Paper II exhibition@Circle Art Gallery

Feel blessed to have been picked up again by The Circle Art Gallery for its second exhibition of Art on paper
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November 24 – December 23, 2015

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The group exhibition dubbed ‘Paper II’ presents over 50 works on paper in all their variety from drawings, prints, photographs, collage, sculpture and installation. It follows the success of the first and unique Circle paper exhibition held in Kenya on March 2014 showcasing 40 works. The intention of the exhibition is to expose a wider range of artists and to attract new collectors.

Attracting works from a group of San printmakers from the Kalahari, Botswana for the first time in Kenya, the exhibition brings together carefully curated and thought-provoking artwork from emerging and established artists.

Commenting on the exhibition, Danda Jaroljmek, Director Circle Art Agency says, “This is the first time that we have received such varied works from emerging artists who are really experimenting with new media and concepts, which is very exciting to witness.”

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For more pictures:

http://www.circleartagency.com/exhibitions/paper-2/

 

Art & Philosophy project with the children

Ce diaporama nécessite JavaScript.

—Why is it interesting to practice philosophy with the children

From the age of 3 years, suprised by the world, the children start to ask themselves existential questions about life, death, human relationships, morality, politics, happiness. The child has the gift of a new and curious outlook on the world (naive but not innocent): he/she asks incessantly « why? » and other questions about the essence of things. But what should we do with those questions?

—Philosophy with children has developed in Europe over the last 20 years approximately. At the same time, thanks to the support of psychology and psychoanalysis, society started to grant the new status of ‘thinking subject’ to children. This means children need to be guided in their own existential and intellectual journey.. Youth literature is progressively giving a bigger space to those metaphysical questions and The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales (psychoanalysis of fairy tales) by Bruno Bettelheim describes how children’s real concern is to be able to answer those big existential questions.

—The institution of school passes on knowledge but unfortunately not always the meaning of that knowledge and the desire to learn. However, meaning is essential to understanding the world. How to give meaning? By asking questions about life, death, happiness and so on. This move should be preparatory to the learning of other subjects to impart and give them more meaning. But those questions are too often forgotten, because of a fear of talking about them or a lack of time.

—The idea is to create a space entirely dedicated to those questions, a scope for an initiatory encounter with oneself and the others, where there are no winners and no losers, no right or wrong answers.

A bit of History

—Philosophical discussions adapted for children appeared in the seventies. The bases were set by an American philosopher and educationalist thinker Matthew Lipman. Initially, key questions included:

—How to give children access to philosophy? How to develop their critical mind to maintain the balance in our democratic societies?

—According to Matthew Lipman, instead of thinking that only school can give education as a special type of experiment, we should reverse the question: every single thing that can help to find meaning is education and school also, as long as it helps in this way. It means that everywhere meaning is created (sense built by the child, not given to him), there is education.

—The adult tries to avoid questions and to stereotype answers. The child learns by asking questions and by putting the world in order creating a logical thinking. But the system, by giving questions and answers slows down the process. Practising philosophy with children puts logic and questions back at the centre of the process.

—To do that, we need to put in place the right conditions to give the child the opportunity to catch what will give meaning to the things in his own universe with his natural curiosity and his search for meaning.

Aims and benefits

  • —Create a space for collective questions and reflections (where there are no right or wrong answers)
  • —Where the status of the child will be reconsidered as that of thinking subject
  • —Awaken him/her to the world by giving the opportunity to discover other points of view, acquire cultural keys to analyse and understand the world
  • —To develop a logical way of thinking and to answer big existential questions (and to satisfy his need for meaning and coherence)
  • —With the possibility of:

– an initiatic dicovery of one’s self

– self-assertion  : make personal choices, come to terms with them, accept one’s self, accept one’s own freedom

– through encounter with ‘the other’ : dialogue, exchange, debate and reasoned discussions

  • —Develop the capacity to express oneself, to assert one’s ideas and to listen
  • —To develop a critical mind and reasoning
  • —To learn to argue : work on one’s ideas, dig, find the limits and stakes, give reasons to believe in something
  • —To learn to create links and distinctions between fields
  • —To develop creativity and potential to create other worlds
  • —Acquire autonomy, become responsible by thinking by oneself
  • —To improve thanks to dicovery of the abstract

The ME book project

—Creation of a book of 4 cardboard pages (2 sessions of 2h30) . The Me book is realized by the child him/herself about him/herself.

