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A.K. Burns

A.K. Burns (1975, Capitola, USA), lives and works in New York (USA).

>> Wednesday 18 November, 6pm (GMT+1): TokyoSession #1 Insurgence [Instagram Live]

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A.K. Burns, Marianne Deludes the World, 2020
A.K. Burns, Marianne Deludes the World, 2020. Aquaresin, concrete, newspaper, steel rebar, charcoal log, woven polypropylene bag. Courtesy of the artist and Michel Rein (Paris/Brussels). Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole

A.K. Burns questions the limits and intrinsic properties of the body, seen as protean, porous and permeable to its environment.

Assemblages improvised from commonplace or industrial materials, the two sculptures presented in the exhibition have the appearance of outstretched arms – could they be from the same body? One holds a torch made out of a half-burnt newspaper, the other an empty water container of lurid, chemical tinge. Referencing fire and water, the artist reproduces the cycle of natural resource depletion: the charcoal of the sculpture’s base, produced by the action of fire, is used to purify the polluted water we consume, and it is the lack of water that causes ever more frequent and devastating forest fires.

The torch raised to the skies makes reference to the Statue of Liberty, its title, Marianne Deludes the World, to the symbolic personification of the French Republic. Two female allegories of liberty, then, are represented here by skeletal limbs, the artist seemingly alluding to the collapse of the ideologies of modernity, the shrinkage of democratic space and the end of history understood as permanent progress.

Hands outstretched in an appeal for help, or fists raised to rouse the crowd – the two phantom bodies seem pervaded by the political and environmental conflicts all around us. They are an appeal for awareness, a prompt to action.

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A.K. Burns, Pitch Black Dry Sack, 2019
A.K. Burns, Pitch Black Dry Sack, 2019 (detail). Aquaresin, concrete, epoxy resin, steel rebar, charcoal log, plywood, shipping pallet. Courtesy of the artist and Michel Rein (Paris/Brussels). Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole
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A.K. Burns, Marianne Deludes the World, 2020
A.K. Burns, Marianne Deludes the World, 2020 (detail). Aquaresin, concrete, newspaper, steel rebar, charcoal log, woven polypropylene bag. Courtesy of the artist and Michel Rein (Paris/Brussels). Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole
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A.K. Burns, Pitch Black Dry Sack, 2019
A.K. Burns, Pitch Black Dry Sack, 2019. Aquaresin, concrete, epoxy resin, steel rebar, charcoal log, plywood, shipping pallet. Courtesy of the artist and Michel Rein (Paris/Brussels). In the background: Achraf Touloub, National Materials, 2019. Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole
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Xinyi Cheng

Xinyi Cheng (1989, Wuhan, China) lives in Paris (France).

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Xinyi Cheng, From left to right: J. and T., 2019 ; For a light, 2020 ; Untitled, 2019 ; Gust, 2019 ; Darling, 2017 ; Moon Water, 2016 ; Julien, 2017
Xinyi Cheng, From left to right: J. and T., 2019. Oil on canvas. Courtesy of the artist, Richard Chang and Antenna Space (Shanghai). For a light, 2020. Oil on canvas. Courtesy of the artist and Balice Hertling (Paris). Untitled, 2019. Huile sur bois. Courtesy de l’artiste et Balice Hertling (Paris). Collection Jacques & Thierry (Paris). Gust, 2019. Oil on canvas. Courtesy of the artist and Balice Hertling (Paris). Guilbaud collection (France). Darling, 2017. Oil on canvas. Courtesy of the artist and Balice Hertling (Paris). Private collection. Moon Water, 2016. Oil on canvas. Courtesy of the artist and Balice Hertling (Paris). Private collection (Geneva). Julien, 2017. Oil on canvas. Courtesy of the artist and Antenna Space (Shanghai) . Private collection (Singapore). Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole

Xinyi Cheng is a painter of private life. She photographs her friends in their bedrooms, at the café, socialising at home, capturing unposed moments of everyday life that she then reinterprets in her compositions. Discreetly indiscreet, she often decentres the body, zooming on the hands, backs or feet of solitary figures or silent couples, or, conversely, filling the canvas with the entire body save for its extremities.

Xinyi Cheng paints the erotics of skin glancing against skin, swimming in luminous ochres, dark blues, endless shades of violet. Colour of the erotic par excellence and star of the Impressionist palette, violet creates shadowy spaces, sometimes going so far as to obscure bodies and faces. Xinyi Cheng paints the impression of flesh caressed.

For what is at issue here is contact. The contact of one skin with another, of cigarette on lips, fingers in wine, of a trickle down a naked body. Xinyi Cheng evokes the sensibility of skin. In the context of the exhibition Anticorps, her paintings raise questions about our relationship to the other. They resonate too with the shared personal moments filmed by Koki Tanaka: in picturing the lives of small groups, they explore the mechanisms by which a group can become a family.

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Xinyi Cheng, Julien, 2017
Xinyi Cheng, Julien, 2017. Oil on canvas. Courtesy of the artist and Antenna Space (Shanghai). Photo credit: the artist and Antenna Space
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Xinyi Cheng, For a Light, 2020
Xinyi Cheng, For a Light, 2020. Oil on canvas. Courtesy of the artist and Balice Hertling (Paris). Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole
Xinyi Cheng, Interview with François Piron, Paris, August 26, 2020
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Kate Cooper

Kate Cooper (1984, Liverpool, UK) lives and works in London (UK).

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Kate Cooper, Infection Drivers, 2018
Kate Cooper, Infection Drivers, 2018. Video, color, sound, 7’19”. Produced in collaboration with Theo Cook. Soundtrack: Bonaventure. Courtesy of the artist. Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole

Through the use of CGI technology, Kate Cooper’s videos challenge accepted understandings of the body’s limitations. The video features computer generated images of women: digital ciphers who get tired and sick, bleed and are bruised. Cooper’s work examines CGI’s stealthy infiltration of wider culture, primarily used in commercial production and distribution, much in the way that pathogens invade and occupy an unsuspecting host. Her videos appropriate the conventions, techniques and aesthetics of the visual language of capitalism, complicating the division between subject and object.

Destabilizing the idea that images represent realities outside of their frames, these images occupy a liminal realm between fiction and reality. Resembling performance pieces, the videos are accompanied by powerful musical scores, often featuring samples of bodily sounds composed by producer Bonaventure. Cooper’s films challenge the notion of corporeal improvement, complicating the relationship between images and bodies, labour and refusal. Her work foregrounds vulnerability and fatigue and highlights the body’s capacity for resistance.

