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Francisco Tropa STAE

cur. Sandra Patron


(Submerged Treasures
of Ancient Egypt) Hicham
Berrada
Mariana Castillo Deball Cronotopo
Reto Pulfer
cur. Dorothe Dupuis and Oliver Martnez-Kandt

cur. Roven Platform


Die Kammern
des Zustands

Saturday, 27th June, 2015

at 11am: press visit


from 6.30pm: opening

Muse rgional dart contemporain Languedoc-Roussillon


146 avenue de la plage BP4, 34410 Srignan, France
mrac.languedocroussillon.fr
museedartcontemporain@cr-languedocroussillon.fr
+33 4 67 32 33 05

Press contact:
Brunswick Arts Amy de Leusse / Leslie Compan
cr-languedocroussillon@brunswickgroup.com
+33 1 70 69 04 52
Sylvie Caumet, caumet.sylvie@cr-languedocroussillon.fr
+33 4 67 74 96 79 / +33 6 80 65 59 67

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Francisco Tropa
TSAE (Submerged Treasures
of Ancient Egypt)
Curator: Sandra Patron

Archaic instruments for measuring time, medieval representations of the cosmos, bronze
giants and trompe-lil compositions: there is a distinct feeling looking at Francisco
Tropas work of witnessing the creation of an autonomous world, the development of
an original and personal mythology, where numerous representations of the world are
vaguely recognised, from ancient Greece to modernist ideals. Tropas interest in these
conventional models is philosophical as well as aesthetical. Philosophical because these
systems question the overlapping of truth and fiction in our representations, and the way
in which, since the dawn of time, man has distorted scientific truths for the benefit of a
collective, whether political or religious, narrative. Aesthetical, because these frequently
abstract representations of the world are an inexhaustible source for the artist, enabling
formal whims of every kind, in an exhilarating relationship with matter and the different
ways in which it can be transformed.

TSAE (Submerged Treasures of Ancient Egypt) reflect all of these concerns. Unveiled
during an exhibition at the La Verrire in Brussels and expanded upon for the Mrac with a
mysterious Ministry of Foreign Affairs, TSAE is a fictional archaeological expedition whose
title spontaneously conjures up an exhibition drawing crowds in search of sarcophagi
and other mummies. The title is key to propelling the spectators imagination towards
an exoticism, to then be taken aback encountering productions with undeniable formal
beauty and magic but that defy understanding, leaving it open to interpretation. At the
exhibition at La Verrire in Brussels, many enigmatic chambers (Partie Submerge,
Chambre viole, Terra Platnica) presented the vestiges of findings by the team of scien-
tists, a collection of objects the use of which was not apparent. The Ministry of Foreign
Affairs is exhibited at the Mrac. This subsection draws the TSAE cycle to a close. This
secret part mysteriously surfaces causing us to reconsider the overall project as a mech-
anism built to eliminate the confines of time and space, the exposure of which would
disclose the function.

Like the first version in Brussels, the exhibition is compartmentalised into several chap-
ters. At the centre, a cube and two spheres are presented floating in space and gravitat-
ing to one another in Le songe de Scipion (Scipions Dream). The title refers explicitly to
an allegory in De Republica by Cicero in which the cosmic organisation of the world is
revealed by the dream.

A landscape unfolds on a play mat on the ground, formed of natural elements and an
accurate bronze replica. Like all the pieces by the artist linked with still life, this land-
scape is called Scripta, that etymologically means a task without depth or relief and is at
the origin of the word write, but also at the origin of dice and therefore games of luck.
Although there are strong links uniting Francisco Tropas practice with work by Marcel
Duchamp, this reoccurring game enables the artist to pursue his reflection about sculp-
ture. This is considered an unlimited range of possibilities, equally regarding matter and
its various alterations but also how it engages with performance, as suggested by the
piece Quad at the entrance to the exhibition.

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On either side of these central components, a series of sculptures forms Les Antipodes
(The Antipodes) identifying the artists fascination for elements that are a priori diametri-
cally opposed, but united by some hidden relationship. This opposition operates by a
change of material or more metaphorically by a change of state or viewpoint. This logic
is thwarted by the presence of Linfluence amricaine [The American Influence], a minimal-
ist cube with a TV inside that is showing an ethnographic film from the 1960s where we
discover an Indian chief who is building a box with remarkable ingenuity. The minimalist
act, evidence of a powerfully confident West, is threatened with irony here by the artist,
the figures from the ancient world surviving those of the new world reversing its chrono-
logical order.

