Pauline Boudry / Renate Lorenz
Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore
Harry Gould Harvey IV
Co-curated by Damien Delille and Céline Poulin,
with the assistance of Céline Gatel
Sâr Dubnotal is the principal character of a series of pulp novels published anonymously (probably by Norbert Sevestre) in 1909—10. The series would eventually comprise twenty episodes. One of the first “detectives of the strange” in the history of superheroes was inspired by the art critic and organizer of Symbolist exhibitions Joséphin Péladan, who adopted the name Sâr. Considered in his day an eccentric and a danger to the rules of propriety, Péladan was a great fan of the poses and posturings of artists who were extravagant and mystics. Able to levitate, communicate telepathically, and hypnotize his enemies, Péladan’s alter ego Sâr Dubnotal is a hybrid many-sided character in search of a murky, surprising world. In light of rational modern man, Sâr Dubnotal/Péladan exalted lifestyles and ways of social interaction that fell outside the norms. Artifice and trickery were an integral part of his identity. Clothes, superpowers, individual or communal rituals, and fetish pieces of furniture and objects are artifices that have been dear to artists from the late-19th century on.
The figure of Sâr Dubnotal/Péladan is the starting point for this transhistorical show. The several generations of artists invited to take part have constructed stories of fantastic epics, symbolist artifacts, and recreations of the self, giving expression to the fluidity of genders and norms. All of the works on display fall under the banner of the “disidentification” conceptualized by the Cuban-American theoretician José Esteban Muñoz; the term was an emblem of the rejection of stable categories. But whatever the period, the invention of new visual idioms pushes political strategies towards an attractive poetic language that is equal to the task of complexifying the circulation of pleasure and affects. The invited artists have sought to imagine new chimeras that are in constant dialogue with the survival of ghosts of the past.
“Sâr Dubnotal” brings together a multiplicity of works of art, some of which were especially produced for the show. They include different mediums and artistic fields, as well as archival documents, historical works, and original reproductions. Conceived as a moment of research and work in progress “Sâr Dubnotal” incorporates several different timeframes and spaces. The show will also feature a booklet that will go over the historical and theoretical issues that are in play; a research-action section will give rise to performances1 and workshops, notably at the Classe Préparatoire Arts Visuels Grand Paris Sud (Evry) and the Fleury-Mérogis detention center2; finally the CAC Review will provide a forum for the writing of certain researchers who are taking part in these reflections.
Damien Delille and Céline Poulin
1 In dialogue with Thomas Conchou’s “NO NO DESIRE DESIRE” cycle at the Maison populaire of Montreuil.
2 Workshops designed with the assistance of Elena Lespes Muñoz, Communications and Public Outreach Manager, and co-editor of the Review.
Damien Delille is a lecturer in contemporary art history at Université Lumière Lyon 2. His publications deal with the history of art and fashion at the turn of the century, focusing on the intersections of gender and masculinity studies, queer theory, and the history of sexuality (articles in scholarly reviews and exhibition catalogues on Jean Delville, Charles Filiger, and Elisàr von Kupffer). He was a research fellow at the Institut national d’histoire de l’art (INHA), where he curated the exhibition “Christian Lacroix et les arts de la scène” (2014), and worked on art programing at the Nouveaux commanditaires de la Fondation de France and for a range of television programs (Canal + and Paris Première). Brepols Publishers is scheduled to publish his doctoral thesis, which he defended in 2015 at Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. This study examines the artistic sources of androgynous masculine identities in their relations with turn-of-the-century queer cultures. Also slated for joint publication with INHA—Musée des Arts Décoratifs, an anthology on the history of fashion from the 20th to the 21st century featuring some thirty contributors.
Céline Poulin has served as the director of CAC Brétigny since June 2016. Her vision for the art center, like her earlier programs and exhibitions, evinces her focus on reception as well as collaboration, information and communications arrangements. In this regard, she has mounted, for example, the group shows “Vocales” and “Desk Set,” as well as the first solo shows in France of Liz Magic Laser and Núria Güell. She started her work in freelance curating back in 2004 while serving institutionally as offsite curator at Parc Saint Léger (Pougues-les-Eaux) from 2010 to 2015; and was in charge of the public program at Le Crédac (Ivry-sur-Seine) from 2007 to 2010. Céline Poulin has also curated a number of programs of exhibitions and events, including notably “Les Incessants” at La Villa du Parc in Annemasse in 2016; “A SPACE IS A SPACE IS A SPACE” at DAZ in Berlin in 2015 in partnership with BDAP of the Institut français; “Traucum” at Parc Saint Léger in 2014; “Brigadoon” at La Tôlerie in 2013; and “Les belles images” at La Box in 2009-2010. From 2015 to 2018 she codirected with Marie Preston (with the assistance of Stéphanie Airaud) the seminar “Legacies and modalities of co-creation practices,” produced by Université Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis, CAC Brétigny, and MAC VAL, in partnership with La Villa Vassilieff. This work was an extension of Micro-Séminaire, which was published in 2013 and theorized curatorial practices occurring outside of the usual designated spaces. That gave rise to Co-Création, which was jointly published by Empire and CAC Brétigny. Ms. Poulin is a cofounder and member of the curatorial collective Bureau/, which is behind a dozen exhibitions. She is also a member of IKT and C-E-A.
