À Cris Ouverts Les Ateliers de Rennes
The Fondation d’entreprise Ricard has supported the works of artists Meriem Bennani and Anne Le Troter in the context of À Cris Ouverts – Les Ateliers de Rennes – Biennale d’art contemporain.
Meriem Bennani, Siham & Hafida, 2017
La Criée centre d’art contemporain
La Criée centre d’art contemporain
Video installation (30’)
From New York, where she has been living for several years, Meriem Bennani re-stages images and snapshots about the culture of the country of her birth, Morocco, showing an interest mainly in the place of women and the way they have been appropriating musical and sartorial customs. Famous in Morocco, Siham & Hafida had never met before M. Bennani decided to make them the two leading actresses in her film (2017); Hafida, the eldest, is a dedicated chickha, a popular singer in the oral tradition of the aïta. This musical style with its irreverent lyrics about the colonial society set up in Morocco in the late 19th century usually went hand-in-hand with important events, and represented a call for freedom. Today, this tradition still endures but through new figures, like the young Siham, whose performances are widely informed by the Internet and relayed on the social networks. Like a docu-fiction, M. Bennani films Siham and Hafida with all their distinctive and differing characteristics, questioning, alongside them, the changes in local traditions and their methods of transmission by the yardstick of globalization.
At La Criée, the film breaks up into a whole host of projections within which the narrative diffracts and sometimes has fun with the appearance of animated effects; here a crab, there a butterfly, teasing the convictions of the two protagonists.
En co-production avec / co-produced by Fondation d’entreprise Ricard ; Stanley Picker Gallery, Londres et / and La Criée centre d’art contemporain.
More information here.
Anne Le Troter, The Four Fs: Family, Finances, Faith and Friends, 2018
Halle de la Courrouze
Mixed media installation
Anne Le Troter’s sound installations are filled with voices. In them, over the last few years, we have heard telephone interviewers reciting pre-written sentences, denturists stammering, and ASMR aficionados (a sonic relaxation technique) whispering in our ears. For the artist, for whom references come as much from literature as from the visual arts, speech is an area of investigation per se. In it, text is incarnated and created within a material mechanics of bodies. But if the mouth is present through stammering and dental care, A. Le Troter is interested above all in how language is formalized as norms (the slang of communities, so-called corporate vocabulary, scientific and psychoanalytical language), which organize the bodies.
For this new work titled The Four Fs: Family, Finances, Faith and Friends (2018), A. Le Troter became a client of a private sperm bank based in the southern United States. She was especially interested in the voices of the employees (90% of them identified as women), whom the company asked to describe the physique and character of the donors, in order to round off their anonymous portrait. This portrait, aimed at facilitating the choice of clients in the catalogue, is created using a variety of factors: a photo of the donor as a child, the recording of his voice answering questions such as “Donor 5417 talks to us about the sort of thing that makes him happy”, the recording of the voice of the employee describing him, and, last of all, a thumbnail portrait summing up this information, titled “Get to know the donor”. For this installation, A. Le Troter gets us to push open the door of a refrigerated room with wall to wall curtains made of those small tubes specifically designed for the cryo-conservation of human sperm. Here, in this small room, hundreds of female voices have been compiled and mixed in a repetition of registration numbers and descriptive adjectives giving the impression of a nursery rhyme with strangely pre-teen overtones. In an aquarium, colored contact lenses move about in a comforting and attractive suspended state, while a looped slideshow of portraits echoes the mechanics of the voices. A. Le Troter lets us see and hear the cogs of the commercialization of our desires involving reproduction, resemblances and differences, uniqueness and success, soared over by an obvious ambivalence between a desire for emancipation and alienation.