Rocìo Molina: flamenco beyond genre

Rocìo Molina appears in a traditional outfit wearing a traje de flamenca of an immaculate white. She moves in a surgical kind of slow.

She strips naked before her four male musicians. They behave like fathers, brothers, lovers, the plot is unclear. Rocìo emerges as a matador and literally explodes. Her muscles tremble, her fingers snap and uncurl the movement until the tip of her nails. Her focus is absolute.

The chrysalis discards a series of cocoons and stumbles her way through ancient stereotypes, slogging between potent masculine energy and an infantile and fragile type of femininity. The imago eventually slips on a blood-stained plastic gown, dripping jets of red liquid onto her legs as she smudges the floor with it.

Swaying between folklore an emancipation, Rocìo Molina built Caìda del Cielo on an alternation of clichés, which she faithfully embodies before destroying them with her weapons of choice: her perfect command of flamenco, (pretty bad) rock music and SM equipment. The result is eloquent.

It’s not written in the stars that tradition should be a confinement.

Rocìo Molina in Caìda del Cielo, Théâtre National de Chaillot, illustration © Araso
Rocìo Molina in Caìda del Cielo, Théâtre National de Chaillot, illustration © Araso

Caìda del Cielo is flamenca Rocìo Molina’s latest creation,
Théâtre National de Chaillot, Paris from November 3rd to 11th


Katerina Andreou in «A Kind of Fierce», illustration © Araso

Katerina Andreou, the punk poet

In dark tights and yellow sweater, Katerina Andreou flies onto the stage like a small bee. White neon lights and a microphone hanging upside down from the ceiling frame the black cube for her 45 minutes performance where silence and Eric Yvelin’s experimental music take turns.

The dance is angular, that of a dislocated doll, each limb living their own life. Watching Katerina drawing jolting lines across the stage, one immediately thinks of Marie Chouinard’s war ballets. The acrobatic figures, arched legs on distended ankles are a trademark of the Peeping Toms’.

Striking pauses like a degenerate kind of Lolita, almost clownish as she speaks in the microphone with her hair and scalp. Leaping up from the floor, she picks up a pair of drum sticks and waves them around like a clumsy majorette.

Her phrases have a beatnik rhythm. Is she Patti Smith’s secret daughter? Her messy hair and impassive look, her crazy energy feel disturbingly familiar. So does the heavy mix of cheeky poetry, trooper language and electric guitar.

Hallef***lujah.

Katerina Andreou in «A Kind of Fierce», illustration © Araso
Katerina Andreou in «A Kind of Fierce», illustration © Araso

Katerina Andreou danced A Kind of Fierce on November 4th and 5th at the CDC Atelier de Paris.

With this 2016 creation she took part in the [8:tension] section of ImpulzTanz Festival – Vienna International Dance Festival last summer and was awarded the Prix Jardin d’Europe, the European prize for emerging Choreography.


Olivia Csiky Trnka est Anaïs Nin dans «A comme Anaïs», mes Françoise Courvoisier, Illustration © Araso

A comme Anaïs: Henry Miller and Anaïs Nin larger than life

« Establishing a dialog takes time. Time is about to disappear. Nobody has time for anything anymore. » Thus spoke Wim Wenders yesterday morning on France Inter.

Time is what these two consumed copiously: Anaïs Nin and Henry Miller wrote each other passionate letters for more than thirty years. Oddly enough, it seems that no one had the idea to adapt it for stage but Swiss director Françoise Courvoisier.

Created in 2013 at the Poche Theater in Geneva, the play is supported by Frédéric Landenberg’s compelling performance as Henry Miller and Olivia Csiky Trnka’s exquisite interpretation as the high-spirited lover of sex and the arts.

Whereas contemporary art seems to be all about words, this ode to writing and epistolary love affairs is an exhilarating godsend of inspiration. Writing shapes up the mind, the hand sculpts the movement, the eye contemplates in infinite delight.

Olivia Csiky Trnka is Anaïs Nin in «A comme Anaïs», directed by Françoise Courvoisier, Illustration © Araso
Olivia Csiky Trnka is Anaïs Nin in «A comme Anaïs», directed by Françoise Courvoisier, Illustration © Araso

A comme Anaïs with Olivia Csiky Trnka and Frédéric Landenberg
Manufacture des Abbesses
Sundays at 8 pm
Mondays to Wednesdays at 9 pm
Until December 21st 2016


Trend Book #1 : FIAC 2016, give me your word

This year at FIAC, the international art fair in Paris, the writing’s everywhere: canvasses, photographs, metal bars, neon lights. Spreading outside the Grand Palais, it took over the Avenue, closed to traffic, with Lawrence Weiner’s Wonderland-like signage system (« On Above Up Sur Dessus du Haut ») and Jacques Villeglé’s giant symbol typing. 

