Zine Andrieu (Subalternes studio)
Samir Laghouati-Rashwan & Trésor
Fanny Souade Sow
Curator: Daisy Lambert
“From muscle” (Partir du muscle) is a reappropriation of bodies, a legitimisation of existences. The exhibition extends a residency that began in the Cœur d’Essonne area in October 2021.
A year and a half to delve into the links between the notion of struggle (personal and/or collective), of bodies and narratives, through the concept of corpoliteracy theorised by Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung. An idea that comes as part of a decolonial reflection, i.e. a critical effort to distance oneself from systemic, hegemonic, dominant knowledge and ways of thinking.
Corpoliteracy brings together two terms: “corpo”, the body, and “literacy”, reading. It is a sensitive reading of bodies. For Ndikung, this is about interpreting the body as “a platform […] that acquires, stores and disseminates knowledge”. Yet this knowledge differs from that produced through thinking. He studies performed movements—particularly those linked to danced rituals—as reflections of value systems, social practices and identities. We can apply this field of study to any kind of movement, to the slightest gesticulation, and even to practices in the visual arts, because: “Drawing is dancing as it leaves a bodily pathway on gestures.”
The categorisation of bodies—according to class, sex, gender, race, etc.—leads to processes of recognition, alliances between or exclusions of different people. Corpoliteracy is therefore a tool enabling us to become conscious of mechanisms that control the way in which people perceive their own bodies and the bodies of others. It recognises that bodies aren’t neutral and that readings of some of them engender discrimination and violence.
A year and a half working alongside Fanny Souade Sow, invited as artist-in-residence for the entire period. A choice related to common ground, interests and reflections—notably, she worked with Ndikung in Berlin and Kinshasa in 2019. At CAC Brétigny, she continued her work on plaques commemorating police violence and around bodies affected by the prison setting. Driven by a desire to break a silence imposed upon minoritised bodies and to offer concrete opportunities to create a counter-archive, she tried to share possible forms of action to residents of the local area.
A year and a half, too, to pursue reflections on the use of institutions as places of transmission and as potential political spaces. To include the project in CAC Brétigny's approach of co-creation: the artists collaborated with the primary schools Les Coquelicots in Bruyères-le-Châtel and Jean de La Fontaine in Guibeville, the youth support programme Repères in Brétigny-sur-Orge and the prison in Fleury-Mérogis.
In Elsa Dorlin’s book Self-Defense: A Philosophy of Violence, “partir du muscle” (from muscle) refers to the possibility of experiencing the phenomena of struggle, fear and violence through feelings and sensations. The author takes muscle as a starting point from which to build a genealogy of mechanisms of self-defence, including direct violent self-defence. Within the context of an institution, that is to say a structure subject to a regulatory framework, I tried during the residency and within this exhibition to deploy a restricted scope of the practices Dorlin calls “deferred self-defence” as that which occur at a different time to the violence suffered.
The opportunities for co-creation that arise from this ongoing residency are therefore an invitation to read and connect bodies, to create spaces of corpoliteral expression for the identities and for the experiences they hold. Starting from what is recorded in the muscles, the flesh and the epidermis to draw out knowledge, to create a new kind of archive, new narratives and to transform their perception. The invited artists, Geneviève Dieng, Zine Andrieu & Fanny Souade Sow, Johanna Rocard and Sacha Rey, started “from muscle” to deploy a tool, a self-defensive, artistic corpoliteracy. Collectively experimenting methods for the reinvention, reappropriation and transformation of bodies. They have developed rituals of courage, created avatars to project themself elsewhere, produced chimaeras to metamorphose a perceived/endured identity, constructed corporal practices to reclaim possession of or even render tangible the disappearance of certain bodies.
The exhibition “From muscle” does not seek to reproduce the experience of these workshops but hints at them. Some of the works are traces left by what a group shared and created together. They take the form of object-relics (New Skins for Very Old Ceremonies), objects to be activated (The new elders and projet _51_’s Remedies from the inside), or visual objects in construction (AyrTon). These hints are sometimes more distant because they were not produced during these collective experiences but echo shared methodologies (But I’m a Cheerleader, The fire-breathers, Nothing has happened here).
Other artists were invited to take part in this exhibition to expand the toolbox. They approach struggles that have been experienced or inherited transgenerationally from a sensitive perspective: Elsa Prudent through painting, Samir Laghouati-Rashwan & Trésor through performance and SOÑXSEED through sound. Their works also imply a commitment and a reappropriation of certain bodies.
Together, these artists multiply the sites of resistance for their/our muscles.
