coup de coeur #1–5
curated by Eleanor Weber

Cité internationale des arts
Studio #8106
18 rue de l’Hôtel de Ville
75004 Paris

Asta Meldal Lynge
21–23 avril 2015

In some new housing developments, the show-home or ‘marketing suite’ is finished months, even years, before the actual apartments. The scaffolding, safety regulations, cranes, and dust hang around until the bitter end, until just before the curtain is pulled to reveal another giant vertical edifice to private property. But housed cosily within all this haste, waste and cheap labour is the projected future, the obligatory, un-thinking image of individual success in the form of luxury apartment living. The image-home contained within all this fabrication has a vital role to play. It seeks to make us blind the construction just beyond the display-window of yet another cynical architecture of competition. It wants us to ignore the shaky foundations upon which housing for the largest profit margins, and therefore by the most exploitative means, is made. These ‘homes’ are for those whose desire is the status that they presume such manufactured luxury bestows upon them. They must no doubt know the margin between selling the image and selling the building is thin; that is how speculative economy works. Ideally, it will all be off the developer’s hands (and into his pocket) before the curtain is pulled open. The longer the wait between the reveal and the sell, the more chance that cracks will start to show and the surfaces will start to date. Anxiety may set in, desperation, and the edifice may start to crumble…

For this exhibition, Asta Meldal Lynge presents a new short video work, Showhome (2015). The video’s structure reflects its content, balancing different modes of representation according to the surrounding environment or 'set'. Continuing Asta’s ongoing interest in Materialist film, Showhome presents the two sides of the luxury housing development coin, combing this Structural approach with her interest in human gesture and theatrical cinematic conventions, notably through music. On one hand we have unstable, furtive footage of the construction site, its brash sounds and fluorescent vest-wearing workers, on the other smooth, corporate steady-cam shots in the show-home of an aspirational couple performing a fake narrative for the camera.

Combining 'real time' and ‘edited time’ to increasingly conflate reality and image, Showhome asks if what we’re seeing couldn’t just be another advertisement, where the border between what we see and what we desire to see is perilously undefined.

Asta Meldal Lynge is a Danish artist who lives in London, UK. She completed a BFA at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London in 2012. Her work has been exhibited in Copenhagen, Sydney, New York City, and throughout England. Along with a selection of other recent graduates, Asta is part of the CSM Associate Studio Programme, a three-year structured residency (2013–16). She will release the artist book Real state with publishers Studio Operative, London, later this year. Asta’s first solo show was at Luce Gallery in Turin, Italy in 2013, and this is her first in France.

Asta Meldal Lynge est une artiste danoise qui vit à Londres, Royaume-Uni. Elle obtient en 2012 son BFA à Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London. Avec certains autres diplomé-e-s récent-e-s, Asta prend part de la CSM Associate Studio Programme, une résidence structurée de trois ans (2013–16). Son travail a été exposé à Copenhague, Sydney, New York et à travers l’Angleterre. Elle publie cette année un livre d’artiste, Real state, avec la maison d’édition Studio Operative (Londres). En 2013, l’artiste fait sa première exposition personnelle chez Luce Gallery à Turin en Italie, celle-ci est sa première en France.

Photographs by Frieder Haller

Noémie Bablet
15–22 mai 2015

‘Gardens are, by definition, hermetic spaces that are closed to everything outside of them. Shakkei is a landscaping technique that permits this “outside” to enter the garden by integrating natural scenery, monuments or any other environmental features into the garden’s composition. Disrupting the points of reference between inside and outside, the border disappears, at least optically. Hence, in Japanese, we no longer speak of haikei (background), but of shakkei (borrowed scenery).’*

Shakkei is a curving of the threshold between order and disorder. The garden, a metaphor for the human control of nature, is at once undermined and epitomised by this technique. Shakkei is the movement that seeks to bring the outside in; the garden itself becomes defined by its ‘other’. The need to control thresholds is momentarily disturbed by the confounding of what is seen as external (disorder) and what is seen as internal (order) through the notion of ‘borrowing’. Here, in a sense, one must renounce the idea of ownership; the garden and surrounding landscape alike require us to let the outside (disorder) define us; a view borrowed from somewhere else changes our own.

