Exhibition IVIaking
Making and organising exhibitions for others is essential in the lives of artists. Exhibition IVIaking outlines a collaborative approach to conceptualising and organising solo or group shows, successively as a part of the teams at Silicon IVIalley, DOC!

Hans-Ulrich Obrist Archive Chapter 3: Agnès Varda
A day without seeing a tree is a waste of a day

LUMA Arles

Hans-Ulrich Obrist Archive Chapter 1: Édouard Glissant
Where all the world’s imaginations can meet and hear one another

LUMA Westbau


Hans-Ulrich Obrist Archive Chapter 2: Etel Adnan
The world needs togetherness, not separation. Love, not suspicion. A common future, not isolation.

LUMA Arles


Hans-Ulrich Obrist Archive Chapter 1: Édouard Glissant
Where all the world’s imaginations can meet and hear one another

LUMA Arles



Matthieu Laurette
Silicon IVIalley


On Italian Museography...
EPFL Studio Master I
Silicon IVIalley

Fondation Vincent van Gogh Arles
Pierre Joseph

Ending Explained
ECAL Master of Arts HES-SO in Fine Arts


Road Rage
Christophe Lemaitre

La Nuit juste avant les forêts

Lauren Coullard
Silicon IVIalley

So Leggere
Francesco Cagnin

free time
Demelza Watts
Silicon IVIalley


Francis Baudevin

César Chevalier & Noémie Vulpian
Silicon IVIalley

Rob a Robe

Nicolas Degrange
Silicon IVIalley


Robin Lebey
Silicon IVIalley

Guitare, Tanpura & Tabla électronique
Myriam Stamoulis
Silicon IVIalley

Silicon IVIalley

Hans-Ulrich Obrist Archive Chapter 3: Agnès Varda
A day without seeing a tree is a waste of a day

Adel Abdessemed
Nairy Baghramian
Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster
Douglas Gordon
Katharina Grosse
Annette Messager
Laure Prouvost
Agnès Varda

Co-curated by Hans-Ulrich Obrist (Senior Advisor), Arthur Fouray (Archivist and Curator) in close collaboration with Rosalie Varda

LUMA Arles
Living Archives Programme
Arles, France

Luz Gyalui, Head of Production
Barbara Blanc, Head Registrar and Conservator
Alice Cattelat, Architect and Production Manager
Nicolas Pène, Preparator
Laura Majan, Registrar
Laure Breton, Administration Manager
François Mallinjod, Audiovisual Supervisor
Jihye Kim, Assistant Conservator
Juliette Kernin, Assistant Producer

Graphic design: Christine Denamur,  Lead Graphic Designer

Thanks to Rosalie Varda and Mathieu Demy
Thanks to Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris

With the assistance of Shérine El Sayed Taih, documentalist, and Jules Martin, archivist for Ciné-Tamaris

Elvire Dolgorouky, Head of Productions Eric Leprêtre, Administration Stanislas Biessy, Distribution Manager, Léna Cervoni, Assistant

Céline Miquelis, production and installation of film cabins and models
Joséphine Wister Faure, manufacture of the Lady Potato Costume

Produced by LUMA Foundation
‘A day without seeing a tree is a waste of a day’
Agnès Varda, June 2013

At the heart of the third chapter of Hans-Ulrich Obrist’s archive at LUMA Arles lies his encounter with Agnès Varda (1928-2019). As a filmmaker, feminist, and pioneering artist, she played a central role in the French New Wave film movement of the 1950s and 1960s. In her own words, Varda’s artistic trajectory spans three distinct but interconnected lives as a photographer, filmmaker, and visual artist.

The exhibition highlights Obrist’s crucial role in introducing Varda to the art world. In 1991, he travelled to Paris for a residency at Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain in Jouy-en-Josas, invited by Jean de Loisy and Marie-Claude Beaud. Over a three-month stay, Obrist visited over 300 artist studios, averaging five per day, where he met Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, who spoke at length about Agnès Varda and the scope of her work between fiction and documentary. From that moment on, he nurtured the dream of meeting her.
In 2002, thanks to Christian Boltanski and Annette Messager, Obrist finally had the opportunity to meet and film Varda at her magical house at 86 rue Daguerre, Paris. After this interview, Molly Nesbit, Hans-Ulrich Obrist, and Rirkrit Tiravanija, invited Agnès Varda to participate in Utopia Station, a section of the 50th Venice Biennale directed by Francesco Bonami in 2003. Varda’s proposal marked her debut as ‘an old filmmaker, but a young artist’ with the installation of her video triptych Patatutopia, which celebrates the sprouts and roots of heart-shaped potatoes. As she said: ‘I celebrate the resistance of this vegetable. I have the utopia of thinking that one can see the beauty of the world in a sprouted potato.’

After half a century of cinema, Utopia Station opened the door for Agnès Varda to explore new possibilities for engaging with multiscreen displays of moving images, multisensory experiences, and tactile elements. She continually experimented with exhibitions throughout the last 15 years of her life, as is evident in some of the unique works loaned by Rosalie Varda, Mathieu Demy, and Ciné-Tamaris. The starting point of her first major solo exhibition, L’ Île et Elle [The Island and Her], at Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain in 2006, was the island of Noirmoutier that she discovered thanks to Jacques Demy. Varda introduced her now iconic cinema shacks. Each shack, whose structure is made of film reels, corresponds to a film she made. The last hut she built during her lifetime, My Shack of Cinema : The Greenhouse of Le Bonheur in 2018, is on display in the Archives Gallery at LUMA Arles. 
The friendship between Varda and Obrist grew through numerous interviews and projects, with Obrist attending nearly all her exhibitions and Varda participating in the Serpentine conversation marathons in London. Obrist regularly visited her on rue Daguerre, sometimes with Maja Hoffmann, with whom Varda shared a deep affinity for Arles, photography, cinema, and contemporary art. During their last meeting on March 3, 2019, Varda invited artist friends and close ones ones to participate in the making of her last work, Les Mains complices [Partnering Hands], featuring intertwined hands of couples surrounded by heart potatoes, a celebration of love.

Her spirit continues to inspire artists who crossed her path, as well as those who share her thirst for freedom, adventure, curiosity, and audacity. A vibrant testimony is provided by the eight posters created especially for this exhibition by Adel Abdessemed, Nairy Baghramian, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Douglas Gordon, Katharina Grosse, JR, Annette Messager, and Laure Prouvost. Her thoughts, forever, exalt the beauty of life’s simple things: ‘A day without seeing a tree is a waste of a day.’
Agnès Varda Biography

Arlette Varda, named in honour of the city of Arles, where she was conceived, was born on May 30, 1928, in Ixelles, Brussels. With a Greek father and a French mother, this cultural blend profoundly influenced her personal and creative life. At 18, she swapped her given name, Arlette, for Agnès. In 1940, war compelled her family to flee Belgium and take refuge in Sète, where she spent her adolescence aboard a boat anchored in the port. Starting in 1951, she made her home on rue Daguerre in Paris’s 14th arrondissement. A few years later, she met the actor Antoine Bourseiller, with whom she had a relationship. On May 28, 1958, she gave birth to their daughter, Rosalie Varda and decides to raise Rosalie on her own. Later, she married filmmaker Jacques Demy (who died in 1990), raising with him Rosalie Varda-Demy and their son, future actor and director Mathieu Demy.

Agnès Varda passed away at home on March 29, 2019, at the age of 90, after a battle with cancer, surrounded by her family, collaborators, friends, and cats. Her passing prompted many tributes from significant figures in global cinema, including Martin Scorsese. A public homage was paid in her honour on April 2, 2019, at the Cinémathèque française, attended by her family, close friends, and numerous celebrities, including Catherine Deneuve, Sandrine Bonnaire, Dany Boon, and JR.
First Life: Photography

At 19, Varda moves to Paris and studies art history at the École du Louvre and starts learning photography at the École de Vaugirard. In 1949, she earned her professional photographer’s diploma. She began her career as the official photographer for the Avignon Festival in 1948 and the TNP, Théâtre national populaire, where she documented the beginnings of Jean Vilar and the iconic career of Gérard Philipe. Her neighbours and models included artists Calder, Brassaï, Hantaï, Germaine Richier, Valentine Schlegel, and more. In her courtyard on rue Daguerre, she organised the first exhibition of her photographs in June 1954, inviting close friends. The photos were affixed to fibreboard panels and attached to the walls and windows with small wooden battens, as she did not want any frames. Her lens captured both ordinary people and her era’s personalities during photojournalism trips to China, Cuba, or even for the magazine Réalités in Portugal, and Germany.
Second Life: Cinema

In 1954, with no prior training, Agnès Varda founded Tamaris Films, a cooperative that would become Ciné-Tamaris. Inspired by the structure of William Faulkner’s Wild Palms, she directed her first feature-length film, La Pointe Courte, in Sète (Hérault) in the summer of 1954, propelling her to the cinematic scene’s forefront. The film, considered ‘free and pure’ by André Bazin, brought a breath of fresh air to French cinema. In 1961, she directed Cléo from 5 to 7, selected for the Cannes Film Festival and the Venice Film Festival. In 1967, Agnès Varda and Jacques Demy moved to Los Angeles. In San Francisco, she made a short film about her uncle Jean Varda, Uncle Yanco, and with the help of engaged students, made the activist documentary Black Panthers (1968). This documentary, filmed in Oakland, captured a crucial moment of Black activism in the United States, allowing her to document key figures of the movement, such as Eldridge Cleaver and Bobby Seale. In Los Angeles, she filmed Lions Love (... and Lies) in 1969, featuring the authors of the musical “Hair,” Rado and Ragni, and the Factory muse, Viva. Varda made the cover of the issue of Andy Warhol’s first Interview magazine. She developed a close friendship with Jim Morrison, whom she knew until his death in Paris.

She directed over fourty films, among them Le Bonheur (1965), One Sings, the Other Doesn’t (1977), Vagabond (1985). She paid tribute to Jacques Demy with several films, particularly Jacquot de Nantes, a recounting of his childhood. With her company Ciné-Tamaris, she regained the rights to and restored all of Demy’s films. She received numerous honorary awards, including a Honorary César in 2001, the 2009 Henri-Langlois Prize, the 2013 Leopard of Honour, and the 2015 Cannes Festival’s Palme d’honneur. In 2017, she received an Honorary Award Oscar for her entire career.
Third Life: Contemporary Art & Documentary

From the year 2000 and the film The Gleaners and I, Varda experimented with a digital camera, a tool that brought her closer to the people she filmed. This marked the beginning of her third life, straddling art and documentary. She took her first steps as a ‘visual artist’ (an English term she preferred over ‘artiste plasticienne’ in French) in 2003 during the 50th Venice Art Biennale. Her installations were exhibited at several Venice and Lyon Biennales, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, and the Martine Aboucaya Gallery in Paris, among others. Numerous exhibitions were dedicated to her, including Je me souviens de Vilar en Avignon [I Remember Vilar in Avignon, 2007], a retrospective at the LUX national stage in Valence (2013), and Agnès Varda in Californialand at LACMA in Los Angeles (2013). Since 2010, her works have been regularly presented at the Nathalie Obadia Gallery in Paris and Brussels. Her artistic work synthesises her photography, cinema, video, and space practices. Simultaneously, she directed several other documentaries, including The Beaches of Agnès (2008), a filmed autobiography that recounts her life and work, winning the César for Best Documentary Film in 2009. In 2011, she created a five-episode series, Agnès Varda: From Here to There, broadcast on Arte, where she describes her travels around the world to present her films and converses with her artist friends, including Miquel Barceló, Christian Boltanski, Chris Marker, Annette Messager, and Hans-Ulrich Obrist. In 2017, she co-directed Faces Places with artist JR and and documented her work as a filmmaker in her last documentary that, takes the title of her eponymous book published in French in 1994, Varda by Agnès, in 2019.
Annette Messager & Agnès Varda

Annette Messager was close to Agnès Varda until the end of her days, as evidenced by the two drawings with acrostic text presented in the exhibition, one declaring ‘Artist Watcher,’ the other ‘Adventurer Genius Navel-gazing Encroaching Serene’ and her Portrait of Agnès Varda, an infinity sign adorned with the famous bowl cut that Varda sported since she was 19, which later became two-tone. Between these two drawings, she chose to display her work Doigt d’honneur-utérus 2 [Middle Finger-uterus 2, 2019]. Annette Messager is friends with Hans-Ulrich Obrist since his adolescence. It was through her and Christian Boltanski that he was able to meet Varda. They did their market shopping together rue Daguerre and thus saw each other very often. In Agnès Varda: From Here to There, Agnès Varda filmed Annette Messager during a lunch in her courtyard with Christian Boltanski, then filmed her in her studio in Malakoff and in her exhibition, Les Messagers [The Messengers], at the Centre Pompidou in 2007.