Lastly, two glass drops appear to have come straight out of a cave. The image of this
grotto is obtained by the light that travels through strips of agate arranged in the pro-
jector. These two wells, one negative, the other positive, one like a hole that perfo-
rates the ground, the other like a montage being built, evoke the hell and the purgatory
described by Dante in The Divine Comedy but are not dissimilar to a more modern psy-
choanalytical conception about the functioning of the psyche, from the conscious to the
unconscious.

Through these multiple references that range from Platos cave to American minimal-
ism, Francisco Tropa well and truly invites us to the construction of an autonomous and
fascinating world, a world of rugged beauty that unfolds like an ever-expanding architec-
ture. Moreover it is more than likely that these various representations reflect Francisco
Tropas perception of art in many ways: the question of truth partially suspended to the
benefit of a multiplying and digressive narrative, enabling a world to emerge that is simul-
taneously unique, fanciful and nonetheless credible.

Francisco Tropa was born in 1968 in Portugal. He lives and works in Lisbon. His first solo exhibition took place in 1991.
He has since exhibited in France, in Paris (Galerie Jocelyn Wolff, Palais de Tokyo), in Pougues-les-Eaux (Parc Saint Lger),
in Portugal in Lisbon (Museu de Lisboa, Fundao Leal Rios, Appleton Square, Culturgest Lisbon), in Porto (Auditrio do Museu
de Arte Contempornea de Serralves, Galeria Quadrado Azul), in Belgium in Brussels (Beursschouwburg, Herms Foundation,
La Verrire), in Italy in Venice (Palazzo da Ponte di calle del Dose and Palazzo Strozzi), in Rome (Roma Contemporary), in Spain
in Madrid (Galera Distrito Quatro, Matadero, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia), in Luxembourg (MUDAM) and
in Germany in Berlin (Gregor Podar Gallery).
He represented Portugal at the Venice Biennial in Italy (2011), he also participated in the Istanbul Biennial in Turkey (2011),
in Manifesta 3 in Ljubljana in Slovenia (2000), in the Melbourne Biennial in Australia (1999) and the So Paulo Biennial in Brazil
(1998). Galerie Jocelyn Wolff, Paris represents him.

Francisco Tropa is artist-in-residence at the Atelier Calder from March to May 2015. He receives assistance from the Centre
national des Arts Plastiques (Cnap) to pursue artistic research. The Atelier Calder is supported by the Ministry of Culture
Drac Centre, the Centre region, the Cnap and the Calder Foundation.

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1&2. Francisco Tropa, TSAE (Tesouros Submersos do Antigo Egipto). Shots of the exhibition at La Verrire,
Fondation dentreprise Herms, Bruxelles. Photo: Fabien de Cugnac.

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3, 8. Francisco Tropa, TSAE (Tesouros Submersos do Antigo


Egipto). Shots of the exhibition at Pavilho Branco Museu
de Lisboa. Photo: Pedro Tropa.

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Francisco
Tropa

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Mariana Castillo Deball
Cronotopo
Curators: Dorothe Dupuis and Oliver Martnez-Kandt

In her practice, Castillo Deball links conceptual traditions in art with archeology, history
and ethnography to create installation, sculpture, photography, video and drawing that
analyze the production of formal and linguistic vocabularies involved in object making,
and how they have the ability to expose larger historical and social narratives. Her inves-
tigations seek to question and formulate the power struggles and negotiations inherent
to all production processes, notably paying attention to specific post-colonial contexts
where different cultures confront for access to representation and therefore, agency.
Engaging in prolonged periods of research and field-work, she references both modern
and contemporary archaeological and ethnographic methods in a playful way, narrating
and deciphering the approximations, mistakes and contradictions that the idea of study-
ing material cultures as fixed entities entails. Interested in the temporality of knowledge,
Castillo Deball combines the exploration of archives and other information systems with
the aesthetic vibrancy of cultural bricolage, appropriation and forgeries within encoded
histories as well as the performative aspect of identity. Her research involves open col-
laboration with different cultural producers, whether they be writers, crafts specialists,
artists or institutional representatives through a voluntarily versatile network, aiming to
expose the fluctuating political implications of their activities and visions. Challenging our
assumptions of concepts such as authenticity and origin, she affirms the human capac-
ity to crossbreed and cannibalize cleverly other cultures in order to survive as a universal
and liberating characteristic of mankind.