– The cover is a self-portrait with oil pastel and permanent black.

– On the other 3 pages, 3 philosophical debates are illustrated. Those debates are linked to the Me and the personality’s development: difference, appearance and freedom (identity, acceptance, self-esteem, constraints and obligations). They are approached to awake imagination and open a new inspiration’s door.

Introduction: thinking about art and philosophy

—What is art?

—What art is used for ?

—What is philosophy ?

—What philosophy is used for ?

—Why did I choose to mix art and philosophy in this project?

Beginning: Why is it interesting for an adult to do this project here with you?

  • —To spend a moment with you and to take time to create something together. To give you space to dream, talk and create.
  • —Because we think you are intersting persons. Children have a different outlook on the world. An adult can also learn from children.
  • —Because the search of meaning is important for you children and for everybody to understand the world. We think it is important to sometimes think together
  • —To help you to understand yourself better, to know yourself better and to think about yourself.
  • —To allow you to assert and express yourself while respecting the others and while staying yourself.
  • —To help you to accept yourself better.
  • —To develop your creativity while discovering new inspirations

Development:  no model, instructions are given one by one

  • —Cover

-Distribution of materials, guidance, numbering, name (with pencil on the back).

-Observation of the face in a mirror (shape).

-Choice of the cover and drawing of the face’s shape (circle or oval) which fills this whole page.

-Observation of the face’s elements and comparison of their position

-Drawing of the different parts of the face.

-Go over the drawing with a black pen.

-Choice of a color in the oil pastels box for the favourite part of the face

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  • —Preparation of pages 2, 3 & 4:

-Choice of three coloured papers (cut of 3 pieces out of them)

-Collage of papers on the different pages

-Observation of the remaining space for question and illustration

-Painting of the illustration’s part with white acrylic.

  • —Philosophical questions around the main topic: identity

-Difference: are you like the others?

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-Appearence: do you like to look at yourself in the mirror?

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-Freedom: do you choose who you are?

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—Collective research and philosophical debate

—Copy of the question

—Illustration of the answer

—Conceptualisation (definitions).

 

Collective structure: why is it interesting to ask ourselves those questions? What have we learned?

  • —To distrust ready-made judgments which prevent one from living and loving other people as they are.
  • —Not to imitate or not to try to be absolutely different
  • —To search if you need to be normal
  • —To take responsibility for your own existence even if you haven’t chosen it
  • —That to be free doesn’t mean avoiding obligations and constraints but confronting them while staying yourself
  • —To distinguish between what can and what cannot be changed. What is permanent? How to avoid chasing a fake or an impossible dream.
  • —That life helps you to understand slowly who you are
  • To know yourself better and to accept that you can’t always be what you would like to be
  • Not to give too much importance to the physical appearance and to discover that the real beauty is inside
  • To apprehend that the others’ outlook can also be a mirror for yourself
  • To find your way between the excessive love of yourself and the rejection of yourself
  • To know yourself better and to accept that you can’t always be what you would like to be
  • Not to give too much importance to the physical appearance and to discover that the real beauty is inside.
  • To apprehend that the others’ outlook can also be a mirror for yourself
  • To find your way between the excessive love of yourself and the rejection of yourself

References

English

http://www.philosophyforchildren.org

http://depts.washington.edu/nwcenter/newbooks.html

http://philosophyforchildren.org

http://plato-philosophy.org

http://icpic.org

http://www.montclair.edu/cehs/academics/centers-and-institutes/iapc/

http://p4c.com

-TEDx conference by Dr. Sara Goering – Philosophy for Kids: Sparking a Love of Learning : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DLzXAjscXk

-Philosophical children: https://vimeo.com/136588083

-The benefits of teaching philosophical inquiry to kids on Philosophy Talk radio. An interview with Director Jana Mohr Lone http://depts.washington.edu/nwcenter/p4c.mp3

-Experiment in Springfield school, Massachusetts: http://video.wgby.org/video/2365360694/

-Bassiri, A., Brown, K., Evans, M., Mascitelli-Morey, S., Pruitt, A., Vaidya, A., and Wartenberg, T., Implementing Philosophy in Elementary Schools, 2013, AuthorHouse

-Jana Mohr Lone, The Philosophical Child, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2012.

