alle esposizioni, come per esempio gli eventi didattici, le residenze artistiche e curatoriali, le pubblicazioni, le conferenze, i film, le performance, e le modalità di trasformazione di tutte queste attività nel centro della pratica curatoriale. Queste tendenze sono il frutto di una serie di percorsi evolutivi, tra cui l’espansione e la diversificazione delle pratiche artistiche nel corso degli ultimi quattro decenni. Sono anche motivate da un desiderio dei curatori, imbevuti di consapevolezza politica e di curiosità storica, di stabilire un contatto con le più ampie questioni sociali e politiche del nostro tempo, che informano, e forse superano per importanza, le pratiche artistiche stesse.

Le istituzioni più grandi cercano di attrarre e di ampliare il proprio pubblico attraverso i cosiddetti eventi, quali proiezioni di film, cicli di conferenze e serate di performance. Sebbene molti di questi programmi aggiuntivi siano nati, in origine, dal desiderio di presentare forme artistiche che non avrebbero potuto essere esposte nelle gallerie e per contestualizzare le mostre in corso, ultimamente questo aspetto di programmazione istituzionale ha cominciato, bene o male, a vivere di vita propria. Non deve sorprendere che un’esposizione statica di oggetti sotto forma di mostra possa essere percepita come non sufficientemente attraente, dinamica o interessante, dal momento che non consente una grande interazione sociale e richiede non solo pazienza, ma anche uno sforzo da parte del pubblico, affinché possa misurarsi con questioni artistiche e curatoriali apparentemente difficili. Questo non significa che le mostre non dovrebbero essere divertenti. Ma sicuramente non dovrebbero essere intrattenimento; visitare una mostra ben curata dovrebbe esigere un po’ di fatica, una fatica non facilmente sopportabile. In fin dei conti dovrebbe essere un’esperienza istruttiva, intellettualmente stimolante e illuminante.

Laddove i musei più grandi hanno usato la programmazione non incentrata sulle mostre per attrarre un pubblico più ampio e diversificato, le istituzioni più piccole, meno preoccupate di attrarre un vasto numero di persone e più inclini a esperienze di tipo intellettuale e politico, hanno scoperto che queste attività curatoriali non mirate alla realizzazione di esposizioni suggeriscono modalità per un superamento dell’idea tradizionale di mostra come presentazione di opere d’arte all’interno di uno white cube. Nell’ultimo ventennio, con l’accademizzazione dell’attività curatoriale e la crescita delle pratiche artistiche di tipo analitico, la teoria è diventata un elemento cruciale non solo dell’aspetto palese delle premesse di una specifica mostra, ma anche dell’analisi della cultura e della politica in senso lato, con o senza un rapporto evidente con la reale produzione artistica. Documenta X (1997) di Catherine David è stata il primo esempio di mostra il cui programma collaterale, 100 Days – 100 Guests, abbia accolto il dibattito artistico accademico al di fuori dello spazio espositivo. Documenta XI (2002) di Okwui Enwezor ha sviluppato ulteriormente l’idea, attraverso l’organizzazione di cinque simposi, le Platforms, che si sono svolti in varie parti del mondo. La programmazione critica e allargata è ora un elemento centrale di qualsiasi istituzione d’arte che si rispetti. I seminari e la pubblicazione di materiali accademici sono diventati offerte standard, che spesso prendono il posto dei cataloghi tradizionali. Un trend recente è costituito dallo studio di nuove modalità pedagogiche e di modelli didattici alternativi, quali scuole temporanee, laboratori serali, seminari nei fine settimana e biblioteche viaggianti tra le pareti del museo. Il tentativo infruttuoso dei curatori di Manifesta 6 (intitolata “Exhibition as School”), nel 2006 a Cipro, di dar vita a una scuola d’arte, alla fine ha assunto la forma di una serie di presentazioni pubbliche e di attività didattiche alla Platz der Vereinten Nationen di Berlino. Promosse da uno dei sei co-curatori di Manifesta 6, Anton Vidokle, queste sono durate dal 2006 fino al 2009 e si sono estese a New York attraverso la Night School del New Museum (2008-9).

Molte attività curatoriali non incentrate sulle mostre dell’ultimo decennio erano originariamente connesse con il Nuovo Istituzionalismo, definizione coniata nel 2003 dal curatore norvegese Jonas Ekeberg e successivamente analizzata dalla curatrice tedesca Nina Möntmann nel suo libro del 2006 Art and Its Institutions: Current Conflicts, Critique, and Collaborations. Il Nuovo Istituzionalismo non è mai stato un movimento curatoriale coerente, ma piuttosto un fenomeno di breve durata, stimolato da modelli curatoriali non ortodossi e con una piega sociale e politica. Esso era associato ai curatori Charles Esche, Maria Lind, Maria Hlavajova, Vasif Kortun e molti altri e scomparve rapidamente, ma continua a gettare un’ombra sul modo in cui oggi i curatori concepiscono la programmazione istituzionale. Sebbene, forse, non direttamente connessi al Nuovo Istituzionalismo, il lavoro della curatrice Ute Meta Bauer e, in una certa misura, la programmazione del Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA), sotto la direzione di Manuel J. Borja-Villel, meritano di essere menzionati. Entrambi, seppure in modi diversi, hanno fortemente sostenuto un approccio curatoriale più consapevole dal punto di vista teorico e critico, e più sensibile da quello politico, privilegiando spesso imprese curatoriali che non si basavano sull’idea di mostra come esibizione di lavori.

Meta Bauer si serve spesso di un approccio ibrido, integrando archivi e materiali visivi connessi alla ricerca sociale e politica all’interno di una struttura che è in parte mostra, in parte arena per lo scambio intellettuale e il dibattito politico. Non respingendo affatto l’idea di una mostra come luogo dell’esposizione di oggetti d’arte, la pratica di Meta Bauer combina pensiero accademico rigoroso a un approccio radicale ai formati espositivi. La sua mostra ?, parte dell’ormai leggendaria esposizione NowHere (1996) al Louisiana Museum appena fuori Copenhagen, spicca come esempio precoce di un modo di realizzare mostre più orientato alla teoria. NowHere ha incorporato il pensiero critico istituzionale nel processo curatoriale e ha analizzato le mostre come eventi sociali, provando a esaminare la storia del luogo espositivo, visto come bastione di un’ideologia umanista e liberale e, tuttavia, elitista e borghese. Sebbene non sia stata percepita come un successo – forse ha rotto troppo radicalmente con i formati espositivi tradizionali – l’esposizione è stata preziosa come primo tentativo d’instaurare un dialogo con pratiche artistiche più orientate al dibattito. Per diversi aspetti essa ha anticipato quella che è stata successivamente descritta come “curatorializzazione della critica istituzionale”, un modo di curare mostre che prendeva in prestito molti elementi dalle pratiche critiche e autoriflessive di artisti come Andrea Fraser, Renée Green o Michael Asher, per citare solo alcuni nomi, una modalità che ha influenzato non solo il contenuto o il messaggio di un’esposizione, ma anche la sua forma.

Quando si parla d’innovazione nella realizzazione di mostre, è importante distinguere tra le innovazioni sul piano del contenuto, come l’integrazione, negli anni Novanta, dei nuovi discorsi sulle politiche delle identità e del postcolonialismo nelle premesse espositive (in molti casi questi rimpiazzarono semplicemente dibattiti più vecchi), e le innovazioni che coinvolgono la forma dell’esposizione stessa, allontanandola dalla tradizionale presentazione dentro il white cube. L’evoluzione della grande biennale internazionale (distante dall’originale di Venezia, con i suoi padiglioni nazionali) è certamente una delle più grandi innovazioni nella realizzazione di mostre degli ultimi due decenni. Tuttavia vi è un numero sorprendentemente piccolo di differenze nel modo in cui le diverse biennali sono curate; la maggior parte di esse finisce per essere una sorta di panoramica globale, che presenta tutto ciò che sta accadendo nel mondo dell’arte contemporanea, in un determinato momento storico, sotto l’ombrello di un tema un po’ vago. Vi sono, però, alcune isolate eccezioni, più coerenti e più rigorose dal punto di vista teorico. L’11a Biennale Internazionale di Istanbul, svoltasi nel 2009 e intitolata What Keeps Mankind Alive? è stata una di queste. E vale la pena di ricordare i cambiamenti radicali che Manifesta, la biennale europea nomade, ha subito nelle sue riproposizioni più recenti, occupandosi sempre più di politica europea – immigrazione, deindustrializzazione e i rapporti dell’Europa con i suoi vicini in Africa e Medio Oriente – e allontanandosi dall’esposizione pura e semplice di opere d’arte.
Uno dei più importanti innovatori nel campo dell’organizzazione di mostre è stato evidentemente il curatore svizzero Hans Ulrich Obrist, il quale ha iniziato la propria carriera all’inizio degli anni Novanta e che deve certamente gran parte del suo impulso creativo ai curatori meno ortodossi che abbiano operato negli anni Settanta e Ottanta (Harald Szeemann, Johannes Cladders, Walter Hopps, Lucy Lippard, Jan Hoet, Kasper König e Pontus Hultén, per citare solo alcuni nomi). Obrist è stato un fervente sostenitore della necessità di guardare le opere d’arte in rapporto agli altri campi e ha collegato la loro esposizione a discipline come l’architettura, il cinema, la letteratura e la scienza. Egli ha presentato mostre in luoghi insoliti, come le case di architetti e scrittori storicamente importanti, la sua cucina, una camera d’albergo. In altri casi, si è basato molto sulla partecipazione del pubblico, in mostre come Do It (iniziata nel 1993) e Take Me (I’m Yours) (1995). Ultimamente Obrist sembra addirittura aver abbandonato la mostra come focus principale della sua attività di curatore per concentrarsi maggiormente sulle pubblicazioni, e in particolare sul suo progetto di interviste e su maratone di conversazione. Tuttavia quasi tutto il lavoro innovativo svolto nell’ultimo decennio dagli organizzatori di mostre nelle istituzioni artistiche convenzionali deve molto alle idee introdotte per primo da Obrist. Un altro curatore meritevole di essere citato è Matthew Higgs, che da anni va sviluppando modelli espositivi alternativi, dal 2004 come direttore di White Columns a New York e, prima ancora, al CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts di San Francisco. Ciò che rende il lavoro di Higgs eccezionale, non sono tanto le mostre in sé quanto il modo in cui si svolgono e la varietà di elementi combinati al loro interno: qualsiasi cosa, dai manufatti della storia dell’arte alla musica, all’Art Brut fino agli elementi della cultura popolare.

