The Silent University
This first exhibition draws up a "catalogue of collective desire" generated by the appearance of an art centre in the specific context that is Montreuil. The show gathers together the many voices and gestures that invoke the Other, considered as it is to be an alterity that is as desirable as it is irreducible.
Curator Marlene Rigler
Montreuil, a city which plays an essential role in the project of Greater Paris, is going to have its own contemporary art centre for the first time. Le 116, located at 116 rue de Paris, is to celebrate its inauguration on the 16th of October, 2013. 200 square metres in a former manor house, featuring a contemporary extension by French architect Bernard Desmoulin, are dedicated to the presentation of current forms of artistic practice. Le 116 will present three exhibitions a year, linking local and international artistic production. It hosts up to three residencies a year. Le 116 intends to particularly support artistic currents which are rarely to be found in galleries or art fairs, and which manifest themselves as politically informed, dynamic forms of aesthetic research.
As a response to the 'societal layering' (mix) which is typical of Montreuil, Le 116 is not interested in reflecting a singular, directing vision, but rather in uniting actors from different horizons. Le 116 proposes that the spectator takes part in the creation and actively engages with the artists, in order to multiply the voices that will resonate within the art centre. The resulting effect of 'polyphony' – that we prefer to the solitude of the exhibition curator – paves the way towards an open form of dialogue based on prolonged exchange between artists and the public, visitors and Le 116 team, professionals and amateurs.
Le 116 will be permanently open to contribution:
Two long term projects transform Le 116 into a genuinely public space. Each is accessible even beyond the exhibition cycle, and will invite the contribution of locals:
«Le Quartier Général» is an independent research group which aims to establish long-lasting links between Le 116 and its environment. Made up of former students of the 'SPEAP – Expérimentation Art et Politique' course at Sciences Po in Paris, this collective consists today of nine professionals from every horizon: ethnography, sociology, dance and performance, film and video, photography, semiology, geography and political science. «Le Quartier Général» aims to generate a multiple of moments for the general public to share. It establishes a collective reflection on questions that are vital for an art institution today, such as:
How should one endorse the project of an art centre at the height of contemporary society: plural, heterogeneous, at the crossroads of local and international?
«Le Quartier Général» will function as a crossroads between artistic gesture, scientific research, 'mapping' the territory and creating a dynamic archive. To actually exist, it needs local inhabitants of Montreuil to become involved in it.
«The Silent University» (www.thesilentuniversity.org) is an autonomous knowledge exchange platform, initiated by the international artist Ahmet Öğüt. The University recruits asylum seekers, refugees and immigrants with a professional background in their countries of origin, which, due to systematical social exclusion and processes of discrimination, is unable to put their knowledge to professional use in the countries which they currently live in. Through the Silent University, careers that have been muted are included and reassigned. Taking the form of an academic program, classes, lectures, libraries, seminars, a website and student-cards are created.
«The Silent University» was first shown at the Tate Gallery in London, with the support of the Delphina Foundation and then at the Showroom London. In October, 2013, it is introduced for the first time in France, at Le 116.
Opening Exhibition: Shared singularities
Far from expressing a singular vision, this first exhibition draws up a 'catalogue of collective desire' generated by the appearance of an art centre in the specific context that is Montreuil, in 2013. It reflects the multiple meetings and exchanges with local actors, from cultural as well as social background, as well as the preliminary research that has been carried out among artists, creators and art professionals. The exhibition gathers together the many voices and gestures that invoke the Other, considered to be an alterity that is as desirable as it is irreducible.
Participating artists: Ivan Argote & Pauline Bastard / Sylvie Blocher / Simon Boudvin / Jagna Ciuchta / Andrea Faciu &Guillaume Blondeau / Laurent Mareschal / Microsillons / Otobong Nkanga / Laurence Nicola / Tami Notsani / Célio Paillard & Frédéric Mathevet / Alexandra Sà / Katarina Zdjelar
«The Silent University» by Ahmet Öğüt.
«Le Quartier Général» operated by Axel Meunier/ Anna Recalde Miranda / Claire Fouquet/ Ralph Mahfoud/ Anne Dubos / Sarah Garbarg / Romain di Vozzo / Lucie Alexis / Fanny Doucarché.
Under the tutorship of the City of Montreuil-sous-Bois, France.
Photo: Nicolas Durand
Opening reception: October 16th, 7 p.m.
Centre d'art contemporain
116, rue de Paris, 93 100 Montreuil
Opening hours: We- Sat, 2 p.m - 7 p.m.