For Cronotopo, the artist presents a combination of recent and newly commissioned art-
works that reveal her working process as an evolving one. At the Mrac will be presented
two majors works specifically produced for and adapted to the temporary exhibition
spaces located on the first floor of the Museum. Nuremberg Map of Tenochtitlan (2013)
is a monumental work covering the entire floor of one of the rooms. Made of simple
wooden planks engraved and assembled so as to form a gigantic drawing, it reproduces
a map, the first and the most widespread image that Europeans had of Tenochtitln, and
remains one of the few maps we have of the pre-colonial Aztec empire. In 1521, a letter
and a map arrived in Spain for the Spanish king. This was the second of five letters that
the conquistador Hernn Corts sent describing the Aztec capital Tenochtitln, which
he and his crew had discovered and were near to conquering. The map, drawn by an
Indigenous tlacuilo, was a detailed illustration of the city, reflecting the conquistadors
view of Tenochtitln as an enchanted metropolis: a jewel rising up from the center of
an azure lake, housing an ordered, wealthy civilization, who were nevertheless misled
in their predilection for heathen ritual sacrifice instead of enlightened Christianity. This
depiction of Tenochtitln served to justify the expensive Spanish colonial efforts, but not
only to Charles V, the king of Spain. The publication in Nuremberg of the map in 1524,
along with the letters translation into Latin, also sparked the imagination and support of
a large European audience.

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The wooden surface is also used as a matrix from which a one-to-one print of the
engraved surface is made onto paper. The work Atlas (2014) is then a bound compila-
tion of these prints, giving to see the map and its various narratives from a fragmentary
perspective.

The two photographs from the series Umriss (2014), show two colorful, uncanny large
scale blow-ups of mexican masks seen from behind. These photos were inspired to
Castillo Deball by a Mexican commercial for antidepressant from the 80s, that she
restaged using masks from the ethnographic museum in Berlin: the artist thus underlines
humorously, although quite dramatically, the sadness inherent to our post-colonial times.

Who will measure the space, who will tell me the time? (2015) is the second occurrence
of a new body of work whose production started last January for a monographic show
at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Oaxaca, Mexico. The artist worked in col-
laboration, with local traditional ceramics workshop Taller Coatlicue (Familia Martinez
Alarzn, Atzompa) and Innovando la tradicin A.C, a series of ceramic elements drawing
from existing archeological figures from the Prehispanic Art Museum Rufino Tamayo in
Oaxaca, mixed with more contemporary patterns like gears, nuts or toys. These ele-
ments are superposed in order to build columns, each functioning as a distinct sculp-
tural narrative that attempts to develop two questions: How do you tell the story of the
universe in hundred years? How do you tell the story of the universe in one day? The
results, typical of Castillo Deballs work, play off of the anachronistic confusion created
by the forms that compose it, wherein the language of visual art updates and challenges
the idea of tradition and identity that still presides over most craft productions, giving the
possibility of expansion and mobility.

Castillo Deball sees contemporary art as an effective means of generating inclusive


discussions about broader issues of representation and the actualization of the project
of modernity, at a time when globalization seems almost fully achieved, and when
local, tribal identities seem to fade ineluctably in front of the omnipresent figure of the
Westernized global consumer. One of the main point of Castillo Deballs work, is then to
fight against the essentialization of identities, whether they be indigenous or anything
else.

Mariana Castillo Deball (Mexico, 1975) lives and works between Mexico City and Berlin. Her recent exhibitions include: Museo
de Arte Contemporneo de Oaxaca; Hamburger Bahnhof-Museum fr Gegenwart, as part of the Preis der Nationalgalerie fr
Junge Kunst 2014, Berlin; Kurimanzutto; Salomon R. Guggenheim, NY; 8th Berlin Biennial; CCA Glasgow Scotland / Chisenhale
Gallery, London; TEOR / Tica, Costa Rica; Haus Konstruktiv, Zrich; dOCUMENTA 13, Kassel; 54th Venice Biennale; El Eco
Experimental Museum; Wien Lukatsch, Berlin; Klnischer Kunstverein; Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen; Manifesta 7, Italy; Museo de
Arte Carrillo Gil, Mexico, among others.