-Thomas E.Wartenberg, Big Ideas for Little Kids: Teaching Philosophy through Children’s Literature, Rowman & Littlefield Publisher, 2014.

-Lipman, M., Sharp, A., Oscanyan, F., Philosophy in the Classroom, 1980, Temple University Press

-Lipman, M., and Sharp, A. M., Looking for Meaning, 1982, Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children

-Lipman, M., and Sharp, A. M., Wondering at the World, 1986, Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for ChildrenLipman, M., Thinking in Education, 2003, Cambridge University Press

-Lipman, M., A Life Teaching Thinking, 2008, Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children.

Matthews, G., 1996, The Philosophy of Childhood, Harvard University Press

—In French

http://www.phileasetautobule.be

http://www.polephilo.be

http://www.cenestquundebut.com

http://philoenfant.org

http://edwigechirouter.over-blog.com

-Video documentary in French: Canal ARTE-France Quand les enfants philosophent, 2005 : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmX_F2ud24U#t=33

-Swiss documentary RTS (Michel Sasseville) : http://philoflorimont.blogspot.ca/2012/08/video-michel-sasseville-avec-une-classe.html

-Documentaire « Un pour tous, tous pour un ! » sur le projet d’école réalisé par l’école de Lauzelle en Belgique («La différence : l’intégration des enfants de l’enseignement spécial dans l’enseignement ordinaire en 2009-2010 à réflexion sur la notion de différence et création d’un film d’animation en lien avec le sujet): http://www.polephilo.be/Documentaire_a22.html

http://www.cenestquundebut.com/le-film

-L-enfant-et-la-philosophie_a98.html

-Une interview de Martine Nolis « Des ateliers de philo en classe » : http://www.phileasetautobule.be/Des-ateliers-philo-en-classe_a99.html

-Moi, c’est quoi ?, O.Brenifier, Editions Nahtan, collection PhiloZenfants, 2004.

-Article de Edwige Chirouter « L’enfant et la philosophie » : http://www.phileasetautobule.be/L-enfant-et-la-philosophie_a98.html

-Interview de Martine Nolis « Des ateliers de philo en classe » : http://www.phileasetautobule.be/Des-ateliers-philo-en-classe_a99.html

Curating workshop@National Museum & House Of Culture #NMHOC

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Last month, I gave a training for the team of the National Museum of Dar es Salaam. I was pleased to meet qualified and interesting people and very surprised by the enthusiasm and the motivation. The staff of the National Museum is involved despite the fact they face frustrations in the day to day work due to the many proceedings required before to create an event. The will is there, the only thing missing is confidence and a little hand to give the opportunity and free the space to to propose.

Venue

National Museum and House of Culture, city center of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Dates

The training-workshop took place in March 2015 from 8 :00am to 12: 30am:

  • On Tuesday the 24th
  • On Thursday the 26th
  • On Monday the 30th

Agenda

Day 1

  • Self-introductions, aims and expectations
  • Refresh: contemporary art
  • Basics of art’s philosophy and psychology (Aesthetic and keys of rationalization)
  • Basics of art’s sociology (rejects of contemporary art)
  • Introduction to the mediation of art (good spectator)

Day 2

  • Remind: definition of curating
  • Remind: history of curating
  • Basics: ethic and deontology of curating
  • Introduction to the rules of the art’s market
  • Beginning of the practical exercise on the organization of a real event ‘The children festival’.

