• Jagna Ciuchta's installation for A HOUSE OF STONE…, La Galerie, CAC, Noisy-Le-Sec, September-December 2017

  • Joshua Schwebel's installation for A HOUSE OF STONE…, La Galerie, CAC, Noisy-Le-Sec, September-December 2017

  • Joshua Schwebel's installation for A HOUSE OF STONE…, La Galerie, CAC, Noisy-Le-Sec, September-December 2017

  • Ben Kinmont's installation for A HOUSE OF STONE…, La Galerie, CAC, Noisy-Le-Sec, August-December 2017

Exhibition at La Galerie, CAC Noisy-le-Sec

September 22 - December 16, 2017

Artists: Félicia Atkinson, Jagna Ciuchta*, Ben Kinmont, Alison Knowles, Myriam Lefkowitz, Sébastien Rémy, Joshua Schwebel.

* Jagna Ciuchta invited Pascal Butto, Jennifer Douzenel, Nancy Holt, Bernard Jeufroy, Jirí Kovanda, Jimena Mendoza, Francis Picabia, Suzan Pitt, Laura Porter & Valentin Lewandowski, Samir Ramdani, Céline Vaché-Olivieri, Viktorie Valocká and works from the Antoine Gentil collection by various anonymous artists, Thérèse Bonnelalbay, Patrick Chapelière, Joseph Donadello Jill Galliéni, Armand Goupil, Frantz Jacques aka Guyodo, A. Haley, Isidor, Maria Juarez, Jean-Christophe Philippi, Bernard Saby, Marcel Drouin aka Zizi.

Curators: Maud Jacquin, Sébastien Pluot, Emilie Renard.

For the 2017 season La Galerie was entirely dedicated to the concept of hospitality. Hospitality raises the issue of our capacity for receptiveness, generosity and openness to events and other people. In practical terms hospitality can be difficult and uncomfortable, in that it presupposes receiving the stranger unconditionally and assuming the role of welcoming host. It also involves an asymmetrical relationship in which the stranger is recognised as such and maintained in his or her position as a guest. Hospitality is necessarily a question, a horizon, an impetus in that its full realisation—a radical hospitality—would involve turning our building inside out like a glove and bringing the outside inside in an unbroken flow. Looking beyond the inside/outside polarity, we will be trying out all the nuances of this move towards openness, which might begin as a way of turning our everyday acts into outward-looking ones.

The season continued the exploration of the art centre’s role in the physical, symbolic, social and cultural space of the city initiated by the season “Your Hands in My Shoes”, under the guidance of curator Vanessa Desclaux in 2016–2017. It pursued an examination of the ability of the art centre’s inhabitants—the team, the artists, the public—to welcome events as they come. The season was inspired by, and began with an interpretation of American artist Alison Knowles’ poem A House of Dust proposed by Maud Jacquin and Sébastien Pluot. For this season, then, the art centre was turned into “a house of dust, a house of stone, a house of . . . ”

In 1967 Alison Knowles, one of the founders of the Fluxus movement, asked computer engineer and musician James Tenney to design a programme producing random combinations based on four lists: materials, contexts or situations, light sources and types of inhabitants. The outcome was a poem of 84,672 quatrains, each describing “A House of . . . ”, from which the title of the exhibition has been excerpted. Two years later Knowles translated one of these quatrains into an organic architectural structure, installed first in New York and then, between 1969 and 1982, at the California Institute for the Arts in Los Angeles. Encouraging participation by different kinds of audiences, she turned this structure into a platform that drew responses from many other artists and was open to workshops, performances, concerts, poetry readings and film screenings. Its residents— guest artists, audiences, neighbours—modified its shape and appearance and invented new uses for it. Whether musical, linguistic or architectural, the resultant works/scores are essentially hospitable spaces, radically open to variation and interpretation.

The aim of this exhibition was to experiment with the concepts and principles of hospitality that are a crucial aspect of the poem and of Alison Knowles’ œuvre. And since the exhibition title referred to the building that houses the art centre, La Galerie became “A house of stone, in a metropolis, using all available lighting, inhabited by those who invite others.” Here this quatrain from Knowles’ poem was an invitation to artists Félicia Atkinson, Jagna Ciuchta, Ben Kinmont, Myriam Lefkowitz, Sébastien Rémy and Joshua Schwebel to explore the concept of hospitality—already a core part of their practices—in response to the art centre’s architectural and institutional context. In turn these artists invited people to inhabit the venue and offered them works open to activation—to intervention by others. In very different ways they challenged and deconstruct the boundaries between the inside and the outside—of art, the institution, the subject, etc.—and raised the ethical issue of how to share a physical or subjective space without the act of welcoming leading either to self-renunciation or the cannibalising of the other. In other words these works invited us to reconsider the meaning of “inhabiting” and “cohabiting” in spaces that can be psychic (opened up by desire and/or the imagination), architectural (the exhibition space), urban (the municipality of Noisy-le-Sec), social (the inhabitants and their living conditions), symbolic (what an art centre represents), aesthetic (the languages of art) or linguistic (the languages spoken here).

Co-sponsored by the Ville de Noisy-le-Sec with the Direction régionale des Affaires culturelles d’Île-de-France, the French Ministry of Culture, the Département de la Seine-Saint-Denis and the Conseil régional d’Île-de-France.

Special thanks to La Galerie Air de Paris, Collection 49 NORD 6 EST, Galerie Natalie Seroussi, Antoine Gentil, Corinne Arrivé, Michael Bell, Mark Bloch, Sylvie Boulanger, Willard van de Bogart, Stéphane Doré, Simone Forti, James Fuentes, Jeff Guess, Hannah Higgins, Norman C.Kaplan, Sylvain Lizon, Jeffrey Perkins, Julia Robinson, Joshua Selman, Christian Xatrec.