« Tous, des sang-mêlés »

Group show
From 22 April to 3 September 2017
Friday 21 April 2017, 6:30pm

The Val-de-Marne Contemporary Art Museum is happy to present a group show entitled “Tous, des sang-mêlés” (“All, mixed-bloods”) around the universal and burning issue of cultural identity. This original proposal echoes previous curatorial projects conducted by the MAC VAL over the last few years.

Text by the Curators

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This exhibition therefore stands as a critical and sensitive reaction to outdated, reactionary, communautarian and contemptuous discourses of fear, hatred, exclusion and isolation.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

Press Release

The Val-de-Marne Contemporary Art Museum is happy to present a group show entitled “Tous, des sang-mêlés” (“All, mixed-bloods”) around the universal and burning issue of cultural identity. This original proposal echoes previous curatorial projects conducted by the MAC VAL over the last few years.

In tune with the current world affairs, this exhibition explores the notion of cultural identity through various artistic visions and experiences: what is our common denominator? How do we build a shared culture in spite of more and more diverse/opposite origins? Those are some of the current global issues. Under the co-patronage of French historian Lucien Febvre and his book We are all mixed-bloods: a manual on the history of the French civilization (1950), and that of Stuart Hall, founding father of Cultural Studies, this exhibition highlights the fictional dimension of the concept of cultural identity. Our curators have build an exhibition around different proposals that raise questions and shed light on what relates and sets us apart, on transfer of knowledge and future, on power and resistance, on individuals and communities…

Through the voice of about sixty international artists and around one hundred artworks, the exhibition investigates the topics of cultural, national and sexual identities. They all revolve around the notion of being, yet some are obvious, others bring up –often passionate, always political- debates, and others call up memories of the past, sensitivity, experiences, and existence itself, from survival instinct to the notion of living together.
The works gathered in this exhibition tackle these topics from a real-life standpoint in a spirit of exchange and dialogue. If cultural identity is a fiction, artists have different ways to interpret, investigate and question it…while taking distance with the –all too reductive- identity perspective. How do we shape ourselves in regard to our tongue, territory, family, History, story, and stereotypes?
The exhibition proposes several elements to establish a common ground on which alterities could develop together and in regard to one another.

Through the story, sensitivity, words and commitment of artists from all horizons, ages and nationalities, each visitor can grow his own understanding of the notion of “Identity”. Set up in the very heart of the exhibition, “De quoi j’me mêle?” offers a space of encounters, debates, reading and relaxation all throughout the duration of the show. Its goal is to take time to think together or individually about the issues raised by the exhibition and the reality of today’s world. Singular voices will speak up to share opinions as well as personal and collective experiences.
These encounters organized by everyone who collaborated in the organization of the event, are free of charge and open to all audience on Sunday, 30 April, 7 May, 14 May, 21 May, 28 May, 4 June, 11 June, 25 June, 9 July, 27 August and 3 September at 4pm.


Artists of the exhibition

Soufiane Ababri
Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc
Lawrence Abu Hamdan
Adam Adach
Nirveda Alleck
Francis Alÿs
Giulia Andreani
Fayçal Baghriche
Sammy Baloji
Raphaël Barontini
Taysir Batniji
Sylvie Blocher
Martin Bureau
Ali Cherri
Claire Fontaine
Steven Cohen
Bady Dalloul
Jonathas De Andrade
Morgane Denzler
Jimmie Durham
Ninar Esber
Esther Ferrer
Karim Ghelloussi
Marco Godinho
Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige
Mona Hatoum
Maryam Jafri
Katia Kameli
Jason Karaïndros
Bouchra Khalili
Kapwani Kiwanga
Will Kwan
Lawrence Lemaoana
Mehryl Levisse
Violaine Lochu
Melanie Manchot
Lahouari Mohammed Bakir
Kent Monkman
Malik Nejmi
Nguyen Trinh Thi
Otobong Nkanga
Harold Offeh
Daniela Ortiz and Xose Quiroga
Alicia Paz
Adrian Piper
Présence Panchounette
Pushpamala N
Athi-Patra Ruga
Zineb Sedira
Yinka Shonibare MBE
Société Réaliste
Tsuneko Taniuchi
Erwan Venn
James Webb
Sue Williamson
Chen Zhen

Back to the French website