Curator of the exhibition
 Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, “Corpoliteracy—Envisaging the Body as Slate, Sponge, and Witness” in In a While or Two We Will Find the Tone, Archive Books, Berlin, 2020.
 Cooperative Cráter Invertido, “Choreography of a Collective Imaginary”, in I Think my Body Feels, I Feel my Body Thinks: On Corpoliteracy, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, 2022, p.105.
 Elsa Dorlin, Self-Defense: A Philosophy of Violence, Verso Books, London, 2022.
The curatorial residency of Daisy Lambert is part of the “Contrat d'Éducation Artistique et Culturelle” (CTEAC) of Coeur d'Essonne Agglomération with the DRAC Île de France and the Academy of Versailles. She invited artists Johanna Rocard, Geneviève Dieng and Sacha Rey to work respectively with the elementary school Les Coquelicots of Bruyères-le-Chatel, the elementary school Jean de la Fontaine of Guibeville and the EDI Repères of Brétigny-sur-Orge. The residency of Fanny Souade Sow benefits from the support of the Ministère de la Culture—DRAC Ile-de-France in the context of the SODAVI-F (Schéma d’Orientation pour les Arts Visuels) in Ile-de-France. It encompasses actions led by Fanny Souade Sow in collaboration with the the Service Pénitentiaire d’Insertion et de Probation de l’Essonne of the Maison d’arrêt (Detention center) of Fleury-Mérogis, the middle school Jean Macé and the high school Paul Langevin of Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois.
Daisy Lambert holds degrees from the University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne in history, art history and cultural heritage and museum studies. She went on to graduate from Sciences Po Paris with a degree in cultural policy. She was collection assistant at the Centre national des arts plastiques (CNAP) before becoming an independent curator. Daisy Lambert has taken part in several group exhibition projects in France and abroad: Spot Production Fund (Istanbul, Turkey); Centre national édition art image (CNEAI, Pantin); Van Abbemuseum (Eindhoven, the Netherlands); Le Lac (Brussels, Belgium); and La Villa Arson (Nice). Closely linked to her curation work, she also conducts research. Committed to studying mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion within cultural institutions, in 2018 she produced an investigation into FRAC Martinique, a public regional collection of contemporary art, the history of which has been largely hidden under a veil of silence. She also writes for the digital review Faire monde(s), which focuses on contemporary Caribbean creation. Former member of Van Abbemuseum’s queer activist group Queer Constituency, with which she co-organised workshops, she is collaborating again with the museum and the organisation Studio I to propose ways in which queer racialised communities might be included in museum collections in the Netherlands. She was invited to take part in the HAWT (How to survive the Art World & resist the Theatre of Wokeness) workshop organised by Origins Eile and supported by the Dublin Fringe Festival, where she shared her thoughts on art criticism and the representation of work by black afro-descendant artists.
Zine Andrieu is a visual, video and performance artist. He began depicting culture shocks through installations, performances, videos and sound several years ago. Representing the reality of working class neighbourhoods, within the legitimised culture produced by contemporary art, quickly seemed to him to be a gateway toward emancipation and, above all, a necessity. He is therefore focused on producing forms that relate the shared experiences, ambitions and acts of daily life. He wishes to associate himself closely with cinema in order to draw on the 7th art's popular influence and the key role it plays in representations thanks, notably, to the collective imaginary on which it is based. He is a member of the film production organisation Subalternes Studio. Zine Andrieu works on co-creation projects with Ateliers Médicis. He has presented his work at the Galerie des Tables (Bordeaux), the Laboratoires d'Aubervilliers, Studio 53 (Boulazac), the Goethe Institute (Paris), the Centre Pompidou (Paris) and the Archipel cinema (Paris) in partnership with the Anne Barrault gallery.
Geneviève Dieng is an artist and teaches applied arts. She trained in graphic design. Influenced by the comic book world (Druillet, Moebius, Crumb…), music (Erykah Badu, Sun Ra, Bad Brains, Funkadelics, The Cramps…) and Japanese artists such as Takeshi Kitano, Hayao Miyazaki, Suehiro Maruo and Katsuhiro Ōtomo, she creates colourful, pop fantasy universes. Of French-Senegalese origin, her interest in spirits and mystical deities, both animal and anthropomorphic, also feeds into her work. Her felt-tip and ink drawings are made up of a multitude of characters that she calls “hybrid and delicious creatures''. These figures become intercessors between the tangible and intangible world, cathartic incarnations of a part of herself, real or dreamed. She produces album covers for Alexis Lumière and the band Equiknoxx. Her work has been exhibited at L'Inattendue Galerie (Paris), the Fonderie du 11ème (Paris) and the Walrus Disquaire (Paris).
