Alfred Jarry Archipelago — La valse des pantins — Acte II


Installation, painting, video

Alfred Jarry Archipelago
La valse des pantins — Acte II

Past: October 18, 2015 → February 14, 2016

All most people remember of Jarry is the King Ubu furore, which overshadows a complex body of work marked by radical experimentation and an unmannerly blending of genres. In bringing together a remarkable group of one-of-a-kind international artists, Alfred Jarry Archipelago demonstrates that an entire register of current art and performance is shot through with potent, “Jarryesque” transgression.

“Because this boy — who wore size 36 shoes and who, brokenhearted, went to his friend Mallarmé’s funeral wearing a lemon yellow pair stolen from his lady friend Rachilde; who, when he was born at the age of 15, was already the child he would be when he died at 34; who knew at once that ”To live = To cease to exist“; who spent his life yo-yoing at up to 300 km/h between the lands of ”shitr“ and the absolute; who left behind wonders that would knock you flat; who staked his entire existence on literature and played with a revolver, claiming that it was ”as beautiful as literature“ — completely escapes the clutches of literature.”

Annie Le Brun

The Project

In his poetry, plays and drawings Alfred Jarry (1873-1907) shattered the boundaries of the social, moral and aesthetic order of the late 19th century. Like a thunderclap, his King Ubu’s famed “Shitr!” paved the way for for the modernity that was waiting in the wings: from Marcel Duchamp to Harald Szeemann, and including the Futurists, the Surrealists, the Conceptuals and all the many others indebted to this “proto- Dadaist”.

Between the turn of one century and that of its successor Jarry’s work and ideas seem to have breathed new life into society and art. The abolition of limits — to disciplines, identity, good sense, good taste — that he explored in his life and his work, led him to a totally new approach to drama, the body and language; as well as issues of domination, whether related to desire, knowledge or power. Homing in a selection of Jarryesque motifs, Alfred Jarry Archipelago sets out to pinpoint their reappearance in the visual arts, on the cusp of theatre, dance and literature.

In his celebrated pataphysical manifesto Exploits and Opinions of Dr Faustroll, Pataphysician Jarry describes an initiatory island-hopping voyage that abolishes factual geography in favour of its artistic equivalent. Each chapter of Book 3 recounts a landfall on an imaginary island dedicated to a writer or artist of the time. If he were sailing through today’s world, what kind of landscape of the last century would Jarry orchestrate ?

In the same spirit Alfred Jarry Archipelago invites him along as a posthumous curator : for a string of islands embodying the works of various artists and sketching an uncompromisingly subjective view of his heritage. Unfolding over several months, in different places and in different shapes and forms — group and solo exhibitions, screenings, performances, encounters — the project will be rounded off with a major catalogue.

Alfred Jarry Archipelago is initiated by Le Quartier, Centre for Contemporary Art in Quimper (France), La Ferme du Buisson Centre for Contemporary Art in Noisiel (France), and the Museo Marino Marini in Florence (Italy). The venture is part of Piano, the Franco-Italian art exchange platform, in collaboration with M Museum and Playground in Louvain (Belgium).

77 Seine-et-Marne Zoom in 77 Seine-et-Marne Zoom out

Allée de la Ferme

77186 Marne-la-Vallée

T. 01 64 62 77 00

Opening hours

Wednesday – Sunday, 2 PM – 7:30 PM
et les soirs de spectacles

Admission fee

Entrée libre

Venue schedule

The artists

  • Julien Bismuth
  • Mike Kelley
  • Dora Garcia
  • Tala Madani
  • William Anastasi
  • Nathaniel Mellors
  • Paul Chan
  • Rainer Ganahl
  • Naotaka Hiro
  • Henrik Olesen
And 2 others…