To conceive of any thing, we try to hold its limits in our mind; we learn to think there is an end point, where it stops and something else begins. The garden has a fence; the person has skin; the box has a lid; the image has a frame. These limits are reinforced by language, but they are more precisely described by the ideology that things are primarily the products of human decisions towards matter. Hence, the interpretation of art and other material cultures through the lens of intention: it is the individual artist’s will, combined with inert matter, which produces the work of art. The assumption goes that humans possess agency, whereas matter does not, it only comes into being thanks to human touch. But this formulation forgets that we live in a world of life, that the human touch has no limits, for it does not exist per se. The human touch is germs and fingernails, skin falling away and dust gathered, the dried condensation from the drink you last held, a blade of grass; it is always affected by others.

Noémie Bablet’s work in installation, video, photography, drawing and textiles is interested in thresholds, covers, layers, privacy and ‘following’, in the sense described by anthropologist Timothy Ingold in his essay ‘The textility of making’. Unreservedly against the interpretation of art based on cause and effect, which takes a given outcome and reads backwards to the point of the agent’s novel idea, Ingold writes:

‘A work of art … is not an object but a thing and … the role of the artist—as that of any skilled practitioner—is not to give effect to a preconceived idea, novel or not, but to join with and follow the forces and flows of material that bring the form of the work into being. The work invites the viewer to join the artist as a fellow traveller, to look with it as it unfolds in the world, rather than behind it to an originating intention of which it is the final product.’**

* Emmanuel Marès, ‘Shakkei’, Vocabulaire de la spatialité japonaise (eds. P. Bonnin, Inaga S., Nishida M.), CNRS Editions, Paris 2014 (trad. E. Weber). Original: ‘Le jardin est, par définition, un espace clos et hermétique à tout ce qui se trouve à l’extérieur. Le shakkei est une technique paysagère qui permet de faire rentrer cet « extérieur », c’est-à-dire d’intégrer un paysage naturel, un monument ou tout autre élément environnant à l’intérieur de la composition du jardin. On brouille les repères et ainsi la frontière disparaît, au moins visuellement. En japonais, on ne parle plus alors de haikei (arrière-plan), mais de shakkei, (emprunt de paysage).’

** Timothy Ingold, ‘The textility of making’, Cambridge Journal of Economics, Vol. 34, Issue 1, 2010, pp. 91–102

Born in France in 1987, Noémie Bablet received a Master of Arts from Université Paris 8 in 2011, and will graduate from the École Nationale Supérieure d’Arts de Paris-Cergy in 2015. Since 2012, she has assisted the Franco-Moroccan artist Yto Barrada, in Tangier, New York and Paris. Her research into the work of US-American artist Dike Blair resulted in an interview titled ‘Privacy Lovers’ in 2014. This year, Noémie received a Fondation de France grant to develop her practice at the Textile Arts Center in Brooklyn, NY, USA. In July she will participate in Piccole Baie, an annual residency organised by philosopher Federico Nicolao in Italy. Shakkei is her first solo exhibition in Paris.

Née en France en 1987, Noémie Bablet est diplômée de l’École Nationale Supérieure d’Arts de Paris-Cergy (2015), et d’un Master en Arts de l’Université Paris 8 (2011). Elle assiste l’artiste franco-marocaine Yto Barrada à Tanger, New York et Paris depuis 2012. Ses recherches sur le travail de l'artiste US-américain Dike Blair donne lieu à un entretien titré ‘Privacy Lovers’ en 2014. Cette année, Noémie obtient une bourse de la Fondation de France qui lui permet d’approfondir son travail au Textile Arts Center de Brooklyn, NY, USA. Elle participera en juillet à Piccole Baie, la résidence annuelle du philosophe Federico Nicolao, en Italie. Shakkei est sa première exposition personnelle à Paris.

Photographs by Romain Darnaud

Elena Betros
The room limits established by us
26–31 mai 2015

‘The room limits established by us’ is a line taken from Marguerite Duras’ Il dialogo di Roma (1983). In Duras’ film, the ‘us’ in question is the man and woman whose dialogue is the voiceover to a series of slow silent shots that pan through the city of Rome and its environs. The woman says that Rome is like a room, and it is their love that establishes its limits. However, as we move through the film, the ‘us’ becomes ambiguous, spanning time and coming to include stone statues, historical figures and people moving through the city in the present day.

Duras’ film uses dialogue to describe what is preserved with the room, that is, Rome, or the idea of Rome. She suggests that this city can only exist as an image of thought, never thought itself, and by extension, that the dialogue is what the film is ‘about’. What occurs outside the frame (il dialogo) is thus integral to how we view the recorded images. The room’s limits can also be seen as a frame of film.

