À partir d'elle. Des artistes et leur mère
From October 12, 2023, to February 25, 2024, LE BAL presents an exhibition dedicated to the perspectives of 25 artists on their mothers.
The selected body of works, spanning from the 1960s to the present day, revisits the works of artists such as Sophie Calle, Christian Boltanski, Michel Journiac, Anri Sala, and Lebohang Kganye. Going beyond the mere testimony of an inevitably unique intimate relationship, these works are constructed using formal and conceptual devices that involve the body, figure, or character of the mother in the creative process. Whether they seek to embody the reality of presence or the effects of absence, they all share a common thread in considering filiation as a way to rethink archetypal relationships, encompassing social critique, self-exploration, conjuration, or solace.
“No doubt I will be unwell, until I write something having to do with her”. This sentence by Roland Barthes in his Mourning Diary dated 15 December 1978, just over a year after the death of his mother, heralds the writing of his famous book Camera Lucida in the spring of 1979. A theoretical essay on the nature of the photographic medium, the text is structured around a quest: to find, in images, the truth of the beloved face, that of his dead mother.
Her gaze the first mirror of the self and the surrounding world, the mother remains a fundamental theme in the history of art. The works assembled here, distinctive as much in their contexts (social, geographical, temporal) as in the formal and aesthetic approaches that guided their creation, share the common trait of going beyond mere testimony. Between social critique and pursuit of the self, conjuration and solace, incarnating presence or the effects of absence, each work touches on the question of filiation and what remains of it.
The one we think we know so well, does she not remain a mystery, an image that requires a conscious, voluntary act of clarification — Asareh Akasheh, Gao Shan, Dirk Braeckman, Hervé Guibert? Do we inherit her history — the one we silenced or the one we passed down — Anri Sala, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Michele Zaza, Karen Knorr? When physical distance is necessary, how do we bridge the gap — Mona Hatoum, Chantal Akerman? In these one-on-one encounters, the mother’s voluntary participation in the formal set up of the artist often leads to humour and irreverence — Ragnar Kjartansson, Ilene Segalove, Hannah and Bernhard Blume —, or the opportunity to examine, challenge and rethink the dictates of an oppressive, if not crippling, social and moral order — Michel Journiac, Christian Boltanski, Mark Raidpere. When the mother seems to disappear — Jochen Gerz, Paul Graham, Pier Paolo Pasolini — or is already gone, how is a new image constructed — Lebohang Kganye, Sophie Calle, Rebekka Deubner, Ishiuchi Miyako, Hélène Delprat?
From a character, here the mother becomes a figure of access to the world, a figure of jest, identification, nostalgia and loss. “To give you the depth of my emotion, the image of my mother” (Samuel Beckett).
– Julie Héraut
The film News from Home by Chantal Akerman will be screened every Wednesday at 6 PM and from Thursday to Sunday at 5 PM.
Available seats: 8.
LE BAL 6 impasse de la Défense 75018 Paris
Open on Wednesday from 12 PM to 8 PM and from Thursday to Sunday from 12 PM to 7 PM.
Closed on Monday and Tuesday.