In the cinematic and artistic universe of Agnès Varda, the most mundane and modest vegetable, the potato, has acquired significant prominence and meaning. Her enthusiasm for potatoes was revealed in her 2000 documentary The Gleaners and I. The film dealt with gleaning, the act of recovering, collecting, recycling, and giving new life to discarded objects and food, reflecting Varda’s own process of capturing moments of life. While exploring the Beauce region, Varda was fascinated with heart-shaped potatoes left at the edge of fields due to their unusual shape. This fondness for the tuber developed into a sort of obsession. Intrigued by their ability to age and sprout anew, she began to film them with delight and observe their transformation. These discarded potatoes were brought home, examined, and stored in the cellar and the open air. Already in 1953, Varda had photographed a heart-shaped potato, a print of which, from 1954, is exhibited in LUMA Arles. This potato was several decades ahead of those from the film The Gleaners and I and Patatutopia, and especially from her series of eleven digital photographs of Potato Hearts (2003).
While Agnès Varda was experimenting at home with heart-shaped potatoes and their sprouts, Molly Nesbit, Hans-Ulrich Obrist, and Rirkrit Tiravanija invited her to participate in Utopia Station for the 50th Venice Biennale directed by Francesco Bonami. Unbeknownst to her, she was already prepared to create her first contemporary art installation. After considering presenting several films paradoxically dealing with utopia, such as Le Bonheur (1965), the heart-shaped potatoes rejected by society for their deformity became an obvious choice. Thus the idea of the now-iconic work Patatutopia [Potato Utopia] was born. The title of the work is a play on words à la Varda, mixing two languages, ‘heart-shaped potatoes’, and Utopia Station. This installation, which follows the pictorial format of a triptych with its three screens, is also accompanied by a bed of 700 kg of potatoes, forming an altar and an ode, daydreams that give more than just a new light but a new life to these gleaned heart-shaped potatoes.
Gleaning potatoes in the fields goes hand in hand with the director’s gleaning that brings them to light, which is why Varda thought of embodying the potatoes herself through a costume that haphazardly enumerates, through a recording, the diversity of potato varieties found on the five continents. Shaped by Joséphine Wister Faure, her daughter-in-law, the Lady Potato Costume has become almost a metaphysical incarnation of Varda, a half-human, half-potato being.
Varda says of this work, ‘I kept them and watched them. I would like those who enter this installation to be overwhelmed with emotion and smiles at the sight of the most common and humble vegetable, the potato, and share my utopia of believing that the beauty of the world is summed up in the beauty of old potatoes helps us live and reconciles us with chaos.’ During a phone conversation between Varda and the philosopher and poet Édouard Glissant, orchestrated by Hans-Ulrich Obrist in 2005 as part of a conference at the 59th Avignon Festival, Glissant reflected on the importance of these tubers and how Varda connects them to utopia, calling them ‘world-food’ or ‘world potatoes.’

The iconic work Patatutopia has been exhibited in a dozen countries on three continents since its first presentation. From The Gleaners and I and Patatutopia up to her last days, Varda was surprised to have received thousands of heart-shaped potatoes gleaned, sent, and brought by fans. Her last work, Les Mains complices [Partnering Hands], surrounds with these heart-shaped potatoes the intertwined hands of couples Agnès Varda was friend with, the utopia of hope, love, and life.
Utopia Station

Utopia Station is a long-term project, co-organised by Molly Nesbit, Hans-Ulrich Obrist, and Rirkrit Tiravanija, which invites over 150 artists and thinkers to come together and contemplate within a project shaped like a station bound for utopia. It has developed through cycles of lectures, notably at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, and also two exhibitions, the first at the 50th Venice Biennale, Dreams and Conflicts – The Viewer’s Dictatorship, directed by Francesco Bonami, and also in 2004 at the Haus der Kunst in Munich, then directed by Chris Dercon.

During a debate in 1964, Ernst Bloch defended his position on utopia against the criticism of Theodor Adorno. Adorno emphasised that some utopian dreams had been realised but had fallen into a cycle of repetition and boredom. Bloch countered by asserting that if the term ‘utopia’ had lost credibility, as ‘something is missing’. Utopia has historically been a debated concept, with contributions from various voices seeking happiness, freedom, and paradise. Over time, utopia has lost its flame and found itself constrained by fixed perspectives and exhausted efforts.

However, the need for utopia persists, leading to the creation of Utopia Station – a flexible conceptual and physical structure for contemplation, exchange, and artistic contributions. The Station consisted of a long platform, circular benches, a wall with doors leading to installations, and a suspended roof. It invited visitors to observe, rest, and engage in conversations while presenting artistic works, performances, lectures, and other events. Going beyond the traditional exhibition, Utopia Station incorporated aesthetic elements into a broader social and economic context. The discussion about its place and purpose found resonance in the work of Jacques Rancière, emphasising the interconnection of the arts with broader social activity and its political implications. Philosopher and poet Édouard Glissant also offered a valuable perspective to Utopia Station, that of thinking utopia as trembling.
The shacks of cinema

Agnès Varda’s shacks of cinema embody the intersection between cinema and visual art, two fields where Varda left an indelible mark. These shacks, artistic installations, were designed from the reels of Varda’s films and transformed into three-dimensional structures. By recycling 35 mm film strips, Varda found a way to overcome the obsolescence of these media, which, once converted to digital files, are no longer used for projection in movie theaters. Metaphors for childhood, each shack offers a unique space to relive her films from a different angle, deconstruct film art and question its materiality. Their surfaces are like stained glass composed of thousands of images from her films. Varda offers a spatial and non- linear reinterpretation of her feature films, giving them new life as shacks of light.

In 2006, Hervé Chandès invited Agnès Varda to design a major exhibition, L’Île et Elle [The Island and Her], at Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain. On Boulevard Raspail, not far from the famous rue Daguerre, she installed her first cinema shack, My Shack of Failure, made from the reels of her film Les Créatures (1966), which was a commercial failure. My Shack of Failure is formed from one copie of the film on 9 reels, which, once unrolled, stretch over more than 3,500 metres. After a second exhibition of My Shack of Failure, renamed My Shack of Failure Turned into My Shack of Cinema at the 10th Lyon Biennale in 2009, Varda designed her second shack, dedicated to the movie Lions Love (... and Lies) (1969), which uses two reels of the film, exhibited at LACMA during her retrospective Agnès in Californialand in 2013.
Contemplating other shack formats that could correspond to the diverse content of her films, she created in 2017, four models of cinema shacks: The Boat from La Pointe Courte, The Greenhouse of Le Bonheur, The Cinema Shack (Les Créatures), and The Tent from Vagabond. These models, made of Super 8 films, were executed by Christophe Vallaux and Céline Miquelis. They are somewhat the plans for the full-scale shacks that will be built. The only one of these shacks still not realised is The Boat from La Pointe Courte.

In 2018, Agnès Varda unveiled for the first time at the Nathalie Obadia Gallery in Paris My Shack of Cinema: The Greenhouse of Le Bonheur, dedicated to her first colour film from 1965, which scandalised audiences at its release by dealing with the complexities of love and prefiguring the social revolutions of the 60s. This shack, which evokes the colours of Impressionist paintings, and Van Gogh’s sunflowers, is at the centre of the exhibition of the third chapter of Hans-Ulrich Obrist’s archive at LUMA Arles. It comprises approximately 2,500 metres of 35 mm celluloid strips and presents in its centre the sunflowers that appear in the credits of the film Le Bonheur
The shacks of cinema testify to Varda’s engagement with waste and recycling issues, themes already addressed in her documentary film The Gleaners and I (2000). By using the offcuts of her own films, the artist underscores the life cycle of the cinematic object, from its production to its rejection, to its transformation and reincorporation into a new work of art.

They demonstrate how Varda explored the limits of the cinematic medium while showing her commitment to sustainability and recycling. These shacks are not just an ecological gesture but also a meditation on cinema itself. By inviting the viewer into a space built from film reels, Varda encourages reflection on the ephemeral and fragile nature of the cinematic medium. The work of art then becomes a place of memory, reflecting the history of cinema and Varda’s own career. Posthumously, The Tent from Vagabond was realised in 2022.
Le Bonheur

Released in 1965, Le Bonheur is an audacious and avant-garde film by Agnès Varda that ignited scandals and significant censorship upon its debut (it was banned for those under eighteen). The film raises moral questions by exploring adultery, not only without judgment but also as a source of added joy and love. François, a carpenter, is content with his marital life with his wife Thérèse and their two children until he falls in love with Émilie, a young post office employee. François experiences no guilt or moral conflict about his adultery; on the contrary, he sees love as an entity that does not subtract but multiplies. Jean-Claude Drouot portrays François alongside his real-life family, his wife and his two young children, which adds an extra layer of authenticity and intimacy to the film.
Set against an idyllic backdrop where everyday life is depicted as an eternal Sunday in the countryside, happiness is captured by a camera that navigates through flower fields and summer dresses, while the carefully crafted dialogue depicts François’s naivety in thinking that his ideas will be shared by his deceived wife. Varda skilfully utilises colour to enrich the narration, with a palette of bright hues symbolising emotions and plot transitions. The chromatic choices delineate the distinction between François’ two partners, red for Thérèse and blue for Émilie, symbolising duality throughout the film.
point d’ironie

The periodical point d’ironie was born out of a conversation between agnès b., Christian Boltanski, and Hans-Ulrich Obrist in 1997. Since then, six to eight issues have been published each year, each conceived by an artist who appropriates this medium and brings it to the status of a unique and public work of art. Because of its free access, size, and distribution, point d’ironie is an atypical format distributed sporadically – one hundred thousand copies are spread worldwide in museums, galleries, bookstores, schools, cinemas, and stores, among others. Invented by French writer Alcanter de Brahm in the late 19th century, the point d’ironie [irony mark] is a punctuation mark used at the end of a sentence (like an exclamation point or a question mark) to signal irony. For point d’ironie n°57, in 2015, Agnès Varda had her first public collaboration with JR around the figure of the mail carrier, and more specifically, the mail carrier Jacky Patin, but also took the opportunity to address her passion for Facteur Cheval and her correspondence, with Pierre François, Agathe Cristov, or Alexander Calder.
Handwriting Project