In Anticorps, Cooper’s video Infection Drivers shows a computer-generated woman wearing a translucent suit that inflates and deflates, evoking exaggerated stereotypes of gender-coded bodies. It is unclear whether this second skin is protecting or hurting the woman, presenting a body in conflict with itself.

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Kate Cooper, Infection Drivers, 2018
Kate Cooper, Infection Drivers, 2018. Video, sound, color, 7’29’’. Produced in collaboration with Theo Cook. Soundtrack: Bonaventure. Courtesy of the artist. Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole
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Kate Cooper, Infection Drivers, 2018
Kate Cooper, Infection Drivers, 2018. Video, color, sound, 7’19”. Produced in collaboration with Theo Cook. Soundtrack: Bonaventure. Courtesy of the artist. Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole
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Pauline Curnier Jardin

Pauline Curnier Jardin (1980, Marseilles, France) lives in Berlin (Germany) and in Rome (Italy).

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Pauline Curnier Jardin, “Ladies Skins”, 2019-2020
Pauline Curnier Jardin, “Ladies Skins”, 2019-2020. In the foreground: Trash Bin, 2020. Vinyl “Peaux de Dame”, acrylic painted wood. In the background: Car, 2019. Vinyl “Peaux de Dame”, enamel painted plywood. Courtesy of the artist and Ellen de Bruijne PROJECTS (Amsterdam). Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole

Pauline Curnier Jardin shows new examples of her “Peaux de Dames” [Ladies Skins], pale forms more or less suggestive of human skins. Heaped together, tumbling from a car door, overspilling a dustbin, caught on a barrier or overlooking a lamppost - these are women shrunk into flatness, capable of being rolled up and put away.

Pauline Curnier Jardin draws her forms from ritual, from carnival and circus – hence the often grotesque aspect of her sculptures. But her buffoonery has a political purpose, showing us “anti-bodies”, bodies invalidated for their being rumpled and lifeless, mishandled and used up. Their stigmata tell of the oppressions suffered by women in our societies: violence, invisibilisation, ageism and objectification.

Entitled “Around the Fire”, the section of the exhibition where Pauline Curnier Jardin’s works are presented, looks at the relationship between private life and the wider issues of the public sphere. What is sociability, what is society, when women are excluded from full participation in public space, flattened out and treated as mere trophies? For Pauline Curnier Jardin, perhaps, the fire around which the community assembles is built around a stake.

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Pauline Curnier Jardin, Street Lamp, 2020
Pauline Curnier Jardin, Street Lamp, 2020. Vinyl “Peaux de Dame”, acrylic painted plywood and papier-mâché lamp. Courtesy of the artist and Ellen de Bruijne Projects (Amsterdam). Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole
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Pauline Curnier Jardin, Barricades, 2020
Pauline Curnier Jardin, Barricades, 2020. Vinyl “Peaux de Dame”, acrylic painted plywood. Courtesy of the artist and Ellen de Bruijne Projects (Amsterdam) Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole
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Kevin Desbouis

Kevin Desbouis (1993, Decize, France) lives in Paris and Nevers (France).

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Kevin Desbouis, Song of Songs, 2020
Kevin Desbouis, Song of Songs, 2020. Envelope, text, riso print, laser print, eyelits, wax steal, various elements. Various dimensions. Various locations. Graphic design in collaboration with Espace Ness. 182 + 8 copies. Courtesy of the artist. Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole

The artist and poet Kevin Desbouis operates by the vampirization and reappropriation of images, objects and words from which he extracts the most confused, pathetic, seductive, or violent aspects.

In this work he presents, almost hidden in odd corners of the exhibition, eight transparent envelopes whose content is somewhat visible but cannot be accessed. Like the transfer tattoos offered to visitors, the envelope is a sculptural element in motion. Desbouis gives up all control on them so they find their own circulation in the exhibition space and beyond. Indeed, it is possible to acquire the different versions of the envelopes from different accomplices in Île-de-France.

In the envelopes Desbouis has enclosed a poem he wrote in the summer of 2020. There are a total of six editions of the envelopes, each containing different components in addition to the text.

The poem evokes sex and death, a desire so strong that it turns into cannibalism. Its title, Song of Songs, is borrowed from the section of the same name in the Bible, an ode to love and sex. With these envelopes both sealed and transparent, Desbouis evokes a certain eroticism, the possibility of viewing the envelope’s contents without being able to open it suggests the exacerbation of our pleasure in bodies we are forbidden to touch. The poem contained within the envelopes is made available on this website.

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Kevin Desbouis, Song of Songs, 2020 (détail)
Kevin Desbouis, Song of Songs, 2020 (détail). Enveloppe, texte, impression riso, impression laser, oeillets, cachet de cire, éléments variables. Dimensions variables. Emplacements variables. 182 + 8 exemplaires. Design graphique en collaboration avec l’Espace Ness. Courtesy de l’artiste
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Kevin Desbouis, Song of Songs, 2020
Kevin Desbouis, Song of Songs, 2020. Envelope, text, riso print, laser print, eyelits, wax steal, various elements. Various dimensions. Various locations. Graphic design in collaboration with Espace Ness. 182 + 8 copies. Courtesy of the artist
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Kevin Desbouis, Untitled (CCMCastaner), 2020
Kevin Desbouis, Untitled (CCMCastaner), 2020. Stainless steel, painting, temporary tattoo. Endless copies. Various dimensions. Courtesy of the artist

Kevin Desbouis offers to the public a temporary tattoo on transfer paper, made available in three bowls. The motif is a set of five rough circles that together sketch out a headless body. These are borrowed to Christophe Castaner who drew these in front of an audience of children on the TV programme “Au Tableau !!!”, broadcast on C8 channel in February 2019. France’s then minister of the interior was defending the police’s use of non-lethal weapons after they had caused serious and life-changing injuries to protesters. The circles he drew were to show the children the body parts at which the police are permitted to aim.

In transforming these sketched circles into a tattoo, Kevin Desbouis underlines the way state violence penetrates our skins and tissues from very early on. The shift of medium is a provocation, the playful format of the work hiding the potential brutality of the political decision.

It is delineation that is at issue here – the “CCM” of the title standing for “Crop Circle Me”. These lines that offer a glimpse of the invisible, vulnerable body echo their inked counterparts in Achraf Touloub’s drawings and those that outline the body on Özgür Kar’s screens. Here they propose a political interrogation of the way in which we represent our bodies, turning them into fortresses and targets.