Day 3

  • Practical exercise on the organization of a real event ‘The children festival’.
  • External and internal communication

Recommendations for future work:

  • necessity to create links between the different actors of the cultural scene in Dar es Salaam
  • continue and enhance the discussions about the market rues of art in Tanzania
  • try to create facilities for the other cultural actors who would like to produce events in the Museum
  • try to limit the proceedings for the team members who would like to develop the creation of new punctual projects and events in the Museum
  • create a database for the public but also an advisory council on the events
  • propose readymade and self sufficient projects to the management
  • cooperate and work in team, working platform
  • create personal objectives in the day to day work

Concerning the Internal exhibition@Circle Art Gallery Nairobi

Circle Art Gallery - Nairobi, Kenya

Delphine Buysse’s work @ Circle Art Gallery

Circle Art Gallery - Nairobi, Kenya

The first exhibition at Circle Art Gallery gives space to a group of 20 artists chosen for their diverse interrogation of profoundly individual, internal concerns. Concerning the Internal features video, installation, painting and drawing that communicate each artist’s innermost thoughts, experiences or desires.

Broader narratives about shared human experiences are counter-balanced by intimate, personal stories.  What brings the work together is its ability to draw the viewer into a reflective space, and allow insights into the artists’ most personal concerns.

Dawit Abebe, Maral Bolouri , Delphine Buysse, Rehema Chachage, Eltayeb Dawelbait, Naomi Wanjiku Gakunga, Diana Kamara, Wambui Kamiru, Zihan Kassam, Jackie Karuti III, Wanja Kimani Miriam Syowia Kyambi, Ato Malinda, Sibylla Martin, Kerttu Maukonen, Paul Onditi, Souad Abdel Rasoul, Ephrem Solomon, Xavier Verhoest, Beatrice Wanjiku.

Gallery’s website

http://www.circleartagency.com/exhibitions/concerning-the-internal/

Article on C &

http://www.contemporaryand.com/blog/exhibition/group-exhibition-concerning-the-internal-opening-of-the-new-circle-art-gallery-in-kenya/

The Beauty salons and the Beast@Apex Art project NYC-DSM

Very happy to have been selected to be part of  this interesting concept of exhibition. A great opportunity offered to us by Rehema Chachage & Jan Van Esch who won the Apex Art franchise for their project. I was pleased to meet the so generous NYC team who traveled to meet us.

The concept

Beauty Salons and the Beast* introduces the Tanzanian public to new and experimental art and aims to increase public interest and dialogue in the happenings and role of the visual arts in Tanzania. The project carries the theme of ‘multiple-choice’ and will feature artworks and interventions from local Tanzanian and international artists.

The exhibition aims to explore the public sphere and questions the role of artists in society by using artistic media and creative expression to engage with communities to communicate, explore, and articulate issues of local significance. It employs the ‘if they don’t follow the art, we will bring the art to them’ module by ‘infecting the city’ with activities like public performances, interventions, and public discussion as a way of bringing art to the community, and as a catalyst for dialogue.

Works of art will be exhibited in five small and large beauty salons and barbershops located in the streets of the Msasani area of Dar es Salaam.’ **

* Title adopted from Erick Mchome’s 12-02-2011 article in Mail and Guardian.

** Official press release

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Here is the article which has initiated the concept:

http://mg.co.za/article/2011-12-12-beauty-salons-and-the-beast

And the one in the french newspaper ‘Le courier international’

http://www.courrierinternational.com/article/2011/12/30/manucure-et-bien-coiffe-l-homme-moderne-de-dar-es-salaam

Here are some extract of the proposal written by ® Rehema Chachage for the exhibition

“Ultimately… public art… is about art and the public. And as long as that public is not just a small group of in-the-know followers of art, but a complex nation of inequality, varying access, varying levels of free time; as long as it is about publics.”(1)

The idea developed as a response to a trend that we have noticed: that attending art exhibitions is not really a tradition for most Tanzanians. Hence, not enough locals (as compared to the expatriate audience) attend art exhibitions and other cultural events taking place in galleries and cultural centers in the city… We say, ‘If they wont follow the art, let the art follow them;’ and we are on a mission to follow our audience wherever they may be.

