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Johana Blanc and Simone Holliger at BF15 Lyon

November 17, 2022–January 21, 2023

Opening: November 16, 6pm

The Centre culturel suisse in Paris, which is undergoing renovations through 2024, is currently touring France with an On Tour program that will make a stop in Lyon from January 12 through January 21, 2023. This time, the Centre culturel suisse and La BF15 are collaborating on two exhibitions that will open on November 17, 2022: one will feature the monumental sculptures of Simone Holliger, and the other will feature Johana Blanc’s more text- and performance-heavy works. These two artists’ works examine brittleness and toughness as well as the unpredictability of existence in their interaction.

“Our words are not words of love, but our words to speak of love are a practice of our love, and that’s why I record my friends when they speak, because I like it when they speak, but I don’t know why our love has to be built like that, by this endless work of piling up words, all these words, which prepare other words, that we won’t say to each other. Our words bring us together around an emptiness, and I often ask myself: when we talk like that, do we hold ourselves back from falling, or do we push ourselves into it?” Johana Blanc

Johana Blanc bases her performance at BF15 on a corpus of casual talks about love that she taped over several months with her friends. The public is invited to take, activate, and respond to these words as they occupy the space, modifying and saturating it. She is especially intrigued by marginal discourses’ potential for revolution. In the opening, Johana Blanc questions the value of these talks as societal rituals by performing them in J’aime bien quand tu parles. The public is welcome to replay one of the dialogues in Meeting Protocol, which was created in partnership with the artist and scenographer Delphine Abrecht. As part of the show, a reading group and group writing workshops are held in a format sans cis-het men, as chosen by the artist. This workshop is part of the Ouais, grave publishing project led by the artist in collaboration with Leo Sciarrino.

“After concentrating, in recent months, on questions of recycling and possible new materials to explore, I feel the desire and the need to return to the basis of my practice. Here I am showing new works made of paper, developed on the basis of two sculptures by Henri Laurens. Each one is made up of two elements that come together, hold on to each other and thus support the sculpture.
They become an organism, not clearly attributable to the human, animal or vegetable world. They look compact, hard and stable, but are empty inside, like giant covers or models. Placed directly on the floor of the exhibition space, they form a small group, a family, the members of a species.” —Simone Holliger

The disciplines of sculpture and installation are the focus of Simone Holliger’s artistic endeavors. She playfully reinterprets and recontextualizes a formal vocabulary that was influenced by modern sculpture, among other sources, by using paper as a malleable yet occasionally unpredictable construction material. Even while they generally resemble bas-relief, the volumes are frequently emaciated despite their original appearance. They appear as molds for sculptures that are now being created or as pieces of scenery from a long-ago stage production. They resemble huge, hollow shells. What might have initially appeared to be styrofoam or metal is actually only a paper collage. By urging the look to constantly investigate the full and the empty, front and behind, apparent and concealed, Simone Holliger encourages a particular gymnastics of the gaze. The medium becomes the vector of an artform that is both minimal and organic, compact and friable, synthetic and precarious, according to the artist’s claim of an aesthetic of vulnerability.

La BF15
11 Quai de la Pêcherie
69001 Lyon