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Kevin Desbouis, Untitled (CCMCastaner), 2020
Kevin Desbouis, Untitled (CCMCastaner), 2020. Inox, peinture, tatouage temporaire. Édition illimitée. Dimensions variables. Courtesy de l’artiste. Vue de l’exposition « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Crédit photo : Aurélien Mole
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Kevin Desbouis, Untitled (CCMCastaner), 2020
Kevin Desbouis, Untitled (CCMCastaner), 2020. Stainless steel, painting, temporary tattoo. Endless copies. Various dimensions. Courtesy of the artist. Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole
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Forensic Architecture

Forensic Architecture is a group of architects, software developers, filmmakers, investigative journalists, artists, scientists and lawyers, led by Eyal Weizman, Professor of Spatial and Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London, since 2010.

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Forensic Architecture, Cloud Studies, 2020
Forensic Architecture, Cloud Studies, 2020. Video, 23’28”. Courtesy of Forensic Architecture. Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo. (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole

Cloud Studies is an inquiry into a new form of cloud, namely the nebulous weapons used by states and large scale corporations: toxic gas, chemical weapons, and airborne poisons.

This study is the result of an investigation that began in Gaza in 2008 and which continues to this day. It takes the form of a film accompanied by six investigations on toxic gases, from the tear gas used to disperse protesters to the herbicides which destroy harvests and create forced migrations. These investigations are at once scientific and activist in tone, bringing together questions of environmental degradation and destruction with issues of state violence, from colonial dynamics to police brutality.

Forensic Architecture is a research group directed by architect Eyal Weizman at Goldsmiths, University of London. The group’s name points to its anchoring in criminology and suggests its methodological approach, which consists of the creation and presentation of images that serve as evidence of political violence. With the help of cartographic tools, 3D animation and simulated virtual environments, Forensic Architecture contributes to numerous legal and political inquiries throughout the world.

In the context of a contemporary art exhibition, this study also serves as a poetic meditation on the forms of clouds, their intangible nature and the threat that they can pose as immaterial arms. Cloud Studies opens the final section of the exhibition, a reflection on invasion and intrusion, the visible and the invisible.

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Forensic Architecture, Cloud Studies, 2020 (still)
Forensic Architecture, Cloud Studies, 2020. Video, 23’28”. Courtesy of Forensic Architecture. Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo. (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole
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Forensic Architecture, Exhibition view « Anticorps »
Forensic Architecture, Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole
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Lola Gonzàlez

Lola Gonzàlez (1988, Angoulême, France), lives and works in Paris.

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Lola Gonzàlez, Summer Camp, 2015 (still)
Lola Gonzàlez, Summer Camp, 2015. Video, HD color, stereo sound, 9’. Courtesy of the artist and Marcelle Alix (Paris). Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole

“Landscape!” This exclamation is the only line of dialogue in the video, and thus, perhaps, the key to it all. The alert once sounded, four young men tumble out of their makeshift sleeping quarters to mount watch outside. Their observation post, however, offers no view, for they face a wall of trees.

Lola Gonzàlez takes us to a strange summer camp suggestive of both confinement and paramilitary training. It is impossible to guess who or what these people are, or why they all remain together. The one thing we can be certain of is the energy that unites them against the outside world, their determination to act in the name of a shared cause, of which we know nothing. What are they training for? Are the names they call out and write on the walls those of enemies to eliminate, friends who have died, or possible recruits? We will never know. What is important here is the way Lola Gonzàlez conveys their shared commitment through the play of bodies, voices and looks. The individual point of view gives way to the collective, as when one of the bodies, eyes closed, is passed from hand to hand.

Soon, the figures are no more than a single, united choir; they make one with the building that shelters them. It is simultaneously refuge, gym and score for their performance. It stands, in fact, for the group as a whole, being the vehicle of everything the work wishes to show but does not. Like the screen in Özgür Kar’s work, the house marks a line of demarcation between interior and exterior, a place of withdrawal in the face of the invisible dangers that haunt the landscape.

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Lola Gonzàlez, Summer Camp, 2015 (still)
Lola Gonzàlez, Summer Camp, 2015 (still). HD video, stereo sound, color, 8’52’’. Courtesy of the artist and Marcelle Alix (Paris). Collection MAC/VAL (Vitry-sur-Seine) and Kadist Art Foundation (Paris). © Adagp, Paris, 2020.
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Emily Jones

Emily Jones (1987, UK) lives in London (UK).

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Emily Jones, purity is not an option, 2019-2020
Emily Jones, purity is not an option, 2019-2020. Plywood, pine, wrought iron, ceramic tiles, glass, stones, walnut stain, tissue paper, glass jugs, leaves, rope, cat food, rainwater, spray paint. Courtesy of the artist and VEDA (Florence). Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole

Emily Jones has reproduced a dilapidated wooden bandstand she once saw in Chicago, and embedded it within the Palais de Tokyo’s architecture, thereby raising the question of whether and how an art centre can become a truly public space, a place of sharing and sociability. Visitors are free to gather on the bandstand, like the performers invited for the first day of the exhibition, whose voices can still be heard.

Once on the stand, they discover a variety of things: a jug filled with rainwater; a fragile roof structure that conveys a visual narrative; a trapdoor; some graffitis. One can also see, from outside, a series of painted tiles depicting landscapes, animals, fruits and vegetables as well as money, rubbish and plastic bottles. There is cat food hidden beneath the platform.

These are not to be seen as individual works but as elements of a system constituted by different organisms interacting within a shared environment. For Jones, the idea of community extends beyond the confines of the human species. She calls for a synergy with the plant and animal worlds amongst which we have our being. The devastation of biodiversity that is accelerating the emergence of viruses underlines the need to redefine the natural and social contract between humanity and nature, while questioning this binarism and its vocabulary. Continuing as we are is not an option.

The bandstand also testifies to a certain violence. The artist wandered Paris in search of the graffiti that abound on its walls, expressions of social anger. Some of these she has reproduced on the bandstand, inviting other people to carry on this gesture. This echoes the main action of the characters in Lola Gonzàlez’s video. Language has a role in curing social and individual ills. Beneath the naivety of its appearance, this shelter is also the abode of our anger.

