Si nous n'avions pas vu les étoiles


Artistic Director : Jean-Baptiste Janisset Video capsule : Jean-Christophe Arcos Productor : Katatpult Endowment Fund In Buropolis at Marseille from 28/08/2021 to 09/10/2021 At the end of July, the testosterone fuelled dream of space conquest hit the ground without a bang. Within a few days, two billionaires and a handful of their followers spent a few minutes of weightlessness just about a hundred kilometres above Earth. These first steps towards the privatisation of the great beyond for the benefit of the 0.0001% will have achieved one thing: aiming for the limit rather than for the infinite will always reek of colonial domination, forever stuck in a frame of the narrow thoughts of an outdated modern positivism. However, as soon as we contemplate the faraway horizon as it presents itself in all its iridescent uncertainty, the experience of a radical unknown sets forth with a clean slate for what is known and perceived. Just like it is true for a mirage, an elusive and fleeting apparition, a hallucination or more simply a dazzle, we can surreptitiously hear a whisper saying that no, not everything has already been explored, filed, commodified, Googlemapped; that no, we are not too late and mysteries remain and finally that no, what is terrestrial doesn’t stop to expand or grow just as long as our gaze upon it remains humble and we let it freely bloom. The collective exhibition “Si nous n’avions pas vu les étoiles” (If we hadn’t see the stars), originated from the ambition, both humble and boundless, of re-energising imagination. Its name is a quote from astrophysicist Michel Mayor who discovered the first exoplanet in 1995 - a planet outside the Solar system - from the Haute-Provence Observatory. A hundred kilometres from there in 2021, on the 9th floor of Buropolis in Marseilles, about 20 artists decided to unite and make the Nobel Prize recipient's quote resonate once more by asking themselves how would have thought evolved if the light of stars had not drawn humanity’s gaze. Conceived as an odyssey where the ghost of metaphysics is opposed to the technological one, its curation was put under the care of Jean-Baptiste Janisset and brings together the artists Anastasia Bay, Neïl Beloufa, Wolf Cuyvers, Sophie Dejode & Bertrand Lacombe , Mathilde Denize, Michele Gabriele, Bella Hunt & DDC, Jean-Baptiste Janisset, Fiona Mackay, Jean-Michel, Lux Miranda, Nicolas Momein, Panamarenko, Lise Stoufflet, Floryan Varennes, Romain Vicari, Julie Villard & Simon Brossard, Tom Volkaert and Victor Yudaev. Their works are supported by videos selected by Jean-Christophe Arcos of artists Julien Creuzet, Marie Lienhard, Sara Sadik, Virginie Yassef, Laurie Charles, Gregory Chatonsky and Caroline Mesquita. Running through the exhibition is a silver thermo-insulating covered floor that reflects sun rays, but also physical and material bodies. The artworks, individual media and singularities blur and enhance one another while giving space to spiritual frequencies, esoteric resonances and their secular faiths as well as retro-futuristic loops, suggesting neo-mythological titles and shapes tinted by a primordial melancholy. In 1974, philosopher Theodor W. Adorno lamented about those “stars that fell down to Earth” 1 , after he witnessed what he called the rise of the occult and the irrational in the mainstream culture of the second half of the 20th century. By setting bedazzlement at the center of its perceptual experience, Si nous n’avions pas vu les étoiles reverses the phrase’s significance: without a doubt the stars fell down to Earth, but only thanks to the endlessly renewed effort of the artists who lure and call to them, carried forward by the knowledge that this is an antidote which devise a way to rebuild a Future that does not rest on the delusions of grandeur harboured by techno-icaruses. Text : Ingrid Luquet-Gad Mention légale copyright : © Bénédicte Desrus / gotu.agency




Jean-Baptiste Janisset, Porte des étoiles, plomb, étain, zinc, cuivre, 2021


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Anastasia Bay, Mathilde Denize, Tom Volkeart


Michele Gabriele, Romain Vicari


Villard & Brossard, Wolf Cuyvers, Tom Volkeart, Panamarenko


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Dejode & Lacombe, The grate gold rush, bois, acier, 2021


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Bella Hund & Ddc, Jean-Baptiste Janisset


Jean-Baptiste Janisset