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The Night of Museums and Galleries at SNG with a French Touch

This year, the Night of Museums and Galleries at the Slovak National Gallery will have a touch of French spirit. Besides the programmes accompanying the current exhibitions, SNG also approached the Parisian experimental group les gens d’Uterpan, who adapted their famous X-Event 2.6 (according to the protocol Le goût) especially for this event. A lecture and two related workshops will precede the Saturday performance.

The French group les gens d’Uterpan consists of two artists: Franck Apertet and Annie Vigier, with some occasional coworkers. It is the performers and choreographers who create unexpected situations on the location – very often in art galleries – that activate or “sensitise” the group of people sharing the space. Entering into the busy paths of our bodies, movements, gazes, and social habits, les gens d’Uterpan disturb, deflect and “deprogram” natural situations. They perturb, ask questions: how are we moving, how much do we limit ourselves in our space, who and what are we looking at, how long do we attach ourselves to an object/person, who/what does our gaze avoid? 

8 Den Frie, Udstillingsbygning, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2012.jpg

Den Frie, Udstillingsbygning, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2012 / Photo: Frederik Korfix / Courtesy: COPENHAGEN Art FESTIVAL

The group is working according to certain “protocols”, fixed and prefabricated choreographed patterns or events, which are repeated all over the world, on various locations, public spaces and art galleries. A new, original, and differently emotionally charged version of the event is created depending on the “native” and site specific reaction. What “mode” does our gaze have in the gallery environment? Are we the masters of our gaze? Do strange gazes disturb us?

Series of X-Events includes seven protocols - one of them is precisely this X-Event 2.6 and what you will see at SNG during the Night of Museums and Galleries will be a distinct variation of this performance. Basically, X-Event 2.6 (according to the protocol Le goût) consists of a group of at least 5 performers who walk freely within a defined space. They stare at one another or at the visitors in a neutral fashion, without any intention. They do not talk, they sit or lie down on the ground without ceasing to search out someone's eyeline. The action is maintained for several hours. The gaze and the attitude of the body must reflect a perfect quietness and normality but invest strategically the situation and the context. As any other performances, it requires concentration, awareness to space and people behaviours as well as fellowship participation into a group.

Performances such as this, casting doubts on the conventions of fine art, have taken places in galleries and during festivals all over the world – from Tate Modern in London, through the Berlin Biennale to Cali Performance Festival in Colombia. The activities of the les gens d’Uterpan group are unparalleled in Slovakia, only vaguely reminiscent of the events held by Dočasná spoločnosť intenzívneho prežívania (Temporary Society of Intense Experience) from the late 1970s.

Previous presetations of X-Event 2.6 (according to the protocol Le goût):
Biennale d’art contemporain de Lyon 2007 (Francúzsko), Tate Modern, Londýn (Spojené kráľovstvo), Bétonsalon, art and research center, Paríž (Francúzsko), Nam June Paik Art Center, Yongin (Kórea), Galeria Vermelho, Sao Paulo (Brazília), Muzeum Sztuki Nowoczesnej Warszawie, Varšava, (Poľsko), COPENHAGEN Art FESTIVAL (Dánsko), YAY! Gallery – Yarat Contemporary Art Space, Baku (Azerbajdžan), 3. Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art, Ekaterinburg (Rusko), Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paríž (Francúzsko), Polytechnion/documenta 14, Atény (Grécko)

Franck Apertet will lead two subsequent workshops at SNG in English language (on Thursday, May 18th at 4.00 PM and on Friday, May 19th at 3.00 PM), which will allow the participants to practice the performance before the Saturday activation in various location in the gallery. Selected participants will become a direct part of the performance, and will be paid for their participation.

Prior the workshops Franck Apertet will deliver a public lecture.


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