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Emily Jones, purity is not an option, 2019-2020
Emily Jones, purity is not an option, 2019-2020. Plywood, pine, wrought iron, ceramic tiles, glass, stones, walnut stain, tissue paper, glass jugs, leaves, rope, cat food, rainwater, spray paint. Courtesy of the artist and VEDA (Florence). Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole
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Emily Jones, purity is not an option, 2019-2020 (detail)
Emily Jones, purity is not an option, 2019-2020 (detail). Plywood, pine, wrought iron, ceramic tiles, glass, stones, walnut stain, tissue paper, glass jugs, leaves, rope, cat food, rainwater, spray paint. Courtesy of the artist and VEDA (Florence). Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole
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Emily Jones, purity is not an option, 2019-2020 (detail)
Emily Jones, purity is not an option, 2019-2020 (detail). Plywood, pine, wrought iron, ceramic tiles, glass, stones, walnut stain, tissue paper, glass jugs, leaves, rope, cat food, rainwater, spray paint. Courtesy of the artist and VEDA (Florence). Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole
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Emily Jones, as a bird would a snake, 2019
Emily Jones, as a bird would a snake, 2019. Performance, 42’. Exhibition view “as a bird would a snake”, centre d’art contemporain – la synagogue de Delme, 2019. Courtesy of the artist. Photo credit: O.H. Dancy.
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Emily Jones, The Lookers, 2019
Emily Jones, The Lookers, 2019. Porcelaine, verre, osier, plastique, caoutchouc, coton et figurines d’animaux en bois, stéatite, argile et sucette. Courtesy de l’artiste et VEDA (Florence). Vue de l’exposition « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Crédit photo : Aurélien Mole
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Emily Jones, The Lookers, 2019 (detail)
Emily Jones, The Lookers, 2019 (detail). Porcelain, glass, wicker, plastic, rubber, cotton & wooden animal figures, soapstone, clay and lollipop. Courtesy of the artist and VEDA (Florence). Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole
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Florence Jung
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Florence Jung, Jung76, 2020
Florence Jung, Jung76, 2020. Scenario. Courtesy of the artist and New Galerie (Paris). Photo credit of the artist

“If you consider yourself doing well, write to info@newoffice.fr”. This ad was published to find people to participate in Florence Jung’s new scenario, provided they consider that they are “doing well”. The participants maintain a continuous presence in the Palais de Tokyo for the duration of Anticorps, visiting the exhibition or spending their time as they see fit in the space allotted to them.

Through this work, Florence Jung questions the subjective contours of wellbeing, between moral duty, political discourse and commercial strategy. What does it mean to “do well”? Have we all become “entrepreneurs of ourselves”, micromanagers of our happiness? Yoga, meditation, wellness coaches, educational and cultural outings: do these kinds of activities still have meaning now that they have been recuperated by businesses and states to optimize “human capital”, productivity, social relations and self-image?

A person who considers to be well is among the visitors, but there is nothing to identify them. The space in which they can isolate themselves is visible, but not accessible. In this way, Florence Jung invites us to reconsider the invisible bodies that surround us and to analyse the norms that govern everyday life. This solitary presence enters into resonance with the diffuse voices of the first work in the exhibition, which coalesce with one another and cry out in rage. Isn’t there something a little suspect about this intense desire to try so hard to be well?

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Özgür Kar

Özgür Kär (1992, Ankara, Turkey) lives in Amsterdam (The Netherlands).

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Özgür Kar, At the end of the day, 2019
Özgür Kar, At the end of the day, 2019. 4K video with sound, 20’ loop. 75” TV screen, stand, media player, cable reels. Flying line array speakers, stand, mixer. Courtesy of the artist and Édouard Montassut (Paris). Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole

At the end of the day is the second of two sculptures by Özgür Kar presented in the exhibition. The visitors are confronted with a male body, ensnared in a tangle of cables and imprisoned by a screen. His position is even more constrained than that of the figure in the previous sculpture: he is shown cowering before a towering wall of speakers from which issue forth endless variations on the same phrase: “At the end of the day, this is me. I’m me. I am myself.”

Inspired by the expressions used by reality television contestants in their on-camera “confessions”, these injunctions suggest both hackneyed truisms and philosophical introspection. Murmured and repeated endlessly, they become at once a form of psychological torture and an infinite incantation uttered over and over in the hope of some spiritual revelation.

This work questions the social imperative to exercise self-control, which has seen meditation been redeployed as a means of improving productivity. This idea of controlling our bodies and our emotions is also present in neighbouring works, whether it is a question of “staying calm” (Nile Koetting) and “doing well” (Florence Jung) or the health benefits of verbena (Ghita Skali).

“Being in tune with oneself” resonates here as the promise of a space of freedom – the freedom to accept one’s confinement.

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Özgür Kar, At the end of the day, 2019
Özgür Kar, At the end of the day, 2019. 4K video with sound, 20’ loop. 75” TV screen, stand, media player, cable reels. Flying line array speakers, stand, mixer. Courtesy of the artist and Édouard Montassut (Paris). Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole
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Özgür Kar, COME CLOSER, 2019
Özgür Kar, COME CLOSER, 2019. 4K video, 5’ loop. 75” TV screen, stand, media player, cable reel. Courtesy of the artist and Édouard Montassut (Paris). Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole

Hypnotised by bright televisions and phone screens, bodies in the 21st century appear to be overcome with lethargy. The work of Özgür Kar speaks to the way in which our experience of the world is mediated by screens.

He presents a monolith on wheels, made up of a black screen on which appears an undulating white line. The definition of the image is so high that it resembles a drawing on a blackboard. Stretching out to the edges of the screen, this line traces the contours of a body confined in an excessively small space. A colony of ants tramps across the figure’s back, spelling out the words whispered to us by the work’s title: “Come closer”. It is as if this piece is looking to connect with the public, urging us to cross through the screen.

Özgür Kar raises the question of eroticism in the age of digital technology and social distancing: can high definition really give the illusion of contact? Will the caressing of bodies give way to the scrolling of smartphones? Does the limit of our skin extend to the territories of our screens?

In this way, Özgür Kar appeals to the sense of touch without activating it. Inspired both by Persian and Ottoman illuminated manuscripts and cartoons for adults broadcast at night on MTV at the start of the 2000s, he explores the idea of flatness, from geometric planes to intellectual voids. These smooth surfaces and their absence of visual depth create an impression of contact, with the screen becoming a surface of proximity and affect.

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Özgür Kar, COME CLOSER, 2019
Özgür Kar, COME CLOSER, 2019. 4K video, 5’ loop. 75” TV screen, stand, media player, cable reel. Courtesy of the artist and Édouard Montassut (Paris). In the foreground: A.K. Burns, Marianne Deludes the World, 2020. Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole
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Len Lye

Len Lye (1901, Christchurch, New Zealand-1980, Warwick, USA).

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Len Lye, Tusalava, 1929
Len Lye, Tusalava, 1929. 16 mm film transferred to SD video, black and white, silent, 9’. Courtesy of LUX (London). Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole

New Zealand artist Len Lye created Tusalava, his first animated film, between 1926 and 1928, producing more than 9,500 meticulous drawings of a white grub, only guided by his intuition and the hypnotic effect the larva had on him. With this creature, he sought to capture the genesis of animal life and the cyclical nature of existence. Tusalava is a Samoan word signifying “in the end, everything returns to the same”.

