PAST EXHIBITION

 

MESSE POUR LE TEMPS PRÉSENT, VARIATIONS

Group show: Hélène Jayet, Dimitri Fagbohoun, M'barka Amor, 

François Réau, Clay Apenouvon

Curated by Charlotte Lidon

23 June -5 September 2020

(excluding the month of August)

Messe pour le temps présent, Variations

By Charlotte Lidon

« We never stick to the present time. We anticipate the future as too slow to come, as if to accelerate its flow; or we remember the past, to stop it as too fast: so imprudent, that we wander in times that are not ours, and do not think of the only time that belongs to us; and so vain, that we think of those that are no longer anything, and avoid without thinking the only one that remains » [1].

The exhibition Messe pour le temps présent, Variations, brings together the reflections of five visual artists, partly from the African diasporas. Through their eyes and their paths, M'barka Amor, Clay Apenouvon, Dimitri Fagbohoun, Hélène Jayet and François Réau give us their singular representation of the present world. 

 

The exhibition is a tribute to Maurice Béjart's emblematic ballet presented in 1967 inside the Palais des Papes in Avignon. The artists were free to take up and feed off the nine themes that form the nine acts of the ballet, a sort of earthly liturgy, an X-ray of man, conceived as a collective "ceremony" reflecting the contemporary life of the time:

 

"the breath, the body, the world, the dance, the couple,

"Mein Kampf", the night, silence, waiting".

These are universal themes that Béjart in his time had approached freely, without a linear reading, leaving the spectator to create his own path towards a more intimate and personal understanding of the piece. As the first work to be danced at the Festival d'Avignon in 1966, the ballet was like a bomb. It became mythical, as much for its choreography as for the concrete music by composer Pierre Henry. 

 

The choice of this ballet was also dictated by the African ancestry of its author, whose family came from Saint Louis in Senegal, allowing us to address the question of identity that the nine themes seem to leave aside.

 

While it is true that the exhibition was conceived well before the health crisis of the last few months, it is obvious that these weeks of confinement, experienced together all over the world, will have influenced the artists' reading of Béjart's work. 

Thus nourished, they were invited to resonate with the concerns of our troubled world and to bear witness to the societal, economic and political problems that inhabit it. 

A literal reference to ballet and a tribute to the perpetual movement of life, Clay Apenouvon's work plays with materials in his latest plastic dances.

Hélène Jayet, photographer, swaps her camera for a pencil and appropriates the pixels, resizing them, linking them together in a dense or spaced manner, drawing the image she wishes to see appear, in direct link with the present moment. M'barka Amor develops a series of photographs with an indiscreet intimacy. With this homage to the body and gesture, which she places at the heart of her artistic practice, the performer gradually melts into the (white) mass of generalized indifference and draws our gaze upon her. Dimitri Fagbohoun continues his research into the immaterial and the spiritual, which he believes co-exist in everything. He continues to develop his plastic exploration of the goddess Erzulie through the various representations he makes of her. Finally, the artist François Réau is nourished by words, which he explores through the powerful line of graphite, the density of greys and blacks. His powerful drawings tell of the night, silence, waiting and the passing of time. 

All of them explored the deepest part of themselves to discover what has animated them in this first half of the year 2020, and to ask themselves what will inspire them in the future; thus Pascal's words resonate today with even more power: 

 

"It is that the present usually hurts us. We hide it from our sight, because it grieves us; and if it is pleasant to us, we regret to see it escape. We try to support it with the future, and think of disposing of things that are not in our power, for a time when you have no assurance of arriving" [2].

[1] & [2]: Blaise Pascal, Pensée, fragment 172, 1670

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