Samir Laghouati-Rashwan is a French-Egyptian artist who graduated from l’École supérieure d’art et de design Marseille-Méditerranée in 2020. In his work, Samir Laghouati-Rashwan appropriates small, seemingly trivial, everyday, contemporary and, above all apolitical, objects. A tonic water bottle or a tracksuit rolled up at the ankle. Supermarket trolleys and caravan windows. The work he develops around these objects, however, calls into question their supposed banality. They become bearers of colonial histories and geopolitical complexes. His work has been shown in the exhibitions “Hijack City” at the gallery SCEP (Marseille), “Sur pierres brûlantes” at Friche de la Belle de Mai (Marseille) and “Diaspora at Home” at KADIST (Paris) and at the festival “Les chichas de la pensée” at Magasins Généraux (Pantin). He currently runs Drift Space in Marseille and is part of the Ateliers de la Ville de Marseille programme run by Triangle-Astérides.
Elsa Prudent is an artist of French-Caribbean origin. She studied at l’École supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux. Her work manifests itself through several mediums such as painting, drawing, installation and video. She explores her identities, transgenerational heritages in various space-times through the fiction writing that feeds her aesthetic vocabulary. Following an invitation by Marion Vasseur Raluy, Prudent had her first solo exhibition “Enjoy the silence” at Eliane Project (Bordeaux, 2021). Her work has also been shown in the group exhibitions “Mémwa vivan” at Espace29 (Bordeaux) and Cédric Fauq’s “L’académie des mutantes” as part of a research residency with Astéries led by Föhn and supported by the network Astre. This residency allowed her to examine Bordeaux’s colonial history. She is a member of the collective Blackflower, which fights against discrimination in cultural institutions, notably art schools.
Sacha Rey is a visual artist and filmmaker who defines themself as non-binary, transgender, white, neuro-divergent and queer. They have been wearing bluish lipstick on a daily basis since 2016. They graduated from l’École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris and l’École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS, Paris). Sacha Rey has been developing their own working methodology, the “documentary dance”, whereby performative arts are a narratological tool used to help avoid rousing the traumatic memories of the protagonists testifying. In their films and performances, they use dance, poetry and music to represent an individual’s capacity to take action against the violence they have experienced. In recent years, they have taken part in group exhibitions in art centres and festivals such as: Bétonsalon (Paris), Le Générateur (Gentilly), Stadtmuseum (Düsseldorf), Poush Manifesto (Clichy), Cinéma du Réel at the Centre Pompidou (Paris), La Villette (Paris) and Festival Parallèle (Marseille). They were in residency at Artagon Marseille and the art centre SAW (Ottawa, Canada). Their next documentary film, Inventory of forces at play (État des lieux des forces en présence), has been awarded a Mécènes du Sud grant and is also supported by the Centre national du cinéma (CNC).
Johanna Rocard is a performance artist. A member and co-founder of La Collective, she is particularly interested in ancient and contemporary rituals and the question of group mentality. These experiences and this knowledge enable her to implement a protean practice structured by a non-hierarchical action research on the idea of the collective and more specifically on the gestures and rituals for warding off bad spirits that bind groups of humans together in times of crisis. Her work creates a shifting ecosystem made up of performances, installations, images, objects and texts and united by the need to establish collective, inclusive and non-hierarchical processes of creation as alternative and speculative systems for the future. Johanna Rocard currently collaborates with La Collective (Rennes), 3615 DAKOTA (Genève), Anouck Hilbey and Cie Unicode (Orléans), Cie Floriane Fachini (Geneva), Enora Boëlle / Le joli collectif (Rennes). Her work has been exhibited at Musée Carnavalet (Paris), Autre St Maclou (Rouen), 3537 (Paris), Station Gare des Mines (Paris), Fondation Fiminco (Romainville), Théâtre du Grütli (Geneva), Un singe en hiver (Dijon), Frac Bretagne (Rennes), the contemporary art centre La Criée (Rennes), La Crypte d’Orsay (Orsay-ville) and La Villa Rohannec’h (St Brieuc).
Conceived and led by Marina Ledrein and Jules Ramage, winners of the Prix Social Practice Arts. Projet _51_ has its beginnings in a collaborative collection project carried out in 2022 at the Fleury-Mérogis women’s prison in which incarcerated women, writers and artists explored the techniques of care and self-care developed and circulated on the inside. A set of cards offering mutual support was created from this corpus of objects, gestures, how-to guides and songs that bear witness to everyday practices of sisterhood and micro-resistance. The artistic collective MOUVEMENT(s), made up of the carers and cared-for at the Robert Ballanger psychiatric hospital, were invited to respond through dance, song or through the contribution of their own stories. In connecting these multiple life stories, the project enables the development of a subjective cartography of connections between care, control and resistance.