The film was first shown in 1929, with a musical accompaniment now lost. Though it might have lost an essential element, the late Sixties saw it acquire a new interest on account of the formal similarity between Lye’s motifs and the antibodies process: “turned out that all the images I drew are images which have been subsequently found with an electronic microscope”.

Len Lye’s formal invention brought together the European Modernist avant-garde and the aboriginal art of New Zealand, cannibalising images to create a unique form in a vein that would be described as “Modernist Primitivism”.

The only non-contemporary work in the exhibition, the film brings to a close the section devoted to warrior tales. From the social body to cellular organisms, the evolution of forms seems to be governed by a polar opposition between domination and revolt.

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Len Lye, Tusalava, 1929
Len Lye, Tusalava, 1929. 16 mm film transferred to SD video, black and white, silent, 9’. Courtesy of LUX (London). Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole
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Len Lye, Tusalava, 1929
Len Lye, Tusalava, 1929. 16 mm film transferred to SD video, black and white, silent, 9’. Courtesy of LUX (London).
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Nile Koetting

Nile Koetting (1989, Kanagawa, Japan) lives between Tokyo (Japan) and Berlin (Germany).

The installation Remain Calm is activated every Saturdays from 3pm to 6pm.

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Nile Koetting, Remain Calm (edu+), 2019 - ongoing
Nile Koetting, Remain Calm (edu+), 2019 - ongoing. Text and script, programmed light, programmed videos, performance, health data, fog, 9-hour sound composition, robot, led, water, cup, carpet, stage, piezo disc, print on Perspex, tea, evacuation air mattress, weekly arranged flowers. Text: Miriam Stoney. Performed by Elisabeth Ligonnet Lam, Sylvain Decloitre. Costume design: Belle Santos. Sound design: Nozomu Matsumoto. Video design: Yoshihiro Inada. Choreographic Development: Juan Felipe Amaya Gonzalez. Technical Development: Benjamin Maus. Special VFX: AAVFX. In collaboration with Cerevo. Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole

With Remain Calm, the Palais de Tokyo undergoes disaster preparedness training. Living beings and machines take care of visitors, and ensure the maintenance of the works of art and the building. Each week, performers come to clean windows, arrange flowers, and move around works of art. These strange and constantly evolving choreographies elicit contradictory sentiments of reassurance and anxiety, of comfort and danger.

Nile Koetting draws inspiration from the exercises that he participated in as a child in Japan to prepare for tsunamis or earthquakes. He blends memories of contemporary technologies and various science-fictional universes. His installation has been presented in a number of institutions, and adapts to the environment of the Palais de Tokyo: its architecture, of course, but also its humidity, its temperature and its security measures.

In using the artistic institution as a site for playing out disaster scenarios, Nile Koetting questions the role of the museum and art centre in times of crisis but also the tendency of groups to submit to reassuring forms of authority. In the same way that he imagines water leaking into the building, he charts the penetration of security measures into the living tissue of our bodies.

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Nile Koetting, Remain Calm (edu+), 2019 - ongoing
Nile Koetting, Remain Calm (edu+), 2019 - ongoing. Text and script, programmed light, programmed videos, performance, health data, fog, 9-hour sound composition, robot, led, water, cup, carpet, stage, piezo disc, print on Perspex, tea, evacuation air mattress, weekly arranged flowers. Text: Miriam Stoney. Performed by Elisabeth Ligonnet Lam, Sylvain Decloitre. Costume design: Belle Santos. Sound design: Nozomu Matsumoto.Video design: Yoshihiro Inada. Choreographic Development: Juan Felipe Amaya Gonzalez. Technical Development: Benjamin Maus. Special VFX: AAVFX. In collaboration with Cerevo. Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole
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Nile Koetting, Remain Calm (edu+), 2019 - ongoing
Nile Koetting, Remain Calm (edu+), 2019 - ongoing. Text and script, programmed light, programmed videos, performance, health data, fog, 9-hour sound composition, robot, led, water, cup, carpet, stage, piezo disc, print on Perspex, tea, evacuation air mattress, weekly arranged flowers. Text: Miriam Stoney. Performed by Elisabeth Ligonnet Lam, Sylvain Decloitre. Costume design: Belle Santos. Sound design: Nozomu Matsumoto. Video design: Yoshihiro Inada. Choreographic Development: Juan Felipe Amaya Gonzalez. Technical Development: Benjamin Maus. Special VFX: AAVFX. In collaboration with Cerevo. Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole
Nile Koetting, Remain Calm (tea break), 2020
Nile Koetting, Remain Calm (tea break), 2020
sound: Nozomu Matsumoto
animation: Yoshihiro Inada
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Tarek Lakhrissi

Tarek Lakhrissi (1992, Châtellerault, France), lives in Paris and Brussels (Belgium)

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Tarek Lakhrissi, Unfinished Sentence II, 2020
Tarek Lakhrissi, Unfinished Sentence II, 2020. 30 metal spears, chains, colour filter, loud speakers. Soundtrack in collaboration with Ndayé Kouagou. Courtesy of the artist. Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole

Unfinished Sentence II is a light and sound installation featuring a set of gleaming lances suspended on chains, both ornamental mobile and cache of theatrical weapons.

Tarek Lakhrissi created this work after reading Monique Wittig’s book Les Guérillères, published in 1969, when France was witnessing the emergence of the women’s liberation movements in which Wittig was an active member. It is a fable that tells of the struggle of a group of lesbian feminist amazon warriors, an attack both on literature and on “the myth of the feminine”. Its protagonists form a collective heroine – the French elles being the third person plural feminine pronoun, the female “they” – engaged in a full-scale assault on the masculine in general.

Tarek Lakhrissi carries on the tale in creating arms for these warrior women. To Wittig’s mythology, which draws both on ancient myths and the science fiction tradition, Lakhrissi adds the legends of his own childhood: the heroines of the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Xena, Warrior Princess, from which he borrows the syncretic forms of their lances, fighting sticks, axes, throwing weapons and more.

Just as Wittig’s story is set in an indeterminate time, so do Lakhrissi’s fantasy weapons hover between mythic past, utopian future and contemporary reflection on queer and racialised identities, shifting in aspect as the visitor moves. The battlefield might as well be that of the construction of the self.