Hans-Ulrich Obrist wrote in 2020: ‘As an ongoing and open process, my Instagram project not only captures moments of individual expression through the handwritten gesture, but it also celebrates and preserves difference; it is an archive of remembering.’ The Handwriting Project was conceived as a fusion of the analogue and the digital, from the slow composition of the written note to the speed of an Instagram post. This attempt to record, remember, and reaffirm the idiosyncrasy of handwriting began when Ryan Trecartin and Kevin McGarry installed the Instagram app on Hans-Ulrich Obrist’s phone. The overwhelming potential for image propagation in Instagram led him to seek a structure for its use, an idea or a rule of the game in the spirit of Oulipo. While Umberto Eco’s words encouraged him to protect handwriting, Etel Adnan inspired him to celebrate it. During a trip with her, Simone Fattal, and Koo Jeong A in Brittany during the 2012 holiday season, she inspired the Handwriting Project with this poem: ‘Light encounters. The Ocean’s horns – light on light’ Since then, Hans-Ulrich Obrist has published nearly 5,000 handwritten notes.
Les Mains complices [Partnering Hands]

A celebration of love, Les Mains complices [Partnering Hands] series is the final work of Agnès Varda. A gathering she desired with her family, loved ones, and friends, the work was created on her kitchen table, which she considered her ‘hearth’, on March 3, 2019. Photographed with her phone, this série encapsulates the simplicity and enthusiasm of creation for Agnès Varda. Varda was certain, having spent nine decades on this planet, that only love matters. One of these sessions was also an opportunity was also the setting for the creation of a surrealist collage by Christian Boltanski, Koo Jeong A, JR, Annette Messager, Agnès Varda, and Rosalie Varda for Hans-Ulrich Obrist’s Handwriting Project. In Varda’s words, it is an ‘exhibition of photographs which is a series of conniving and loving hands.’ She adds ‘Couples joined their hands in front of my lens. I surrounded them with a garland of tiny heart-shaped potatoes. Let’s dare to be sentimental.’
Artists Posters

From the postcards of his childhood to the artists’ editions of the World Soup (The Kitchen Show) catalogue, the artist postcards of Hotel Carlton Palace: Chambre 763 in 1993, the Do It project (1993-), Take Me (I’m Yours) (1995-), to the artists posters of Utopia Station in 2003 and the artist posters of the IT’S URGENT project produced by LUMA between 2019 and 2020, Hans-Ulrich Obrist has always sought to invite artists to express themselves through media meant for sharing. Following the first chapter of Hans-Ulrich Obrist’s archive dedicated to Édouard Glissant, presented at LUMA Arles in 2021 and then at LUMA Westbau in 2023, for which Valerio Adami, Miquel Barceló, Tosh Basco & Wu Tsang, Daniel Boyd, Patrick Chamoiseau, Tony Cokes, Julien Creuzet, Melvin Edwards, Koo Jeong A, Dozie Kanu & Precious Okoyomon, Matthew Lutz-Kinoy, Julie Mehretu, Jota Mombaça, The Otolith Group, Philippe Parreno, Raqs Media Collective, Asad Raza, Anri Sala, Sylvie Séma-Glissant paid tribute to the philosopher-poet with unique posters, it was only natural to continue this initiative to honour the career and life of Agnès Varda, while underscoring the close ties between her work and contemporary artistic practices. Close friends, intimates, admirers, Adel Abdessemed, Nairy Baghramian, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Douglas Gordon, Katharina Grosse, JR, Annette Messager, and Laure Prouvost commemorated, each in their own way, the worlds of Agnès Varda.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist and Arthur Fouray wish to thank Maja Hoffmann for her vision and passion for archives; and extend their gratitude to Vassilis Oikonomopoulos, Mustapha Bouhayati, Matthieu Humery, Christophe Danzin, Anna von Brühl, Friedrich von Brühl, and the LUMA Dream Team.

First and foremost, we wish to extend a heartfelt thank you to Rosalie Varda, Mathieu Demy, and the family of Agnès Varda; to the team of Ciné-Tamaris, especially Shérine El Sayed Taih and Jules Martin, but also Elvire Dolgorouky, Eric Leprêtre, Stanislas Biessy, Léna Cervoni; to the Nathalie Obadia Gallery, to Nathalie Obadia and her team including Marie Bernard, Agathe Cordoliani, Alizée Gex; as well as the artists who participated in the exhibition: Annette Messager and the Marian Goodman Gallery, Adel Abdessemed and his team including Lisa Rey-Galiay, Nairy Baghramian accompanied by Nicolas Hsiung, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Douglas Gordon supported by David Sharp, Katharina Grosse and her collaborators Natalija Martinovic and Kristin Rieber, JR and his studio: Marc Azoulay, Camille Pajot, Marie-Dominique Plumejeau Tapin, and finally Laure Prouvost with the help of Mona Pouillon.

Our special thanks go to Luz Gyalui and the LUMA Arles production team, especially Alice Cattelat, Barbara Blanc, Laura Majan, Juliette Kernin, Jihye Kim; to Dimitri Bruni, Manuel Krebs, and Ludovic Varone of NORM for the layout of Agnès Varda’s Post-it notes; to Amélie Busi and the LUMA Arles communication team, Christine Denamur and Maria Luisa Rojano for the realisation of the exhibition poster and the signage; to Luana Terrasse for coordination and proofreading the texts. Many thanks also to Max Shackleton, Producer, and Lorraine Two Testro, Head of Operations and Planning for Hans-Ulrich Obrist; Céline Miquelis for the installation of the cabins and cinema models; to Christophe Vallaux; to Julia Fabry; to Hervé Chandès, Pierre-Édouard Couton and the team of the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain; to the Institut pour la photographie des Hauts- de-France, Lille; to the Serpentine team; to agnès b., Élodie Cazes, William Massey and the team of the Fonds de dotation agnès b.; to Charlotte Horn and Carl Davies of FACT Liverpool; to Alexander S. C. Rower and the Calder Foundation; to Sintagma, and in particular Ana Beatriz Gonçalves, Rosário Valadas Vieira and Renato Barcelos, for the subtitling of archival videos; to Jesus Plaëttner, for the mastering and audio restoration of archival videos; to Gérard Issert, Granon Digital, Paris for the digital prints; to Thibault Verdon and the IDzia team, Marc Rodrigues, Damien Poggiali, Arthur Aigon, Philippe Arnaud, Pascal Picard, for the audiovisual set up; Gilles Pennegaggi and all the exhibition installation teams, in particular Victor Jaget, Mathieu Hengevelt for the hanging, and Xavier Ressegand; Olivier Fisher for the carpentry; Florence Cuschieri and Stephanie Jabir for the condition reports; to the César Workshop for the production of model bases, Œil de Lynx for the wallpaper installation; Atelier SHL for the prints, Acoplast for the signage and label elements; and finally, to all those who have participated in the development of the exhibition, including Claire Charrier, Lucas Jacques-Witz, Koo Jeong A, Adèle Koechlin, Molly Nesbit, Chiara Parisi, Jean-François Raffalli, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Manuella Vaney and Josh Willdigg.


Hans-Ulrich Obrist Archive Chapter 1: Édouard Glissant
Where all the world’s imaginations can meet and hear one another

Valerio Adami
Etel Adnan
agnès b.
Miquel Barceló
Tosh Basco & Wu Tsang
Daniel Boyd
Patrick Chamoiseau
Tony Cokes
Julien Creuzet
Manthia Diawara
Melvin Edwards
Édouard Glissant
Koo Jeong A
Dozie Kanu & Precious Okoyomon
Matthew Lutz-Kinoy
Julie Mehretu
Jota Mombaça
The Otolith Group
Philippe Parreno
Raqs Media Collective
Sylvie Séma-Glissant
Asad Raza
Anri Sala

Co-curated by Hans-Ulrich Obrist and Arthur Fouray

LUMA Westbau
Zurich, Switzerland

Graphic design: Christine Denamur,  Lead Graphic Designer, LUMA Arles
Photographs: Nelly Rodriguez

Produced by LUMA Foundation
The One-World trembles physically, geologically, mentally, spiritually, because the One-World is looking for this point, I would not say this station, but this utopian point where all the cultures of the world, all the imaginations of the world, can meet and hear one another without being dispersed or getting lost.
Édouard Glissant, Utopia Station, Venice Biennale, 2003

The first chapter of Hans-Ulrich Obrist Archive is dedicated to the late Édouard Glissant (1928–2011), Martinique-born philosopher, poet and public intellectual. Glissant is an emblematic figure for both Obrist, for whom he was a mentor, and for the Luma project in Arles, for which the thinker has been an inspiration since its inception, as for many who are finally grasping the relevance of his thought. Drawing on periods of collaboration, friendship and mentorship between the philosopher and the curator, the presentation highlights a belief they had in common: conversation and reciprocal exchange with the other can be a means to produce new realities. For Glissant, a world in transformation is a ‘One-World’ that listens and learns from each of its unique voices.

Obrist’s encounter with Glissant influenced the direction of his work for years to come. He was first introduced to the philosopher’s thinking through the artist Alighiero Boetti, whom he met after turning eighteen in 1986. Throughout the second half of the 1990s, he got to know Glissant in the company of their mutual friend Agnès B. Their companionship started in Parisian cafés, and these meetings quickly became regular events. During this period, Obrist adopted a daily fifteen-minute ritual of reading the writings of the poet-philosopher, a habit that he still practises. Their relationship was driven by a spontaneity that enabled them to collaborate on a dozen public conversations, interviews and printed materials. These projects led them to travel together across cities, continents and archipelagos.

Glissant’s philosophy of ‘Relation’ is rooted in the history and the geography of the Antilles Archipelago. Through constant exchanges from one island to another, the archipelago has provided the matrix for creolisation, a process of continual fusion that does not cause the loss of cultural and linguistic diversity but enriches it through hybridisation. The most tangible outcome to emerge from this context is creole languages, resulting from miscegenation and osmosis between vernaculars. While continental thinking relies on systems, and claims the absoluteness of its own worldview, archipelagic thinking recognises and furthers the world’s diversity. Glissant realised early on the dangers of globalisation, the homogenising engine behind the disappearance of cultural, linguistic, and ecological diversity, as well as the dangers of the populist counter-current to globalisation, namely new forms of nationalism and localism that refuse solidarity. To resist globalisation without denying globality, he coined the notion of Mondialité as a plea for a continuous worldwide dialogue that equally encouraged the mixing of cultures and celebration of local identities. Obrist’s curatorial projects are directly inspired by this concept of Mondialité as a perpetual process of relating.
The focus of this presentation is a collection of audio-visual material related to Glissant from Obrist’s Interview Archive, which was displayed for the first time on the occasion of the overall opening of Luma in Arles in 2021. More than six hours of video material from public and private interviews, screened on eight viewing stations, allow visitors to listen to Glissant engaging in dialogues, reading his poetry aloud, forming and shaping his thoughts and philosophy while speaking. In addition to the videos, various other archival materials such as books dedicated to Obrist by Glissant are presented to offer a unique overview of this inspiring relationship. The presentation at Luma Westbau also features a series of posters by contemporary artists, who were either close to Glissant or who feel connected to his thinking. It is through their unique language that Glissant’s ideas find prolongation, reflecting their contemporaneity and urgency.