For this first attempt at ‘pop-up’ exhibitions, we decided to explore beauty salons and barbershops as sites for intervention, after encountering an article from which this exhibition takes its title, « Beauty Salons and the Beast » by Erick Mchome, which highlights the extent to which salons have become one of the booming businesses in the city of Dar es Salaam, and where one finds a large concentrated mix of upper, middle, and lower class Tanzanians spending their spare time, especially on weekends.(2)This is the kind of audience we have, for the longest time, been trying to gain access to.

Like an increasing number of artists today, the artists selected for Beauty Salons and the Beast are interested in the public sphere and in questioning their role in society by using artistic media and creative expression to engage with communities to communicate, explore, and articulate issues of local significance. They employ this exhibition as a means to take art outside of the four white walls that they are used to, to access viewers other than the traditional gallery goers, and to listen to alternative views on their ‘messages’ and ‘media’ so as to develop an ‘eye’ and ‘ear’ for local aesthetics and interpretation of contemporary art. Through their interventions, they want to challenge their audience to pay attention and perceive more deeply the environment that they occupy – the situation through which their interventions are received and the resulting discourse are key elements. In a way, these artists are assuming the role of advocates (through art) for alternative perspectives that challenge assumptions, beliefs, and community values.

Included in Beauty Salons and the Beast are works that grab the imagination and resonate with our immediate time and place. Most of the contributions are closely tied with the upcoming general election in October 2015, and are reflective on our 50+ years of independence and 20+ years of practicing liberal democracy with contradictions therein, one of the most endemic being how to curb corruption and abuse of office. With the voting practice in mind, the artists collectively agreed on multiple choice(s) as a starting point and the overarching theme – as a form of assessment tool in which respondents are asked to select the best possible answer (or answers) out of the choices from a list, one discovers that the answer is more often than not ‘all of the above’ – there are multiple choices.

Barbie dolls installation

Barbie dolls installation

…On the subject of choice(s) or making a choice(s), the installation with 50 Barbie dolls hanging upside down and tinted in 50 Shades of Grey, Delphine Buysse’s intervention, examines dualities in life and the difficulties that come with making choice(s)…

Each artist is trying to, in his or her own distinctive way, voice his/her own story/concern. To quote the Executive Director of Africa Center, Tanner Methvin, “The propaganda is that we don’t have the authority to freely express ourselves. Our voice requires permission from someone or something that does. It is our teacher, principal, boss, or the government official who allows us to dance, sing, paint, photograph, write, or simply speak. They tell us when we have been selected, picked, or chosen and only then do we stand up… This of course is a myth, but one we all participate in progressing every time we suppress ourselves and avoid the opportunity to tell our story.”(3)

Rehema Chachage © 2015

1. Jay Pather, Curator’s Note in Infecting the City: Public Arts Festival, March 10-15, 2014, Cape Town City Centre, exhibition catalog, p. 3.
2. Eric Mchome, “Beauty Salons and the Beast,” Mail & Guardian, Dec. 12, 2011: http://mg.co.za/article/2011-12-12-beauty-salons-and-the-beast.
3. Tanner Methvin, Introductory Note in Infecting the City: Public Arts Festival, March 10-15, 2014, Cape Town City Centre, exhibition catalog, p. 2.

 Catalogue of the exhibition

Catalogue

http://apexart.org/images/chachage-esch/chachage-esch.pdf

Press

The Citizen

http://www.thecitizen.co.tz/magazine/the-beat/If-they-won-t-follow–let-the-art-follow-them/-/1843792/2622686/-/item/0/-/qq7jte/-/index.html

Chapchap family event@Nafasi Art Space

On the saturday 31d of January, we have organized a ‘curiosity’ chapchap with the help of the artists of the Nafasi Art Space of Dar-es-Salaam – Mikocheni.

This family event is linked  to our ongoing exhibition ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’. 

We proposed a family art and crafts activity:

– collect vegetal element in the area

– assemble them together to create an imaginary insect

– glue them on a wooden stick or on  black paper

Then the show started again with the performances of  Makini  NGO and MuDa Africa contemporary dance school and the reactions spoke for themselves!