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1. Mariana Castillo Deball, Vista de Ojos, kurimanzutto,


Mexico City, 2014. Courtesy of the artist and kurimanzutto.
Photo: Estudio Michel Zab.

2. Mariana Castillo Deball, Quin medir el espacio,


quin me dir el momento?, Museo de Arte Contemporneo
de Oaxaca, Mexico, 2015. Courtesy of the artist. Photo:
Manuel Raeder.

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3. Mariana Castillo Deball, Parergon, Hamburger Bahnhof Museum fr Gegenwart, Berlin, 2014.
Courtesy of the artist and Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. Photo: Thomas Bruns.

4. Mariana Castillo Deball, Uncomfortable Objects, dOCUMENTA (13), Fridericianum, Kassel, 2012.
Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Roman Mrz.

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Hicham Berrada
Hicham Berradas work, a combination of intuition and knowledge, science and poetry, is
fuelled by a double culture of art and science. The artist highlights the changes and met-
amorphoses of a chemically activated nature that he manipulates directly to give shape
to real still lifes. The artist explores scientific protocols in his work, from the laboratory to
the studio and from chemical experiments
1
to performance, closely mimicking dif-
ferent natural processes and/or weather
conditions.

The video Prsage [Omen], an example


of true chemical theatre presented at
the Mrac, is the fruit of a performance
in which the artist, combining different
chemical products in a beaker, causes a
chimeric world to emerge. These trans-
formations of matter, set in motion by his
manipulations, are filmed and projected
simultaneously onto the screen, immers-
ing the audience into a world of fascinat-
ing forms and colours. These experiments
give rise to reduced models of living organisms that are then set in resin, thus becoming
real still lifes. These ephemeral landscapes are conceived by the artist like real pictorial
creations and immerse the audience into a world that is in a constant state of meta-
morphosis. Far from being a mere formal artifice, his work thus transports visitors to an
elsewhere, a world that is both living and inanimate, that invites us to experience unprec-
edented energies and forces emanating from the matter. As he himself describes it, I try
to control the phenomena that I mobilise like an artist masters his pigments and brushes.
My brushes and pigments would be the heat, the cold, the magnetism and the light.

Born in Casablanca (Morocco) in 1986, Hicham Berrada lives and works in Paris. After graduating from the cole nationale
suprieure des Beaux-arts in Paris in 2011, he pursued his training at the Studio national des arts contemporains Le Fresnoy, then
became resident of the Villa Mdicis in Rome in 2013. He participates in many events and exhibitions: the Mac/Val; the Vasarely
Foundation; the Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Le Fresnoy, Studio National des Arts Contemporain; the CCC in Tours; the PS1, New
York. His work has been exhibited during performances at the MAXXI, in Rome, at Les Abattoirs in Toulouse, as well as during
Nuit Blanche, in Paris and in Melbourne. From 11th April to 27th June, LOnde art centre in Vlizy-Villacoublay is devoting a solo
exhibition to him. Galerie Kamel Mennour in Paris represents him.

Sources: Palais de Tokyo www.palaisdetokyo.com and www.lesabattoirs.org

1. Hicham Berrada, Mesk-ellil, 2015. Installation, set of 7 tinted glass terrariums, cestrum nocturnum, horticultural lighting,
moonlight lighting, timer. View of the exhibition Paysages a circadiens, Kamel Mennour, Paris, 2015. Hicham Berrada.
Photo: Fabrice Seixas. Courtesy of the artist and Kamel Mennour, Paris.

2. Hicham Berrada, Prsage, 2007-2015. High resolution colour digital photography. Lambda Becher prints, chemical products,
camera and live projection. Hicham Berrada. Courtesy of the artist and Kamel Mennour, Paris.