Alcune innovazioni sono anche il frutto del coinvolgimento degli artisti nel processo curatoriale, specialmente per quanto concerne la presentazione delle collezioni. Benché il trend degli artisti curatori di mostre si sia inizialmente rivelato utile sia per comprendere il modo in cui gli artisti stessi pensano all’organizzazione delle mostre, alla storia dell’arte e agli altri artisti, sia per mettere in discussione le gerarchie e i ruoli istituzionali, ben presto le cose sono sfuggite al controllo. Un esempio particolarmente sfortunato è stato la mostra Skin Fruit (2010), curata da Jeff Koons al New Museum di New York e basata sulla collezione di Dakis Joannou. Un esempio più positivo, d’altro canto, è rappresentato da Houseguests, la serie di mostre realizzate all’Hammer Museum a partire dalla collezione Grunwald di stampe e disegni. La serie di esposizioni è stata promossa nel 2008 da Allegra Pesenti, curatrice del museo. La curatela, o piuttosto, la curatela della selezione delle opere è stata affidata a vari artisti di Los Angeles. Houseguests ha visto, perciò, il coinvolgimento attivo delle artiste Jennifer Bornstein e Francesca Gabbiani. Queste presentazioni modeste e su scala ridotta conferiscono nuova vita alle opere storiche del Grunwald Center, rendendole attraenti per un pubblico per lo più interessato all’arte contemporanea. Entrambe le edizioni fino ad ora realizzate si sono rivelate particolarmente significative per il meticoloso allestimento, per il dialogo creato tra presente e passato e per le premesse curatoriali chiare e al tempo stesso sofisticate.

In conclusione vorrei menzionare due creatori di mostre molto diversi tra loro, ma entrambi fortemente innovatori. Il primo è lo spazio d’arte indipendente Triple Candie di Harlem, a New York. Sebbene chiamare Triple Candie uno spazio d’arte alternativo o indipendente non gli renda giustizia. Fin dalla sua nascita, nel 2001, lo spazio è divenuto un bastione dell’innovazione nel campo dell’attività curatoriale, in particolare grazie a quelle che l’organizzazione chiama “mostre sull’arte senz’arte”. Due delle sue esposizioni più note sono state David Hammons: The Unauthorized Retrospective (2005), realizzata per mezzo di fotocopie e stampe al computer e senza l’approvazione dell’artista, e Cady Noland Approximately: Selected Work, 1984-2000 (2006), la prima retrospettiva sull’arte di Noland, formata da tredici approssimazioni scultoree, costruite usando informazioni incomplete raccolte su internet. Entrambe queste mostre sono state molto controverse, ma hanno introdotto diverse innovazioni, tra cui nuovi modi di organizzare esposizioni radicali senza avere a disposizione un budget ingente.

La seconda, è la collezionista, artista, studiosa, filantropa e curatrice di Toronto Ydessa Hendeles. Le qualità uniche e innovatrici del suo lavoro hanno fortunatamente ricevuto crescente attenzione negli ultimi anni; tuttavia, solo un ristretto numero di persone ha avuto il privilegio di vedere le sue esposizioni di persona. Con mostre ormai leggendarie come The Teddy Bear Project (2002), Partners (2003), Predators and Prey (2006) e Dead! Dead! Dead! (2007), Hendeles ha portato avanti, fino a esplorare orizzonti totalmente nuovi, una concezione di attività curatoriale radicalmente fondata sulla soggettività. Si è così spesso confrontata con le sofferenze della sua infanzia e con il passato della sua famiglia. Inoltre, forse proprio a causa del suo coinvolgimento personale nei soggetti trattati dalle mostre, ha esaminato il modo in cui l’arte contemporanea può occupare un contesto popolato da oggetti provenienti dalla sfera più ampia della storia culturale. Dead! Dead! Dead! è stata realizzata traendo ispirazione dal tradizionale show di pupazzi britannico che ha per protagonisti i personaggi di Punch e Judy. Hendeles ha combinato una vasta selezione di pupazzi storici di Punch e Judy, di braccialetti con ciondoli di Joan Crawford e di manganelli d’epoca vittoriana con opere di Charles Ray, James Coleman, Thomas Schütte, Louise Bourgeois, Marcel Dzama e di altri ancora per creare un complesso collage che parla in modo eloquente di violenza, morte, potere, malcontento, frustrazione e classismo.

Questi e altri esempi d’eccellenza innovatrice dell’ultimo decennio rivelano non solo che la mostra d’arte è viva e vegeta, ma che vi è ancora una quantità enorme di lavoro da fare. Sfortunatamente, guardando la maggior parte dei principali musei d’arte odierni, soprattutto negli Stati Uniti, si vedono ben poche innovazioni nell’allestimento delle mostre. Personalmente mi chiedo che cosa sarebbe successo se noi curatori, negli ultimi vent’anni, ci fossimo sforzati meno di espandere e diversificare i possibili significati dell’attività curatoriale fuori dal white cube e più di esaminare in modo radicale cosa accade tra le quattro pareti della galleria, uno spazio a cui personalmente sono molto attaccato. Realizzare mostre è necessario, non solo per la presentazione delle opere d’arte, ma anche come modo molto particolare di restituzione del pensiero intellettuale attraverso modalità creative, visive ed esperienziali.

Forse alcuni curatori hanno abbandonato troppo presto l’idea di organizzare mostre, prima che quest’ultima fosse stata completamente esplorata. Nuove forme emergeranno con maggiore facilità solo se riusciremo a sbarazzarci delle stanche categorie di mostra monografica, retrospettiva di metà carriera, mostra collettiva, rassegna storica e così via, sforzandoci, invece, di andare alla ricerca del personale e del donchisciottesco, così come del rigore accademico. Inoltre è sempre utile per i curatori d’arte contemporanea guardare oltre il campo dell’arte visiva. Una visita a un museo di storia naturale o culturale può essere un’esperienza illuminante, che rende drammaticamente evidente il potenziale senza confini della mostra. Personalmente mi è sempre piaciuto svincolarmi dai limiti imposti dal mondo dell’arte contemporanea. La speranza è che negli anni a venire si assista a un numero sempre maggiore di interventi innovatori per quanto concerne la forma della mostra. Io prometto certamente di fare la mia parte.

Partner: MOUSSE

1. Franz West, Gartenpouf, 2007. Installation view, Skin Fruit, New Museum, New York, 2010. Courtesy New Museum, New York
2-3. Take Me (I’m Yours),Serpentine Gallery, London, 1995. Courtesy Serpentine Gallery, London
4. MoMA’s interior
5. United Nation Plaza, Berlin
6. Robert Gober, Untitled (Shoe), 1990. From Dead! Dead! Dead!, Ydessa Hendeles Art Foundation, Toronto, 1997. Courtesy Ydessa Hendeles Art Foundation, Toronto. Photo: Robert Keziere
7. Lewis Baltz, Park City, Interior, Number 14 (detail), 1979. From Houseguests: Jennifer Bornstein Selects from the Grunwald Collection, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, 2008. © Lewis Baltz. Courtesy UCLA Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Photo: Robert Wedemeyer
8-10. David Hammons: The Unauthorised Retrospective, installation view at Triple Candie, New York, 2006. Courtesy Triple Candie, New York
11. Hans Baldung Grien, The Bewitched Groom, 1544. Houseguest: Francesca Gabbiani Selects from the Grunwald Center and UCLA Special Collections Libraries. Courtesy UCLA Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Photo: Robert Wedemeyer
12. Paul Klee, Die Hexe mit dem Kamm (The Witch bracelets, and Victorian-era billy clubs with works with the Comb), 1922. From Houseguest: Francesca Gabbiani Selects from the Grunwald Center and UCLA Special Collections Libraries. Courtesy UCLA Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Photo: Robert Wedemeyer
13. Michael Le Blon, design for watch covers, c. 1620-1664. From Houseguests: Jennifer Bornstein Selects from the Grunwald Collection, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, 2008. © Lewis Baltz. Courtesy UCLA Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Photo: Robert Wedemeyer
14. Ed Ruscha, Hollywood, 1969. From Houseguests: Jennifer Bornstein Selects from the Grunwald Collection, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, 2008. © Ed Ruscha. Courtesy UCLA Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Photo: Robert Wedemeyer
15. James Welling, Finish BA C-10, Serra from New Genres Balcony, 1979. From Houseguests: Jennifer Bornstein Selects from the Grunwald Collection, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, 2008. Courtesy UCLA Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Photo: Robert Wedemeyer

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Studi sulla Notte. Concert on prepared piano by Laurent Durupt


Studi sulla Notte is a work that came out of a conjunction between my research on instrumental composition inspired by computer processes and processing, and the thought of Deleuze, particularly in the books he co-wrote with Guattari entitled Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus. The first book sets out concepts like the Body without organs and desiring-machines, while the second book (especially in the first part entitled Rhizome) elaborates and compares two types of formal organization using analogies with nature: those of the tree and the rhizome.
I will not explain these notions in detail here, but I was struck by their connections with art and especially with music, and these reflections themselves grafted (“made rhizome”) onto my oldest preoccupations: taking principles from the world of computers such as compression, encryption and decoding, and transposing them into the world of music.
Studi sulla Notte therefore takes the form of four studies linked in one single trajectory, in which the performer, in each of the four parts, receives a few improvisation instructions related to the previously evoked notions.

Speakers are particular organs in the electronic sound production chain. Depending on the frequency they emit, they evoke lungs inhaling and exhaling, a spasmodic pulse, or the mouth, while it starts emitting a continuous sound with higher frequencies… The first part of the piece aims to highlight these three aspects, whereas the acceleration of the speaker(s), which makes it possible to change the “organic mode”, is accompanied by the progressive race of the performer. Thus at the end of his race, the performer – out of breath, heart beating – physically feels the three organs, and looks to us like a machine himself.

Rhythmic trees
The two central parts explore the two principal concepts compared in Deleuze and Guattari’s philosophical essay Rhizome. The first is the tree figure, with its quintessential hierarchical structure. In the case of rhythm, the tree metaphor relates to the characteristic that each note value can be divided into several sub-values, which can themselves be divided in turn, like a tree dividing into braches right down to its leaves. The improvisation that results and the vertical journey into binary rhythmical arborescence, goes from short values to long values and vice versa, depending on what the improvising electronics offer. This results in a section that is static overall, in spite of internal fluctuations due to the alternation of the pulsation’s quick or slow currencies.