 

Visits for schools of the ‘Cabinet of curiosities’ exhibition @Nafasi Art Space

During a whole week, we have organized visit of the exhibition for the Tanzanian and International school of Dar es Salaam. We had prepared 2 lessons: one to be taught at school by the teachers themselves and the other one by ourselves at the Nafasi Art Space.

The visit

After an short introduction of ourselves, our work and the artists, we told the students a story about ‘cabinet of curiosities’.

Helped by a short cartoon movie for children, we explained them the subject of the exhibition.

 

Then we had a kind of art talk about the big aesthetic questions:

– Is art always beautiful?

– Does it need to like something?

– Is art always painting or sculpture?

 

Finally, we played different kind of games:

– Find the detail from a piece of art. Where is it coming from?

– Guess what is artwork is made of?

– Tell me the story of that painting (before and after)?

 

Art and crafts.

We have asked to the children to make insects of recycled vegetal things they found in the garden.

Cabinet of curiosities exhibition

 

to see more pictures

http://altdel.net/curating/cabinet-of-curiosities/

and for the art lovers, here is the article from the catalogue en français

 

De l’histoire parallèle du Cabinet de curiosités ou une histoire des possibles.

La curiosité comme première condition si ne qua non à la création d’une exposition.

En 1771, dans le dictionnaire de Trévoux, la curiosité comporte déjà trois composantes, « Curiosus, cupidus, studiosus » : l’attention, le désir, la passion du savoir. Dans le dictionnaire de Furetière, le curieux est défini comme « celui qui veut tout savoir, et tout apprendre, qui a désir d’apprendre, de voir les merveilles de l’art et de la nature, qui a voyagé, qui a feuilleté tous les bons livres, qui a ramassé les choses les plus rares ».

Dès le début, le mot désigne à la fois l’état du sujet et la nature de l’objet mais il restera longtemps attaché à l’activité artistique ou scientifique de l’amateur. Effectivement, l’histoire de la curiosité suit celle des objets dans leurs rapports avec notre désir, du plus inavoué (jouissance du collectionneur plus ou moins fétichiste) au plus honorable (amateur, chercheur…). Mais très vite, la curiosité ne sera plus seulement l’apanage des amoureux du luxe et du lucre, en proie à la simple jouissance esthétique ou à une soif du plaisir de posséder la singularité. Elle devient, au contraire, plus subtile, s’oriente vers une passion pour les objets porteurs de sens et se teinte d’une soif du savoir.

Aujourd’hui peu encouragée dans l’enseignement, la curiosité, pourtant innée chez les enfants, a mauvaise réputation. En français, ne dit-on pas qu’elle est un « vilain défaut» ? Plus métaphorique, l’anglais dit qu’elle « a tué le chat ». Le quotient de curiosité commence néanmoins à figurer aux côtés du quotient intellectuel et émotionnel. Dans un article de la Harvard Business Review, «La curiosité est aussi importante que l’intelligence», Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic explique que ceux qui ont un quotient de curiosité développé font preuve de deux grandes qualités : la «tolérance face à l’ambiguïté» et la volonté «d’acquérir des connaissances».

Faire face à l’incertitude ou à l’imprévu, aborder les conflits de façon créative, trouver de nouvelles solutions, découvrir, assembler, innover, se lancer dans l’expérimentation avec l’espoir de trouver de nouvelles pistes sont autant de qualités inhérentes à la curiosité et de conditions nécessaires à la création mais aussi à la réussite d’une exposition collective. La thématique du Cabinet de curiosités permet d’exploiter la curiosité en cherchant à pénétrer ou à surprendre les secrets intimes de la Nature et du processus de création du monde dans ce qu’ils offrent de plus fantastique.

Pas d’expérimentation sans liberté.

Libérer l’expérimentation, vaste programme. Créer sans contraintes, de quelque nature qu’elles soient : esthétiques, financières ou politiques, n’est-ce pas le rêve de tout artiste ? Une utopie, sans doute, en trame de fond derrière l’organisation de cette exposition.

