Where the lions are

a.a. Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc, Isabelle Cornaro, Claire Fontaine, Peter Friedl, Dora Garcia, Florence Lazar, Katerina Seda, Danh Vo, 王浩然, 楊俊, 陳玉瓊

May 08 – May 23, 2008

《Where the lions are》 is a sentence that european cartographers from the Middle Ages used to indicate unknown, “undiscovered” territories on their maps, projecting fantastic images, produced by fantasy and fear, on the otherness.

This exhibition gathers international artists who question the relationships with the other and its domestication or reject, two complementary ways to maintain distance with what is considered as alien, and the first step in a colonization process.

The exhibition will consider contemporary situations of colonization but also the way that a society, a group or an individual can unconsciously desire for, admit to and integrate into a system, a hierarchy of values that will assign it to a minor position and as a result become a colonized subject. It is not through oppression, but rather through a limitation of possibilities that leads to a situation where one cannot recognize oneself anymore.

The relationship with otherness usually reflects and reveals the mental, social and political constructions of a set group. Either this other is rejected as an alien, or it is fantasized and domesticated through exoticism. Both situations, at an individual or collective scale, are related with the feeling of identity and the certainty of it. To define identity as a construction and accept non-knowledge as a common place, a shared one, is to also accept it to be the other’s alternativeness, to become the alien, the barbarian; as the text in one of the works by the collective Claire Fontaine aptly points out, we are 《Foreigners everywhere》.

Intertwining histories and uses of culture emerge in the works of the exhibited artists. Their researches investigate cultural exchanges as places of conflict, where the otherness inside us becomes the uncanny within an ungraspable identity.

Francois Piron