Rhyzomatic constructions
The second central part takes as its point of departure the concept that Deleuze and Guattari oppose to the tree, that the rhizome, in which every point can be in contact with any other, without any hierarchy, and develop according to an intrinsic logic, not according to a pre-established external plan. Unlike the previous section, this time the improvisation consists in constructing and deconstructing patterns that can be ramified and reconstructed differently by changing the order in which the keys are played, in a comprehensive arsis that represents the endless development of a rhizome.

Incremental permutations
The final improvisation and the last part of Studi sulla Notte aims to gradually integrate the various notes of a particular chord and to sound it through permutations of the patterns that came out of the previous improvisation. The intermediate notes having been muffled, these permutations make it possible to bring out other irregular rhythmical patterns, while low notes are gradually eliminated according to a pattern of incrementation followed by decrementation.

Laurent Durupt
Laurent Durupt is diplomed in piano, chamber music, analysis, counterpoint, improvisation and composition at the CNSM Conservatoire National Superieur de Paris. He won several prizes at piano competitions (Pordenone, Grosseto), Chamber Music competition (Krakovia, Paris) and composition prizes (Tenso Young Composer Award). His principal teachers were Hugues Leclere, Pascal Devoyon, Bruno Rigutto, Nicholas Angelich and Henri Barda for the piano, Frédéric Durieux, Luis Naon, Allain Gaussin and Philippe Leroux for composition. He was resident to academy of Royaumont Voix Nouvelles in 2010 and worked there with B. Ferneyhough, L. Lim and F. Filidei.
As a pianist, he founded with his brother percussionist the Links duo, and with several artists the Links ensemble. They are actors of the new European scene for new music, in premiering music from F. Bedrossian, J. Tejera P. Hurel or S. Ricks. As a soloist, he is invited in many festival as Nancyphonies, Amsterdam Opera or Salzburger Schlosskonzerte, and premiered the concerto for piano and ensemble Confluence of Octavi Rumbau.
In 2011-2013, he did the IRCAM’S Cursus 1 and 2 for young composers in Paris. He was awarded scholarships from the Fondation de France and the Fondation Meyer and was commissioned by Radio France, Le Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Le Cabaret Contemporain, the pianist Hugues Leclere, the Latvia Radio Choir, Le Jeune Choeur de Paris or The Mercury Quartet. His works are played in many important places for contemporary music, such as Paris, Lyon, Strasbourg, Bogota, Vitoria, Chelsea, Manchester, Saint Petersburg, Vancouver, Dallas, Austin, Atlanta, San Antonio or New York.
Laurent Durupt teach piano at the 14th district’s conservatory of Paris and is actually resident at the Villa Medici (Académie de France a Rome).


Studi sulla Notte est une œuvre issue de la rencontre entre mes recherches d’écriture instrumentale inspirées des processus et traitements informatiques, et la pensée de Deleuze, en particulier dans les livres co-écrits avec Guattari intitulés Anti-Oedipe et Mille Plateaux. Le premier livre expose des concepts tels que le Corps-sans-organes ou les Machines-désirantes, tandis que le second livre (notamment dans la première partie intitulée Rhizome) développe et confronte deux types d’organisation formelle par analogie avec la nature: celui de l’arbre et celui du rhizome.
Sans vouloir ici entrer dans les détails de ces notions, j’ai été cependant frappé par leurs correspondances avec l’art et notamment la musique et ces réflexions sont venues se greffer (“faire rhizome”) avec mes préoccupations plus anciennes, consistant en la transposition dans le monde de la musique de principes issu du monde de l’informatique tels que la compression, le cryptage, l’encodage, etc.
Studi sulla Notte revêt donc la forme de quatre études enchainées dans une même trajectoire, où l’interprète reçoit dans chacune des quatre parties quelques consignes d’improvisations en rapport avec les notions précédemment évoquées.

Le haut-parleur est un organe particulier de la chaîne de production sonore électrique. Selon la fréquence qu’il émet, il évoque le poumon, qui inspire puis expire, le pouls traversé de spasmes, ou la bouche, alors qu’il commence à émettre un son continu avec les fréquences plus élevées… La première partie de la pièce a pour but de mettre en valeur ces trois aspects, alors que l’accélération de(s) haut-parleur(s) permettant de changer de “mode organique” est accompagnée par la course progressive de l’instrumentiste. Ainsi celui-ci, au terme de sa course, essoufflé, le corps battant, ressent physiquement les trois organes, et nous apparaît comme une machine lui-même.

Arbres rythmiques
Les deux parties centrales explorent les deux principaux concepts confrontés dans l’essai philosophique Rhizome de Deleuze et Guattari. Le premier est la figure de l’arbre avec sa structure hiérarchique par excellence. La métaphore de l’arbre dans le cas du rythme se rapporte à la caractéristique de chaque durée de pouvoir se diviser en plusieurs sous-valeurs, qui elles-mêmes peuvent à leur tour se diviser, à la manière de l’arbre sedivisant en branches jusqu’aux feuilles. L’improvisation qui en découle et le voyage vertical dans l’arborescence rythmique binaire, passant des valeurs courtes aux valeurs longues et inversement, en fonction des propositions de l’électronique improvisant elle-même. En résulte une section globalement statique malgré des fluctuations internes dues à l’alternance de monnayages rapides ou lents de la pulsation.

Constructions rhyzomatiques
La seconde partie centrale prend pour point de départ le concept opposé par Deleuze et Guattari à l’arbre, celui du rhizome, dans lequel tout point peut être en contact avec un autre, sans hiérarchie, et se développant selon un logique intrinsèque et non selon un plan extérieur préétabli. Au contraire de la section précédente, l’improvisation ici consiste en la construction et déconstruction de patterns pouvant se ramifier, se reconstituer différemment par permutations de l’ordre des touches jouées, dans une arsis globale figurant le développement sans fin du rhizome.

Permutations incrémentales
La dernière improvisation et dernière partie de Studi sulla Notte a pour but d’intégrer progressivement les différentes notes d’un accord particulier et de le faire sonner grâce aux permutations de patterns issus de l’improvisation précédente. Les notes intermédiaires étant étouffées, lesdites permutations permettent de dégager d’autre patterns rythmiques irréguliers, tandis que les notes graves sont peu à peu évacuées selon un schéma d’incrémentation puis de décrémentation.

Laurent Durupt
Musicien à la formation aussi variée qu’aboutie (six prix et deux masters au conservatoire supérieur de Paris), lauréat de concours internationaux de piano ou de musique de chambre, il se passionne tant par l’électronique (cursus I et II à l’Ircam) que par l’écriture instrumentale ou l’interprétation.
Vivant et enseignant le piano à Paris, il fonde le duo Links avec son frère percussionniste, puis avec d’autres artistes l’ensemble Links avec lesquels il conçoit des spectacles incluant musique, scénographie et vidéo…
Ses œuvres, inspirées par les processus et algorithmes de traitements informatiques, les concepts philosophiques de Deleuze et enfin les musiques improvisées, sont jouées dans le monde entier (Paris, Lyon, Strasbourg, Londres, Valencia, Bogota, Vitoria, Chelsea, Manchester, Saint-Pétersbourg, Vancouver, Dallas, San Antonio ou New York).

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The circulation of works, curators and exhibitions

France Culture Programme
Europe (2/5): Circulation des œuvres, des commissaires, des expositions (The circulation of works, curators and exhibitions)
20.05.2014 – 16:00 – 17 :00
Pierre Bal-Blanc, guest of the day

Audio file

Part two of a week dedicated to Europe. Today, we examine the circulation of artworks in Europe. Our guest Pierre Bal-Blanc, director of the Brétigny contemporary centre d’art, is head of the PIANO project, a Franco-Italian curatorial platform that offers exhibition and residency exchanges between France and Italy. Launched a few days ago in Rome, the platform plans to turn towards all of Europe.

Marta Minujín, El obelisco acostado, 1978

Marta Minujín, El obelisco acostado, 1978

Yesterday we said that Europe was a Phoenician princess, seduced and abducted by Zeus appearing in the form of a magnificent heifer, and that her bothers founded cities while searching for her. We also said that Europe counts among its ancestors Io, the mortal woman seduced by Zeus, thus arousing Hera’s jealousy. The goddess condemns her to circulate, mad and pestered by a nasty fly. Therefore a mythological network stresses circulation and seduction. This motif has been represented many times, and has given rise to works of art, which have themselves cemented European culture. Today we look at the circulation of works, exhibitions, artists and curators. Is it possible to conceive of the European contemporary arena through these movements? Or better yet, is it possible to build upon a foundation of pooled research and productions, to develop politics? What can we learn from our knowledge of the systems of modalities of art production outside France, and from the exchange of know-how in this sphere?

Music programme:
- Coming Soon, Santa Monica
- Lykke Li, Sleeping Alone
- Béatrice Gibson, The Tiger’s Mind Soundtrack


Emission France Culture
Europe (2/5) : Circulation des œuvres, des commissaires, des expositions
20.05.2014 – 16:00 – 17 :00
Pierre Bal-Blanc, invité du jour

File audio

Deuxième temps d’une semaine consacrée à l’Europe. Aujourd’hui, nous évoquons la circulation des œuvres en Europe. Notre invité, Pierre Bal-Blanc,directeur du CAC Brétigny, est responsable du projet « PIANO », une plateforme curatoriale franco-italienne qui propose des expositions et des résidences croisées entre la France et l’Italie. Lancé il y a quelques jours à Rome, la plateforme a pour projet de se tourner vers l’Europe entière.

Hier nous avons dit qu’Europe était une princesse phénicienne, séduite et enlevée par Zeus métamorphosé en magnifique taureau blanc, et que ses frères, en la cherchant, fonderont des villes. Nous avons dit aussi qu’Europe compte dans son ascendance Io, femme mortelle séduite par Zeus et qui s’attire ainsi la jalousie d’Hera. La déesse la condamne à circuler, folle et agacée par une méchante mouche. Un réseau mythologique met donc l’accent sur la circulation et la séduction. Ce motif a été moult fois représenté, et a donné naissance à des œuvres d’art, elles-mêmes devenues ciment de la culture européenne. C’est de la circulation des œuvres, de celle des expositions, des artistes et des commissaires dont il est aujourd’hui question. Et s’il était possible de penser l’espace contemporain européen par le biais de ces mouvements ? Ou, plus encore, de construire sur la mise en commun des recherches et des productions, pour élaborer du politique ? Que pouvons-nous tirer de notre connaissance des systèmes et des modalités de production artistique à l’étranger, et de l’échange de savoir-faire dans ce domaine ?  

