Discovering Île de France’s contemporary art scene with TRAM

Hospitalités is a route consisting of 11 locations throughout Île de France, offering participators the chance to discover the diversity of the region’s visual arts scene. The fifth edition of the event organised by the TRAM network (a network of contemporary art in Paris/Île de France) comprises five weekends of events, running until 5 July 2015. In the company of artist Barbara Manzetti and historian Philippe Artières, Art Media Agency set off on the “North by Northeast” route.

We met on Sunday morning at the FRAC Île de France (Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain), the Plateau, in the east of Paris. Émilie Vincent, who was representing FRAC, gave a presentation to the 30 participants gathered there over breakfast. He talked about the crossroads between sound and image, a universe into which we were getting ready to immerse ourselves. We then set off to see a group exhibition entitled “A personal sonic geology”, displaying the works of artists Mathieu Copeland and Philippe Decrauzat, which hinges on the desire to film sound, to record places, and to question the processes of creation and destruction. The participants were shown a series of four films projected onto canvases painted in red and blue, bathed in a spellbinding sound atmosphere. Upon leaving the darkness of the exhibition, the participants attended a lecture-performance given by Barbara Manzetti, which ended with the presentation of a photograph printed onto a block of granite, thanking our hosts for their hospitality.

We then headed to the École municipale des beaux-arts / Galerie Édouard Manet in Gennevilliers. The tour was based on the story of the battle of Paris, which was narrated by Philippe Artières, who made links with the places we passed on the tour. The curator Lionel Balouin welcomed the participants and took us to see “Feature Description”, a solo exhibition of the American artist Artie Vierkant. It is unusual for this exhibition to be held in a place that normally focuses solely on promoting the emerging French scene, but Lionel Balouin had been intrigued by the “post-Internet” question raised by the artist, an issue that is also being tackled by a whole generation of artists in their thirties. It is a new conceptual movement that reformulates the question of art in our digital world. This gave us a chance to discover six new pieces from the series Bodyscan Object, a set of photogrammetries of people in work clothes and in relaxed attire. By using the “Feature Description” process, the artist obtains 3D images, which he then reuses in 2D, ending up with cuts that have shimmering effects and pearly white textures. Two videos, Antoine Office and Antoine Casual, complete this series and unsettle the spectator by moving between realism and the fantastical.

The participants then enjoyed a lunch break at the contemporary art centre Les Églises in Chelles. It was at this art centre that they discovered the work of a pair of young artists named Nøne Futbol Club, which stages pigeon performers. In the middle of a vast building, which used to be a church, the duo installed an enormous aviary in which pigeons flit about. Their faeces form messages on the rugs placed on the floor of the cage. These birds can write messages such as “Get rich” or “Get high”, a way to tackle the media systems of current society with humour and a slightly provocative tone.fr9

The course ended at the Khiasma space in Lilas, located at the gates of Paris. This structure of artistic production and diffusion offers a programme dedicated to visual arts and performance. The participants saw the currently running exhibition “Soudain, un léger mouvement dans l’ordre naturel des choses” of the French sculptor and video maker François Daireaux. The exhibition curator, Olivier Marbœuf, brought together a set of works, realised in Morocco and Asia from 2006 until 2014, which all deal with daily life and entropic production in emerging countries. From the window cleaner who masters his tools, to the peanut seller who tirelessly repeats the same phrases, and the person who removes hair from the pigs’ heads, the public discovered a series of fastidious movements that make up the daily life of many people. The work of the artist forms a social sculpture of the globalised world.

Finally, the long day of walking around art spaces in Île de France and exploring the contemporary art scene with the help of enthusiasts, ended with a meal. The TRAM tour allows audiences to see art in a new light, and places a special focus on the importance of exchange and hospitality.

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