Tell me the story of all these things. Beginning wherever you wish, tell even us.

curated by Mélanie Bouteloup and Victorine Grataloup

Villa Vassilieff
Paris, France
14:00 14 January - 19:00 18 March 2017

Sojung Jun, The Twelve Rooms, 2014, 7’35”, vidéo, son, cou­leur, HD. Courtesy : Sojung Jun.

With : Katinka Bock, Vittorio Cavallini, León Ferrari, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Sojung Jun, Rose Lowder, Huda Lutfi, Ernesto Oroza, Somnath Mukherjee, Remzi Rasa and Lyno Vuth.

Tell me the story of all these things. Beginning wherever you wish, tell even us. is the inau­gural exhi­bi­tion of the Autohistorias pro­gram, unfolding in 2017 across Bétonsalon and Villa Vassilieff. The exhi­bi­tion bor­rows its title from Dictée, an exper­i­mental auto­bi­o­graph­ical novel written by Theresa Hak Kyung Cha in 1982.In this text, the Korean artist evoked her expe­ri­ence of exile. She used dif­ferent lan­guages, com­bining text and image in a variety of nar­ra­tive reg­is­ters, telling the story of women asso­ci­ated with the Nine Muses of Greek mythology. Tell me the story of all these things revolves around Sojung Jun, Pernod Ricard Fellow in res­i­dence at Villa Vassilieff. Using Dictée as an impor­tant resource for inspi­ra­tion, the exhi­bi­tion echoes this entan­gle­ment of indi­vidual nar­ra­tives of cir­cu­la­tion and migra­tion. Addressing issues of dis­place­ment, it ques­tions thresh­olds between inside and out­side, dis­tance and prox­imity, and inter­ro­gates feel­ings asso­ci­ated with mul­tiple iden­ti­ties.

The exhi­bi­tion starts in a nook on Villa Vassilieff’s ground floor: videos by Sojung Jun, drawing micro-nar­ra­tives of marginal indi­vid­uals and threat­ened local tra­di­tions, are pre­sented along a selec­tion of works by exper­i­mental film­maker Rose Lowder. These films alter­nate between exper­i­ments on the film roll itself, col­orful and graphic play-on-shapes, and slighty more doc­u­men­tary obser­va­tions on the passing of time.

Rose Lowder and Sojung Jun both use tex­tual ele­ments in the com­po­si­tion of their moving images, ranging from simple let­ters used as graphic ele­ments to lit­erary quo­ta­tions. The exhi­bi­tion extends and prop­a­gates this work of inter­tex­tual weaving on the first floor of the Villa, espe­cially through Bétonsalon’s sin­gular art­work-library. In 2009, Katinka Bock had dis­sem­i­nated a hun­dred hand-molded bricks near the art center, which vis­i­tors could take away in exchange for the gift of a book to Bétonsalon, to be picked from the “Sec­tion 7 Books” selec­tion of the inde­pen­dent art book­store castillo/ cor­rales. A brick found in the art center’s storage space here tes­ti­fies to this col­lab­o­ra­tive pro­cess of knowl­edge cir­cu­la­tion. Since 2009 the library expanded con­sid­er­ably, notably with books related to Sojung Jun’s ongoing research on synaes­thesia.

Heliographies by León Ferrari, fea­turing rhi­zomatic com­po­si­tions or “ar­chi­tec­tures of mad­ness” in the words of the artist, echo the web of ref­er­ences offered by the library and exhi­bi­tion. This series was com­posed during the dic­ta­tor­ship in Argentina, while León Ferrari was in exile in Brazil, and diverted codes of geo­metric abstrac­tion into tragic labyrinths without a way out.

Villa Vassilieff offered designer and artist Vittorio Cavallini to take over its space, turning the exhi­bi­tion into a hos­pitable and leisurely place. Inviting vis­i­tors to read, this envi­ron­ment is akin to the domestic set­ting offered by Marie Vassilieff at the begin­ning of the 20th cen­tury. Downstairs, other pieces of fur­ni­ture were designed by the Cuban artist Ernesto Oroza, Pernod Ricard Fellow 2016.

Tell me the story of all these things intro­duces odd indi­vidual tra­jec­to­ries, shaping per­pet­u­ally shifting iden­ti­ties. From 1972 to 1982, Remzi Raşa relent­lessly painted La Fournache, a moun­tain in the Drôme region of France, which reminded him of his native Kurdistan. Remzi Raşa was trained in painting at the School of Fine Arts in Istanbul by the French painter Leopold Levy — pho­tographed by Marc Vaux – who was called there by the former President of the Republic of Turkey Mustafa Kemal Atatürk to “West­ernize” Turkish painting. Remzi Raşa how­ever devel­oped his own lan­guage, nour­ishing him­self from var­ious influ­ences: Deux Culturesand its back­ground reminding of Iznik ceram­ic­sas­so­ciate the com­po­si­tion of a still life with the dec­o­ra­tive com­plexity of Ottoman Islamic arts. Somnath Mukherjee is another artist whose life embodies an entan­gle­ment of cul­tures linked to exile. A former Indian cyclist who arrived in Senegal on a peace mis­sion in 1987, he set­tled in Dakar where he cre­ated the Bharat-Pehchane dance com­pany, resulting in a col­lec­tive syn­cretic chore­o­graphic work. Connecting two dif­ferent regions of the world on an indi­vidual level is at the heart of the research pro­ject pre­sented by Vuth Lyno, who worked on the specific sit­u­a­tion of the UNTAC (United Nation Transitional Authority of Cambodia) con­sid­ered as a metaphor of the effect pro­duced by external forces on the journey of indi­vid­uals.

Translocal inven­tion of forms is all the more nec­es­sary in times of con­flict, as acts of resis­tance. Huda Lutfi ques­tioned the meta­mor­phosis of Cairo’s mul­ti­cul­tur­alism but also the place of her own work as an artist since she began to include ele­ments pho­tographed on the street in her works during the 2011 Egyptian rev­o­lu­tion. Her sculp­tures, instal­la­tions, and col­lages take part in a nec­es­sary decon­struc­tion of clichés on Egypt, and ques­tion the priv­i­lege of the gaze in the emi­nently polit­ical space that is the public space.

Mélanie Bouteloup and Victorine Grataloup