Programmation musicale :
- Coming Soon, Santa Monica
- Lykke Li, Sleeping Alone
- Béatrice Gibson, The Tiger’s Mind Soundtrack

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Vincent Honoré in conversation with Sandra Patron, Parc Saint Léger, Pougues-les-Eaux

Vincent Honoré What was behind the creation of the art centre in 1998?

Sandra Patron There are two factors behind the creation of the art centre: first of all one man’s passion for contemporary creation, Bernard Bardin, then chairman of the General Council of Nièvre. He wanted this rural area to be rooted, in no ordinary dated nostalgia, but in the times and the questioning that it generates. Then as this region has been hit hard by de-industrialisation and an exodus towards cities, leaving entire sections of its heritage empty. This was notably the case with Pougues-les-Eaux, a spa resort that has been abandoned since the end of the ’70s. Local councillors were hoping to breathe new life into these sites without knowing exactly how to tackle the problem. In any case, chances are that a contemporary art centre had not been envisaged by most of them. Many had their reservations, and the discussions were heated, only Bernard Bardin’s pugnacity enabled the project to come to fruition. 

7_Wilfrid Almendra

2. Wilfrid Almendra, Le Splendid, 2013

V.H. How would you describe the art centre’s unique DNA in relation to other similar structures?

S.P. I think it is the characterful site that prompted me from the outset to consider the artistic project a time to offer artists rather than as a space to be invested. Residencies enable that, in addition to the off-site programme, insofar as we can at certain moments encourage long production processes, at other times react very quickly to requests that require technical expertise made possible by the scope of our local partners.
Paradoxically, the isolation of the site – or in any case its isolation from the art scene – is in my view a constituent part of the project, its strength and originality, this isolation enables a quite unique quality of concentration, for the team as well as for the artists. It also often enables often strong and sometimes friendly links to be formed between us. There is a lovely text by Giorgio Agamben on this matter of friendship and complicity acting as a powerful driving force to create a space for sharing and production, I have great faith in this idea, and there again, our setting is conducive to this type of approach.
Regarding projects that could characterise the way in which we envisage production processes, two examples come to mind: Lili Reynaud-Dewar came here to develop a project around the Black Maria, this first movie production studio conceived by Edison. For several months, the PSL was transformed into a film factory, a loyal troop rallied around his project, costume designers, actors, make-up artists and musicians, the films were shot on site, they were put together on site, the exhibition made this production process perceptible. Likewise Alain Bublex spent over a year on and off at the art centre in 2011 to produce a motorbike prototype in partnership with a local engineering school specialising in the car industry. In the global context in which we work, forging ahead, I realise that this way of working is a real luxury, for myself as well as my team of course, but also and above all for the artists. 

Parc Saint Léger

3. Parc Saint Léger

V.H. You started managing the art centre in 2007. Have you modified the programme or changed the focus of the centre, or quite the opposite do you want to anchor a heritage?

S.P. When I started, I kept the constituent parts of the project: the residency, the scheduling in situ as well as off-site but yes, there have been many changes. I wholeheartedly wanted the place to be anchored on a European level not only through the programme choices but also by inviting foreign curators every year. The residencies were reviewed: one, Les Résidences Secondaires, devoted to emerging artists, the other, La Grande Ourse, is a research residency at the crossroads of disciplines (theory, practical, graphic design) that I organise every year with art schools in Bourges, Cergy, Dijon and the graphic design centre in Chaumont. The off-site programme was reviewed, probably because, at the start, I was quite unsettled by this project and the sociocultural deviations that could result. Not really knowing how to address the question, I simply decided that we were going to do what we knew how to do: to produce artworks with artists. The person in charge of off-site programme was previously a cultural mediator, I decided to recruit an exhibition curator, and this simple decision completely changed the direction.

V.H. Parc Saint Léger is a complex structure that regroups a set of cultural facilities: exhibition space, residencies, publications, off-site actions. How do you combine all these activities into one coherent programme? 

Gabriel Kuri, bottled water branded water. Installation view

4. Gabriel Kuri, bottled water branded water. Installation view

S.P. I do not aspire to combine our different activities at all costs, but I actually worked to make synergy possible, and at the same time – and this is essential for me, for it to be possible for there to be no synergy. For our Résidences Secondaires for example, three month residences devoted to the emerging European scene), we select the artists one year in advance, we initiate discussions with them well ahead, we discuss the off-site programme with them, and very often there is a specific context that stimulates them, so we make this link between the residency and the off-site programme. But sometimes, the artists just need time for a break, for research, to bathe in the Loire and to smoke a cigarette by the fire, and that is fine with us too.

V.H. The location is rural. What bearing does its location have on your programme?

S.P. In concrete terms its rural location means that there is no power struggle with anyone: not in the art world as geographically you are not treading on anyone’s toes, nor locally as up against performing arts centres that are more easily identifiable, art centres are still as strange as UFOs. This lack of any threat to anyone brings great freedom on a daily basis. I am not sure for example that a project like Breathing House by Jean-Pascal Flavien would have been so simple to organise in an urban setting, with the numerous rules involved and the representatives to meet and to convince.

V.H. PIANO wants to create a space for exchange and dialogue between Italian and French art venues. Why did you want to participate and what programme are you proposing?  

S.P. Four years ago, I wished to become involved in the d.c.a office (that initiated PIANO) alongside Claire Le Restif, director of the Crédac, to encourage art centre networking on a European level. The reasons are pragmatic, strategic and artistic at the same time: pragmatic as there is less and less funding, and networking enables us to raise funds to produce our projects; strategic as in the cultural arena in France, we have been isolated for too long from the international scene and its players and there is a need for us, in terms of visibility, impact and symbolic power, to bridge this gap; artistic of course as directing an art centre sometimes means a certain amount of solitude and discussions with colleagues, a fortiori those with other thought processes, are vital. I am for example delighted about the discussions that I have at the moment with Chris Sharp, the curator of our exhibition for PIANO, The Registry of Promise, an exhibition with a literary construction in four chapters. His relationship with art, his approach, the way in which he works with artists, the way in which he perceives this very strange profession known as exhibition curator, is all very refreshing and a source of inspiration for me.

Simon Starling, THEREHERETHENTHERE (la Source). Installation view

5. Simon Starling, THEREHERETHENTHERE (la Source). Installation view

Space: Parc Saint Léger
Protagonists: Sandra Patron
Project: The Registry of Promise


Vincent Honoré Quelles sont les raisons qui ont présidé à la creation du centre d’art en 1998 ?

Sandra Patron La création du centre d’art résulte de deux facteurs : tout d’abord la passion d’un homme, Bernard Bardin, alors président du Conseil Général de la Nièvre, pour la création contemporaine. Il souhaitait ancrer ce territoire rural, non dans une quelconque nostalgie passéiste, mais bien dans son époque et les questionnements qu’elle suscite. Ensuite, parce que cette région a subi de plein fouet la désindustrialisation et l’exode vers les grandes villes, laissant des pans entiers de son patrimoine vacant. C’était notamment le cas de la station thermale de Pougues-les-Eaux, en déshérence depuis la fin des années ’70. Les élus locaux étaient à la recherche d’une nouvelle vie pour ces lieux sans savoir exactement comment envisager le problème, en tout cas, il est fort à parier que créer un centre d’art contemporain n’était pas, pour la majorité d’entre eux, une solution envisagée. Les réticences furent nombreuses, et les débats passionnés, seule la pugnacité de Bernard Bardin a permis au projet de voir le jour. 

V.H. Comment définir l’A.D.N. du centre d’art, ce qui le singularise par rapport à d’autres structures similaires ?

S.P. Je crois que c’est le lieu, avec ses caractéristiques, qui m’a amené dès le départ à envisager le projet artistique comme un temps à offrir aux artistes plus que comme un espace à investir. Les résidences permettent cela, ainsi que la programmation hors les murs, dans la mesure où nous pouvons à certains moments impulser des processus de production longs, à d’autres moments réagir très vite à des demandes qui supposent de mobiliser des compétences techniques qui sont rendues possibles par l’étendue de nos partenaires à l’échelle locale.
Paradoxalement, l’isolement du lieu – ou en tout cas son isolement de la scène artistique – me semble constitutif du projet, il en fait sa force et sa singularité, cet isolement crée une qualité de concentration dans le travail assez unique, tant pour l’équipe que pour les artistes. Il permet également de créer entre nous des liens souvent forts, parfois amicaux. Il y a un très joli texte de Giorgio Agamben sur cette question de l’amitié et de la complicité comme un puissant moteur pour créer un espace de partage et de production, je crois beaucoup à cette idée, et là encore, notre contexte favorise ce type d’approche.
Concernant des projets qui pourraient caractériser la façon dont nous envisageons les processus de production, deux exemples me viennent à l’esprit : Lili Reynaud-Dewar est venue développer un projet autour de la Black Maria, ce premier studio de cinéma imaginé par Edison. Pendant plusieurs mois, le PSL s’est alors transformé en usine à film, une troupe fidèle s’est retrouvée autour de son projet, costumiers, acteurs, maquilleurs, musiciens, on a tourné les films sur place, on les a monté sur place, l’exposition matérialisait ce processus de production. Idem avec Alain Bublex qui, en 2011, a passé plus d’un an par intermittence au centre d’art pour produire un prototype de moto en partenariat avec une école d’ingénieur locale spécialisée dans l’industrie automobile. Dans le contexte global qui est le nôtre, celui d’une fuite en avant généralisée, je mesure à quel point cette façon de travailler est un luxe, pour moi et mon équipe bien sûr, mais aussi et surtout pour les artistes. 

V.H. Vous avez pris la direction du centre d’art en 2007. Avez vous infléchi la programmation ou changé les missions du centre, ou au contraire avez-vous souhaité ancrer un héritage ?

