From 11 February to 29 May
Curator: Marie Cozette
The artist write about his exhibition at Crac Occitanie:
“Close actions” were first carried out during visits with my father, Philippe Fouché, at the medical institutions in which he has been living since 2015 (hospitals, a rehabilitation facility, a nursing home…) following a stroke that paralysed him on one side. Through gestures, displacements and manipulations of objects found on site, I intensified my relationship with spaces arranged for care, which had
become places of a family life. I acted in Philippe’s vicinity, rather than with him, during waiting times when health professionals were caring for him.
“Close actions” is derived from “close presences”, the expression by which Fernand Deligny designated the non-professionals who, in the middle of the Cévennes from 1967 to the 1990s, watched over autistic children entrusted to them, inventing a way of life with them outside of any institutional framework, on experimental camps dubbed “living areas”.
(…) Since 2020, assistant-assisted actors and actresses have been “close acting”. Body collisions and distancings, objects sculptures- accessories-cameras, : close actions have no script and recount nothing; they are the result of what I call “empathetic aberrations”, which arise in failures to identify with other objects or people. Trying to put yourself in the place of a nurse on strike, a baby on the grass, someone who does not walk, something that rolls, a turning fork, a stripe on fabric… Not succeeding, and plastically speculating on the diversity of modes of existence.
The exhibition assumes the form of viewing areas integrated into an environment of objects—accessories and sculptures—about which we do not know whether they are the point of departure or the product of close actions. They are deranged relics rather than reconstructions. They are also potential markers, temporarily freed from their apparition modes in filmed actions. This search for spatial and temporal deviation asserts the instability of the physical
and emotional laws that regulate the movement of things and beings. A set of drawings reminds us that the actions take shape outside of the orthonormal space in which everything is supposed to stay.
The filmed actions are presented in three subsets, which
form a triptych of screens:
• Philippe. Philippe Fouché moves about in an electric wheelchair and lives in an institution.
The close actions in this case are part of a wild rehabilitation: something has
malfunctioned (the body, the hospital, society) and it will non-function again, differently. Wild rehabilitation is for those who agree to change the way the body is idealised. As for medical rehabilitation, the real one: “there’s no room left in the service sir, sorry (STAFFING PROBLEM)”.
• Mémoire aberrante (roman cubiste de la Tentative).
[Aberrant Memory (Cubist Novel of the Attempt)]. The Tentative (Attempt) in question is historical and legendary.
It is the experimental care network for nonverbal autistic children, founded by Deligny. Our close actions took place under the influence of the spatial and conceptual postulates of that attempt, which are being presented at the same time at the Crac in the exhibition Fernand Deligny, légendes du radeau[Fernand Deligny, Legends of the Raft]. Kid A does not “do” the dishes: so what is the nature of the contact between his hands, the water, and the plate? With autistic children, Deligny sought manifestations of a “memory that, in a way, is resistant to symbolic domestication, is a bit aberrant, and is struck by that which does not mean anything, if ‘struck’ is understood as that which leaves an impression”. Acting today in consequence of that experiment does not mean recounting what was, but attempting to activate its aberrant memory. Aberration is liberating, and we only know what we transform.
• Vie assistée, vie institutionnelle, vie (ré)éduquée.
[Assisted life, Institutional Life, (Re)Habilitated Life]. Workers perform tasks. The question arises: “How can a dependent person be put to bed in 3 minutes, 41 seconds?”. One tries to feel the difference between putting to bed and
throwing away. There is also: feeding, housing, changing, bandaging, going on strike, cleaning, transmitting, massager, heating, shaving, washing, rolling, lifting (the invalid), bending, camering, verticalizing… (seen things).
At the Crac, I also attempted to resume an experiment begun in 2012 with Le Musée antidote, which was a photographic and plastic investigation of the Romanian Peasant Museum in Bucharest. What I call “institutional life” must also overcome what one of the main organisers of the Romanian Peasant Museum, ethnographer Irina Nicolau, calls the “hostpial-museum”, the place where objects only age, separated from their own transformation potentials. The reconstructed studio of Constantin Brâncuși, designed by Renzo Piano right outside the Centre Pompidou, is one of those ambivalent presentation sites that froze in the process of protecting. We walked a “cross-eyed camera” (Deligny)
along the studio’s corridors, in pursuit of the androgynous body set in motion by Philippe Fouché.
After the 10-rue-Saint-Luc (the studio of L’Arachnéen), Bétonsalon, MoMA’s Virtual Cinema, the Centre Pompidou Metz, and Parliament gallery, the Crac Occitanie is presenting the sequel to Manifeste Janmari [Janmari
Manifesto] entitled Manifeste assisté [Assisted Manifesto].
The exhibition is a new scene of “aberrant memory” (Deligny), structured around a selection of new and old close actions.
I would like to thank Sandra Alvarez de Toledo for the considerable support she has given to Manifeste assisté [Assisted Manifesto].
For their supportive involvement, I also wish to thank:
Béryl Coulombié, Yannik Denizart, Emmanuel Fouché, Philippe Fouché, Adrien Malcor, Anaïs Masson and Martín Molina-Gola, as well as the other assistant-assisted actors and actresses: Violett e a, Antoine Astier, Moussa Arda, Natacha Berger, Yann Bréheret, Félix Brieden, Mariette Cousty, Tiphaine Dambrin, Raphael Delannoy, Anna Dubosc, Marie-Christine Fouché, Christine Fougères, Daniel Galicia, François Guinochet, Nayon Lee, Marlon Miguel, Maxence
Rifflet, Patricia Som, Marina Vidal-Naquet, Thivakar Yogeswaran, Zlata, and the students of Ensba Lyon.
Florian Fouché received aid from the Drac Île-de-France for this exhibition (Aide
individuelle à la création 2022).
He received the kind permission of Xavier Rey, director of the Musée National d’Art Moderne, and Laurent Le Bon, president of the Centre Pompidou, to create the film Vie institutionnelle [Institutional Life] in the reconstructed studio of Constantin Brâncuși .
Florian Fouché was supported by the Fondation OVE, which made spaces available for an experiment at the Centre Robert Doisneau (Paris). The participation of several people receiving care on those sites was made possible by the voices of Natacha Berger and Laëtitia Le Sénéchal.
Some works presented in the exhibition were produced with support from
Top page photo: Exhibition view of « Assisted Manifesto » by Florian Fouché, Crac Occitanie -Sète, 2023. Théâtre du soin, la destruction du service de santé publique, (détail) 2023 © of the artist and courtesy galerie Parliament, Paris. Photo : Aurélien Mole.
Picture in the text: Florian Fouché, film still of the video Mémoire aberrante (roman cubiste de la Tentative), in the Manifeste assisté series, 2022 - © of the artist and courtesy galerie Parliament, Paris.