Through a transdisciplinary practice, Soñ Gweha works with music, poetry, video, performance, installation, sculpture to deconstruct the mechanisms of survival, mindfulness and healing. Navigating through contemporary creation, research and collective practices for transformative justice, they uses analog Djaying, sounds and their voice as an instrument (under the name SOÑXSEED), moving images, poetic writings, archival conversations, , body gestures, textiles and fruit & plant matter, in order to explore intimacy, love, tribulation and joy from a afrofeminist and queer perspective. Soñ Gweha participated in the Sex Ecologies program with Kunsthall Trondheim, Norway, as well as in two fellowships in Dakar, Senegal: Raw Material Company’s Raw Academy (session 7); and “L’école doctorale des Ateliers de la Pensée”. Published in the Sex Ecologies anthology (2021, MIT Press) and in Afrikadaa Magazine, Soñ has been invited to present their work in France and abroad, for instance at Palais de Tokyo (2021), at Kunsthall Trondheim (Norway), at Mumok (Vienna), at the Kaiku Club (Helsinki, FI), at the Magasin des horizons—CNAC (Grenoble), at the Quai Branly museum (Paris), at the Centre Pompidou (Paris).
Fanny Souade Sow graduated from the École supérieure d’art et de design de Grenoble–Valence in 2020. Her work engages with sociopolitical and historical questions. Whether through publications, sculptures, performances or the medium of video, she denounces the effects of colonial heritage on racialised bodies. While her pieces attest to mechanisms of systematic and violent oppression, they also participate in the formulation of a collective memory. Fanny Souade Sow is a member of the film production organisation Subalternes Studio. Her work has been recently shown in group exhibitions at MAC VAL (Vitry-sur-Seine), l’Académie Royale de Bruxelles, FRAC Franche-Comté (Besançon), KADIST (Paris), Galerie Eric Dupont (Paris) and at the 66th Salon de Montrouge. In January 2022, she had her first solo exhibition at RECYCLART (Brussels). She was an artist-in-residency at SAW Gallery (Ottawa, Canada). She is currently in residency at CAC Brétigny and will next be hosted by Glasgow Sculpture Studios (Glasgow, Scotland).
- From muscle—Press file (pdf)
Saturday, April 22th 2023, 4:00-8:00 p.m.
The opening of the exhibition will be marked by presentations of the performances The Source (Oasis Vectors) by SOÑXSEED and We see you (On vous voit) by Samir Laghouati-Rashwan & Trésor.
Open to all. Free entrance.
Free shuttle Paris-Brétigny available: Pick up at 4pm at 104 avenue de France, 75013 Paris (the Bibliothèque François Mitterrand metro stop).
Mandatory booking for the shuttle at email@example.com.
Saturday May 6th 2023, 3:00-4:30 p.m.
“Leuk the Hare”
After seeing the works by Geneviève Dieng in the exhibition, the children will get their turn to represent themselves as chimaeras. Mixing painting, drawing and collage, they will collate elements of human and animal bodies, symbolising their personality traits and composing their totem.
8 years and up. Registration: firstname.lastname@example.org or +33 (0)1 60 85 20 76.
Thursday, May 11th 2023, 5:00-7:00 p.m.
You are invited to discover the activities that we offer to groups through a visit of the exhibition “From muscle”.
For kindergarten, elementary and secondary school teachers, animators, educators, and associations. Registration: email@example.com or +33 (0)1 60 85 20 76.
Monday, May 15th 2023, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
“CAC, tomatoes, onions”
Specially addressed to high and middle school students, “CAC, tomatoes, onions” is a visit taking place during the lunch break, between two lessons. After a tour of the exhibition accompanied by the CAC team, participants are invited to share their impressions over a snack.
Wednesdays, May 24th, June 7th and 28th 2023, 4:30-6:00 p.m.
In the exhibition, the children will discover the artist Johanna Rocard’s rituals of courage. To own their fears, they will make musical instruments that imitate terrifying noises such as thunder!
3 years and up. Registration: firstname.lastname@example.org or +33 (0)1 60 85 20 76.
Saturdays June 3rd and 17th 2023, 3:00-4:30 p.m.
Artistic workshop for all ages
Participants will draw from the artist Johanna Rocard’s game: costumes, gestures, places… the cards drawn make up a ritual! Each player is then invited to imagine their own ritual, to add cards to the deck and invent new traditions together.
From 3 to 99 years old. Registration: email@example.com or +33 (0)1 60 85 20 76.