Ceramic, graphic design, installation, painting...


Past: January 29 → March 30, 2019

The scene takes place in the suburbs of Montgomery, the capital of Alabama, a Southern State and one of the most religious of the United States. Two young African-Americans sporting white tank tops, tattoos, and thin gold chains around the neck, are swaying languorously in socks on the thick off-white carpet of a tidy little detached house. Around them can be seen polished furniture decorated with knickknacks and family photos, armchairs upholstered in pastel fabrics framing a marble fireplace, and atop the Christmas tree the Stars and Stripes. In a typical middle-class sitting room where Catholic crosses are carefully lined up on the walls, one of the boys slowly approaches a pedestal table. His finger delicately glides over the surface of the shiny wood, caresses the pedestal, and works its way back up to the table top, where it brushes over the objects resting there. In rhythm with the music of Sonic Youth, the raspy voice of Kim Gordon repeats “You’re so close, close to me…”, the two teenagers come back together, shimmy side by side towards a sofa embroidered with flower motifs. Their hands tightly gripping the armrests, their knees slightly bent, they move their bodies in a wavelike sensual and suggestive back-and-forth motion.

I’ve just described an excerpt of Massage the History (2007-2009), a film Cameron Jamie made when he was studying the way gangs document their deeds on the Internet. Long fascinated by the—mainly subversive—myths and rituals that unite communities, this American artist stumbled on a video in the course of his research that turned the usual codes and representations on their head. Far from certain aggressive virile clichés, groups of three or four gang members are seen dancing lasciviously in cozy interiors in Alabama, wiggling around pieces of furniture (coffee tables, sofas, beds, chests of drawers…) as if they were trying to seduce them. For what precisely? As Jamie himself admits, nothing is terribly clear. According to the artist, this libidinal urge vis-à-vis objects suggests both certain tribal rituals and an original, collective form of fetishism provoked by these iconic domestic interiors of the American middle-classes.

In an article titled “Éloge du fétichisme” (In Praise of Fetishism) recently published in the pages of the French daily Libération, the philosopher Paul B. Preciado notes that the eroticization of objects represents “the most poetic and conceptual version” of humanity’s sexual history. The repertory of things which desire crystalizes around, it must be said, definitely holds surprises, running from the classic shoes, to tears, to even hurricanes. In the field of art, the expression has a range of echoes. Fetishism signifies—occasionally with a little disdain from its critics—an attitude that sacralizes works thought to have a suprasensible power. It is about seeing in art objects more than a simple material manifestation, admitting that they transcend this condition by adopting a high symbolic power. More rarely perhaps, it is through the very plasticity of the works of art, or through what they represent, that we can glimpse the phenomena of the attraction to things. From a more psychological perspective, we ought to evaluate their fetishistic character as vehicles or even targets of the expression of desire.

While these two aspects are found entangled in “Futomomo” from the very first, it is these questions of desirable materials and representation that have been the focus of my wish to mount this show at CAC Brétigny. On the one hand, the exhibition took shape while working closely with Jean-Alain Corre, whose work explores a certain sensuality of forms and materials while revealing the way a domestic environment can be eroticized. And on the other, because, like Cameron Jamie, my attention was drawn to the work of artists whose treatment of day-to-day objects sometimes suggests their ambiguous role—as if through their presence, which is terribly banal nonetheless, they concealed the secret elements of a relationship with the other or the world.

I should say one last word about the title of this project, which is borrowed from Japanese. The word “futomomo” literally means “fat leg.” In shibari (literally “to tie”), an erotic practice that consists in tying up and suspending the body of one’s partner with ropes, futomomo is a specific type of knot for the leg. Restraining the thigh and the tibia with repeated methodical turns of the rope puts pressure on the skin such that the flesh displays a series of rolls. It is this specific relationship between the object, the body, and the expression of the occasionally complex desires uniting them that the present show would like to bring to light through the distorting specter of contemporary art.

Franck Balland
91 Essonne Zoom in 91 Essonne Zoom out

Espace Jules Verne
rue Henri Douard

91220 Brétigny s/Orge

T. 33 (0)1 60 85 20 78


Opening hours

Tuesday – Saturday, 2 PM – 6 PM
Late openings during the events at Théâtre Brétigny.

Admission fee

Free entrance

The artists

  • Xinyi Cheng
  • Mathis Collins
  • Cameron Jamie
  • Jean Alain Corre
  • Sylvie Auvray
  • Anne Bourse
  • Than Hussein Clark