The edifying (Lawrence Weiner), playful (Laure Prouvost), inked (Gilles Barbier) or crying (William Pope.L) letter connects graphic design to conceptual arts. Both domains were widely represented this year at la FIAC.

What is lying under the sudden urge for all to speak? For contemporary artists to produce letters and for galleries to show either recent work or works from previous generations displaying the alphabet? 
Are we on the eve of an iconographic revolution?

Tired of images? Need to talk? Need subtitles? Need meaning?  

What is the urge for words all about? 

Laurence Weiner @ Galerie Pietro Sparta, FIAC 2016, © Araso

Laurence Weiner @ Galerie Pietro Sparta, FIAC 2016, © Araso

Freezing the frame

Are written words the ultimate «thumb-stopping» trick like they say on Instagram? Maybe. Where images are legion, text, clear and concise, stands out.

Are we headed towards an Instagram of words? It is the choice Hans Ulrich Obrist has made since his very beginning on the media. One of the most influents curators and art critic of our times, he is also head of international programs at Serpentine Gallery in London.

Despite the spontaneous nature of writing, its form requires the passer-by to stop and read. It demands an extra effort, and it’s sticky. Words are read, processed and trigger a reaction, when in their intense proliferation, images have become invisible.

Yael Bartana, Black Stars shed no light, 2014 @ Galerie Raffaella Cortese FIAC 2016. Image © Araso
Yael Bartana, Black Stars shed no light, 2014 @ Galerie Raffaella Cortese FIAC 2016. Image © Araso

Coming to think of it, text is immediate yet complex enough to stop the passer-by. This applies to the FIAC, the Internet, or everyday life. FIAC is a good representative of what our world is about: an orgy of galleries (186) / exhibited pieces increasingly hard to decipher. Attempting to spot anything in this maze requires years of training so it’s only natural that clear, loud pieces stand out -and we feel such a relief when they do.

Furthermore, in a way, writing eliminates barriers to enter the Art world. No matter one’s reference or knowledge of arts, everyone who’s found their way to a place such as la FIAC can read, and text has the potential to win even the biggest art skeptics over.

Joseph Kosuth @ Galerie Almine Rech, FIAC 2016 Image © Araso
Joseph Kosuth @ Galerie Almine Rech, FIAC 2016 Image © Araso

All sorts of writings

Fabrice Hyber surrounds his drawings with captions, almost like a child would, in a very playful fashion. Roni Horn’s style is almost  documentary. Gilles Barbier’s recalls monastic writing from the times of illuminations. Atul Dodyia pays a tribute to Tristan Tzara with writing in white on a black board, just like a teacher would with a white chalk on a school board.

Marie-Thérèse Zerbato-Poudou, a Doctor in Sciences of Education highlights the importance of writing as a mean of  cognitive development and emancipation.  Her work underlines «the role of langage in building one’s thinking» as well as the relationship between the mind and the trace. An intimate gesture in the eye of graphologists, print is a tell-tale in itself. According to Fabrice Hyber, «the world can only be framed in questions».

Fabrice Hyber, Invention du Vitral 2, 2016, @ Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Image © Araso
Fabrice Hyber, Invention du Vitral 2, 2016, @ Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Image © Araso

As far as graphic design is concern, typography is not just writing, it’s a manifesto. Often related to politics or propaganda, it’s an instrument of power. Some fonts have become iconic, as Leigh Ledare (Mitchell-Innes & Nash gallery) proves by unearthing pages of the New York Times.

Writing in itself is a work of art anyways, an artistic performance (William Pope L.). Joseph Kosuth, who was the editor in chief of Art and Language magazine, explained as early as 1969 that «the usage of the artistic language» can be considered art.

William Pope L., Crying Painting 2016 (detail), @ Galerie Mitchell-Innes & Nash © Araso
William Pope L., Crying Painting 2016 (detail), @ Galerie Mitchell-Innes & Nash © Araso

This year, street art was a rare commodity. Its skyrocketing success amongst the bourgeoisie and subsequent massive association with retail through a dizzying series of collaborations with brands (JonOne x Guerlain, Mambo x Goyard, Pro176, Nasty et Tanc x Monoprix, etc.) appear to have dramatically lowered collectors interest in street artists.

