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June 23rd 2024
Lise Guéhenneux

"Nobody is a stranger": 23 artists sketch out a shared utopia at the No Name space

Room 4 features artworks by Jean-Luc Blanc, Hedy (2022), Michel Blazy, Untitled, 2021 and the series by Brognon Rollin, I Lost my Page Again, 2024, and Exile Is A Hard Job (2024) by Nil Yalter.

At the No Name gallery in Paris, curator Armelle Leturcq is bringing together 23 artists in response to the current political context.


The exhibition Nobody is a Stranger is a clear statement of the issues at stake. But while some of the artworks are self-explanatory, such as the words Exile Is A Hard Job (2024) painted on a canvas, which at the same time name the artpiece by feminist artist Nil Yalter, others require time to observe and understand the context in which they were created.


Stéphanie Brossard's "Sold out (cagoule)" (2019), a sculpture made of pebbles, is an example of an importable garment in which she expresses her ambivalence about the weight of Creole insularity and her attachment to it.


Escapees from the I Lost My Page Again series, the marquetry by the Brognon Rollin artist duo contain all the evidence of representations of empty waiting rooms, while the dry straw technique of which they are made distils another story, that of reclusion, given that this very laborious craft was devolved to convicts from the 17th to the 19th century.

"France and Paris have always been a welcoming place for artists".

Tarik Kiswanson's large fibreglass and resin sculpture (Nest, 2020), monumental and fragile at the same time, is set into the wall like a possible habitat, while Adel Abdessemed's neon Exil (1999-2009), appropriately hung above a door, plays on the "disturbing and familiar" presence of the exit sign indicating the way out. The presence of Jean-Luc Verna, Michel Blazy and Jean-Luc Blanc reflects the curator's commitment to artists she feels receive too little support abroad, despite the incredible quality of their art.

All accepted the clear text by Armelle Leturcq, well known for her commitment to women artists since the 1990s, when she organised the first exhibition in France on the relationship between art and feminism. Today, her desire to exhibit is a reaction to the current context: "My initial focus was France and the French scene. Which doesn't mean 'French artist'. But to go beyond questions of nationality and include 'strangers to themselves', those excluded from the art market, the inner nomads, those who are not part of the established networks. The history of the avant-garde shows that France and Paris have always been a welcoming place for artists who have been treated badly in their own countries: exiles, refugees, stateless people, uprooted people, the misunderstood. The expression Nobody is a Stranger was used by the Surrealists. There are no strangers in art, because art is a common language, a common utopia. Stranger also evokes strangeness. Art is that suspended moment when the viewer, without necessarily wondering what the artist wanted to say, just wants to feel and open up to a new language. A language without words. And without explanations, without instructions."

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