Selon le psychiatre anglais Donald Winicott, l’aire psychique de jeu du petit enfant prend naissance dans un espace intermédiaire appelé l’espace potentiel. Dans cet espace potentiel, l’illusion serait une sorte d’erreur génératrice d’une possibilité, celle d’expérimenter. L’expérimentation se fonde sur des hypothèses perpétuellement remises en question pour accéder à un nouvel état de connaissance.

A travers cette expérimentation, le jeu est décrit comme une manipulation réalisée par l’enfant en interaction avec lui-même ou avec des objets externes pour minimiser l’angoisse humaine. Ces « objets » qui amenuisent l’angoisse, sont appelés des objets transitionnels. Le jeu devient dès lors un acte créateur comme solution à l’angoisse et la créativité, une approche de la réalité extérieure, une force motrice du développement humain qui permet de voir perpétuellement les choses avec un regard neuf, à condition que la tradition le permette. Chez l’adulte, le prolongement de l’espace potentiel du jeu se fait à travers des expériences culturelles et notamment la création artistique.

La collection comme processus d’inspiration et pour initier le plaisir de faire

Selon Walter Benjamin, historien de l’art allemand, chez l’enfant, l’acte de collectionner est un processus de renouvellement au même titre que l’acte de peindre, coller, découper. Pour l’adulte ou le collectionneur, l’acquisition d’un livre ancien équivaut à sa renaissance. Renouveler le monde est sans doute l’instinct le plus profond qu’éprouve le collectionneur quand il vient d’acquérir de nouveaux objets.

Outre sa vocation encyclopédique perceptible derrière le concept de « petit théâtre du monde », la collection permet aussi de susciter l’imagination en effectuant un voyage immobile dans l’espace et le temps et de témoigner en offrant des traces du passé et du lointain.

L’acte de collectionner ces objets étranges parfois créés de main d’homme, dévoile un aspect ludique du Cabinet de curiosités. Miniaturiser le monde, pouvoir tout englober d’un seul regard. Le jeu humain fait aussi écho au jeu divin de la création et témoigne d’une volonté de faire sens en créant des liens entre le visible et l’invisible, le sensible et l’intelligible, le connu et l’inconnu.

Renouveler le monde, susciter l’imagination, laisser des traces du passé, donner du sens, rassembler, jouer, créer un lien entre l’humain et le divin sont autant d’objectifs qui sous-tendent l’acte de collectionner et qui sont des conditions inhérentes à l’initiation du processus de création et de réinterprétation contemporaine du Cabinet de curiosités, tel que nous l’avons imaginé.

Le cabinet de curiosités et le travail de commissaire

Les artistes surréalistes mettaient en œuvre une théorie de libération du désir en utilisant des techniques qui reproduisent les mécanismes du rêve. Par l’acte de transformation créatif, les objets sont tournés, retournés, détournés de leur sens, de leurs formes pour devenir des objets insolites, « araisonnés ». Ainsi, à côté des objets extraordinaires qui font de nous de banals curieux, il y a les objets ordinaires qui rendent la banalité curieuse.

Dans un cabinet de curiosité, les objets se mettent à dialoguer entre eux, éveillant, réveillant l’imaginaire jusqu’à l’inconscient. A mi chemin entre le hasard et la nécessité, l’objet, détourné de toute fonction utilitaire, prend la place d’un messager.

Mais à l’instar de l’artiste qui ne manifeste sa liberté d’individu qu’au sein d’un groupe, l’objet ne prend son sens que par rapport aux autres objets. Et cette dialectique des objets, qui est l’essence même du travail de commissaire, entre ordre et désordre, rationnel et merveilleux, didactisme et liberté, entretient la primauté du désir.

Voilà pourquoi un cabinet de curiosité, à l’image d’un atelier d’artiste témoigne de rencontres, de voyages, de promenades, d’amitiés, de ruptures, de débats, d’un faisceau de conditions objectives qui ont présidé à l’élaboration et de choix subjectifs résultant du désir des artistes et des commissaires.

 Delphine Buysse