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Tarek Lakhrissi, Unfinished Sentence II, 2020
Tarek Lakhrissi, Unfinished Sentence II, 2020. 30 metal spears, chains, colour filter, loud speakers. Soundtrack in collaboration with Ndayé Kouagou. Courtesy of the artist. Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole
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Tarek Lakhrissi, Unfinished Sentence II, 2020 (detail)
Tarek Lakhrissi, Unfinished Sentence II, 2020 (detail). 30 metal spears, chains, colour filter, loud speakers. Soundtrack in collaboration with Ndayé Kouagou. Courtesy of the artist. Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole
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Carolyn Lazard

Carolyn Lazard (1987, Upland, California) lives in Philadelphia (USA).

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Carolyn Lazard, Pain Scale, 2019
Carolyn Lazard, Pain Scale, 2019. Six adhesive vinyls. Courtesy of the artist and Essex Street / Maxwell Graham (New York). Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole

Across the exhibition’s entrance zone stands a row of six smiling faces with staring eyes. Though reminiscent of the customer satisfaction terminals increasingly common in the service industries, they are in fact derived from the face-based rating scale for the self-assessment of pain developed by American paediatricians in the 1980s. The scale originally comprised six levels, the faces changing from green to red and from smile to tears: from no pain to unbearable.

Carolyn Lazard’s scale however has no such graduation, the six pictograms being absolutely identical, each brown and smiling – raising the question of racial inequality in the assessment and treatment of pain.

Many studies, among them a survey of several thousand nurses conducted by the University of Virginia in 2016, have shown the prevalence of biologically erroneous ideas regarding the thickness of the skin or the sensitivity of nerve endings in people of colour. Based on racist ideas, these prejudices lead to the belief that black bodies can better put up with suffering than others.

Carolyn Lazard, whose work addresses the politics of care and medicine, “brings patients’ stories out of the hospital”, confronting us with the racism and ableism of our societies.

Their work enters into dialogue with Dominique Petitgand’s enveloping sound installation, the chanted demands of the faceless demonstrators becoming equally those of these faces forbidden to complain.

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Carolyn Lazard, Pain Scale, 2019 (detail)
Carolyn Lazard, Pain Scale, 2019 (detail). Vinyl, six parts. Courtesy of the artist and Essex Street / Maxwell Graham (New York)
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Carolyn Lazard, Pain Scale, 2019
Carolyn Lazard, Pain Scale, 2019. Six adhesive vinyls. Courtesy of the artist and Essex Street / Maxwell Graham (New York). Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). On both sides of the work : Dominique Petitgand, La question est posée, 2019-2020. Photo credit: Aurélien Mole
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Tala Madani

Tala Madani (1981, Téhran, Iran) lives in Los Angeles (USA).

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Tala Madani, The Womb, 2019
Tala Madani, The Womb, 2019. Single-channel color animation, 3’26”, edition of six plus two artist’s proofs. Courtesy of the artist and Pilar Corrias (London). Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole

The animated video The Womb retraces the nine-month-long development of a human embryo in fast motion. Ensconced in a protective, liquid environment, it is nonetheless vulnerable to external violence. On the surface of the womb, however, is projected the history of humanity, likewise sped up, unfolding in all its horrors. An intrauterine revolt is soon to come.

Tala Madani’s expressive paintings deploy black humour, absurdity, perversion, anxiety and grotesquery to denounce the peculiarities of patriarchal society which she observes. She finds her inspiration in the history of painting and in the comics, often speaking of the power of Dave Gibbon’s flashes of nocturnal colour in the comic-book series Watchmen (1986–87). These codes are hijacked by the artist, who mistreats bodies and creates paintings like claustrophobic black holes.

In adopting the point of view of an armed foetus in The Womb or showing a cell being devoured in Tusalava, the two animations presented in the room, created ninety years apart, both examine the idea that human life is a story of conflict and destruction.

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Tala Madani, The Womb, 2019
Tala Madani, The Womb, 2019. Video, 3’26”. Courtesy of the artist & Pilar Corrias (London). In the background: Len Lye, Tusalava, 1929. Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole
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Tala Madani, Ghost Sitter (blue chair), 2020
Tala Madani, Ghost Sitter (blue chair), 2020. Oil on linen. Courtesy of the artist and Pilar Corrias (London). Collection of Philip Barker. Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole

Tala Madani, whose paintings and the film Womb are shown elsewhere in the exhibition Anticorps, makes another appearance here with one recent painting and a video animation. Both show human silhouettes dissolving into objects: either the indistinct contours of bodies merging into dark and hazy environments, or true metamorphoses, such as those of the men who are turning into the furniture which assembly instructions they are reading.

Between grotesquery and satire, black humour and perversion, these object-bodies offer an echo to Pauline Curnier Jardin’s nearby sculptures, ladies’ skins flattened and entangled in street furniture. Tala Madani too is unkind to her bodies, which may be funereal, absent, liquified, airy, faceless, or reduced to a mere ghostly halo looming out of the half-dark. Skins are porous and permeable to the environment: they are to be understood not simply in their relation to the other, but in their relation to an entire space.

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Tala Madani, Untitled (Melody), 2020
Tala Madani, Untitled (Melody), 2020. Oil on linen. Courtesy of the artist and Pilar Corrias (London). Collection Michael Ballack. Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole
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Tala Madani, On the left: Manual Man, 2019 ; on the right: Ghost Sitter (Blue Chair), 2020
Tala Madani, On the left: Manual Man, 2019. Video, 9’50”. Courtesy of the artist & Pilar Corrias (London). On the right: Ghost Sitter (Blue Chair), 2020. Oil on linen. Courtesy of the artist and Pilar Corrias (London). Collection of Philip Barker. Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021) . Photo credit: Aurélien Mole
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Josèfa Ntjam

Josèfa Njtam (1992, Metz, France) lives and works in Paris and Saint-Étienne (France). She will present her performance work Aquatic Invasion as part of the Manutention residency at Palais de Tokyo on Thursdays, October 29th and November 5th, 12th, 19th, starting from 6 pm.

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Josèfa Ntjam Unknown Aquazone, 2020
Josèfa Ntjam Unknown Aquazone, 2020. Photomontage, printed plexiglass, clay. Courtesy of the artist. Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole

Josèfa Ntjam’s technique of choice is montage. Photomontage, of course, but also montage of voices and times. The work she shows in the exhibition is an aquarium, but an aquarium stripped out of its scientific or decorative functions. The Unknown Aquazone is a capsule containing a mythical past and new futures in preparation.

Josèfa Ntjam draws here on a variety of water-related myths, from Mami Wata, voodoo figure and fish-woman divinity venerated in much of Africa, to the ultra-technological universe created by the Detroit electro-musicians Drexcyia in the 1990s, the Drexcyians being an imaginary people living in the depths of the Atlantic Ocean, descendants of the pregnant African women thrown into the sea from slave ships.

