Shows + performances + exhibition + conversation + voguing ball

09.03 > 13.05.23

CN D Pantin, Online

The CN D is teaming up with the Palais de Tokyo for “Exposé·es”, an exhibit inspired by the perspective of critic and art historian Elisabeth Lebovici in her book What AIDS did to me.  Rather than a synthesis or an analysis of the history of AIDS, this exhibit will tackle universal questions: our goal is to show how what is known as “the AIDS years” have been, rather than a given critical moment in time, a period whose esthetic, moral and political consequences still have an impact on today’s world. How did the artists who were directly concerned – in myriad ways – by this crisis engage with AIDS in their work?

There is an epistemology of AIDS which relates particularly to dance and makes it necessary to propose a special exhibit in the CN D along with the Palais de Tokyo’s own. AIDS was a fundamental issue in the 1980’s and 1990’s dance world, as the pandemic claimed the lives of many artists, deeply shook the community and considerably impacted our relation to other bodies. Its impact can be directly felt in the work of Robyn Orlin, Mark Tompkins and his homage to Harry Sheppard, or Jimmy Robert referring to Ian White in one of his pieces; indirectly, it can also be perceived on an aesthetic level, on various scales, for artists grieving the loss of loved ones, or for those living with the virus and the progress of medicine in that field – David Wampach, Daniel Larrieu who will premiere a new solo, or Dominique Bagouet, whose piece Jours étranges will be revisited by Catherine Legrand.

As it led people to become more aware of the vulnerability of the human body, this cataclysm also raised the issues of taboos and discrimination, as dance came closer to activism, interrogating notions of community and how to speak up about the crisis. Alain Buffard’s Mauvais genre, for example, interrogates death, sex, the relations between identity and community, as do more contemporary pieces, like Pol Pi’s, Audrey Liebot’s, Christodoulos Panayiotou’s 5-hour performance, or Lasseindra Ninja’s voguing ball: all of them engage in activism in some way.

The AIDS crisis haunts these dance pieces, whose specters the exhibit will try to present in a non-exhaustive, kaleidoscopic way, through traces, imprints, transitions and transmissions. The CN D has also invited Isabelle Ginot, who will organize a one-day conference on the new ways of dancing with chronic diseases.

“Exposed” has a double meaning: being exposed against one’s will, but also exposing oneself, choosing to step out, to show oneself. AIDS isn’t an object of inquiry here, but a critical perspective which takes up the task of deciphering the “epidemics of representation” which followed the apparition of the virus in performing arts and visual arts alike, in the wake of Lebovici’s work.