In Elena Betros’ new two-channel video The room limits established by us, dialogue itself is absent, though language remains crucial to how two bodies behave for the camera, and in turn to the images that are produced. Filmed with actor Peter Paltos in and around his apartment in Melbourne, this work continues a series of videos the artist has made with her friend since 2013. These works, shot primarily in interior spaces, explore the way bodies ‘perform’ for the camera when they are not ‘performing’. This latest video is also influenced by another Duras film, India Song (1975), where sequences of still postures directed towards the camera outline a strange language only accessible through the lens.

The room limits established by us describes an affective space, yet one where we feel estranged from the most familiar, even from the domestic; where sentiments are articulated without vocabulary, and the language of bodies is always at a slight remove from pure communication. After a set of circumstances is set up, one can only seek, as the conclusion of Il dialogo di Roma suggests, ‘to film what’s there, what shows up, there, before us.’

Lay on your right side (body directed towards camera) with your legs outstretched. Have your right elbow bent with your cheek resting on the palm of your hand. Place left arm casually over left side of your body. Gaze is confident and seductively stares into lens.

Elena Betros is based in Melbourne, Australia. She received a BFA (Honours) from the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne in 2011. She has been exhibiting in the Melbourne artist-run scene since 2009, and currently works from Elizabeth Street Studios. In 2014, her solo show The performance of an act by someone who could have done otherwise was held at West Space, and in 2013 she was included in the group show BACKFLIP: Feminism and Humour in Contemporary Art at Margaret Lawrence Galley. Last year, Elena received an Australia Council of the Arts ‘New Work’ grant to explore the relationship between performance and the camera, notably at If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. This ongoing research informs the present exhibition, Elena’s first outside Melbourne.

Elena Betros vit et travaille à Melbourne, Australie. Elle obtient son BFA (Honours) en 2011 au Victorian College of the Arts, Université de Melbourne. Son travail est exposé dans le milieu ‘artist-run’ de Melbourne depuis 2009, Elena travaille actuellement aux Elizabeth Street Studios. En 2014 son exposition personnelle The performance of an act by someone who could have done otherwise a eu lieu à West Space; en 2013 elle participait à l’exposition collective BACKFLIP: Feminism and Humour in Contemporary Art chez Margaret Lawrence Gallery. L’année dernière, elle reçoit la bourse ‘New Work’ du Australia Council of the Arts qui lui permet d’explorer la relation entre la performance et la caméra, notamment au If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution à Amsterdam, Pays-Bas. Cette recherche se poursuit et façonne l’exposition présente, sa première hors de Melbourne.

Photographs by Frieder Haller

Nuno da Luz
with Assisted Resonance
18–21 juin 2015

‘Tone-of-place, experienced, heard through skin, detected by unnamed sensibilities, and impression carried-in through skin even when not in the physical place. Tone around you and with you. “I don’t like your tone,” “I like your tone,” “I like the tone of this place.”’

Nuno da Luz’s work is in the tone of accompaniment.
The sounds he records and performs accompany a place; the places he inhabits are accompanied by sounds. Incommensurable sound-places come to mutually describe through the decision to associate them at a given moment, but this association can be reconfigured: accompaniment presumes reinterpretation.

For this event, wind and water as heard on beaches in Portugal, forests in Germany, plateaus in New Mexico, and volcanoes in Iceland and Stromboli will be played ‘with assisted resonance’ provided by the real-time ambient sound from the river Seine's waterfront. Feedback loops resounding across two studios at the Cité internationale des Arts enhance the sense of sonic and spatial intercession.

The tone of accompaniment always invites others – other places, other people, other sounds, other vibrations. Da Luz’s choice to quote US-American composer Maryanne Amacher’s words to explain with Assisted Resonance, echoes the acknowledgment implicit in the work’s title that nothing – no sound, no action, no tone, no place – is heard alone.

Nuno da Luz was born in 1984 in Lisbon, Portugal. Artist and publisher, his work circumscribes the aural and the visual in the form of sound events, installations and printed matter. The latter are mostly distributed through ATLAS Projectos, the publisher he co-runs with artists André Romão and Gonçalo Sena. In addition, he runs the record label Palmario Recordings with artist Joana Escoval. Nuno has exhibited and performed extensively in Portugal and Germany, and in 2014 he undertook a residency in New York City. This year he completed the Masters program Experimentation in Art and Politics at Sciences Po, in Paris, France, where he is in residence at the Cité internationale des Arts through October.