S.P. À mon arrivée, j’ai conservé les éléments constitutifs du projet : la résidence, la programmation in situ et la programmation hors les murs mais oui, les évolutions ont été nombreuses. J’ai voulu résolument ancrer le lieu à l’échelle européenne non seulement par les choix de programmation mais également par l’invitation faite tous les ans à des commissaires étrangers. Les résidences ont été remaniées : l’une, Les Résidences Secondaires, dédiée aux artistes émergents, l’autre, La Grande Ourse, est une résidence de recherche à la croisée des disciplines (théorie, pratique, design graphique) que je produis tous les ans avec les Écoles d’art de Bourges, Cergy, Dijon et le pôle graphisme de Chaumont. La programmation hors les murs a été repensée, sans doute parce que, au départ, j’étais assez déstabilisée par ce projet et les dérives socio-culturelles qu’elle pouvait entraîner. Ne sachant pas vraiment comment aborder la question, j’ai simplement décidé que nous allions faire ce que nous savions faire : produire des œuvres avec des artistes. La chargée de programmation hors les murs était auparavant une médiatrice culturelle, j’ai décidé de recruter une commissaire d’exposition, et cette simple décision a complètement changé le curseur.

V.H. Le Parc Saint Léger est une structure complexe qui regroupe un certain nombre d’équipements culturels : espace d’expositions, résidences, publications, actions hors les murs. Comment unifier toutes ces activités dans un programme cohérent ? 

S.P. Mon souhait n’est pas d’unifier les différents pôles de notre activité à tout prix mais j’ai effectivement travaillé à rendre possibles les synergies, et en même temps – et c’est un point essentiel pour moi, à rendre possible le fait qu’il puisse ne pas y avoir de synergie. Pour nos Résidences Secondaires par exemple (résidences de trois mois dédiées à la scène émergente européenne), nous choisissons les artistes un an avant leur venue, nous entamons le dialogue avec eux bien en amont, nous leur parlons de la programmation hors les murs, et bien souvent il y a un contexte de travail qui les stimule, nous faisons alors ce lien entre la résidence et la programmation hors les murs. Mais parfois, les artistes ont juste besoin d’un temps de pause, de recherche, de baignade dans la Loire et de cigarette fumées au coin du feu, et cela nous va très bien aussi.

V.H. Le lieu est situé en territoire rural. En quoi sa situation informe votre programmation ?

S.P. Etre installé dans un territoire rural, concrètement, cela signifie que vous n’êtes un enjeu de pouvoir pour personne : ni pour le milieu de l’art car géographiquement vous ne marchez sur les plates-bandes de personne, ni localement car face aux structures de spectacle vivant, plus facilement repérables dans les formes qu’elles manipulent, les centres d’art font encore figure d’ovni. N’être un enjeu de pouvoir pour personne confère au quotidien une grande liberté d’action. Je ne suis pas sûre par exemple qu’un projet comme la Breathing House de Jean-Pascal Flavien aurait été si simple à monter dans un terrain urbain, avec sa multiplicité de réglementation et d’interlocuteurs à rencontrer et à convaincre.

V.H. PIANO veut créer un espace d’échange et de dialogues entre des lieux d’art italiens et français. Pourquoi avez vous souhaité participer et quel programme proposez-vous ?  

S.P. Il y a quatre ans, j’ai souhaité m’investir dans le bureau de d.c.a (qui est à l’initiative de PIANO) au côté de Claire Le Restif, directrice du Crédac, précisément pour cette question de mise en réseau des centres d’art à l’échelle européenne. Les raisons sont tout à la fois pragmatiques, stratégiques et artistiques : pragmatiques car les financements se raréfient, et le travail en réseau nous permet de bailler des fonds pour produire nos projets ; stratégiques car en France, culturellement, nous nous sommes trop longtemps isolés de la scène internationale et de ses acteurs et qu’il y a nécessité pour nous, en terme de visibilité, d’impact et de pouvoir symbolique, à combler ce retard ; artistiques bien sûr car diriger un centre d’art engendre parfois de grands moments de solitude et que les échanges avec des collègues, à fortiori ceux qui ont d’autres logiciels de pensés, sont vitaux. Je suis par exemple ravie des échanges que j’ai en ce moment avec Chris Sharp, le commissaire de notre exposition pour PIANO, The Registry of Promise, une exposition de facture littéraire en quatre chapitres. Son rapport à l’art, sa démarche, la façon dont il travaille avec les artistes, la façon dont il conçoit ce métier très étrange qu’on appelle commissaire d’exposition, tout cela est source d’oxygénation et d’inspiration pour moi.

1. Oscar Tuazon & Eli Hansen, IT WAS ONE OF MY BEST COMES, exhibition view, 2010. © Aurélien Mole / Parc Saint Léger
2. Wilfrid Almendra, Le Splendid, 2013. © Aurélien Mole / Parc Saint Léger
3. Parc Saint Léger. © Aurélien Mole / Parc Saint Léger
4. Gabriel Kuri, bottled water branded water, exhibition view, 2013. © Aurélien Mole / Parc Saint Léger
5. Simon Starling, THEREHERETHENTHERE (la Source), exhibition view, 2009. © Aurélien Mole / Parc Saint Léger




Book launch MAXXI, Rome
8-9 mai 2014

Hanru Hou Artistic Director MAXXI

introduced by
Pierre Bal Blanc Director of CAC Bretigny
Valerio Mannucci founder and editor-in-chief of NERO

Gianluca Gallinari


Draft Score for an Exhibition is both a book and an exhibition conceived by Pierre Bal-Blanc, director of the CAC Brétigny.
Divided into multiple acts in which each session follows the rules of a score executed by the author or a third party, the exhibition was initially developed as an oral presentation by Pierre Bal Blanc in support of his candidature for the curatorship of the 7th Berlin Biennale in 2010.
Since then, the exhibition has been presented at Le Plateau, Paris; Secession, Vienna; CAC Brétigny; Institut Français du Portugal, Lisbon; Artissima Art Fair, Turin and Index-The Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation, Stockholm.
The publication Draft Score For An Exhibition is a tool, a score with a list of works, instructions and references to visual annotations for presentation of the performance. It also includes a corpus of texts and iconography summarizing the interpretations presented before the release of the publication. During the course of the event the audience will discover how the book offers the reader the opportunity to examine the documentation of the previous performances as well as executing the score.

80 pages
Bilingual edition (English / French)
Published in may 2014
Dimensions: 20 x 11,5 cm
ISBN: 978-88-97503-36-1
10 Euros

Order at
NERO magazine
CAC Brétigny





Ilaria Marotta “In January 1982, thirty-one years ago, Primo Levi was asked to say something about the future, giving voice to the writer of science fiction – or biology fiction, as Calvino said – that was in him,” writes Marco Belpoliti talking about the future in a recent article appeared on doppiozero. “He did it” – he continues – “ in Tuttolibri, together with and next to James G. Ballard, a far more apocalyptic author. Levi simply reiterated the predictions made twenty years earlier by Arthur Clarke, commenting on what had actually come true and what had not. Among the various things that happened, there was the landing on the moon, one year before Clarke’s prediction; Clarke had also envisioned a “personal radio” by 1980: Levi thought this was easy but not convenient to produce: better let it go. Now that we have the Internet and social networks, something similar has happened…”. Here, the author stresses that talking about the future always entails the idea of a bet or a prediction. We can only speak of the future in the present. And similarly, your project The Registry of Promise, whose first event has been presented at the Fondazione Giuliani in Rome, investigates not so much your vision of the future as an aspiration for the future, or rather a promise for the future. What is the future that artists seem to promise?


2. Peter Buggenhout, Gorgo #33, 2013

Chris Sharp It is indeed true that the future can only speculated about from the position of the present. As for what you say about The Registry of Promise and the proprietorship of visions (mine or the artists’), I hadn’t thought about that before, but now that I do, I think it is actually shared – that it, this vision, is something that we produce, or maybe better yet, experience together, curator and artist, as if we coincide and enter in a kind of complicity. In fact, it is this kind of ideal complicity that prevents, I believe, a show from being about ideas as opposed to art (i.e., using art to illustrate ideas) and which is why I never feel comfortable with term “research,” and why I feel like I don’t really do any, properly speaking, nor do any of the artists with whom I have the great privilege to work. If I am not mistaken, the term presupposes a quantifiable scientific method (hypothesis, proof) which, contrary to recent popular opinion, has very little, if anything, to do with the fundamental, insuperable and incommensurable (unquantifiable) sense of uncertainty and mystery intrinsic to art.

Jochen Lempert, Untitled (from: Symmetry and the Architecture of the Body), 1997

3. Jochen Lempert, Untitled, 1997

As for the question of the future and promise, the relationship of the artists in this overall exhibition with time, is, I hope, much more complex. It has as much to do with the past and the present as with future. It’s more a question of the ambiguity at the heart of the notion of promise – its ultimate lack of allegiance to a given or specific temporality.
I am not sure what kind of future artists can offer us. Part of me wants to believe in this utopian relic of the avant-garde, and another part believes that it is, to a certain extent, responsible for some of the least interesting art being made today, whether it be through the predominantly affirmative, non-critical embrace of the internet and technology among the majority of what is commonly referred to as “post-internet art” or through the positivistic instrumentalization of art in “social practice.” This much I can unoriginally say, great art usually allows me to perceive things in a way I would have never perceived them before, that which in turn inevitably opens up new perspectives. I can also say that I believe that there is a lot of compassion in the work I am showing – something I am coming to value more and more in art (as well as in literature), which is rare and which probably has more to do with the future than we might initially think, even if it is essentially timeless.

Marlie Mul, Puddle (Faint Blue), 2014

4. Marlie Mul, Puddle (Faint Blue), 2014

I.M. In that same article, the writer supports the idea of a return to primitivism, the need to recover deep roots, the reassertion of basic needs to address the advancement of new technologies, social networking, a virtual context. If we look at historical determinism, we know that every action is the result of a previous one. So the future is actually in progress. In this perspective, the prediction of a future action is no longer something abstract, but rather something that we build day by day in the present. In an exhibition that I recently curated, called The Time Machine (The Survivors), there was a clear reference to the in-progress perception of the future. What is the aspect that most attracts you about the future? The new languages, new aesthetics, or specific issues (ecology, the legacy of history, nature…)? Which of these areas have you explored or will explore in your four exhibition projects, and in what order was the general design of the exhibition envisioned? 