In the meantime, Murakami spray paints zen circles, black on a white canvas at Perrotin’s. And it’s a JonOne photograph and not graffiti that the same gallery chose to exhibit in their corner, entirely in Black and White.

©2015 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Courtesy Galerie Perrotin
©2015 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Courtesy Galerie Perrotin

It all starts with a concept

Conceptual is about the pre-eminence of the idea over its production. Applied to a commercial creation logic, this translates into having a strong concept first and worrying about spreading it afterwards. It might look like we’re stating the obvious but when consulted by a variety of brands on digital communication related issues, we invariably answer that the idea comes first. A great effect of aesthetics without meaning is pointless.

Lawrence Weiner, Transferred/Transféré, 1970 @ Galerie Jan Mot, image © Araso
Lawrence Weiner, Transferred/Transféré, 1970 @ Galerie Jan Mot, image © Araso

Writing can be the talkative witness of a silent creation process. According to Sol LeWitt, the process of making with its  hesitations, scribbles, repentirs, mistakes, notes, is more interesting than the end result.

And this is how Lawrence Weiner works. His phrases are titles for works he’s made in his studio, without showing them to the pubic, and that he shows as a different version of the work. And it becomes a stand-alone piece. The colour, shape, and size are chosen by the sponsor, who thus actively participates in the making. The word «Transferred» in massive block letters on a white wall would snatch the audience as they approached Jan Mot’s corner (Bruxelles, Mexico).

La FIAC, Grand Palais, Conversation Room. Image © Araso
La FIAC, Grand Palais, Conversation Room. Image © Araso

Conversations are another pillar of the creative process highlighted in this edition of FIAC. Ian Wilson crystallizes them in his work on invitations (There was a discussion at 16-18 rue Littre, Paris 1974). As early as 1969, the Art & Language collective based their work also called «conversations»  on an investigation of the relationship between theory and artistic performances.

This year, the FIAC made the concept its own by opening a space dedicated to Conversations, and namely talks about connections between art and science,  art and architecture, art and diplomacy.

Is poetry the future of contemporary art ?

In Jurgen Klauke’s work, days of the week appear on black and white photographs like x-rays. In a dark atmosphere, they compose an odd poetry, prompting a feeling of loneliness and uneasiness (Thomas Zander Gallery, Köln).

© Jürgen Klauke / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016, courtesy Galerie Thomas Zander, Köln
© Jürgen Klauke / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016, courtesy Galerie Thomas Zander, Köln

It was very hard to miss the work of rising artist Laure Prouvost, represented by Nathalie Obadia in Paris and Brussels  and Carlier | Gebauer in Berlin. A French artist based in London, Laure Prouvost was awarded the Turner prize in 2013. The Consortium in Dijon has just offered her a solo show which ended on September 26.

Laure Prouvost @ Galerie Carlier | Gebauer, Image © Araso
Laure Prouvost @ Galerie Carlier | Gebauer, Image © Araso

Although she claims not to be a poet, Laure Prouvost is undoubtedly a remarkable story-teller. She doesn’t create fiction, she substitutes one reality to another: hers. Her show in Dijon was a collection of stories, depending or not on each other, a rebus to decipher in the dark, a journey dedicated to picking up hand-written letters on the floor and nibbling raspberries.

Laure Prouvost @ Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Image © Araso
Laure Prouvost @ Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Image © Araso

Her playful boards with their white letters printed on a patent black board help people find (or lose) their way: «In the dark this sign wishes to show you the way» or «You are gauing in ve rong direction», 2016. The plates beneath her works «This butterfly died here to be looked by you» and «This apple here has the power to turn everything here into moldy dust» give any object, whether ordinary or extraordinary, a completely different purpose. And by doing so, she’s walking straight into the footsteps of René Magritte.

Is it marketing or politics?

Text equals tagline, equals advertisement, equals  consumerism, equals… Pop art. Writing flirts with Pop art and everyday life objects.

Lucy Mc Kenzie is mapping out new territories (Buchholz Gallery , Berlin, New York).

Annette Kelm lays down dead leaves on one dollar bills (König Gallery, Berlin).

Stand intégralement DADA chez GDM, Paris. Image © Araso
Stand intégralement DADA chez GDM, Paris. Image © Araso

Andy’s Silver Clouds inspire Canadian artists collective General Idea their Magi© Bullets (1992), who left a signifiant mark on conceptual art in the late 1960s onwards, (Esther Schipper / Johnen Gallery, Berlin).