Throughout his career, Obrist has been committed to making Glissant’s thinking accessible, quoting him at every opportunity and orchestrating numerous events, exhibitions, and publications dedicated to him. The second presentation of this exhibition at Luma Westbau delves deeper into Obrist’s relationship with French philosopher-poet Édouard Glissant, whose vision of the 21st century art institution as an archipelago that would accommodate networks of interrelations between people, traditions and disciplines has been an inspiration for the Luma project in Arles since its conception. Glissant had imagined the institutions of the future as places of dialogue where various parts of the world would come into contact with others. For him, what mattered was the production of reality, the transformation of theories and poetry into concrete engagements to respond to the problems of the moment. His utopia was a quivering place that transcended established systems and perpetually reinvented itself. This presentation aims to give historical and artistic consistency to the dream shared by Glissant and Obrist of a ‘utopian point where all the world’s cultures and all the world’s imaginations can meet and hear one another’.
Édouard Glissant
Born 21 September 1928, Saint-Marie, Martinique.
Died 3 February 2011, Paris, France.

Novelist, poet and essayist Édouard Glissant is one of the great writers of our time. As a young man in Martinique, Glissant was fascinated by the surrealist movement and, together with his friends of the literary and political group ‘Franc Jeu’, campaigned for revolutionary ideas of liberation for the colonies. He left Martinique for France in 1946 where he studied Philosophy at the Sorbonne and Ethnology at the Musée de l’Homme. He made his literay debut in 1953 with a collection of poetry entitled Un Champ d’îles [A field of islands]; his first novel La Lézarde [The Ripening] won the Prix Renaudot in 1958. In 1965, Édouard Glissant returned to Martinique where he created the Institut Martiniquais d’Études (IME) in 1967, a private institution that aims to give young Antilleans an education in keeping with the reality of their history and geography. In 1971, he founded Acoma (distributed by Parisian publisher Maspéro), a critical research journal on West Indian societies, which already heralded one of his master essays in the field at that time, Le Discours antillais [1987 Caribbean Discourse].

Through his essays, novels and poetry, he developed the notion of Tout-Monde (One World) which was the title of the 1995 novel, followed by the essay Traité du Tout-Monde [Treatise on the Whole World] in 1997. From 1980 to 1988, Édouard Glissant was Editor in Chief of the UNESCO Courier, whose editions were published in 36 languages and distributed in over 150 countries. In 1988, Édouard Glissant moved to the United States and became Chair of the Center for French and Francophone Studies at Louisiana State University (LSU). In 1993, he was actively involved in the creation of the International Parliament of Writers, an international institution designed to organise concrete solidarity with writers and intellectuals who are victims of persecution. In Paris, Édouard Glissant created the Institut du Tout-Monde in 2007 with the support of the Conseil Régional d’IIe-de-France, the Ministère de l’Outre-Mer, and the Maison de l’Amérique Latine. In 2009, Glissant published his last essay Philosophie de la Relation : Poésie en étendue [Philosophy of Relation] and his final book La terre, le feu, l’eau et les vents - Une anthologie de la poésie du Tout-monde [The earth, the fire, the water, and the winds - An anthology of poetry from the Whole-world] in 2010.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist and Arthur Fouray wish to thank Maja Hoffmann for her vision and passion for archives; and also thank Vassilis Oikonomopoulos, Mustapha Bouhayati, Anna von Brühl, Sandra Roemermann, Friedrich von Brühl and the Luma dream team.

Above all, we would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Sylvie Séma-Glissant and the family of Édouard Glissant, including their son Mathieu Glissant, as well as the artists who participated in the first chapter of the archive at Luma Westbau: Valerio Adami, the late Etel Adnan, agnès b., Miquel Barceló, Tosh Basco & Wu Tsang, Daniel Boyd, Patrick Chamoiseau, Tony Cokes, Julien Creuzet, Manthia Diawara, Melvin Edwards, Koo Jeong A, Dozie Kanu & Precious Okoyomon, Matthew Lutz-Kinoy, Julie Mehretu, Jota Mombaça, The Otolith Group, Philippe Parreno, Raqs Media Collective, Asad Raza, and Anri Sala.

Our special thanks go to Dimitri Bruni, Manuel Krebs, and Ludovic Varone of NORM for arranging the artists’ posters, Christine Denamur for the exhibition poster, and Anne Stock for the lithography of the artists’ posters. A big thank you also goes to Samuel Thomas for the editing of the archive videos; to the Sintagma team, especially Renato Barcelos and Rosário Valadas Vieira, for the subtitling of the archive videos; to Jean-Baptiste Marcant for the sound mastering of the archive videos, to Vincent Teuscher, Pascal Häusermann, Nico Canzoniere, and the entire exhibition installation team, without whom this presentation would not have been possible.

Finally, we would like to thank all the people who participated in
the development of the presentation, especially Manuela Lucadazio and the Venice Biennale team, the Serpentine Galleries team, and the Fonds de dotation agnès b. team, particularly Élodie Cazes and William Massey, but also Matthieu Humery, Lucas Jacques-Witz, Adèle Koechlin, Molly Nesbit, Carrie Pilto, Gianluigi Ricuperati, Max Shackleton, and Lorraine Two Testro.


Hans-Ulrich Obrist Archive Chapter 2: Etel Adnan
The world needs togetherness, not separation. Love, not suspicion. A common future, not isolation.

Etel Adnan
Simone Fattal

Co-curated by Hans-Ulrich Obrist (Senior Advisor), Arthur Fouray (Archivist and Curator)

LUMA Arles
Living Archives Programme
Arles, France

With the assistance of
Lucas Jacques-Witz, Assistant archivist
Victoria Kloch, Living Archives intern

Luz Gyalui, Head of production
Barbara Blanc, Head registrar and conservator
Nicolas Pène, Preparator
Zoë Renaudie, Conservator 
Clément Château, Production manager
Alice Cattelat, Architecture and production assistant
Camille Lim Koun, Architecture and production assistant
Kanelle Michel, Intern registrar

Graphic design: Christine Denamur,  Lead Graphic Designer
Photographs: Joana Luz, Arthur Fouray (editing)

Produced by LUMA Foundation
‘The world needs
togetherness, not
separation. Love,
not suspicion.
A common future,
not isolation.’
Etel Adnan, June 2016

‘Ever Etel
Ever Adnan’
Hans-Ulrich Obrist, February 2021

A leporello exhibited in Dubai in 2007 catalysed Hans-Ulrich Obrist’s long-term collaboration and friendship with the late Etel Adnan, one of the greatest poets and artists of our time. Obrist was magnetically drawn to the cosmic energy of her work and he read and archived every publication he found. The first he read was Sitt Marie Rose (The Post-Apollo Press, 1977), her magnum opus on the Lebanese Civil War, which established Adnan as a significant political writer and one of the preeminent voices of feminist and peace movements.

 Seeing her work then evoked in Obrist a similar feeling to discovering Paul Klee’s work as a teenager. Like Klee, Adnan was a polymath. Her practice could be linked to the superstring theory; a Gesamtkunstwerk that has many dimensions and expands the notion of single disciplines: cartographies, drawings, films, notebooks, novels, paintings, plays, poems, political journalism, sculptures, tapestries, and teaching.

 Born in Beirut in 1925, Adnan studied at Sorbonne and Harvard, after which she taught philosophy at the University and started painting in the late 1950s in California. There, she fell in love with her life partner Simone Fattal as well as a mountain, Mount Tamalpais, at the foot of which they lived. Her passion led to numerous paintings and the book Journey to Mount Tamalpais (The Post-Apollo Press, 1986). Often stemming from a red square shape, her canvases are abstract compositions with flat colours directly applied from the tubes. She was interested in the immediate beauty of colour. As Simone Fattal explains, her paintings both ‘exude energy and give energy. They grow on you like talismans.’
Her unrealised project of becoming an architect can be compared to how she approached painting as something that is built. Adnan understood painting as addressing itself to the outside world and architecture as inescapable, something that is always already there and made for us to be. As she said, ‘The first architecture for a human being is their mother’s womb.’

 It was under heavy rain, during the winter of 2012, that Etel Adnan, Simone Fattal, Koo Jeong A, and Hans-Ulrich Obrist found refuge in a café in Brittany. Throughout long conversations, Adnan was writing poems on a notepad. It became evident to Obrist that it was important to celebrate handwriting as opposed to the lamentation of its disappearing. Since then, he shares the handwritten notes of the people he meets on Instagram once a day.

 After a first chapter dedicated to Édouard Glissant, the second chapter of Hans-Ulrich Obrist’s archive focuses on the myriad of conversations held with Etel Adnan from 2009 until her last days in 2021, comprising fifteen hours of unreleased interviews, tracing their relation through hundreds of published documents, Post-it notes, handwritten correspondences, and artworks. Their connection was one of mutual respect and, above all, wholehearted admiration. They shared numberless projects; she was a regular participant of the Marathon conversations, organised yearly by Obrist at the Serpentine, London; he has also devoted two major solo exhibitions to her practice and published multiple monographs about her work. Adnan is an essential figure for LUMA Arles, a project Hans-Ulrich Obrist has accompanied since its inception. Maja Hoffmann, founder of LUMA, remembers: ‘Etel once told me, what we are doing with LUMA is creating a lighthouse for the Mediterranean. If LUMA is the lighthouse, then Etel is certainly the fire, the fire that lights up the space and shows directions.’
Etel Adnan Biography

Etel Adnan (1925-2021) was born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon. Her mother was a Greek from Smyrna, her father a high-ranking Ottoman officer born in Damascus, Syria. In Lebanon, she was educated in French schools. She first studied philosophy first in Paris in 1949, at Sorbonne. In January 1955, she travelled to the United States to pursue her studies in philosophy at U.C. Berkeley and Harvard. She taught philosophy from 1958 to 1972 at the Dominican College of San Rafael, California. Reflecting on the political implications of writing in French during the Algerian war of independence and in solidarity, she began to resist and shifted the focus of her creative expression towards visual art. She became a painter. However, it was with her participation in the poets’ movement against the war in Vietnam that she began to write and became, in her own words, ‘an American poet’. 

In 1972, she moved back to Beirut and worked as a cultural editor for two daily newspapers – first for Al Safa, then for L’Orient-le Jour. She stayed in Lebanon until 1976. In 1977, her novel Sitt Marie-Rosewon the France-Pays Arabes award and was published in Paris in 1978. This novel has been translated into more than ten languages and became a classic of War Literature. In 1977, Adnan re-established herself in Paris and then in California in 1980, making Sausalito her home and traveling frequently to Paris. In the late seventies, she wrote the texts for two documentaries made by Jocelyne Saab on the civil war in Lebanon, which were aired on French television as well as in Europe and Japan. 

Her paintings, drawings, and Super 8 films have been exhibited extensively in the United States, Europe, and the Arab world. 
She participated in the Serpentine Marathons since 2010 and was one of the guest artists at dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel in June 2012. Since then, numerous museums have devoted retrospectives to her work, including the Mathaf in Doha in 2014, the Serpentine in 2016, the Mudam in Luxembourg in 2019. She was at the heart of major exhibitions, at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Centre Pompidou Metz in 2021 and at Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam in 2022. She passed away in Paris in November 2021. 
Etel Adnan and Architecture

Etel Adnan dreamed of becoming an architect one day, until she revealed her wish to her parents when she was 15 years old. Her mother strongly disapproved of her choice. Although unrealised, her project became a pivotal point in her way of understanding the world. 

Frank Lloyd Wright’s work has always been a source of inspiration, as evidenced by her architectural proposals, which are reminiscent of the Prairie School, to which she owes her love of lightness. Etel Adnan’s exhibition in 2021 alongside Wassily Kandinsky in Wright’s building, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, is a perfect tribute to her passion for his work. 