Jean-Marie Perdrix, Cheval, bronze à la chair perdue 3, 2013

5. Jean-Marie Perdrix, Cheval, bronze à la chair perdue 3, 2013

C.S. I suppose that the aspect that most attracts me about the future is its ability to generate if not narrative, then form (which is always a kind of narrative, or way to prevent the story from yielding up its contents, once and for all, and ending) – which is one of the primary points of this show. To what extent can the future generate narrative and form? Or rather, to what extent is our western perspective of the future capable of generating it? If that perspective has been exhausted (the dominant western narrative/mythology seems to be not just the end of the world, but how it will end) then how can we imagine other perspectives, other forms? By shedding the old one (melancholy); abandoning a linear conception of time and embracing a multiplicity of times (multiple times); accepting the impossibility of a non-human narrative (moving things); and lastly, by stretching literature and language itself to new limits. But all of that makes the exhibitions that compose The Registry of Promise sound more prescriptive and idea-based than they actually are. Their relationship to ideas is probably closer to poetry’s relationship to ideas, which is one of form, at least where Wallace Stevens is concerned, when he writes: “The poem must resist the intelligence almost successfully.”

Jochen Lempert, Fire, 2008

6. Jochen Lempert, Fire, 2008

I.M. I found the first event of the project at the Giuliani really well arranged, sophisticated, almost metaphysical in the choice of the large voids between each work. Such an arrangement of space is a curatorial choice, but can it also be interpreted as your own personal reading of an imaginary future? Rarefaction, order, or entropy?


7. Jochen Lempert, Martha, 2005

C.S. Thank you very much. Metaphysical is not a term I would have ever selected to describe it, but now that you mention it, de Chirico does come to mind, as well as a corresponding sense of deliberateness, meaning (or lack thereof), crisis, and even desolation. The latter probably has more to do with my spatial decisions in the Giuliani show than anything. I wanted to create a potent, yet understated sense of drama. All the work in the show is very powerful and I wanted to emphasize that power, even if I did so toward non-specific narrative ends – for instance, it seems like something has happened in The Promise of Melancholy and Ecology, which is very much of the order of aftermath, but whatever has happened has less to do with an event than, say, a psychological condition: melancholy (a condition, which, predicated on loss, inwardly leans more toward emptying out the world than filling it up).
I also think that some, if not all the works really deserved the space. Jean-Marie Perdrix’s amalgamated, bronze horse head, for instance – an object as beautiful as it is harrowing – needed a room all to itself, I believe, in order to fully realize itself. But then again, to speak generally, I think all great art deserves a lot of space in order to be properly seen, and that, reversing the same logic, all the space in Giuliani can be gleaned as a measure of not only how powerful the art in it is, but also, by extension, how fortunate I am to be able to work with it.

1. Jochen Lempert, Untitled, 2005, silver gelatin print; 37 x 28 cm. Courtesy ProjecteSD, Barcelona.
2. Peter Buggenhout, Gorgo #33, 2013, mixed media: wax, plastic, blood, horse hair, cardboard, PU-foam, polyester; 48 x 72 x 49 cm; vitrine and pedestal 147 x 80 x 60 cm. Courtesy Galerie Laurent Godin, Paris
3. Jochen Lempert, Untitled (from: Symmetry and the Architecture of the Body), 1997, 2 silver gelatin prints; 18 x 24 cm each. Courtesy ProjecteSD, Barcelona
4. Marlie Mul, Puddle (Faint Blue), 2014, sand, stones, resin, objects; 95 x 88 cm. Courtesy Fluxia, Milan
5. Jean-Marie Perdrix, Cheval, bronze à la chair perdue 3, 2013, cast of copper alloy, carbon and ash; 25 x 77 x 33 cm. Courtesy Desiré Saint Phalle, Mexico City
6. Jochen Lempert, Fire, 2008, 6 silver gelatin prints; 18 x 24 cm each. Courtesy ProjecteSD, Barcelona
7. Jochen Lempert, Martha, 2005, silver gelatin print; 30 x 28 cm. Courtesy ProjecteSD, Barcelona

Photos: Giorgio Benni

Project: The Registry of Promise
Spaces: Fondazione Giuliani, Parc Saint Léger, Centre d’art contemporain d’Ivry – le Crédac, De Vleeshal
Protagonists: Chris SharpPeter Buggenhout, Jochen Lempert, Marlie Mul, Jean-Marie Perdrix, Patrick Bernatchez, Juliette BlightmanRosalind Nashashibi, Francisco Tropa, Andy Warhol, Anicka Yi, Nina Canell, Alexander Gutke, Mandla Reuter, Hans Schabus, Michael E. Smith, Antoine Nessi

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Foreword by Pierre Bal-Blanc

“J’aimerais jouer avec un piano qui aurait une grosse queue”
(I’d like to play with a piano that has a big third leg.)
Erik Satie

Serious, but also necessarily impertinent towards institutions, the artistic projects mobilized by the PIANO initiative aim to disrupt the usual creative rhythm and do something off-beat. This prepared platform for contemporary art translates into novel experiences in physical and virtual spaces, leading to a different appreciation of the geography of the art scenes in European countries. is an online information exchange instrument for art professionals, but also a resource platform open to the public. It will contain texts, essays, discussions about ongoing projects, calls for submissions to projects or for collaboration on specific productions. Lastly, the platform will serve as base for federating, within these exchanges, other French and Italian organizations.
Like the projects it supports, the PIANO platform has a unique financial structure combining private funding, through the partnership that the Institut français in Italy and the French Embassy in Italy have established with the Nuovi Mecenati Foundation.
The mission of the French centres d’art is to adapt to artists’ research work, to establish new systems for producing art works and exhibitions, to promote educational and scientific projects of an experimental nature, with a view to providing art mediation to all members of the public. The Italian organizations with which they are joining forces have different statuses and functions, but share with French centres d’art the mission of supporting experimentation and production in contexts of art creation and education.
The PIANO platform makes it possible to pool art proposals and various means of production: an orchestration of networks whose objective is also to give rise to a new geography, different ways of working between public and private organizations, artists, professionals and the public.
In the spirit of the “prepared piano” invented by Erik Satie for his work Piège de Méduse (1913) and later popularized by John Cage, PIANO encourages the novel use of cultural exchange instruments. With the aim of returning to the essence of art and constantly reshaping its creative tools, PIANO promotes plasticity in relations between disciplines, spheres and regions. Whether online or at large, PIANO aims to harmonize public and private cultural initiatives, combining their sensibilities.


“Mi piacerebbe suonare su un pianoforte superdotato”
Erik Satie

Seri, ma anche necessariamente impertinenti nei confronti delle istituzioni, i progetti artistici messi in atto per l’iniziativa PIANO mirano a sconvolgere il ritmo consueto della creazione e a innescare dei controtempi. Questa piattaforma preparata per l’arte contemporanea si traduce attraverso un’esperienza rinnovata degli spazi fisici e virtuali e dovrebbe portare ad apprezzare in modo diverso la geografia delle scene artistiche presenti sui territori europei. ̀è uno strumento online per la condivisione di informazioni per i professionisti, ma anche una piattaforma aperta al pubblico, che raccoglierà e metterà a disposizione testi, saggi, dibattiti e confronti sui progetti in corso, ma anche open-call per progetti e collaborazioni inerenti produzioni specifiche. Sarà infine un supporto per mettere in collegamento altre strutture francesi o italiane attraverso questa rete di scambi.
PIANO si propone quindi come aggregatore e modello di collaborazione tra soggetti differenti, sia pubblici che privati, tanto per l’organizzazione e co-produzione di progetti condivisi, quanto per la capacità di attrarre fondi pubblici e privati, grazie alla collaborazione con l’Institut français Italia, l’Ambasciata di Francia in Italia e la Fondazione Nuovi Mecenati.
I centri d’arte francesi, di natura pubblica, hanno per missione quella di adattarsi alle ricerche degli artisti, di avviare nuovi regimi di produzione di opere e di mostre, di valorizzare proposte educative o scientifiche sperimentali, con l’obiettivo di offrire un punto di mediazione tra la creazione artistica e tutti i tipi di pubblico. Le strutture italiane alle quali i centri d’arte si associano hanno statuti e forme di funzionamento differenti, ma con i centri d’arte condividono la vocazione alla sperimentazione e alla produzione legata agli aspetti della creazione e dell’educazione.
La piattaforma PIANO permetterà quindi la condivisione di proposte artistiche e di mezzi di produzione eterogenei: un’orchestrazione di reti, la cui finalità e anche quella di far emergere una nuova geografia e metodi di lavoro differenti tra artisti, addetti ai lavori e pubblico.
Ispirandosi all’immagine del “pianoforte preparato” ideato da Erik Satie per la sua composizione La trappola di Medusa. Sette pezzi per pianoforte (1913) e in seguito reso popolare da John Cage, PIANO invita a un uso rinnovato degli strumenti dello scambio culturale. Con l’obiettivo di tornare all’essenza dell’arte, intesa come costante rinnovamento dei propri strumenti di creazione, PIANO favorisce la plasticità e il dinamismo delle relazioni tra le discipline, i campi, i settori artistici e i territori. PIANO, sia online che concretamente, propone di armonizzare iniziative pubbliche e private in materia culturale, nel rispetto della missione e della sensibilità di ciascuno.


« J’aimerais jouer avec un piano qui aurait une grosse queue »
Erik Satie

Sérieux, mais aussi nécessairement impertinents envers l’institution, les projets artistiques mobilisés par l’initiative PIANO entendent bouleverser le rythme habituel de création et initier des contretemps. Cette plateforme préparée pour l’art contemporain se traduit par une expérience renouvelée des espaces physiques et virtuels et devrait conduire a apprécier différemment la géographie des scènes artistiques présentes sur les territoires européens. est un instrument en ligne de mutualisation d’informations pour les professionnels mais aussi une plateforme de ressource ouverte au public. Elle accueillera des textes, essais, débats sur les projets en cours, des appels à projets ou à collaboration autour de productions spécifiques. Elle sera enfin un support pour fédérer dans ces échanges d’autres structures françaises ou italiennes.
A l’image des projets qu’elle accompagne, la plateforme PIANO témoigne d’un montage financier original associant des fonds privés, à travers le partenariat de l’Institut français d’Italie et de l’Ambassade de France en Italie avec la Fondation Nuovi Mecenati.
Les centres d’art français ont pour mission de s’adapter aux recherches des artistes, d’initier de nouveaux régimes de production d’œuvres et d’expositions, de mettre en valeur des propositions pédagogiques ou scientifiques de nature expérimentale, dans un souci de médiation de la création en direction de tous les publics. Les structures en Italie auxquelles ils s’associent ont des statuts et des fonctionnements différents, mais partagent avec les centres d’art cette mission d’expérimentation et de production autour de la création et de l’éducation.
La plateforme PIANO permet la mise en commun de propositions artistiques et de moyens de production hétérogenes : une orchestration de réseaux, dont l’objectif est aussi de faire émerger une nouvelle géographie, des modalités de travail différentes entre les artistes, les professionnels et les publics.
A l’image du « Piano préparé » inventé par Erik Satie lors de la création du Piege de Méduse (1913) et popularisé plus tard par John Cage, PIANO invite a un usage renouvelé des instruments d’échange culturel. Avec pour objectif de revenir a l’essence de l’art qui est de réformer constamment ses outils de création, PIANO favorise une plasticité des relations entre les disciplines, les domaines, les secteurs artistiques et les territoires. PIANO en ligne ou sur le terrain propose d’harmoniser des initiatives publiques et privées en matière culturelle, en conjuguant les sensibilités de chacun.


