January 20 – March 11, 2017
Opening January 19 from 6 to 9 p.m.
Rue des Bains 61, 1205 Geneva
The Galerie Xippas Geneva is delighted to present Bertille Bak’s first monographic exhibition in Switzerland. Simultaneously to her participation to the Biennale de l’Image en Mouvement at the Contemporary Art Center Geneva, she will present her third exhibition at the Galerie Xippas. The french artist will invest our space in Geneva with a recent set of art works.
Through videos, installations, sculptures and drawings, Bertille Bak generates questions about the notions of identity, collectivity, territory and memory. She tries to blend in a community to observe their rituals, gestures and objects. Then, with the participation of the people she meets, she builds a story that is neither a documentary nor a fiction. It goes above and beyond reporting a situation.
The video Transports à dos d’hommes investigates the life of gypsies in Paris. They live in the constant fear of being forced to leave and decamp. The entire project includes a video, objects and archives such as the PILIS (luminous itinerary maps) that turn into sound machines, or paintings showing the landscapes traveled by the gypsies as they were coming to France. Bertille Bak shot the video in their camp close to Paris, where she lived and shared their routine for a couple of months. The project is about displacements, territories and music. Politics or social matters are not frontally discussed. Nevertheless, these are topics that she cherishes and the project is a way to foil the animosity towards the gypsies. The project Notes englouties is based on all the main cities crossed by the accordionists living on the gypsy camp. Bertille Bak methodically recorded the noises of each subway stations, from Paris, to Madrid, Rom, Berlin or London. She then could determinate which one were the loudest and therefore the most hostile for the musicians that are playing in the subway.
On another note, the video Le tour de Babel follows a monstrous cruise ship, synonymous of all- inclusive trip, through his different stages to reach its final destination. For the project Les Complaisants Bertille Bak asked every sailors who made a stopover in Saint-Nazaire to give her a couple of hair. With the hair she recreated each 35 flags of convenience, which allows a wide flexibility regarding the labour law.
In the basement, the video Figures Imposées has been produced by La Maison des Femmes du Hédas in Pau, very active in the women’s condition defense, as part of an action called “Nouveaux Commanditaires” supported by la Fondation de France, Fondation Daniel et Nina Carasso, the Conseil régional d’Aquitaine, la DRAC and Pointdefuite. The video has a double identity: the mischievous and dreamy language used by the group to talk about exile makes it a fiction, but the efficiency of the speech is relatable to a documentary practice. The social invisibility and the notion of borders are addressed through metaphorical scenes building a completely absurd reality.
Bertille Bak was born in Arras in 1983. She works and lives in Paris. Different institutions have organized solo exhibitions of her work : Le Grand Cafe St-Nazaire (France) in 2014, le Musée d’Art Moderne de la ville de Paris (2012), le Musée d’Art Contemporain du Val de Marne à Ivry (2011). She has also participated to a number of group exhibition and festivals, such as: the Biennale de l’Image en Mouvement at the Centre d’Art Contemporain de Genève in 2016, the Biennale de Lyon in 2015, NY-LUX at the Mudam in Luxembourg or A triple tour, Fondation Pinault pour l’art contemporain. Among others, her work has been acquired by the following collections : FNAC-CNAP, FMAC in Paris, the FRAC Rhône-Alpes, Neuflize Collection, François Pinault Collection, Artis, the Centre Georges Pompidou, MNAM/CCI, the Musée d’Art moderne de la ville de Paris and the Fondation Louis Vuitton pour la création.