Persona grata ? — 9e exposition de la collection


Collage, drawing, installation, painting...

Persona grata ?
9e exposition de la collection

Past: March 30, 2019 → January 5, 2020

“Through hospitality, the impossible happens”

Jacques Derrida


“Persona grata ?” continues the initial exhibition presented from October 2018 to January 2019, in both museums, MAC VAL and the National Museum of Immigration History. Among the hundred or so works that make up this new exhibition, some new pieces are unveiled, including some twenty recent acquisitions exhibited here for the first time.

“Persona grata ?” encourages questioning… Today, hospitality is in question. It is even in danger.

If the city of tomorrow is taking form on the coasts, frontiers and jungles of today’s Europe, then gratitude and hospitality are not its founding pillars.

If taking people in leads all too often to taking it out on them, then that makes reaching out an act of vandalism. Just as the fact of welcoming the other can be envisaged only because it is prevented, then hospitality today is countered, or even illegal.

Serralongue calais algeco mac val slash paris 1 medium
Bruno Serralongue, Algeco, quai de la Moselle, Calais, juillet 2006 Série « Calais ». Tirage jet d’encre sur papier contrecollé sur aluminium, capot Altuglas — 125 × 158 cm Collection MAC VAL — Musée d’art contemporain du Val-de-Marne. Acquis avec la participation du FRAM Île-de-France


And yet invitation has been the keyword at MAC VAL ever since its origins.

Invitations extended to artists, to the public, to schools of thought, to social movement, to what makes the world at any given moment. And if hospitality is the heart of its philosophy, what the works in its collection often express is hostility.

Initially, in showing “Persona grata” at MAC VAL and at the Musée National de l’Histoire de l’Immigration, we championed this universal, humanist notion. Today, we are subjecting it to the light of the real, like a contemporary subject being interrogated.

For the works in the MAC VAL collection and the way they are set out, the relations and meanings that grow up between them embody the ambiguity of the notion of hospitality, which today can be envisaged only in the light of its opposite, inhospitality.

Societe realiste lebruman 1 medium
Société Réaliste, U.N. Camouflage, 2012 Impression numérique sur maille polyester — 100 × 150 cm (chaque drapeau) Collection MAC VAL — Musée d’art contemporain Val-de-Marne. Acquis avec la participation du FRAM Île-de-France. Photo © Philippe Lebruman


Like genealogists of the collection’s interiority, we can thus be caught up in the swift, staccato rhythm of works that speak to each other and agree, that follow the same thought or clash. And contradict each other. Such is the way of the world. Dual, contradictory, and terribly constrained, hospitality is combated in today’s society, just as it is itself a combat. If it implies peace restored at last, that means it was preceded by conflict, a war — economic, ecological or climatic — that must be fled.

“Persona grata” a series of nuances…

Going from one stage to the next, voice is given to suffering and relief, disillusion and hope, renunciation, the survival instinct, plaints and homages, grievances and gratitude.

Toguo bartthelemy mac val slash paris 1 medium
Barthélémy Toguo, The New World’s Climax III, 2001 Bois sculpté et gravé, encre, table en bois — 146,5 × 274 × 100 cm Collection MAC VAL — Musée d’art contemporain du Val-de-Marne. Acquis avec la participation du FRAM Île-de-France. © Adagp, Paris 2019. Photo © Jacques Faujour


This exhibition revisits great themes of «Persona grata» — the body and its disappearance, death, solitude, welcome, waiting, departure, mobility, wandering, conflict, urgency, frontiers, prevention, hindrance. At the same time, though, it takes visitors into the history of hospitality, made up of contradictions, hopes and obstacles, of speech and murmurs and sometimes cries, whose echoes and chaos let the light through.

The energy of life is in play here, too: being encouraged by what arises from a gesture, confronting the chaos without losing one’s footing.

  • 9e exposition de la collection — Persona grata ? Opening Friday, March 29, 2019 at 6:30 PM
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 42 others…

From the same artists