Graphic design is having a revival, recalling Bauhaus aesthetics with K.P. Brehmer at Vilma Gold (London) or conveying  a comic strip touch on screaming flowers at Francesca Pia (Zürich) with «Here here» by Rochelle Feinstein. Her «Yes yes» calls to a heavy-hearted «we can».

Barbara Kruger, Untitled (Project for Dazed and Confused) 1996, Courtesy of Gallery Sprüth Magers
Barbara Kruger, Untitled (Project for Dazed and Confused) 1996, Courtesy of Gallery Sprüth Magers

Barbara Kruger, represented by Sprüth Magers (Berlin) has worked a series of Untitled, Project for Dazed and Confused, 1996/2015. Her toying with the codes of printed press became her artistic signature. Her pithy strong headlines printed in white on a red background complete and caption savvy photo arrangements. Her work tackles societal issues such as relations between men and women, gender stereotypes and heavy consumerism. Barbara Kruger lives in LA and says she wants to question our relationship to images, established codes and dogmatisms carried by press and advertisement.

So it was made clear this year at FIAC, that art doesn’t intend to yield to the dumbing-down vicious circle of the ever-increasing consumption of faster more disposable goods. Art was crying out loud:

  • The end of the image almighty;
  • The rebirth of a political conscience;
  • The necessity of collective thinking;
  • The need for individual to reclaim the ownership of their own thinking.

© 800 Signes 2016. Please contact us for further developments. 

Download the Trend Book in PDF.


Maurizio Cattelan, Not Afraid of Love, Monnaie de Paris

Maurizio Cattelan, the King of immediacy

Aged 46, Maurizio Cattelan is one of the world’s most collected artist. La Monnaie de Paris gives him his first major retrospective in Europe: «Not Afraid of Love».

What made the «iconoclastic», «avant-garde» and «provocative» artist so successful?

Either a savvy combination of all adjectives, or, as a meandering through La Monnaie’s XVIIIth century salons might suggest, his unrivalled master of immediacy.

Maurizio Cattelan, Untitled, 2007, Not Afraid of Love, Monnaie de Paris 2016
Maurizio Cattelan, Untitled, 2007, Not Afraid of Love, Monnaie de Paris 2016

No matter their preference or culture, anyone can perceive the impact of this headless horse embedded into the wall, with two doors framing a collection of bodies lying on the floor in the background. The queer family of dogs and the chick embodies the mother and the father figures taming our deeply buried infancy fears. The child crucified on a school bench becomes the part of disenchantment we all have experienced at some point. Maurizio and his double lying on the bed emerge like mirror neurons from a bad dream.

Maurizio’s work is like a punch in the face: it moves, stirs and shakes. It is, simply, remarkable.

Visuals © Araso

Not Afraid of Love, at the Monnaie de Paris until January 8th, 2017.

Maurizio Cattelan, Untitled (Gerard), 1999, Not Afraid of Love, Monnaie de Paris 2016
Maurizio Cattelan, Untitled (Gerard), 1999, Not Afraid of Love, Monnaie de Paris 2016

Maurizio Cattelan emerged in Spring 2016 from a 5-year retirement to exhibit a golden throne entitled «America» in Guggenheim’s Museum public restrooms in New York. 

He is the editor of Permanent FoodCharley and Toilet Paper magazines. 


Lucinda Childs illustration by Araso

Lucinda Childs: the footprints of a legend

Is it because in herself she says it all about Philip Glass, Robert Wilson and Sol LeWitt altogether?

Is it because at 76, her slender figure and her stately demeanour seem to indicate that neither time nor space has any hold over her?

Lucinda Childs reigns over the realm of dance with iconic discretion and humour. Her piece, soberly titled «Dance» (1979) has been shown once again this month at the Théâtre de la Ville in Paris. It has become one of those classics which one can never seem to get tired of.

At the Commune in Aubervilliers, seated in the front row, an impassive Lucinda watches her dancers perform her  Early Works. The precision of repetition and the flow of movement: the scene is a masterpiece of human concentration. Earlier that evening, Lucinda herself performed a text by Susan Sontag in Description (of a description) inside Pantin’s CND. On stage she is even more of a queen.

Is it about pugnacity? Gift? Having a vision of one’s time and world? Picking the right medium? Is it contemporaneity?

What makes a legend a legend?

There are those who write, and those who invent grammar.


Lucinda Childs, illustration by Araso
Lucinda Childs, illustration by Araso

This year, Paris Autumn Festival pays tribute to Lucinda Childs in a “portrait”.