Identity is in crisis. This statement seems to run through time and history. And the questions remain the same. Who are we? How do we define ourselves? In regard to what? To who? To The Other? What defines us? What connects and separates us? How do we build a cultural identity and from which elements? How do we represent it? How do we talk about it? In the midst of a campaign period as well as an unstable and hardly reassuring political context, “Tous, des sang-mêlés” (All, mixed-bloods) investigates the inherent issues of what cultural identity means. With this exhibition, our goal is to think together, confront our point of views and subjectivities in order to bring forward analysis and interrogations through critical and plastic proposals, as well as foster encounter and dialogue.
The exhibition explores various notions like those of territories, frontiers, maps, nations, communities, belonging, languages, flags, skin color, stereotypes, symbols and traditions. Each time, these notions are put in perspective with History, the way it is told as well as its many visual, sound and material transcriptions. These notions take part and enrich our thinking of the common good, tackled without amnesia or hypocrisy.
This exhibition therefore stands as a critical and sensitive reaction to outdated, reactionary, communautarian and contemptuous discourses of fear, hatred, exclusion and isolation. It gathers the works of 60 French and international artists who, their own way, tackle the topics of (private or collective) History, memory, archives, translation, excavation or restoration. Each visitor is invited to have his own experience and write his own story through a multifaceted exhibition that features photography, painting, installation, video, and sculpture as well as other media. Here there are no directions or hierarchy, since the exhibition on the contrary intends to offer a critical, poetical and metaphorical walk through issues that both enrich and taint our history. The cohabitation of artworks creates gaps, which, according to François Jullien, are the places where invention, critical judgment and politics happen.
Indeed, while our selection of artwork raises the question of how to live together, of the common good, and of what connects us, it also has a look at the violence of colonial history, at ségrégations as well as other forms of exploitations. In that regard, we refuse all right-minded, naïve and utopic approach. “Tous, des sang-mêlés” (All, mixed-bloods) takes the risk of confronting history, its discourses, its memory lapse and its translations to better grasp the current situation and try to understand a collective desire to withdraw into one’s community and defend an identity became national. We choose dialogue, melting pot, frictions, prospection, differences and interbreeding over the communitarian temptation, universalism, a prevailing feeling of guilt and dangerous moralistic values. Achille Mbembe wrote that “we are all passers-by”, moving individuals and groups. We are all passers-by, migrants, mixed-race, hybrids, foreigners, works in progress, and related beings. All, mixed-bloods.
Julie Crenn and Frank Lamy