Emporte-moi — Sweep me off my feet


Drawing, installation, painting, photography...

Sweep me off my feet

Past: May 7 → September 19, 2010

“It might seem like a trivial subject at first (…) but it has unsuspected depth. The emotions of being in love are infinitely complex,” say Frank Lamy and Nathalie de Blois, curators of « Emporte-moi / Sweep me off my Feet ». The exhibition deliberately shuns irony, demonstrating how contemporary artists continue to re-work the textbook rhetoric of love through forceful reinterpretations that shuttle between rapture and despair.

MAC/VAL’s goal in this new group exhibit is not so much to investigate Love as it is to give free reign to emotions. The videos, photographs, sculpture, and installations of some forty-odd internationally acclaimed artists provide us with a fresh look at the feelings of love while skirting the pitfall of cheap sentiment.

The exhibit’s evocative title « Emporte-Moi / Sweep me off my Feet » sets the tone: works housed at MAC/VAL for its new season, evoking the intense fervor of love in a way that strikes a chord with visitors. It takes artists to interpret this large repertoire of emotions with such virtuosity.Couples, soulmates, infatuation, passion, love songs, tears, and tales of kissing each in turn play a central role in the exhibition.

The challenge, thus, is to define Love in contemporary terms. What do the outlines of this « map of tender sentiments » look like? It is with that in mind that the curators selected works that spark a compelling, immediate dialogue, distilling the exquisite elixir of powerful emotions. Their shared characteristic is a lasting impact, which reveals itself gradually, morsel by delicate morsel, while maintaining a certain mystery.

The exhibit design offers visitors an abundance of echoes, cross-references and surprises. It is acartography of Love, or rather of emotions, which at MAC/VAL is not just a sequence of prefabricated experiences, but rather a subtle itinerary of initiation. Emotion is this exhibition’s shock wave, a form of upheaval, which elicits affect.Also to be found are symbols and mythology. Rest Energy by Abramovic and Ulay, for example, which serves as the exhibition’s visual signature, is a modern reinterpretation of Cupid: a couple pulls the arc together, the bowstring taut and poised to shoot an arrow straight to the heart of the inamorata Marina Abramovic. Sweet love? Love-hate? The ambiguity of emotion is one of the exhibition’s driving forces.

The lightheartedness of love sometimes gives way to the difficulty of loving and being loved. Love and its transports are explored in every form: photography (Pierre et Gilles, Bas jan Ader, Lygia Clark), drawing (Jorinde Voigt), video (Andy Warhol, François-Xavier Courrèges, Douglas Gordon, Sophie Calle, Cécile Paris), installations (Ange Leccia, Cerith Wyn Evans), sculpture (Kevin Francis Gray, Fionna Banner, David Altmejd) and objects (Carsten Holler, Christelle Familiari, Jana Sterbak, Anne Brégeaut), in a grand and intimate epic covering the past four decades.

Withstanding all tests, including that of time, the visitor drunk on emotions is granted the rare opportunity to look beyond appearances, at works which are not just skin deep and don’t deliver slick, comfortable truths.

94 Val-de-Marne Zoom in 94 Val-de-Marne Zoom out

Place de la Libération

94400 Vitry-sur-Seine

T. 01 43 91 64 20


Opening hours

Every day except Monday, 11 AM – 6 PM

Admission fee

Full rate €5.00 — Concessions €2,5

Entrée gratuite pour tous les premiers dimanches de chaque mois

Venue schedule

The artists

And 29 others…

From the same artists