Jagna Ciuchta, L’un dans l’autre, 2017
Clay, rope, synthetic fur, paint, glass
Jagna Ciuchta challenges art’s boundaries and the criteria that lead to categorising works and according them greater or lesser degrees of value. As is often the case in her work, and in keeping with The House of Dust, her piece for La Galerie was a structure welcoming artists she had invited: a shape-shifting exhibition scenography constructed for and with works by others. For her exhibition within the exhibition, she welcomed works from several eras and different fields—or worlds—of art: works by contemporary artists she knows and amateur or professional artists met at Noisy-le-Sec; examples of “outsider art”, “naive art” and “bad art” borrowed from a collector; and historic works whose language evokes these “marginal” forms to challenge bourgeois values (think late Picabia, Magritte’s “Vache Period” etc.). What these works had in common was a confusion of registers (reality/fantasy) and spaces (inside/outside) and a potent erotic charge reflected in the title Ciuchta borrowed from a painting by the Czech Surrealist Toyen: L’un dans l’autre [One within the Other]. As the title and the exhibited works suggest, Ciuchta addressed hospitality via the concept of incorporation, emphasizing the power plays and risks of reciprocal cannibalization inherent in welcoming or desiring the presence of the Other. In addition, through her choice of invited artists, she questioned the legitimation and co-opting operations going on in the art world: is there a difference between outsider art, amateur art and contemporary art when they are brought together in an exhibition? What is at stake when works of outsider art are being gradually assimilated by institutions and the market? At what point does borrowing from “marginal” practices become a form of violence and appropriation?, etc.