Curators: Alexia Fabre, Anne-Laure Flacelière, Ingrid Jurzak
“Through hospitality, the impossible happens“
“Persona grata ?” continues the initial exhibition presented from October 2018 to January 2019, in both museums, MAC VAL and the National Museum of Immigration History. Among the hundred or so works that make up this new exhibition, some new pieces are unveiled, including some twenty recent acquisitions exhibited here for the first time.
“Persona grata ?” encourages questioning…
Today, hospitality is in question. It is even in danger.
If the city of tomorrow is taking form on the coasts, frontiers and jungles of today’s Europe, then gratitude and hospitality are not its founding pillars.
If taking people in leads all too often to taking it out on them, then that makes reaching out an act of vandalism. Just as the fact of welcoming the other can be envisaged only because it is prevented, then hospitality today is countered, or even illegal.
And yet invitation has been the keyword at MAC VAL ever since its origins. Invitations extended to artists, to the public, to schools of thought, to social movement, to what makes the world at any given moment. And if hospitality is the heart of its philosophy, what the works in its collection often express is hostility. Initially, in showing “Persona grata” at MAC VAL and at the Musée National de l’Histoire de l’Immigration, we championed this universal, humanist notion. Today, we are subjecting it to the light of the real, like a contemporary subject being interrogated.
For the works in the MAC VAL collection and the way they are set out, the relations and meanings that grow up between them embody the ambiguity of the notion of hospitality, which today can be envisaged only in the light of its opposite, inhospitality. Like genealogists of the collection’s interiority, we can thus be caught up in the swift, staccato rhythm of works that speak to each other and agree, that follow the same thought or clash. And contradict each other. Such is the way of the world. Dual, contradictory, and terribly constrained, hospitality is combated in today’s society, just as it is itself a combat. If it implies peace restored at last, that means it was preceded by conflict, a war – economic, ecological or climatic – that must be fled.
“Persona grata” a series of nuances…
Going from one stage to the next, voice is given to suffering and relief, disillusion and hope, renunciation, the survival instinct, plaints and homages, grievances and gratitude.
This exhibition revisits great themes of “Persona grata” – the body and its disappearance, death, solitude, welcome, waiting, departure, mobility, wandering, conflict, urgency, frontiers, prevention, hindrance. At the same time, though, it takes visitors into the history of hospitality, made up of contradictions, hopes and obstacles, of speech and murmurs and sometimes cries, whose echoes and chaos let the light through.
The energy of life is in play here, too: being encouraged by what arises from a gesture, confronting the chaos without losing one’s footing.
With works by Renaud Auguste-Dormeuil, Laëtitia Badaut Haussmann, Ismaïl Bahri, Richard Baquié, Raphaël Barontini, DominiqueBlais, Alina et Jeff Bliumis, Brognon Rollin, Mircea Cantor, CLAIRE FONTAINE, Philippe Cognée, Delphine Coindet, Pascale Consigny, Bady Dalloul, Éléonore False, Thierry Fontaine, Cyprien Gaillard, Ara Güler, Laura Henno, Valérie Jouve, Yeondoo Jung, Thierry Kuntzel, Bertrand Lamarche, Léa Le Bricomte, Lahouari Mohammed Bakir, Eva Nielsen, François Paire, Cécile Paris, Bruno Perramant, Laure Prouvost, Judit Reigl, Anri Sala, Sarkis, Bruno Serralongue, Société Réaliste, Djamel Tatah, Barthélémy Toguo, James Webb, Sabine Weiss, Xie Lei...