Josèfa Ntjam uses performance, video, installation and writing to give life to vegetal, animal and cyborg creatures whose doings rehearse black and feminist struggles. Inspired by African and alternative futures as well as the digital culture of her upbringing, she seeks to build a world full of images and myths to create the spaces in which new futures are prepared.

The aquarium enters into dialogue with Tarek Lakhrissi’s Unfinished Sentence II, whose weapons suggest the tridents of mythic female warriors. It also resonates with Jackie Wang’s essay “Oceanic Feeling and Communist Affect”, published on this website, which describes an unconscious association between black identity and the ocean, deriving from the trauma of the slave trade.

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Josèfa Ntjam, Unknown Aquazone, 2020
Josèfa Ntjam, Unknown Aquazone, 2020. Photomontage, printed plexiglass, clay. Courtesy of the artist. Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole
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Josèfa Ntjam Unknown Aquazone, 2020
Josèfa Ntjam Unknown Aquazone, 2020. Photomontage, printed plexiglass, clay. Courtesy of the artist. Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole
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Josèfa Ntjam, Unknown Aquazone, 2020 (detail)
Josèfa Ntjam, Unknown Aquazone, 2020 (detail). Photomontage, printed plexiglass, clay. Courtesy of the artist. Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole
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Josèfa Ntjam, Unknown Aquazone, 2020
Josèfa Ntjam, Unknown Aquazone, 2020. Photomontage, printed plexiglass, clay. Courtesy of the artist. Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole
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Josèfa Ntjam, Unknown Aquazone, 2020 (detail)
Josèfa Ntjam, Unknown Aquazone, 2020 (detail). Photomontage, printed plexiglass, clay. Courtesy of the artist. Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole
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Dominique Petitgand

Dominique Petitgand (1965, Laxou, France) lives in Paris and Nancy (France).

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Dominique Petitgand, La question est posée, 2019-2020
Dominique Petitgand, La question est posée, 2019-2020. Sound installation for 14 loudspeakers and 2 screens. Courtesy of the artist and gb agency (Paris). Composition, editing, music and spatialization by Dominique Petitgand. Ondes Martenot by Ott and F.Lor
Video editing in collaboration with Elias Grairi. English translation by Michael Angland. Thanks to the filmmakers and rights holders for their kind permission. Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole

The exhibition opens on a question, a question that echoes throughout the entrance in a diffuse and fragmented fashion, raised by nameless voices speaking out in witness, protest and rebellion. Dominique Petitgand has adapted to the scale of the Palais de Tokyo an installation presented at the Grand Café de Saint-Nazaire in 2019 (as part of Contre-Vents, an exhibition on the convergence of social struggles in Brittany) and afterwards reworked as a broadcast piece for Arte Radio.

The work marks a turn in the practice of the artist, who for the first time did not record the voices himself but extracted them from the soundtracks of political films dating from the 1970s to the present. While the material might be different, the method is not, Petitgand cutting and splicing fragments to create a “collage of voices, a moving and musical sound piece”. In the voices he thus presents to us, energy and emotion take precedence over the understanding of what is said, now stripped of its context.

By eliminating historical reference points, Petitgand presents us with a timeless figure of struggle. The voices the public hear could be those raised in today’s France. The question posed here, then, is surely that of the presence of bodies rendered invisible. Echoing with their chants, their slogans and their silences, the exhibition entrance itself becomes, as the visitors listen, an all-enveloping body in struggle.

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Dominique Petitgand, La question est posée, 2019-2020 (detail)
Dominique Petitgand, La question est posée, 2019-2020 (detail). Sound installation for 14 loudspeakers and 2 screens. Courtesy of the artist and gb agency (Paris). Composition, editing, music and spatialization by Dominique Petitgand. Ondes Martenot by Ott and F.Lor. Video editing in collaboration with Elias Grairi. English translation by Michael Angland. Thanks to the filmmakers and rights holders for their kind permission. Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole
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Dominique Petitgand, La question est posée, 2019-2020
Dominique Petitgand, La question est posée, 2019-2020. Sound installation for 14 loudspeakers and 2 screens. Courtesy of the artist and gb agency (Paris). Composition, editing, music and spatialization by Dominique Petitgand. Ondes Martenot by Ott and F.Lor. Video editing in collaboration with Elias Grairi. English translation by Michael Angland. Thanks to the filmmakers and rights holders for their kind permission. Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole
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Dominique Petitgand, La question est posée, 2019-2020
Dominique Petitgand, La question est posée, 2019-2020. Sound installation for 14 loudspeakers and 2 screens. Courtesy of the artist and gb agency (Paris). Composition, editing, music and spatialization by Dominique Petitgand. Ondes Martenot by Ott and F.Lor. Video editing in collaboration with Elias Grairi. English translation by Michael Angland. Thanks to the filmmakers and rights holders for their kind permission. Center : Carolyn Lazard, Pain Scale, 2019. Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole
Dominique Petitgand, La question est posée, 2019-2020 (video extract)
Dominique Petitgand, La question est posée, 2019-2020 (video extract). Sound installation for 14 loudspeakers and 2 screens. Courtesy of the artist and gb agency (Paris). Composition, editing, music and spatialization by Dominique Petitgand. Ondes Martenot by Ott and F.Lor. Video editing in collaboration with Elias Grairi. English translation by Michael Angland. Thanks to the filmmakers and rights holders for their kind permission.Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole
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Ghita Skali

Ghita Skali (1992, Casablanca, Morocco) lives in Amsterdam (The Netherlands).

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Ghita Skali, Ali Baba Express Épisode 3, 2020
Ghita Skali, Ali Baba Express Episode 3, 2020. Verbena, cardboard box, medical gloves, distributors. Courtesy of the artist. Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole

Heaps of verbena leaves are piled up in various places throughout the Palais de Tokyo. Fragrant and invasive, the verbena acts like a virus that spreads throughout the building.

Ghita Skali imported this stock of verbena – some 200kg – through a makeshift trans-Mediterranean network between Morocco and France that she humorously refers to as Ali Baba Express. Word of mouth, neighbourhood connections and shopkeepers’ know-how enable the Moroccan diaspora in France to source foodstuffs from their home country at the lowest possible prices. With this installation, Ghita Skali extends this network into the exhibition space to include the visitors themselves, putting on display an informal economy of olfactory memory.

Ghita Skali’s artistic practice is animated less by a material production than by processes of circulation: the circulation of knowledge, of rumours, of fables and of symbols. This new instalment of the series Ali Baba Express is conceived as an underground infiltration, and echoes the immaterial nature of the work by Florence Jung presented in the exhibition.