Nuno da Luz est né en 1984 à Lisbonne, Portugal. Artiste et éditeur, son travail circonscrit l'écoute et le visuel sous la forme de pièces sonores, d’installations et d’éditions. Ces dernières sont principalement distribuées à travers ATLAS Projectos, la maison d'édition qu’il co-dirige avec les artistes André Romão et Gonçalo Sena. Il s’occupe également du label de disques Palmario Recordings avec l’artiste Joana Escoval. Nuno a beaucoup exposé et performé son travail au Portugal et en Allemagne, en 2014 il entreprend une résidence à New York. Cette année il achève son master Expérimentation en Art et Politiques à Sciences Po Paris, France, où il est en résidence à la Cité internationale des Arts jusqu’en Octobre.

Photographs by Guillaume Vieira

Signe Frederiksen
Les Insoumuses
28 juin 2015

Les Insoumuses is the title of a project based on several conversations conducted by artist Signe Frederiksen in 2015 with female artists, writers and curators – friends and acquaintances – in Paris and Copenhagen. The voices and sentiments of these conversations have been transcribed, edited and recombined into a screenplay for three anonymous characters, and will be performed as a play for small audiences by actors Pedro Gomes, Julia Perazzini and Anne Steffens.

Largely derived from recordings or notes, Frederiksen mixes multiple voices and thoughts, both her own and others, into a script where the identity of the person making the original enunciation is not explicit, nor particularly important. By engaging three actors to perform this imaginary but utterly plausible conversation in a realistic manner and context (a studio at the Cité internationale des Arts), Frederiksen highlights the shared experience of cultural workers – with a particular emphasis on gendered experience – rather than promoting the exceptionality of particular individuals. Her own authorial voice, if she has one, swirls among the voices of others past and present, with whom she shares life.

This new work relates to research Frederiksen has been undertaking into French militant feminist video of the 1960s and ‘70s, notably by way of the Centre audiovisuel Simone de Beauvoir in Paris. One of the feminist video collectives, called Les Femmes s’amusent (Women Having Fun), later renamed themselves Les Insoumuses. This group, comprising members Nadja Ringart, Carole Roussopoulos, Delphine Seyrig and Ioana Wieder, created some of the most significant activist videotapes of the time, along with other collectives such as Videa. Some of these videos document feminist demonstrations in Paris, and slogans from their banners appear in verbal form in Frederiksen’s piece, in a moment of disjunction between current and past events.

The name ‘Insoumuses’ was a neologism combining ‘insoumise’, which translates as ‘disobedient [female]’, and ‘muses’, a word sharing the same signification in French and English and customarily thought of as referring to a female personification of artistic inspiration. Frederiksen is interested in how the arrival and accessibility of new portable camera technology invited the creation of a new kind of language for militant feminists, a new way of describing and producing one’s image and one’s politics that had no precedent and did not – at least initially – rely on previously established standards of value, whether artistic, visual, economic or journalistic.

Les Insoumuses puts forth a language that includes uncertainty, discussion, several opinions – an every-day language, an intimate language – in a closed but public forum. Exploring conversational language and its processes of formalisation and disintegration, ultimately the project asks the question of itself: How to find strategies for working that can escape the power structures of the art-world? How to create a space for thinking and creation that does not necessarily affirm the language and standards of this system?

Born in 1987, Signe Frederiksen is a Danish artist who lives in Paris, France. She graduated in 2013 with an MFA from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, and the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Austria (2011-12). During 2014 she was part of the Paris-based collective castillo/corrales, and has continued to work as an assistant to the Swedish artist Joachim Hamou. This is the first presentation of Signe’s work in France.

Née en 1987 au Danemark, Signe Frederiksen vit à Paris, France. Elle est diplômée en 2013 d’un MFA de l'Académie Royale Des Beaux Arts de Danemark à Copenhague et de l'Académie des Beaux Arts de Vienne, Autriche (2011-12). Elle participe en 2014 au collectif parisien castillo/corrales, et assiste par la suite l’artiste suédois Joachim Hamou. Cette exposition est la première de Signe en France.

Photographs by Signe Frederiksen