Prepared Piano – Model for a new Institutionalism

Round table discussion moderated by Pierre Bal-Blanc
organized in the frame of PIANO, Prepared Platform for Contemporary Art – France-Italie 2014-2015

Villa Medici
Viale Trinità dei Monti, 1 – 00187 Roma
Friday May 9, 2014
10 – 12 am

The panel discussion Prepared Piano: Model for a New Institutionalism presents artists, curators, as well as the managers of places where various projects have been produced over the past few years in Europe. These projects have in common that they make novel use of cultural exchange instruments, while giving their activities both a local and international scope.

Various case studies will be presented during this panel discussion to bring back into play notions of crossdisciplinarity (Théâtre des expositions at Villa Medici), process (Per_formare una collezione at the MADRE in Naples), and plasticity of relations (Laboratoire Espace Cerveau at the IAC in Villeurbanne). The discussions as a whole will echo the desire to found “a new institutionalism”, which has developed over the past few years through initiatives coming from both artists and curators. The desire to reconfigure the institution based on the model of a community centre, laboratory, open school, and other places that are not mainly governed by market laws, is linked with the creative momentum that led to Prepared Piano. The proposed discussion aims to demonstrate that PIANO, as well as Salon Light, dedicated to independent publishing, and Vdrome, a distribution network for artist films, are today all tangible initiatives.

Pierre Bal-Blanc is the director of the CAC Brétigny. He is also an independent curator and the vice-president of the d.c.a / French association for the development of centres d’art. Since 2003, in resonance with the social thought of Charles Fourrier, he has been developing the “Phalanstère Project” within a centre d’art. This is a series of specific offerings that critically rework the principles of artwork accumulation.
His exhibition series “Living Currency” and “Draft Score for an Exhibition” negotiate the historical and contemporary analysis of the body and of strategies linked to performance in the visual arts. “The Death of the Audience “ and “Reversibility” are reflections on the consequences that the materiality of art objects has on the configuration of art-world protagonists, the role and form of cultural institutions today.

Interdisciplinary stage
Theater of Exhibitions / Villa Medici, Rome / presentation by Eric de Chassey

Conceived by the director Éric de Chassey and organised by the French Academy in Rome – Villa Medici every year since 2010, the Theatre of Exhibitions has been devised as a moment of encounter between the fellows in residence and the public, as well as one of dialogue and confrontation among the artists and scholars in residence. The different spaces of Villa Medici become ephemeral stages for installations, performances, projections, readings. The concept of openness, a predisposition to dialogue and confrontation among different disciplines is the characteristic that unites the projects, which are presented. The Theatre of Exhibitions has been designed as a “multiform laboratory” which displays the diversity of artistic practices and research, thus confirming the centrality of the French Academy in Rome in contemporary creation.

Éric de Chassey is the Director of the French Academy in Rome – Villa Medici since 2009. He is also Professor of Contemporary Art History at the École Normale Supérieure in Lyon. Since the beginning, his scientific activities have focused on the US and abstract art. He has published books and essays on XXth and XXIst century art. He has also curated numerous exhibitions, accompanied by publications such as Soulages XXIth century (Rome, Villa Medici, 2013) or Simon Hantaï (Rome, Villa Medici, 2014).

Thought’s spatialization
Space Brain Laboratory / IAC, Villeurbanne / presentation by Nathalie Ergino and Ann Veronica Janssens

Initiated in 2009 by the artist Ann Veronica Janssens and Nathalie Ergino, director of the Institut d’art contemporain, the project aims at starting from experiments in art to explore practical and theoretical research linking space and the brain. This interdisciplinary laboratory brings together the reflections and experiments of artists and scientists and also philosophers, anthropologists, art historians and theoreticians, thus providing as much coverage by neuroscience, physics and astrophysics as by hypnosis, telepathy and shamanism.

Since January, 2006, Nathalie Ergino is the director of the Institut d‘art contemporain. Former director of the School / FRAC Champagne-Ardenne (1994-2000), and of the museum of contemporary art [mac] of Marseille (2001-2005), she has curated big monographic exhibitions (Jimmie Durham, Rodney Graham, Raymond Hains, Ann Veronica Janssens, Carsten Höller) as well as collective exhibitions (Maisons-Cerveaux, Subréel).

Born in 1956 in Folkestone (UK), Ann Veronica Janssens lives and works in Brussels (BE). Her work has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions. Since 1985, she has also participated in important group exhibitions, as well as various international biennials and in 1999 Venice where she represented Belgium with Michel François. She regularly collaborates with choreographers (Drouler Pierre and Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker). Her work has been presented recently within the exhibition Passion Fruit at the Centre Pompidou, Paris and within Dynamo, A century of light in art, 1913 – 2013 at the Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais.

Organizing the perceptible
Vdrome / Mousse, Milano / presentation by Enrico Boccioletti

Vdrome is an online platform that offers regular, high quality screenings of films and videos directed by visual artists and filmmakers, whose production lies in-between contemporary art and cinema. Each screening is presented during a limited period, as in a movie theatre. Vdrome makes available a program of exceptional artists’ films and videos that are selected due to their importance, quality and innovative strength, many of which are only shown in the context of film festivals, exhibitions or specific surveys, being therefore of very limited access. Vdrome is an initiative conceived and promoted by Mousse, curated by Edoardo Bonaspetti, Jens Hoffmann, Andrea Lissoni and Filipa Ramos, and maintained by Enrico Boccioletti.

Enrico Boccioletti is an artist and musician active under multiple names – Death in Plains, 4SICSX, spcnvdr and Enrico B – in the fields of postconceptual, new vernacular, performance and sound, interested into incompleteness and circularity, duplication and accumulation, waste, layering, forgery, faux-real. He also works for Mousse Magazine and Vdrome.

Incarnation of the collection
Per_formare una collezione / Madre, Naples / presentation by Andrea Viliani and Alessandro Rabottini

Per_forming a collection is an on-going project designed to develop the formation of the Museo MADRE’s permanent collection in Naples. It focuses on artists of different generations whose works have been conceived as physical and mental instruments that bring together thought and action in every possible media, linking visual arts to theatre and literature. The project aims to shape a collection that is articulated over time, combining archival research with commissions for new works taking into account the role of the museum as a place of memory and preservation as well as a continuing research and production laboratory. All the works presented have a relation with the city and its history: works conceived or exhibited here, from artist who happened to exhibit in Naples or works belonging to private or public local collections.

Since 2013 Andrea Viliani is the director of the Fondazione Donnaregina per le arti contemporanee – Madre, Napoli. He previously worked from 2009 to 2012 as Director of Fondazione Galleria Civica – Centro di Ricerca sulla Contemporaneità in Trento. In 2012 he was a member of the Core Agents Group of dOCUMENTA(13) and he co-curated the related position in Kabul and Bamiyan (Afghanistan). From 2005 to 2009, Viliani was curator at the MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna. Among the 60 “players” of the 2007 Biennale de Lyon, he is a frequent contributor to FROG, Mousse, Kaleidoscope and Flash Art.

Alessandro Rabottini is an art critic and curator based in London. He is Curator at Large at the Madre Museum in Naples (where he recently curated a mid-career retrospective of Padraig Timoney and the survey show of Ettore Spalletti) and served as guest curator for several international institutions. In his capacity of Curator at Large at the GAMeC in Bergamo he curated solo exhibitions of artists such as Robert Overby, Mircea Cantor, Latifa Echakhch, Victor Man, Pratchaya Phinthong, Pietro Roccasalva, Tim Rollins & K.O.S, Sterling Ruby, Tris Vonna-Michell and Jordan Wolfson.

Praising uncertainty
Salon light / cneai =, Chatou / presentation by Sylvie Boulanger

Founded in 2004 by Cneai, Salon Light became over a few years an unmissable rendez-vous for micro-publishers and artist’s publication in Paris. After exporting the concept at Vermelho gallery in Sao Paulo and the great success of Salon Light 9 at Palais de Tokyo in 2012, Salon Light keeps uniting a moving scene of artists, authors, independent publishers or composers. Books, magazines, objects, LP’s, catalogues or artist’s book, the publications are often limited editions, sometimes impossible to find in Paris, and are breaking new grounds while creating new networks in the art and publishing worlds. Performances and meetings with professionals and artists are also a key part of the event. Free for the publishers and the public, it’s accessible to all and offers visibility to a still somehow unknown field.

Sylvie Boulanger is founder and curator of Salon Light since its creation in 2004. She directs Cneai since 1997. She curated over a hundred exhibitions, published more than seventy books (artist’s books, journals, catalogues) and produced as few documentaries. She is a member of several research labs, she also contributes to academic reviews like Multitudes and lectures in art schools and universities. She was the founder of the production agency APC (Art Public Contemporain) that she directed for ten years (1990-1997) after occupying the position of associate director «exhibition and communication» within the Ministry of Culture visual arts delegation (1987-1990).

The round table discussion will be followed by a
Concert for Prepared Piano by Laurent Durupt, composer and fellow at the Villa Medici

More information at

Round table discussion organized in the frame of PIANO, Prepared Platform for Contemporary Art, France-Italie 2014-2015

PIANO, Prepared Platform for Contemporary Art, France–Italy 2014-2015, initiated by d.c.a / French association for the development of centres d’art, in partnership with the Institut français in Italy, the French Embassy in Italy and the Institut français, with the support of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, the French Ministry of Culture and Communication and Fondazione Nuovi Mecenati.