As a political exile herself, she was particularly fond of nomadic architecture, especially the construction of tents. The tents of Frei Otto represented syncretic forms for her, reflections of her own journey. Finally, it was Zaha Hadid who embodied one of Etel Adnan’s greatest icons, as she wrote: ‘The earth we inhabit is an adventurous and restless planet, with no fixed point on which to land either, and on this cosmic terrain Zaha Hadid plants her tents, that is works which, although seemingly immobile, are cosmic’ (Zaha Hadid: Early Paintings and Drawings, 2016).
Etel Adnan & Hans-Ulrich Obrist

Etel is our oracle, as we always say’ (Hans-Ulrich Obrist, Introduction to Etel Adnan, Transformation Marathon, 2015). Etel Adnan considered Hans-Ulrich Obrist an angelic figure in the search for epiphanies; ‘Invariably, his visits become visitations’ (Afterword, Sharp Tongues, Loose Lips, Open Eyes, Ears to the Ground, 2014). Obrist insists that Etel Adnan is one of the world’s greatest poets and artists. She was and will remain one of the major figures, mentors in his life. 

She was the inspiration for many of his projects, to mention just one, the Handwriting Project (2012 -), for which she made more than 110 contributions, but also its extensions, the questions to artists and thinkers (2019 -), and the exquisite corpses, shown in 2022 in the exhibition 201 Cadavres Exquis [201 Exquisite Corpses] at the Museum im Bellpark, Kriens, Switzerland. 

She was at the beginning of important initiatives such as It’s Urgent at LUMA Westbau and later at LUMA Arles, as well as being involved in all of Obrist’s long-term projects, including 6 Marathons at the Serpentine, the Marathon Marathon in Athens (2010), the E.A.T. conferences in the Engadin valley, the periodical le Point d’Ironie (2011), and finally the exhibition projects Do It (2012) and Take Me I’m Yours (2015). Besides texts and interviews for catalogues, magazines, or other publications dedicated to her practice, she was an acolyte of his interviews with Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian (2011) and Sabine Moritz (2017). She helped pay tribute to her peers, including Susan Hefuna (2014) and Zaha Hadid (2011, 2016).
Simone Fattal Biography

Simone Fattal was born in Damascus, Syria, and grew up in Lebanon, where she studied philosophy at the Ecole des Lettres of Beirut. She continued her philosophical research at the Sorbonne in Paris. Back in Beirut in 1969, she embarked on a career as a painter and met Etel Adnan, her collaborator and life partner. Fattal left Lebanon in 1980, during the Lebanese Civil War, and settled in Sausalito, California. There, she founded The Post-Apollo Press in 1982, a publishing house dedicated to innovative and experimental literary works, she ran until 2017. The Press continues under the guidance of a distributor, responsible for keeping the books alive and reprinted when necessary.

In 1988, she returned to an artistic practice by making ceramic sculptures after enrolling at the Art Institute of San Francisco. Since 2006, she has been making works at the prestigious Hans Spinner studio in Grasse, France. Over the past decade, she has also produced watercolours, paintings and collages. Etel Adnan once described her works as ‘having this inexplicable power to be present while remaining mysterious; held in their silence, linked to instantaneous and still belonging at the same time to an unlimited (undefined?) time.’ In 2012, Fattal released a film, Autoportrait, which has been screened at numerous festivals around the world. She currently lives and works in Paris. The recent exhibitions of Simone Fattal include MoMA PS1 (2019), the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech (2018), and the Sharjah Art Foundation (2016).
Etel Adnan’s Artistic Journey

Etel Adnan’s artistic journey can not be understood as a series of single, autonomous works but rather as a multi- dimensional rhizome in constant search of new horizons. While teaching art philosophy in California and writing her first texts, Ann O’Hanlon, head of the art department at the university, encouraged her to paint by telling her, ‘You do not need a school. Your mind is trained’ (Etel Adnan in conversation with Hans-Ulrich Obrist, 2009). She began to use this art medium in 1959, and O’Hanlon organised the first exhibition of Adnan’s work in her studio in 1961. 

She worked, on average, between one and two hours on each of her small canvases, before letting them dry and rest on the wall for months. Adnan liked to work the colours immediately with a palette knife, horizontally, on a table dedicated to her painting practice. In California, her favourite subject became Mount Tamalpais, interpreting it in countless shapes, shifting with the light and time, constantly switching between figuration and abstraction. A sacred mountain for the Indians, she observed it from her studio window: ‘For Cézanne, Sainte Victoire was no longer a mountain. It was an absolute. It was painting’ (conversation with Hans-Ulrich Obrist, 2011). 

Often compared to the works of Nicolas de Staël, she extended her pictorial practice by taking an interest in tapestries as early as 1967. Homesick, she was obsessed with the Persian and Kurdish patterns and traditional weavings of her childhood. In the late 1960s, she commissioned a weaver friend to produce the first tapestries based on her designs for her home in California. 

Ceramics, which had been part of her life since the 1980s through the artistic work of her partner Simone Fattal, became a means for Adnan to realise one of her dreams in the 2010s: making public art. Hans-Ulrich Obrist helped Etel Adnan initiate the ceramic murals public art projects on the occasion of her retrospective at Mathaf, with the works Untitled I (2013) and Untitled II (2013) installed in Qatar and produced by Sfeir-Semler Gallery in Burgundy, France. It was the first of a series of unique public works, culminating in the architectural design of an auditorium hosting a 14-metre fresco, Dans la forêt (2021), inaugurated at the overall opening of LUMA Arles.
Etel Adnan and the Leporellos

In 1960, Etel Adnan discovered Japanese leporellos (orihon), concertina books where drawing, writing and poetry can co-exist. One day, at a café, her friend Rick Barton offered her a sketched leporello, encouraging Adnan to fill it. She saw in it the possibility of a ‘writing of forms’, a practice dear to Henri Matisse, and continued all her life to use these spread-out formats, which, to her, capture with immediacy the artist’s impressions, in addition to painting, a more meditative medium, that she considered as both a sport and a craft. 
Etel Adnan initially used leporellos to pay homage to her icons, her first one was inspired by a poem by the Iraqi poet Badr Shakir al-Sayyab, followed by numerous authors such as Adonis, Mahmoud Darwich, Georges Schéhadé, but also Barbara Guest, Lyn Hejinian and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. After 1975, she became more interested in landscapes and environments, such as the one of her studio, thus combining calligraphy, drawing and colour. 

The leporellos became her travelling companions, fanfold sheets that do not hang on the walls but can be stored once consulted, in which she was writing, noting, drawing and sketching again and again.
Etel Adnan’s writings

Etel Adnan has developed her writing in many forms, such as journalism, playwriting and fiction, including her great novel about the Lebanese civil war, Sitt Marie Rose (1978) and The Arab Apocalypse (1980), which deal with the turmoil of war in the Arab world. For Adnan, painting expresses a joie de vivre, and writing is a meditation on the tragic side of the world. During her youth, Etel Adnan spoke Greek with her mother, Turkish with her father and learned French at school, where Arabic was forbidden. 

She naturally began to write in French over the years, but marked by the political implications of the Algerian War, she rejected the French language. She then started to write poems in English, such as The Ballad of the Lonely Knight in Present-Day America, her first poem published in the periodical The S-B Gazette (Sausalito-Belvedere, 1965) during her years of teaching at the University of California San Rafael. 

In 1972, she returned to Lebanon, where she met many artists and writers in the then flourishing cultural scene while working as an editor for the newspaper Al Safa and then L’Orient-Le Jour.

In 1980, Etel Adnan and Simone Fattal fled the Lebanese war and settled in California, where Simone Fattal founded The Post-Apollo Press two years after their arrival. This poetry publishing house, which debuted with the publishing of From A to Z and the translation of Sitt Marie Rose, has been an endless source of collaborative work, from its logo, the moon that Adnan painted, to the many covers featuring her drawings, and dozens of books published during its 35 years of activity. As the legendary Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish once said to Hans-Ulrich Obrist, ‘She never wrote a bad line.’
The Interviews with Etel Adnan

Fifteen hours of interviews with Etel Adnan are being shown for the first time to the public as a part of the second chapter of the Hans-Ulrich Obrist Archive. The numerous discussions between Hans-Ulrich Obrist and Etel Adnan, often in duos and sometimes accompanied by other speakers, testify above all, the depth, the accuracy, and the longevity of their continuous exchange, from 2007 until her passing on 14 November 2021. 

Their infinite conversations are crossed by Etel Adnan’s many passions and dimensions of her work, from writing to drawing, from painting to Mount Tamalpais, from the Apollo 11 mission to The Post-Apollo Press, from Simone Fattal, her life partner, to the poets of her dreams, from poetry to philosophy, from architecture to Lebanon, from the origins of her parents to California, and from the colour red to her love for the world.

These videos are part of Hans-Ulrich Obrist’s Interview Project, including public interviews and talks, such as the Serpentine Marathons and on the occasion of her solo show The Weight of the World, as well as at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, at the Institut du Monde Arabe, for the Heni Talks platform and finally for LUMA Arles. Since 1991, following the precious advice of Jonas Mekas and Studs Terkel, Hans-Ulrich Obrist has undertaken the project of listening to the world and its inhabitants. As Etel Adnan wrote in 2014: ‘When I met Hans-Ulrich Obrist just a few years ago, I discovered (at last?!) a man who listens.’ (Afterword, Sharp Tongues, Loose Lips, Open Eyes, Ears to the Ground, 2014).

Hans-Ulrich Obrist would like to thank Maja Hoffmann for her vision and passion for the archives; Mustapha Bouhayati, Vassilis Oikonomopoulos, Matthieu Humery and all the LUMA team; Arthur Fouray, who organised and co-curated the Etel Adnan archives project with Lucas Jacques-Witz and the help of Victoria Kloch; Luz Gyalui and the production team, in particular Clément Château and Barbara Blanc; all the teams who made this project possible, in particular Claire Charrier; last but not least Anna von Brühl and Friedrich von Brühl. Hans-Ulrich Obrist wishes to express its gratitude to Simone Fattal and the relatives of Etel Adnan; and also all those who participated in the preparation of this project; Manuel Krebs and Dimitri Bruni and the NORM team, Max Shackleton, Producer and Lorraine Two Testro, Head of Operations and Planning to Hans-Ulrich Obrist; the Serpentine team, especially Claude Adjil, Rose Dempsey, Fiona Glen, Kostas Stasinopoulos; Joe Hage and the Heni team, especially Mary Zantiris, Hervé Chandès, Pierre-Édouard Couton and the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain team, John McGrath, Kwong Lee and the Manchester Internation Festival team, Samuel Thomas for the editing of the archive videos;  the Sintagma team, especially Rosário Valadas Vieira et Ana Gonçalves, for the subtitling of the archive videos; Jesus Plaëttner, for the mastering and audio restauration of the archive videos; the IDzia team for the audio-visual devices; Gilles Pennegaggi and all the exhibition installation teams; and finally, to all the people who participated in the elaboration of the presentation, especially Koo Jeong A, Chiara Parisi and Manuella Vaney.


