Recouvrir, ensabler, copier, traduire, restituer


Ceramic, drawing, installation, performance...

Recouvrir, ensabler, copier, traduire, restituer

Past: February 25 → April 16, 2017

There is an expression in French which refers to observing something via its absence, through « hollow » spots (« en creux »). This describes achieving indirect insight of a situation, a way of reading between the lines. Hollowness can relate to the field of archeology, a discipline that speculates from existing objects and studies their manufacture, by man, to retrace the story of their use within their social context. The notion of the « biography » of objects, as developed by anthropologists Igor Kopytoff and Arjun Appardurai 1 , has brought attention to the artifacts themselves, their physical and legal trajectories; traveling from one owner and context to the next, each chapter adding a layer to the object’s history and value. The immutability of objects is confronted to the mutation of their interpretation. « (…) today’s gift is tomorrow’s commodity. Yesterday’s commodity is tomorrow’s found art object. Today’s art object is tomorrow’s junk. And yesterday’s junk is tomorrow’s heirloom. » 2

The exhibition Conceal, cover with sand, replicate, translate, restore presents artistic projects dealing with objects in situations of conflict, and their role as vehicle or witness. The works are shown at different stages of their existence to underline the artists’ methods, an articulation of historical references combined with a response to current political issues. Pio Abad inventories the art collection of Filipino conjugal dictators Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos (1965-1986), and the propaganda artworks they commissioned, while the current regime tries to revive their memory. Chrysanthi Koumianaki compiles political slogans from the streets of Athens and translates them into a cryptic, timeless alphabet. These works also take part in the broader discussion around the conservation and restitution of artifacts, in the framework of the decolonial process and literature of these past decades. By reproducing Mimbres plates, Mariana Castillo Deball enquires about their function and underlines mistaken restorations that led to different interpretations. Alexandra Pirici’s ongoing action will put at stake the restitution of the Parthenon marbles by the British Museum to the Acropolis Museum. Barış Doğrusöz’ video presents a study of the archaeological site of Europos Dura in Syria, where burying the citadel became a resistance strategy. While we face international crises that perpetuate conflicts of interests and underline the relationship between art and power, governance can be read through the question of cultural heritage.


1 Igor Kopytoff, « The Cultural Biography of Things », in Arjun Appadurai (ed.), The Social Life of Things : Commodities in Cultural Perspective, Cambridge, Cambridge university Press, 1986.

2 A. Appadurai, “The Thing Itself”, Public Culture 18:15-21, 2006

With the support of SAHA

  • Opening Friday, February 24, 2017 6 PM → 9 PM
  • Opening Friday, February 24, 2017 6 PM → 9 PM
  • The object effect, conférence de Nora Sternfeld Lecture Wednesday, March 1, 2017 7 PM → 9 PM

    The Object-effect, talk by Nora Sternfeld
    Nora Sternfeld will address the “object effect” in museums — with the help of Derrida’s reading of Marx she will think about the magical effects of devalorization and revalorization that make “things” so appealing.

    What if we admire and desire objects because they carry within themselves the histories of conflict and violence: histories of exploitation (in the case of commodities) and histories of artistic challenges, revolutions, colonial violence, dispossession and pillaging (in the case of museal objects)? If the power of desire and the agency of things, is integral to their attractiveness and that of their encountering within the museum, Sternfeld suggests not to disavow the desire, but instead take it seriously. Insofar as the things, and us too, embody sedimented struggles, can they too be brought to light in the museum? If the museum is then a place full of petrified conflicts, how do we awaken them—and how do they awaken us—with a kiss?
    And she will talk about “The Museum of Burning Questions” — a para-museum enacted in collaboration with the artist Isa Rosenberger and the Retired Firemen of Bergen as one chapter of freethought’s infrastructure project during Bergen Assembly 2016.

    With the participation of artists Baris Dogrusöz and Alexandra Pirici.

    Please book at:

    More info:

    Nora Sternfeld is an art educator and curator.She is part of trafo.K (, an office for art, education and critical knowledge production based in Vienna, and of freethought ( en/freethought/), a platform for research, pedagogy and production working as artistic director of Bergen Assembly 2016. She is currently Professor for Curating and Mediating Art, at Aalto university in Helsinki (https://cummastudies. and co-director of the ecm — educating/ curating/managing — Masterprogramme for exhibition theory and practice at the university of Applied Arts Vienna (http://

  • Alexandra Pirici, Parthenon Marbles (working title), Répétitions publiques Performance March 4 → 5, 2017

    Public rehearsals of “Parthenon Marbles” (working title) by Alexandra Pirici

    This ongoing action questions the circulation and the finan- cial implications of holding important cultural goods.
    The work will premiere in its final version in Athens in April 2017

18 Montmartre Zoom in 18 Montmartre Zoom out

19 bis, 21, rue des Trois Frères

75018 Paris

T. 01 42 51 83 49


Opening hours

Thursday – Sunday, 3 PM – 8 PM
Other times by appointment

Admission fee

Free entrance

Venue schedule

The artists

  • Pio Abad
  • Mariana Castillo Deball
  • Barış Doğrusöz
  • Chrysanthi Koumianaki
  • Alexandra Pirici