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Vincent Honoré in conversation with Pierre Bal-Blanc, CAC Brétigny

Pierre Bal-Blanc is director of the CAC Brétigny, an exemplary center for the arts, both for the commitment shown toward artists and for its program of atypical productions and exchanges. A space that continually re-elaborates the notions of a program, an exhibition, a collection… 

06. Fosse13

1. Teresa Margolles, Fosse commune (Fosa Comùn), 2005

Vincent Honoré The purpose of this conversation is to speak about a program and its underlying dynamics. The idea is also to explain what a space is, a center of art… and what having a place means. These are the points I have been interested in addressing, from when I started working in another space for the Foundation, in London, and at amoment in which I re-elaborate my program and turn to my previous experiments – in London, as elsewhere.

Pierre Bal-Blanc The latest program – in which there was a true reflection upon the nature of a program and upon the question of programming – is titled L’Escorte (2011). It is quite symbolic, even symptomatic, of a set of projects that, conducted separately and each having its own development, in the end crystallize, thus constituting the evidence of the program itself. My world of work is essentially this: I follow various paths, which seem to be dictated a priori by the institution, but which are also related to recurrent research in the general program and that eventually begin to work together. L’Escorte developed in this way. I have always tried to work following very advanced processes, deep and long-lasting, and simultaneously to establish visibility in extremely short time frames. That is, I do not define a program a year in advance, I often decide at the last minute, based on common programs with other centers of art, in order to be sure that things succeed in standing out by themselves. This is possible in a structure in which the constraints are not too rigid; it is a freedom from which I can benefit, given that Brétigny has an atmosphere sympathetic to what is developing there and also because the space, by nature, allows one to escape pre-establishedrules of press kits prepared six months in advance, of press relations built up with great anticipation, etc. I immediately realized what was needed: reactivity and relevance to contents that directly echo actual interests, without delays. The program of which I am speaking is an example. Its title, L’Escorte, has a double meaning: on the one hand it means a guided escort, one that guides the public or is a figure that mediates and protects; on the other hand it implies a commercialization of the body, a prostitution, that once had an uglier name. This also offers a new perspective on projects of recent years – such as La Monnaie Vivante (2010), focused on the reification of the body, or The Death of the Audience, centered on the notion of the group, of community, as statute. L’Escorte constitutes a sort of conclusion of the year on the two ideas, here taken up by other artists.

V.H. The Death of the Audience was exhibited in 2009, in Vienna.

P.B.B. At Secession. But the question of the gregariousness of the group, of the collective, is an issue that repeatedly comes up in my projects in Brétigny.

V.H. Do you have complete freedom of programming?

P.B.B. Yes. From this point of view I have no obligations besides relations with the local population, an educational mission through the national education system, at all levels, from nursery school through to university. Brétigny is a public service, and I am part of the administration.

Emilie Parendeau, A LOUER # 7, 2011, Jiří Kovanda, Untitled, 2008, Lawrence Weiner, En morceaux, 1971, exhibition view from L’Escorte, CAC Brétigny, 2011

2. Exhibition view from L’Escorte, CAC Brétigny, 2011

exhibition view from L’Escorte, CAC Brétigny, 2011

3. Exhibition view from L’Escorte, CAC Brétigny, 2011

V.H. It is interesting to associate The Death of the Audience, an external project, by an independent curator, with the program of Brétigny.

P.B.B. Yes. In truth, I have always presented myself as a ‘dependent’ curator, in the sense that one is always, in one way or another, dependent on a surrounding environment. Calling oneself an independent curator is a slightly elegant way to think of oneself as being free when, in fact, one is not.

V.H. CAC is a rather unique place. How old is it?

P.B.B. It was founded in the 1990s, but not as an art center. Work related to the visual arts had been going on there since the 1970s. In truth, there is a history of the visual arts in Île-de-France which begins in the 1970s, the ‘couronne rouge’ [the red crown]: the Communists were a majority in the region of the banlieue and there were initiatives in Brétigny, at that time, with projects often more advanced than in Paris. In Paris there were very few things, which then evolved in a progressive manner; the projects began in the outskirts, of which Brétigny was one. Then, the mayor of Brétigny, a lover of arts, constructed a building designed to bring together various cultural activities, including the visual arts. These were headed until 2000 by the previous director, Xavier Franceschi, with choices aimed at a French environment and the new generation, but also at an international atmosphere, with projects of Maurizio Cattelan and Carsten Höller, who produced notable works which again represented points of reference. In 2000, the space was recognized as a center of the arts in France, and was given government support which made architectural extensions possible. I arrived in 2003, upon the completion of this foundation’s work. I had a knowledge of the place from various actions, such as those of Cattelan; his work consisted in reproducing the roof of an eleventh-century church located behind CAC, and placing it on the postmodern (or late-modern) building of the Center. It is a work done in relief, for its manner of establishing itself in the surrounding environment, that I would like to ask him to redo. Another work is that commissioned to Atelier Van Lieshout: a structure, annexed to the facade, that provides an anthropomorphic space, conceived for a walking body inside a limited space, with various possible uses, a coffee machine, equipment to watch videos and read books… A structure conceived as a piece of furniture, which it is possible to move. These actions were a kind of draft of what it was possible to create in this space. The space itself was small, rather difficult, very complicated. From this point of departure, I sent out a series of invitations. The first went to Van Lieshout. The circumstances themselves were rather unusual. I, newly arrived, was inviting an artist who had already been here, invited by the previous director. A curious thing, a sort of reissue, but at the same time, a way to place myself in the act of becoming, that would have allowed me to pursue the construction of the place. Thus, I called Van Lieshout to build Edutainer (2003), a space made up of two containers and a tank, in front of the art center; one space that was missing, a place of mediation, for the artists and the staff, a space in which the staff, artists, and public meet. It is a symbolic space, because it is situated outside the building. The idea was to come out of the structure and create an intersection between the internal and the external. This space has been operational for more than eight years. It is unique, it has containers and seems an active construction site, but on the inside there is an environmentof wood, welcoming and comfortable. The container is symbolic of the circulation of goods, but also of knowledge. After this many other works followed, which have since been installed, even if in an unsystematic manner: there is no principle of systematic order. The choices are tied rather to the relevance of the works, which in the context of a temporary exhibition can become in situ. The work remains when it succeeds in standing out per se. Teresa Margolles requested permission to break up the floor in order to reset it with a preexisting tread, a smooth cement floor, realized with water recuperated from Mexican morgues. She also realized a table and some benches outside. It was an important action, a work of movement that projects us into a different geopolitical context, that puts us in contact with a new reality and at the same time with a new dimension, through the meeting of creation and destruction. The work is called Fosse commune (2005) and was a prolific source of inspiration for subsequent artists. However much it is a real work, it remains very discreet visually, so much so as to also be a conceptual and symbolic work: if one doesn’t ask about it, one doesn’t see it. In my choices I have always tried to balance and weigh the presence (of the work) and the space to leave to the next artist. These works must not be invasive, but rather must inspire. But their density is such that more and more they open the way to exchanges, plans, and negotiations. The latest work is more present than the others, I have to see how to arrange it with Daniel Buren.

Alexandra Bachzetsis, A Piece Danced Alone (version exposition), 2011

4. Alexandra Bachzetsis, A Piece Danced Alone (version exposition), 2011

V.H. Is Buren’s work a permanent one?

P.B.B. Truthfully, no work is permanent. After my experience with David Lamelas, I understood that in a public space some works can have a long duration, times that can be negotiated, but one cannot accept the responsibility for perpetuity. I have neither the power nor the assignment to do so, since the art center does not possess a collection. Even if I try to experiment with a collection, I do it with a different idea than what a collection is, in itself: not something that appears, accumulates, and then disappears, but rather something that generates action, that remains – or doesn’t – according to the suitability of a long duration. It is a kind of attempt at a new typology of museums. I can perfectly imagine a place that comes to be built progressively, little by little, artists working one after another, without following a principle of permanence, but rather something in perpetual change, like an organism. This is a concept which also comes up in my conversations with François Roche, close to his way of conceiving architecture, a principle of immanence capable of generating a situation. In this case, I attempted the experiment. There is something very concentrated and sophisticated in the current situation, many works that are being combined, that can appear or disappear according to the needs of exhibitions. Among other things, I would like to create a method capable, perhaps, of reducing the volume of Daniel Buren’s work, a sort of scaling down.

V.H. This is a recent work; it first appeared at the exhibition of Christopher D’Arcangelo, this year.

P.B.B. Yes. D’Arcangelo, among others, was an opportunity for me to present a model which has often inspired me, 84 West Broadway, where a version of this work of Buren’s had already been presented. In 1978 Christopher D’Arcangelo and Peter Nadin gave life to a project in Nadin’s loft, 30 Days Work, a work that consisted of restoring a space as an exhibition space. 30 Days Work then became a catalog of all the materials used and a description of the labor times that the two dedicated to the operation. It was a series of actions, executed successively in various spaces in New York. Afterwards, they followed a principle of cumulative interventions. The first artist was Daniel Buren, with a work titled Following and To Be Followed (1978) which reflected the spirit of the exhibition. Such a principle of programming constitutes a model for what I intend to create: every artist must enter into a cumulative process with other subsequent artists. I have other models too, such as Felix Gonzalez-Torres, with Every Week There Is Something Different (1991), his exhibition by Andrea Rosen, which functioned according to a very similar criterion: every week a new work was added to what was previously presented, or else substituted it. In Brétigny every work, like that of David Lamelas, a 1967 installation which I asked him to reproduce, participates in the reflection that I carry out in the space. Lamelas placed two 16mm projectors side by side: the first projects an image into the exhibition space, while the second projects a light towards the outside, through an opening. To transmit the light, Lamelas created a nine-meter-long corridor that functioned as an immersive camera. This corridor was presented and placed as an intervention in a rather intrusive area, as it cut off the route that normally ran along the art center, creating a kind of detour. After the exhibition, it became the entrance to the space, acting as a screen. The general project by David Lamelas was titled L’Effet Ecran (2004). It remained in place for four years until the authorities asked us to tear it down. Evenfor this, the art center’s project is interesting, in the sense that it is constantly being subjected to negotiations with the authorities over works conceived to be permanent, as also over legal aspects that govern our activities. The demolition was rather traumatic, but it also permitted us to enter into a dialog in a deeper manner and establish a relationship with the authorities for future projects. The conflict was intense and the demolition of the work was an important act, a sacrifice for the recognition of the activities of the place. Consequently, it did not stop our development. The subsequent programming was done in such a way as to make our various activities more comprehensible to the outside, and to make it easier to proceed with other int