Hans-Ulrich Obrist Archive Chapter 1: Édouard Glissant
Where all the world’s imaginations can meet and hear one another

Etel Adnan
agnès b.
Julien Creuzet
Manthia Diawara
Édouard Glissant
Julie Mehretu
The Otolith Group
Sylvie Séma-Glissant
Asad Raza


LUMA Arles
Living Archives Programme
Arles, France

With the assistance of
Elif Kulözü, Living Archives intern

Luz Gyalui, Head of production
Barbara Blanc, Head registrar and conservator
Nicolas Pène, Preparator
Zoë Renaudie, Conservator 
Clément Château, Production manager

Produced by LUMA Foundation
Hans-Ulrich Obrist Archive

The archive of Hans-Ulrich Obrist (b. 21 May 1968 in Zurich, Switzerland) documents his curatorial and conversational practice. Since the late 1980s, the Swiss-born curator has been developing a multifaceted practice that is shaped, first and foremost, through interactions. His archive is about listening, since it contains a multitude of encounters with some of the most influential figures of our times.

In 1986, Obrist visited the studio of Peter Fischli & David Weiss in Zurich, on the eve of the production of their film Der Lauf der Dinge [The Way Things Go, 1987], featuring a series of chain reactions involving ordinary objects set in motion where one thing leads to another. From this meeting onwards, he began visiting artists’ studios, travelling by night train, each encounter leading to another, each artist sending him to others. This is how in 1987 he visited the studio of Alighiero Boetti in Rome, a momentous meeting during which the artist gave him certain tasks. The most famous of these was to ask artists about their unrealised projects, which he now does in every interview.
What Obrist calls his Interview Project began in earnest in the early 1990s, when Jonas Mekas encouraged the young curator to film his conversations with artists. His first filmed interviews with artists such as Vito Acconci and Félix González-Torres date from 1991 and were shot in a TV studio as part of the Viennese project museum in progress. Afterwards, the oral historian Studs Terkel advised him to make improvised videos without using fancy equipment that could stop the flow. Etel Adnan told him later on that the 20th century was about manifestos, and that the 21st century should be more about listening. To date, the Interview Archive contains around 4,000 recorded conversations, not only with artists but also with architects, musicians, writers, filmmakers, philosophers, scientists. The wider archive consists of many other layers, such as pub- lications, photographs, handwritten and electronic correspondence, notes, sketches, drawings and projects.

This agglomeration of media and documents, which has been gradually growing since the late 1980s, first piled up in Obrist’s student apartment in St. Gallen, where he had organised in 1991 his first exhibition, Küchenausstellung (The Kitchen Show). The archive then went on the move. In 1997, the artist Joseph Grigely began the Nodes + Networks project with the archive of Obrist’s publication projects, which continues today under the umbrella of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). At the same time, the entire archive from St. Gallen was housed in the attic of the University of Lüneburg (Germany). This gave rise to the Interarchive project, which was the first time the archive was made public. In 2006, Obrist rented an apartment in Berlin to relocate the archive, which remained private until it was hosted by Luma in Arles.
Together with Hans-Ulrich Obrist, Maja Hoffmann proposed a format that reveals different aspects of the archive over time, such as a project or an encounter. At the core of these series of presentations are the documents from the Interview Archive, which, more than an accumulation of interviews, constitute an infinite conversation connecting people, cultures, languages and disciplines. The presentation format is based on a series of viewing stations consisting of monitors and SANAA-designed ‘Rabbit Ear’ chairs, reproducing the scenography conceived by the architect Kazuyo Sejima for the 12th Venice Architecture Biennale that the Luma Foundation supported in 2010. This intimate layout was originally created for Now Interviews by Obrist and featured a series of live public interviews filmed and broadcast in situ upon the invitation of Sejima to realise a portrait of the Biennale. At the heart of each episode of this long-term project is the idea of learning to listen and listening to learn.
Original Drawings

A largely unknown facet of Édouard Glissant's poetic creations is his drawings. Not only does Glissant often punctuate his manuscripts with scribbled forms that are both concrete and abstract, but he also incorporates them into his dedications. These drawings arise from the same poetic intention as his writings and introduce a graphic dimension to his passion for the One-World. They are, in this context, visual manifestations of a world view that is both diffracted and interconnected, diverse and permeated by whirlwinds of encounters. On display are selections from the books that the poet-philosopher signed and dedicated to Hans-Ulrich Obrist throughout their relationship. They offer insights into the recurring motifs present in Glissant’s drawings: the whirlwind, the slave ship, the archipelago, the cusco stones, the Diamond rock, and the fromager tree.

The whirlwind, an emblematic figure of Glissant’s philosophy and the logo of the Institut du Tout-Monde, materializes as a spiral signifying a non-linear, non-systematic, and infinite movement that perpetually leads to unpredictable transformations. The slave ship, evoking the forced voyage of his African ancestors to the Caribbean, is portrayed by Glissant as a ‘womb abyss’ (gouffre-matrice) from which creole identities emerge. Stripped of their history, land, and identity, and unable to assert ancestral ties, the enslaved discovered in their encounter with the other a means to forge identities that are multifaceted and continuously evolving. The imagery of the slave ship is especially potent in an abstract drawing where the ocean – that boundary space where the fate of entire populations was forever altered – fractures, while the sails of the ship morph into a mountain range. This evokes the interrupted yet interconnected terrains and identities of the Americas. Similarly, the archipelago, a recurring theme in Glissant’s works, embodies a geography of exchange and creolization, a landscape marked by ceaseless cultural and linguistic osmosis that is only further enriched by amalgamations.

For Glissant, contemplating the One-World is more than reflecting on human history; it is about considering the planet and the entanglement of all living beings. He often depicts cusco stones sprouting plants that blossom into faces, where the vegetal and the mineral converge. He also frequently sketches the Diamond rock, a tiny volcanic island situated off the southern coast of Martinique. Glissant used to gaze upon this basaltic monolith, known to shift in appearance as the light varies, from his home in Martinique. He is now interred in the commune of Diamant, named after this solidified lava with gem-like reflections. Lastly, the fromager tree, an intrinsic part of the Antillean landscape, holds significant meaning in Glissant's lexicon as a symbol of relational poetics. In L’Intention Poétique, describing his ‘tentative’ effort to sketch a tree, he writes: ‘I will conclude with a swath of vegetation, where only the blank expanse of the page will halt the boundless growth. The singular becomes subsumed in this Whole.’
Original Documents

The display case showcases a curated assortment of archival documents and publications that illuminate the profound relationship between Édouard Glissant and Hans-Ulrich Obrist. Presented in chronological order, these diverse materials offer a journey starting with the first published interview of the curator with Édouard Glissant from 2002. The exhibit also includes their interview from 2006 in Domus, the product of two private conversations from 2004, displayed in their full context in the presentation.

Special emphasis is placed on items associated with two pivotal projects that signaled a deepening of their interactions and joint ventures: point d’ironie n°29 and Utopia Station. In 2002, the pair convened at Café de Flore at the prompting of their mutual friend, agnès b., to outline the point d’ironie created in collaboration with the poet-philosopher. Concluding this productive session, which was documented by the curator and is available for viewing, Obrist, along with Molly Nesbit, invited Glissant to join the Utopia Station project they were co-curating with Rirkrit Tiravanija. Glissant subsequently attended several Utopia Station gatherings in diverse locales like Poughkeepsie, Venice, Munich, and Porto Alegre. He also worked with his wife, Sylvie Séma-Glissant, on a painting that was displayed at Utopia Station in Venice but mysteriously vanished during the event. Following its disappearance, a photo of the painting, captured by Molly Nesbit, was repurposed as a postcard for Utopia Station Munich. The concluding segment of the exhibit features a collection of publications wherein Obrist honors Glissant's memory following his demise in 2011.
point d’ironie

The periodical point d’ironie was born out of a conversation between agnès b., Christian Boltanski, and Hans-Ulrich Obrist in 1997. Since then, six to eight issues have been published each year, each conceived by an artist who appropriates this medium and brings it to the status of a unique and public work of art. Because of its free access, size, and distribution, point d’ironie is an atypical format distributed sporadically – one hundred thousand copies are spread worldwide in museums, galleries, bookstores, schools, cinemas, and stores, among others. Invented by French writer Alcanter de Brahm in the late 19th century, the point d’ironie [irony mark] is a punctuation mark used at the end of a sentence (like an exclamation point or a question mark) to signal irony. 
Manthia Diawara, One World in Relation, 2009

In 2008, just three years before his passing, Édouard Glissant entrusted Manthia Diawara with the task of creating a documentary that would encapsulate both his life and his philosophical musings. They set forth on a transatlantic expedition from Southampton to New York, a journey intentionally reminiscent of the African slaves who faced the horrors of the Middle Passage. With the omnipresent sea as a backdrop and interspersed with jazz melodies, the ensuing film unfolds organically, showcasing Glissant’s perspectives. As the Malian filmmaker conducts interviews aboard the Queen Mary II and at the Anse Cafard Slave Memorial in Martinique, which faces the Diamond Rock, Glissant's voice and vision come to life.
Etel Adnan, Hommage to Édouard Glissant, 2014

This tribute is manifested as a visual poem, a book-accordion that can be perpetually folded and unfolded, presenting endless possibilities for interpretation. Through intricate design, it enables every fold to juxtapose and converse with the next. Every page, adorned with a hint of watercolor, stands distinct yet is seamlessly linked to the rest, mirroring islands in an archipelago. Evocative of a palimpsest, Etel Adnan's leporello unveils a tale that embraces continuous metamorphosis, eschewing the constraints of a linear narrative and transcending the notions of beginnings or endings.
The Otolith Group, @GlissantBot, 2017-present

Commencing on the evening of 15 April 2017, @GlissantBot has persistently auto-tweeted a randomly chosen Glissant quote every fifteen minutes. By organically compiling fragments from Édouard Glissant's post-1981 writings into a never-ending Twitter stream, @GlissantBot algorithmically fuses the poet-philosopher’s contemplations through the lens of digital technology. This dynamic piece fosters a discourse between Glissant’s ideologies and the modern digital realm, while simultaneously instigating an unforeseen interplay within Glissant’s body of work.

Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Kitsuné Tremblement, 2021

The display of the Agnès Varda’s interviews revisits Now Interviews, initially conceived by Japanese architect Kazuyo Sejima, on the occasion of the 12th Architecture Biennale in 2010. For the presentation at LUMA Arles, Sejima suggested that a tree could be planted in front of a window. This space was thus named the Cherry Tree Gallery.

As an echo or resonance to Yoko Ono’s Wish Tree, on the occasion of the overall opening of LUMA Arles on June 26, 2021, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster tied ribbons in the colours of Post-it notes to the branches of the tree chosen by Sejima and visible through the window.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist would like to express his sincere gratitude to Maja Hoffmann for her unfailing support throughout this project; to Vassilis Oikonomopoulos and Mustapha Bouhayati for making this project a reality; and, above all, to address a special thanks to Sylvie Séma-Glissant, and the family of Édouard Glissant, their son Mathieu Glissant; to the artists who are participating in the first chapter of the archive, Etel Adnan, agnès b., Julien Creuzet, Manthia Diawara, Julie Mehretu and her studio, especially Sarah Rentz, Philippe Parreno, Asad Raza and his studio, particularly Christopher Wierling, The Otolith Group - Anjalika Sagar, Kodwo Eshun; to all the Luma teams without whom this presentation would not have been possible, Arthur Fouray for the coordination of the project and Elif Kulözü; Luz Gyalui and the production team, in particular Clément Château, Barbara Blanc; the communication team, especially Christine Denamur; and last but not least, Matthieu Humery, Anna von Brühl and Friedrich von Brühl for their continuous involvement; and also to all those who participated in the preparation of this project; Manuela Lucadazio and the Venice Biennale team; the Serpentine Galleries team, especially Max Shackleton; the Fonds de dotation agnès b. team, in particular William Massey; Samuel Thomas for the editing of the archive videos; the Sintagma team, especially Renato Barcelos, and Rosário Valadas Vieira for the subtitling of the archive videos; Jean-Baptiste Marcant, for the sound mastering of the archive videos; the IDzia team for the audio-visual devices; Gilles Pennegaggi and all the exhibition installation teams; and finally, to all the people who participated in the elaboration of the presentation, especially Melvin Edwards, Koo Jeong A, Molly Nesbit, Carrie Pilto, Gianluigi Ricuperati and Lorraine Two Testro.


