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franceopening Pilot Light: performance Mehdi A. and Tiravanija

Mehdi A.
Transfert, 2009
Production of the FRAC Nord-Pas de Calais, Dunkerque

The work of Mehdi A. is centered around meetings and connections. His performances reflect daily life, revealing small details previously unseen, and perhaps adding a bit of magic to it. The installation Transfert is being built gradually, following the path of the public, the residents, the people in transit across the neighborhoods of Lille. The links between these people are plaster casts placed on different parts of their body, chosen by the artist. Show romanizationThis creative process is essential to the work, because each participant supplements it with his or her individual trace. The artist then places the casts on a banquet table, creating a decomposed and protean body, as well as delivering a portrait of the city and life around us. During the exhibition, each visitor is invited to take chalk and write on the green walls of the installation, or equally to erase others messages, leaving their own traces such as those of the cast.

Rirkrit Tiravanija
Untitled 2007 (mussels corner) (live), 2007
Performed by Pattara Chanruechachai
Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris

Rirkrit Tiravanija’s work is centered around moments of exchange. In his food performances, the artist cooks for the viewers, and everyone in attendance enjoys a free meal, allowing for a shared experience and opportunity for dialogue. For Pilot Light, an exhibition with French and Thai artists, we wanted to do a food performance in order to better connect the community of northern France with Thai culture. With two such different cultures- generally, as well as in their level of public concern towards HIV/AIDS- it’s important to strengthen engagement with the public, especially the youth culture. An artist such as Rirkrit Tiravanija, who is a familiar and influential figure to both audiences, can make a difference in how the French public can connect to the work and to Thai culture, making it less exotic and more accessible. A food performance is a simple way of reaching out, an artwork which anyone can understand, regardless of their language. In this specific performance, mussels- a typical dish of Northern France- were cooked with Thai spices and Northern French beer, combining the two cultures in one meal.

Photos & video: Vincent Maquaire. ©