A real discovery for some or the confirmation of a unique vision for others, this first major monographic show of Melanie Manchot’s work in France looks back at 20 years of creation through a selection of pieces produced between 1998 and 2018. The show widens the scope of her research thanks to a new commission produced over the course of the exhibition.
Melanie Manchot appropriates the museum space and strips it bare with a very open scenography weaving intimate and shared spaces where each work defines its own territory. As she restages her works, the artist opens a dialogue between them and furthers an overview to her production. In her video installations, Melanie Manchot utilises the scale of the projection and the multiple-screen display to engage the body of the viewers and their relationship to the pieces, encouraging them to become active agents in the negotiation of multiple viewpoints. The duration of the exhibition is also that of the production of a new participative video - to be finalized during the last week of the show. In the framework of this performance and video, the space of the museum room becomes like a film set, a scenery framing the work-in-progress.
Since the end of the 90s, connection, relationships and tensions between individuals and the community have been at the core of Melanie Manchot’s practice through the accumulation of individual and collective experiences. Her photographic and video works play with the codes of art history and cinema while questioning the frontiers and possible ransgressions between reality and fiction.
German artist based in London, this European citizen adopts an open, generous and original point of view on the world and the relationship of individuals to the group. Her work is also concerned with the relationship of (social) body to (public) space. Rooted in meticulous, documentary-like observation, her practice explores various movements –exchanges, gestures- between individual subjectivities and group spaces.
Thanks to the genre of portrait, she has developed a unique sensitivity to people’s relationship to their environment. Through a generally performative process, she stages situations conducive to the encounter of unknown people and usually removed communities in places that act like indicators of political, social, spatial and institutional contexts, in order to question their relationship to others, their background and the world. The artist is interested in the transgression of the codes of the public and private sphere, creating situations in which an intimate gesture –kissing, caressing, undressing, sleeping- is performed in public. The group portraits in which she studies, reinterprets, gathers or reproduces public rituals (gathering, protests, marches, dances, parties) foster the constitution and affirmation of a common social body as well as exchange and community life. Her work on the abolition of frontiers draws on a subtle balance between the organization of a community of people in a given time-space and the representation of the psychological depth of individuals.
Like the snapshot of a society in constant evolution, the work of Melanie Manchot reveals the idea of a possible harmony between differences and diversities.
Melanie Manchot is born in Germany in 1966.
She currently lives and works in London.
With the participation of the Goethe Institute of Paris.