Matthieu Laurette

Organised by Silicon IVIalley

Silicon IVIalley
Prilly, Switzerland

DEMANDS & SUPPLIES, Matthieu Laurette's first solo exhibition in Switzerland since 1999 at MAMCO in Geneva, will fill the space from floor to ceiling at Silicon Malley (2.5 x 4 meters [98 x 157.5 in]), an artist-run space hosting one visitor at a time due to the COVID-19 situation, and spread to an online sales website (www.demandsandsupplies.art), powered by Shopify™ that will be available worldwide.

Conceived as a retrospective, DEMANDS & SUPPLIES (2012—ongoing) picks up the story left off at the artist's eponymous exhibition in 2012 at Gaudel de Stampa in Paris. It presents a full financial disclosure of all costs and expenses incurred in the past eight years of Matthieu Laurette's practice as an artist.

‘Accumulator or otaku of Contemporary art, Matthieu Laurette is a demanding artist in the sense that he manages to integrate into his work all the elements or data that participate in the preparation, production, presentation, distribution, mediation, promotion and reception of his work.’ (1)

In contrast to Chris Burden, who made public his profit and loss (Full Financial Disclosure, 1977) as decorative "collages" of canceled checks, bank statements, tax forms which he called ‘drawings’ Matthieu Laurette is proposing since 2012, through a commercial arrangement, simple two-line contracts that allow his expenses to be acquired. Rather than producing or exhibiting a single material object, Matthieu Laurette generates financial ‘exhaust’ his bills and debts — to be paid for by collectors. Today anyone can become a collector on www.demandsandsupplies.art.

As the artist explained in a discussion with Seth Siegelaub in Frieze (2013): ‘DEMANDS & SUPPLIES, consists entirely of contracts — say, a contract that a collector could purchase the cost of my phone deals, the rent of my studio or have a dinner with me and stuff like that.’ (2)

Matthieu Laurette considers his basic artist’s expenses as production costs that are then doubled to define the selling price of the work, ranging from 207.66 euros for Matthieu Laurette’s 2015 mobile phone bills were purchased by ____________________________, up to 31,909.14 euros for the entirety of his 2019 expenses. These works, available for online order and on-site purchase at Silicon Malley, are unique printed contracts in A4 or US letter format (dimensions variable according to collector's location), which must be signed by both parties — the collector and the artist — to be then framed in an artist's frame (size: 37.5 x 29 x3.5 cm / 14.75 x 11.25 x 1.25 in). For more details, please contact us by email or visit the website: www.demandsandsupplies.art.

Postponed due to the COVID-19 crisis, this exhibition marks the celebration of Silicon Malley's 5th anniversary and its reopening after seven months. Even though Matthieu Laurette customarily omits biographical data in his work, the artist had suggested organizing the opening reception of the exhibition on the 24th of August 2020, the very day of his 50th birthday. The project, with a ‘physical’ exhibition at Silicon Malley in Switzerland and a year-long online shop accessible to all, remains exactly the same as planned in 2019 before the pandemic. The rescheduled presentation — now appearing alongside ‘Galleries and Art Fairs Online Viewing Rooms’ and ‘Institutions generating online content’ — further calls into question the transactional nature of online visibility and critiques the ‘outsideness’ of not-for-profit culture and artists-run spaces. In so doing, the artist lays bare the mechanisms of individual consumption and existence.

In 1993, when asked on a French TV game show called Tournez Manège [The Dating Game] to describe himself, Matthieu Laurette replied, ‘A multimedia artist.’ He has since been exploring the relationship between art and society with an œuvre that he characterizes as ‘IRL Institutional Critique.’ His body of work seeks to show inconsistencies or flaws in the systems imposed by late capitalism and Spectacle.

This project reduces an artistic work to the exhaustive list of expenses necessary to its own conception. Furthermore, it questions the value that any person, including the artist himself, can place on a work, including all that it can be brought to encompass, conceal, or even disguise. Reduced to an increasingly essential data for many artists — financial data — DEMANDS & SUPPLIES displays in an orderly sequence of A4 sheets of paper on the wall, a raw look at what is the lived reality of an artist today.

Silicon IVIalley, 2020

(1) Arthur Fouray, I do not wish to add more, 2020 in Actes du Colloque Vues & Données, to be published in September 2020, ENSP, France.

(2) Vivian Sky Rehberg, The Real World in Frieze, No.154, Apr. 2013.

Matthieu Laurette Biography

Matthieu Laurette (b. 1970) participated in the 49th Venice Biennale in 2001 curated by Harald Szeemann, and his work has been presented at the Solomon R. Guggenheim (1998), MoMA-PS1 (2005) and MoMA (2007) in New York, Stedelijk (2005) in Amsterdam, Castello di Rivoli (2001) in Turin, Mamco (1999) in Geneva, Palais de Tokyo (2003 & 2006) and the Pompidou Centre (1997, 2000, 2004, 2007 & 2009) in Paris. A retrospective of his work spanning over three decades will be held at MACVAL-Musée d'Art Contemporain du Val-de-Marne (Vitry-sur-Seine) in 2022.

On Italian museography, but refrained to the site of BBPR’s Castello Sforzesco. Expressed via the means of Hans Hollein's inspired axonometries and Giotto-styled renderings with the attributes of various scale models. The whole is held togetter within the maze of a small scale private chapel.
Koenraad Dedobbeleer
Antonios Prokos
David Viladomiu
Lerna Bagdjian
Eric Bonhôte
Lois Bouche
Svenja Clausen
Noé Cuendet
Vincent Dorfmann
Florent Dubois
Floriane Fol
Fanny Frykberg Wallin
Alexandra Fuchs
Eva Hürlimann
Valentine Jaques
Valdrin Jashari
Daniela Lopes Peñaloza
Nina Mosca
Marion Moutal
Philippine Radat
Germán Ribera Marín
Valentine Robin
Felix Spangenberg
Constance Steinfels
Annabelle Thüring

An exhibition of the program Italians Did It Better by Koenraad Dedobbeleer at EPFL Studio Master I organised with Silicon IVIalley

Silicon IVIalley
Prilly, Switzerland

The ambition to explore the possible contrasts and interactions between serious architectural practice and contemporary art drives the energies converged during the exhibition On Italian Museography… This project bridges an EPFL research unit directed by Koenraad Dedobbeleer (a prototypal architectural firm) named Italians did it better, with an artist-run space, Silicon Malley, overseen by a group of artists in Lausanne. The outcome is a multi-layered exploration and amalgamation of two distinct reflective spaces.

Contemporary artists, due to the proliferation of ‘artist-run-spaces’ and the surge of small international galleries, have grown accustomed to working outside deliberately-designed architectural contexts, such as museums, foundations, art centers, and other institutional settings. Only the elite of this corporate ensemble have the opportunity to engage spatially with the architectures of their era. Architecture, in contrast, is most often showcased in exhibition contexts in a format that leans more towards a presentation rather than an exhibition itself. The collective aspiration to present this architectural exhibition in a space almost devoid of any architectural concept reconnects with a pragmatic democratisation of contemporary interrelations between art and architecture. The curation of this exhibition by Koenraad Dedobbeleer, an artist whose theoretical endeavours constantly oscillate between these two cultural spheres, facilitates a gentle and balanced discursive exchange, respecting the diverse cultures represented. Like its underlying structure or script, it unveils its intentions through a nested series reminiscent of Russian dolls, enabling a kaleidoscopic concentration on the academic study of the exhibition’s architectural devices. The bibliography established during the project’s development delves into these exhibition systems still largely uncharted history.

The self-titled exhibition of Herzog and de Meuron at the Centre Pompidou in 1995, co-curated by Remy Zaugg, stands as the manifest theoretical legacy of On Italian Museography… Orchestrated by an artist and his two assistant architects, Antonios Prokos and David Viladomiu, it stems from a synergy that elicits a focused, scholarly, and open investigation – specifically, an analysis and reinterpretation by Master of Architecture students regarding museum layouts created by a group of Italian architects between the 1950s and 1970s. The focal point narrows further, centring on BBPR’s iconic Castello Sforzesco (1954–1956), a hallmark of this architectural corpus. Detailed and succinct, the design of the museum’s internal spaces amalgamates the quintessential elements of these canonical presentations of European cultural legacy – in this case, a collection predominantly comprised of works from the Quattrocento, representing Italian history and the Flemish Renaissance.

This research manifests as a studiolo, a recursive representation of the exhibition space, resembling an inverted cabinet which, for each of its openings, offers a perspective, an axonometry, and a model, each corresponding to a student’s project. The inner appearance of this furniture, evoking a chapel, is adorned with a sequential display of renderings inspired by Giotto’s frescoes in the Arena Church of Padua (1303–1306). This nod to the work of the artist, regarded as the progenitor of perspective in painting, forges an evident connection between artistic and architectural subjectivity. It also visually imprints a fascination akin to the order of the orthodox icon towards the classical art museum within a contemporary presentation setting, opposing any grandeur or splendour. This yet-to-be-resolved contradiction, a query directed at the observer and the visitor, frames the present-day interplays between student or professional and artistic or architectural practices, which we are tasked to invigorate.

Arthur Fouray

Fondation Vincent van Gogh Arles
Pierre Joseph

Curated by Arthur Fouray

Paris, France

Press release

Photographs: Aurélien Mole
Graphic design: Baldinger·Vu-Huu

Pierre Joseph (born 1965 in Caen, lives and works in Paris) shares at DOC a simple story. The Fondation Vincent van Gogh Arles exhibition positions itself in the tradition of the rural life scenes painted in the 19th century by Vincent van Gogh and Jean-Francois Millet. Following the Hypernormandie exhibition at La Galerie Noisy-le-Sec in 2016, the artist explores the almost science-fiction continuation of the Impressionists’ work.

He hijacks the keywords and labels, confusing everything while clarifying the themes of his solo exhibition. He plays with the codes of a hierarchical technological society with normative mythologies obsessed by an organic, natural ideal. He notably focused on the exhibition La Vie Simple – Simply Life/Songs of Alienation by Bice Curiger and Julia Marchand at the Fondation Vincent van Gogh Arles in 2018. La Vie Simple seeks to decipher artists’ relationship with a lifestyle in harmony with nature. Moving from a real context to a temporary exhibition, Fondation Vincent van Gogh Arles sets the tone.

Are we on rue du Docteur Fanton or rue du Docteur Potain ? This keyword shift, here a ground shift, leads us into a potato field. A 21st-century version of a potato field. Storage, industrial display of potatoes, Fondation Vincent Van Gogh Arles takes us to an aisle in Rungis. This presentation, almost communist in the deliberate consistency of the photographs and their subject, conveys the idea of a simple potato, devoid or rather peeled of all qualifiers. A few sprouts here and there, and the pinkish hue of their film sometimes punctuate the dry soil surrounding them. In this cosmos of potatoes, the tiny details are so many anchor points to return to and emphasise a simple truth: they are potatoes.