As part of the work, Ghita Skali has installed several “vending machines” containing pairs of gloves. Shaped like rabbit’s ears, they allow visitors to scoop up the verbena leaves. These gloves are in fact the kind used in gynaecology or proctology for examining the body’s orifices. Turned inside out, they become sachets ready to package the loose leaves. In this, the gloves blur the limits between interior and exterior, container and content, giving further form to the exhibition’s overarching metaphor that links national borders and the boundaries of the body.

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Ghita Skali, Ali Baba Express Episode 3, 2020
Ghita Skali, Ali Baba Express Episode 3, 2020. Verbena, cardboard box, medical gloves, distributors. Courtesy of the artist. Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole
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Ghita Skali, Ali Baba Express Episode 3, 2020
Ghita Skali, Ali Baba Express Episode 3, 2020. Verbena, cardboard box, medical gloves, distributors. Courtesy of the artist. Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole
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Ghita Skali, Ali Baba Express Episode 3, 2020 (detail)
Ghita Skali, Ali Baba Express Episode 3, 2020 (detail). Verbena, cardboard box, medical gloves, distributors. Courtesy of the artist. Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole
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Ghita Skali, Ali Baba Express Episode 3, 2020
Ghita Skali, Ali Baba Express Episode 3, 2020. Verbena, cardboard box, medical gloves, distributors. Courtesy of the artist. Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole
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Ghita Skali, Ali Baba Express, 2020, mind map
Ghita Skali, Ali Baba Express, 2020, mind map
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Koki Tanaka

Koki Tanaka (1975, Tochigi, Japan) lives in Kyoto (Japan).

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Koki Tanaka, ABSTRACTED/FAMILY (single channel version), 2020
Koki Tanaka, ABSTRACTED/FAMILY (single channel version), 2020. Video, 110’. Courtesy of the artist, Vitamin Creative Space (Guangzhou), Aoyama Meguro (Tokyo). Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole

Koki Tanaka brought together, over a number of days, four people who were born or grew up in Japan but had one foreign parent – whether it be Brazilian, Bolivian, Korean, Bangladeshi. Having set up this framework, he then enabled discussions. Gradually, they come to reveal to each other their shared experience of discrimination, delineating in doing so a community constituted by exclusion.

Koki Tanaka filmed these four people in their daily life together. He also invited them to a discussion with a sociologist specialising in the study of multiculturalism in Japan, and to create an abstract painting together, going beyond mere realism through joint creativity. These moments of sharing and exchange were filmed at a house in Kyoto, on a theatre stage, in an artist’s studio or on a river bank. There, the protagonists give expression not only to their own individuality but also to something that goes beyond them. They stand for the existence of bodies that conflict with the fantasy of a homogeneous society, which they had again to confront at the film’s first screening in Japan, in September 2019.

In the exhibition, “antibody” is not to be understood in its biological sense only. It is also the foreign body, the body rejected on account of age, disability, class or origin. Koki Tanaka reveals not only the violence suffered by minoritized bodies but also their strategies of resistance and their capacity to invent new ways of being together.

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Koki Tanaka, ABSTRACTED/FAMILY (single channel version), 2020
Koki Tanaka, ABSTRACTED/FAMILY (single channel version), 2020. Video, 110’. Courtesy of the artist, Vitamin Creative Space (Guangzhou), Aoyama Meguro (Tokyo). Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole
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Koki Tanaka, ABSTRACTED/FAMILY (version monocanale), 2020 (video still)
Koki Tanaka, ABSTRACTED/FAMILY (single channel version), 2020 (video still). Film, 110’. Courtesy de l’artiste, Vitamin Creative Space (Guangzhou), Aoyama Meguro (Tokyo)
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Achraf Touloub

Achraf Touloub (1986, Casablanca, Morocco) lives in Paris (France).

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Achraf Touloub, National Materials, 2019
Achraf Touloub, National Materials, 2019. Ink and acrylic on paper. Courtesy of the artist and Plan B (Cluj/Berlin). Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole

In the work of Achraf Touloub, representation is always a fraught affair. Where lines have historically been used to limit, map out and circumscribe, here they are deployed to entirely other ends. Early on, Achraf Touloub’s pictorial research led him to become interested in other practices of drawing with alternative treatments of the line. He found one such approach in the strategies of symbolic representation of Persian miniatures, whose history can be traced back to China and the Mughal Empire.

Achraf Touloub deconstructs the conventions of this tradition to extract what he calls its essence or its breath (rûh): a symbolic flow that blends reality and fantasy. From this emerges a pattern which allows the artist to generate a texture using a multitude of juxtaposed lines, comma-like strokes that are repeated over and over as if to punctuate the space of the page. In National Materials and Pandæmonium, patterns resembling both waves fill sheets of paper in scenes where bodies blend into landscapes and faces become indistinguishable.

In his practice, Achraf Touloub explores the pitfalls of representation, of the gaze, and of the information that necessarily underpins all images and their meanings. In this respect, his works on paper can be considered as screens, where information swarms to the point that it becomes elusive, encouraging the viewer to feel rather than to contemplate the image.

The titles of Achraf Touloub’s works are at once clues and traps: National Materials could refer to a conflict or to a celebration, while in the diptych Pandæmonium, whose title evokes the capital of Hell in Milton’s 1667 epic Paradise Lost, faces appear to float in a kind of liquid like potential antibodies.

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Achraf Touloub, Pandæmonium, 2018
Achraf Touloub, Pandæmonium, 2018. Acrylic on paper. Courtesy of the artist and Plan B (Cluj/Berlin). Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole
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Achraf Touloub, Walking Thoughts, 2020
Achraf Touloub, Walking Thoughts, 2020. Watercolor and acrylic on paper, 80 × 51 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Baronian Xippas (Brussels). Photo credit: Isabelle Arthuis.

Walking Thoughts features a scene in which the body is rendered visible through the use of watercolours, at the same time as certain parts of it seem to disappear as if washed out or drowned. In Sight Scenario II, everything appears to be sinking, to the point that the work, despite its precise composition, looks as if it is decomposing – an impression that is reinforced by the treatment of the paper’s edges. Could these images, too, be under attack from a virus?

Superimposed on the silhouettes and landscapes of these pieces are bubbles and lines that together form a kind of celestial cartography, strange constellations that arise from the enigmas of Achraf Touloub’s graphic vocabulary. In the context of the exhibition, they suggest both antibodies and, as in the work of Tarek Lakhrissi, weapons.

In an echo of Ghita Skali’s work, the central pattern of Achraf Touloub’s compositions recalls the leaves of verbena in a perceptive cross-contamination that shapes our very experience of the works in the exhibition.