Hicham Berrada
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Hicham Berrada
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Reto Pulfer
Die Kammern des Zustands
Curator: Roven Platform (Johana Carrier, Joana Neves, Marine Pags, Diogo Pimento)

In response to the challenge to take over the graphic arts room, the Roven Platform
suggested a two-part presentation of artworks around the title Rituels, rptitions, con-
traintes, tentations (Rituals, Repetitions, Constraints and Temptations). The first part was a
group exhibition uniting Ignasi Aball, Irma Blank, Frdric Bruly Bouabr, Pierre Buraglio,
Claude Cattelain, Hanne Darboven, tantric drawings, Marcel van Eeden, Otelo Fabio,
Carla Filipe, Henri Jacobs, Julije Knifer, Wolfgang Laib, Alexandre Leger, Alison Moffett,
Caroline Muheim, Matt Mullican, Morgan OHara, Joo Onofre, Elisa Pne, Laure
Prouvost, Reto Pulfer, Didier Rittener and Nil Yalter.

The second part called Die Kammern des Zustands [Chambers of States] is a proposal by
the Swiss artist Reto Pulfer invited by the Roven Platform to stimulate this research into
the rituals and celebrations which cause art and life to cross paths.

The artist has been involved in Die Kammern des Zustands, a constantly changing and pro-
gressive creation, conceived as Kammern [chambers], since 2011. It is organised around
specific Zustands [states]. According to the artist, a Zustand is complete in itself, but it is
only stable for a limited period.

Reto Pulfer uses the existing architecture to set up his environments made of fabric,
found objects sometimes and two-dimensional pieces that he has shaped or chosen
for their colours, their use, their history and their ability to convey or support a state. A
passage operates between the categories often separating practices like drawing, sculp-
ture or painting, with an emphasis here on the notion of inscription, of marking a surface
that can exist depending on the specific mental state.

Each chamber becomes a place that the spectator inhabits, thus reversing the function
of the graphic arts room: rather than placing relics in display cases and thus separat-
ing them from the area where spectators freely circulate, the artwork is formed by the
exhibition spaces and devices which spectators penetrate, in the course of the different
states induced.

Until now, the artist has proposed different Kammern (chambers) honouring and activat-
ing several psychological and physical states: raw energy and beginnings; community
and language;unlimited expression. Other states will be represented and embodied at
the Mrac in Srignan.

Reto Pulfer was born in Bern in 1981. He lives and works in Berlin. His work has been included in many international exhibi-
tions with solo exhibitions in several institutions including the Kunstverein Nurnberg, in Germany in 2013 and the ReMapKM, in
Athens, Greece in 2011. He is preparing solo exhibitions in Spike Island, Bristol (UK), at the Centre dArt Contemporain Genve
(Switzerland) and at the Centre International de Paysage de Vassivre (France) this year.

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1. Reto Pulfer, Ausdrucksmoment im Blauen Zimmer, 2009-2011. Pastel on paper, textile, metal, mixed material,
380330250cm. Die Kammern des Zustands, Fondazione Pastificio Cerere, Roma, 2011.

2. Reto Pulfer, Die Gruppenhhle, 2011. Textile, wood, mixed materials, 380335270cm. Die Kammern des Zustands,
Fondazione Pastificio Cerere, Roma, 2011.

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Opening Hours Entry: 5 standard Access: By car on
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Tours tion of a proof; students bus-stop in Srignan.
Guided tours are included for everyone and teachers of art
in the entrance fee: every Wednesday and architecture, those
under 18 years old,
at 11am (except July and August), and
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Additional tours at 6pm in July and disabled allowance,
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and Icomos, cultural
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the Conseil rgional
Team Languedoc-Roussillon.

Director: Sandra Patron

Administration: Sverine Freyssinier,


freyssinier.severine@cr-languedocroussillon.fr

Head of exhibitions: Clment Nouet,


nouet.clement@cr-languedocroussillon.fr

Head of the collection and documentation:


Cline Ramade, ramade.celine@cr-languedocroussillon.fr

Head of visitor services:


Isabelle Durand, durand.isabelle@cr-languedocroussillon.fr
Anas Bonnel, bonnel.anais@cr-languedocroussillon.fr
Charlotte Branget, branget.charlotte@cr-languedocroussillon.fr

Head of partnerships and public relations:


Sylvie Caumet, caumet.sylvie@cr-languedocroussillon.fr

Instructors in plastic arts responsible and official


representatives for the Daac educational service:
Alexandre Gilibert and Jrme Vaspard
Graphic design: Huz & Bosshard

Muse rgional dart contemporain


Languedoc-Roussillon
146 avenue de la plage, Srignan

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