How to simplify the message of any political, social, ideological, or historical issue to arrive at expressing the humble object ‘potato’? Pierre Joseph delves into the perspective of a simple potato. Re-discovering the direct and trivial attitude 19th-century painters might have had while painting peasants, fields, meals, and still lifes. The task is not so straightforward with such an overflow of current information. One only needs to search for the hashtags ‘#potato’, ‘#potatoes’ (and all their variants, including in Esperanto) on social networks or search engines to realise the richness and diversity of the starch’s visual vocabulary. The exhibition, moreover, is constructed with and thanks to the potato. From the starch that fixes the image on film to the starch glue binding the forty-five ‘endless photographs’ to the DOC wall. It is about narrowing the vocabulary to discern precise categories and clear intentions.

The potato, seriality, contextual shift. All these components mix and naturally constitute the exhibition experience in an extended spatio-temporal framework. Today or in 10 years, here or elsewhere, Pierre Joseph presents us with a living ecosystem that has evolved since the project’s inception, expressed during the exhibition’s duration, and will change tomorrow with time.

Arthur Fouray
Jean–François Millet : Pop down up 

Jean–François Millet accesses history’s arena by many entries. The most famous comes from Vincent van Gogh, who devotes a fraternal, even paternal worship to Millet (1). In this complete and surprising lineage, a ‘nineteenth–century look’ appears in the colour ‘translation’ from the Dutch painter. This look is focused on images, which start being industrialised and coloured in front of the stingy eyes of newcomers, collectors and connoisseurs, among which reigns the van Gogh pair – Vincent and Théo. The last is pegged to one of the vital parts behind the new pictures’ culture, which gradually settles during the second half of the XIXth century. The Goupil House, as others, feeds its enthusiasts with photographic copies and luxurious coloured engravings. Reproductions, drawings, originals, they parade between fingers of our dear Vincent, soon aspiring artist, who decides then to refine his eyes at the heart of image making (2). From London in 1874, he writes and answers to the passion surrounding L’Angélus (1857–1859). Also a pleased victim of ‘Aura’s migration’ (3), van Gogh experiences the masterpiece through the many reproductions that conform to the new uses of fresh collectors. A picture for each and for all those who love to free images from portfolios to spread them across salon’s walls. On a simple card, between two glasses, or simply pinned, the reproduction shows off its new powers and narrates the glory of photomechanical processes (4). These popular hangings foretell a ‘pop’ (5) sensibility and fever that culminates, a century later, in the Anglo–Saxon’s world. This boiling world of images moulds a ‘nineteenth–century look’ that welcomes the countryside’s wealthy man, the peasant–painter, Gruchy’s native and School of Barbizon’s regular.

Jean–François Millet is a man of his time, skilled at handling pre–programs and tricks. In his own way, he engages in media celebrity, through, among others, a postcard. From 1863, he authorises the reproduction and diffusion of L’homme à la houe and modulates the palette of his paintings with the help of their photographic copies. The by–product dictates the original in this mail orders’ game. The image has to be seductive at first glance. The new works available to purchase from the French territory display an assumed contrast and a silhouette’s play for the one observing from the United States. Millet is known to Americans. His brother lives there and generates for him an ongoing platform thanks to pre–sale photographs. The man from the fields is a man of his time, of its expectations, and of its pre–sales, even of its turmoils which would drag him to the hectic flows of small and major History. The ‘peasant’s painter’ lost some strings.

His outdoor work gestures put up the perfect green screen for those who like to see a rural France nostalgia in the wake of France’s defeat in 1870 (6) – a lowliness sometimes tinted with arrogance in the peasant’s demeanours (7), or even the exact reverse: a politically unstable small nation. Towards this catalogue of fantasies, Millet claims a non–political work that treats the peasant’s class with realism and kindness. The ‘nineteenth–century look’ is paired with a ‘native look’ that depicts rurality from within: a pioneer of the ‘rural informing’. One of his most famous paintings – L’Angélus – vacates France with great fanfare due to an important opinion warp going public during the sale on July 1st, 1889. Kneaded from different wishes against the mysterious painting, the government cannot find an agreement to keep the artwork on its land. L’Angélus leaves for the other side of the Atlantic, leading to 
a national loss feeling and shared humiliation. The picture returns as a palliative care : edited and distributed in large numbers, prints are scattered throughout the French territory, complementing the illustrations’ panel already circulating between fingers of our dear Vincent. ‘Migration’s Aura’ helps to dry the national tears while the two peasants, the bell tower and their small harvest move on to the Louvre in 1909. Does it make its myth tragic (8) ? It is, at the very least, caustic, mechanical and resolutely modern, abundant and pre–pop.

Julia Marchand

(1) Vincent van Gogh, n° 493 letter (Nuenen, 1885) ‘Millet, he’s Millet the father, which means he’s a guide & advisor for young painters.’
(2) Goupil’s house business unit in London
(3) Latour B., Lowe A., 2011. ‘Aura’s migration or how to explore an original via its facsimile’ in Intermédialités n° 17 Spring 2011 pp. 173–205
(4) Renié, P–L., 2006. ‘The Image on the Wall: Prints as Decoration in Nineteenth–Century Interiors’ in Nineteeth–Century Art Worldwide  [Online]  http://www.19thc-artworldwide.org/autumn06/49-autumn06/autumn06article/156-the-image-on-the-wall-prints-as-decoration-in-nineteenth-century-interiors [viewed on June the 22nd 2017].
(5) For further information, see Van Gogh : Pré–pop symposium acts initiated by Bice Curiger, Fondation Vincent van Gogh Arles Art Director, 2017
(6) see Georgel, C., ‘The Peasant gets into history’, HPI [Online] https://www.histoire-image.org/fr/etudes/paysan-entre-histoire [viewed on June the 15th 2017].
(7) ‘Baudelaire thinks Millet’s humility is close to pride : His peasants are prigs who have a too high self esteem. They spread a fatal, dark, drowsiness which urges me to hate them.’ Quote by Isolde Pludermacher in ‘L’Angélus de Millet : du souvenir personnel à la mémoire collective’ in Millet (exhibition publication), Palais des Beaux–Arts de Lille, 2018. p. 40
(8) Salvador Dali the tragical myth of ‘L’Angélus de Millet’, paranoïa–critic lecture, Paris, Jean–Jacques Pauvert, 1963.

Potatoes Love Treaty

Our first culinary thrills were with you. Do you remember?

As children, we devoured you as mashed potatoes on Sunday noon. You were named Amandine, and once on our plates, we would carve a well in your centre to pour in the juice of our roast.

A few years later, when we were at the age to fry you, you adopted the name Charlotte. Luckily for us, during the time of our first encounter in 2011, you lost your license and became free. No more royalties paid to the giants of this world. You had just turned thirty and could finally enjoy a bit of tranquillity. Now, you are free to embrace any farmer, provided he treats you with tenderness.

In April, you experience his caresses before he buries you under a soft bed of soil. Often, you remain hidden there for over four months. Sometimes, early in June, you grant us the privilege of tasting your flesh. Your skin is then so delicate that a mere touch is enough to peel you. Cooking you is child’s play.

Then comes the end of summer; your skin is toughened by the sun and rainless days. It then becomes more challenging to retrieve you. We might have to dig and try up to three times before we can hold you again. Yet, you are less slender than before. Your curves are more pronounced.

In a few months, the days of your beauty will be past. Your skin will wrinkle. You will begin to show your claws, ready to depart. You prepare for the grand journey, one that will reunite you with the love of your life, the earth. The very one that lives, breathes, and sustains us all.

We’ve grown accustomed to your fleeting nature. We never part in anger, for you never truly leave us.

Your sisters are there to comfort us. They, too, are free, and we will have all the time to cherish them. Anaïs, Bernadette, Blanche, Désirée… Why savour the same one every day when nature is so diverse?

By Norbert Nicolet (farmer, La Ferme ô VR, Annoville) and Jill Cousin (gastronomic journalist), lovers and enthusiasts of all potatoes: white, pink, purple, to mash, to nurture for hours in a pot, or to fry in hot oil. What matters is that the large agricultural cooperatives no longer bind them, and we can savour them as much as we wish.

Pierre Joseph
Born in 1965 in Caen. Lives & works in Paris.

Since the late ’80s, Pierre Joseph’s work has focused on issues of his presence. He began his artistic practice with collective projects in collaboration with Philippe Perrin, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Philippe Parreno, and Bernard Joisten. He first gained recognition with Les Ateliers du Paradise, the now-historical inaugural exhibition held at Air de Paris in Nice in 1990. In the early ’90s, he began his series of ‘characters to reactivate’, derived from contemporary mythologies (examples include Superman, Snow White, a policeman, and Pris Stratton from Blade Runner). These characters are present during the exhibition’s opening and can be subsequently reactivated using documentary photography.

After a 3-month trip to Japan in 1997, he shifted his focus to the concept of learning. In the ’00s, he developed a keen interest in the theme of his disappearance. More recently, he has been blending keywords and superimposing layers of content. His most recent solo exhibition at Air de Paris in January 2018 featured photographs that resemble the watercolours of botanist Pierre-Joseph Redouté. Pierre Joseph thus merges the hashtags associated with both of their visual practices.

Pierre Joseph has exhibited widely in Europe and internationally. His works are part of collections at institutions such as the Centre Pompidou, Nouveau Musée National de Monaco, Van Abbe Museum, and numerous private collections. Recent exhibitions include those at Le Consortium, MAC/VAL, Dallas Biennial, Centre Pompidou Metz, Fondation d’Entreprise Ricard, LUMA Westbau, and Swiss Institute.

Ending Explained
Anaïs Aik
Will Benedict
Daniele Bonini
Stefania Carlotti
Loucia Carlier
Sara Cavicchioli
Raquel Dias
Caterina De Nicola
Pauline Forté
Emilie Fradella
Magdalena Froger
Charlie Gay
Catherine Heeb
Lorenza Longhi
Léa Jullien
Mandine Knöpfel
Una Björg Magnúsdóttir
Julie Monot
Agathe Naito
Jérôme Pfister
Alessandro Polo
Marco Rigoni
Hélène Spycher
Jeanne Wéry

17.03 — 09.04.2018
An exhibition organised by Will Benedict with the students of the Master's program from ECAL/Ecole cantonale d'art de Lausanne (ECAL Master of Arts HES-SO in Fine Arts — EAE European Art Ensemble).

Paris, France

Photographs: Aurélien Mole
Graphic design: Baldinger·Vu-Huu
The artist and professor Will Benedict suggested a precise set of rules to the students of the European Art Ensemble Master for their exhibition at DOC!: to each produce a poster imitating and commenting on Internet meme culture. A collection of sculptures made by the students face the corpus of posters hanging on the wall.

‘In contrast to designers, artists have a more ambiguous relationship to efficiency. In design the primary condition of production is the client. But who does the artist work for and to what end? The collector? The audience? Humans? The market regulates the practical and emotional realities of this classic division rather poorly. The market does a lot rather poorly. 50 or 100 years ago artists, designers, performers, writers and poets attempted to breakdown some of the more arbitrary distinctions that hold a genre together. Today we cling to them in the midst of Brexit and Trump; Angela Merkel is our hero and the French have finally decided to take their flirtation with neoliberalism to the next level. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall.’

WIll Benedict

A program by Arthur Fouray


Exhibition Making
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before Arts

A utopia researching
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Curriculum vitæ

Many thanks for reading.

Special thanks to Béatrice & Alain Fouray.

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