A public service of Cœur d’Essonne Agglomération, CAC Brétigny, Contemporary art center of national interest, benefits from the support of Ministère de la Culture—DRAC Île-de-France, Région Île-de-France and Conseil départemental de l’Essonne, and with the complicity of the Brétigny-sur-Orge's municipality. CAC Brétigny is a member of TRAM and d.c.a. The exhibition «Sâr Dubnotal» will feature loans from the City of Angers—Public Library; the Lyon Public Library; the Bibliothèque de Rennes Métropole—Champs Libres (City of Rennes Library—Champs Libres); the Anger University Library—Belle Beille; the Collection: Ville de Paris—Bibliothèque des littératures policières (City of Paris—Crime Literature Library); the Nantes Museum of Arts—Nantes Métropole; the Jersey Heritage Collections; the Centre national des arts plastiques (National Centre for Visual Arts, France); Bureau New York; Crèvecoeur, Paris, Marseille; Gallery Christophe Gaillard, Paris; Dan Gunn, London; Édouard Montassut, Paris; Esther Schipper, Berlin; Marcelle Alix, Paris; and Tanya Leighton, Berlin; and with the support of Cité internationale des arts (Paris) and the Mégisserie Alric.
Saturday, September 19th
Free Paris-Brétigny shuttle is available by request at email@example.com.
Thursday, September 24th, 5pm—7pm
You are invited to a preview of the exhibition to discover the activities that we propose for the groups and the school public through a visit of the exhibition "Sâr Dubnotal" .
For kindergarten, elementary and secondary school teachers, animators, educators and associations. Registration: reservation@ cacbretigny.com
Saturday, September 26th, 2pm—6pm
Exhibitions, artmaking workshop and performance
On the occasion of “Pas si bête”, a day of events and shows organized by the Brétigny Theater, the CAC Brétigny opens the doors of the “Sâr Dubnotal” exhibition and offers an artistic practice workshop open to all. At the Lighthouse, the reception area of the theater, you can also discover the exhibition of "Club Colombophile du Coeur" by Eric Giraudet de Boudemange: the artist will share his research through an esoteric pigeon flight.
For all requests: firstname.lastname@example.org or +33 (0)1 60 85 20 76.
Wednesdays, 2:30 pm (for groups) and 4:30 pm (for families), and by appointment
Following a tour of the show, our young visitors will create fantastic headdresses in order to don a new identity of their choosing.
From 3 years old. Registration: email@example.com or +33 (0)1 60 85 20 76.
Saturday, November 14th
In collaboration with Thomas Conchou as part of the exhibition "La Clinique du Queer" at the Maison Populaire in Montreuil.
Saturdays, October 3rd and 17th, November 7th and 28th, 3 pm - 4:30 pm and by appointment
Family artmaking workshop conceived by Louise Siffert
In this workshop, parents and kids together create a character endowed with extraordinary powers. Making a kind of detachable mascot using a range of accessories – each person representing a particular power, etc. – this created character will only really take shape when the family is together.
From 3 years old. Registration: firstname.lastname@example.org or +33 (0)1 60 85 20 76.
Tuesday, October 20th, and Thursday, October 29th, at 4:30 pm and by appointment
After discovering the show, our young visitors will invent a superhero character. And inspired by what they see, they will create a symbol and apply it to a cloth cape using a printing technique.
From 8 years old. Registration: email@example.com or +33 (0)1 60 85 20 76.
Workshop with Thibault de Gialluly at Fleury-Mérogis detention center in collaboration with Cyrille Candas
As part of this project, participants are invited to imagine and design a fictional entity that offers the chance of becoming someone else, changing identities, or disidentifying. As a kind of advisor in transvestism and faux attributes, this company is meant to enable people to appropriate new qualities – ordinary and/or extraordinary ones – modify their appearance, invent new meanings and skills, and compose a new image and narrative of themselves.
Workshop with Louise Siffert and the students of the Visual Arts Preparatory Class Grand Paris Sud (Evry)
Working from texts by Aristophanes and Ovid, Louise Siffert proposes generating collective and individual fictions in order to examine the concepts of transition, transformation, and identity. Participants will eventually rewrite scenes from the Greek tragicomedy, trying their hand at a farce based on genders. Sets and costumes created during the workshops will enable them to explore the way an identity takes shape and becomes flesh through the body/object relationship, the gaze, and the connection with the Other and with space.