The Weavers — Xavier Antin


Publishing, installation, poetry, sculpture...

The Weavers
Xavier Antin

Past: January 14 → March 7, 2020

More than an exhibition, The Weavers is an experiment, the temporary outcome of a project launched almost a year ago by Xavier Antin, an artist-in-residence at CAC Brétigny.

A text-producing machine, a political experiment, and an arrangement of sculptures in space at one and the same time, The Weavers reflects the turning point Antin’s work took several years ago. Fueled by a range of readings and the artist’s grounding in several disciplines, Antin’s practice initially grew along two lines of development, experiencing the production processes of visual and scriptural machines, while also reflecting on the narrative potential of forms. This latter aspect takes shape around a pre-existing story that is linked to the sociopolitical questions of production and is embodied in formal creations, whether images, sculptures, installations, or publications. Antin also began to produce objects, which spring from his research into the industrial manufacturing processes of images and writing, which become themselves the supports of a future story. The narrative is freed and left up to the viewer, the interpreter of the work.

Interpretation and authorship are patterns that run through Antin’s growing body of work and in The Weavers these recurrent themes are given a new development. Brought together in the CAC Brétigny exhibition venue, a group of sculptures equipped with AI forms a community that is both a political ecosystem and the site of an experiment in collective writing. The programmer Julien Jassaud, the art historian and publisher Camille Pageard, and the artist himself configured Antin’s sculptures to interact with each other according to preprogrammed scripts that are nevertheless fairly elliptical; the pieces will thus produce throughout the run of the show a narrative made up of several voices. The book that will result from the exhibition1 will be a transcription of these exchanges, that is, seven weeks of daily discussions between the sculptures, which are called , *, /, ¶, {, ∞ and )). The programming of the sculptures anticipates as far as possible the materiality of the text and the voices it represents.

The intention of the writing dissolves and takes shape between what is determined by the tuning of the writing machines, the quotations they draw from a collection of works that allow them to learn French, and the language interactions taking place between them at that particular moment.

It is the group of works itself that answers to the name The Weavers, a reference to workers in the textile industry, who have historically been linked to the development of industrialization and the long struggle to improve society and the lot of the working class (the canuts in France, the Luddites in England, etc.). But it is also the name of the weaver bird, an avian species that lives in large groups and is innately able to weave an elaborate nest. Existing at the intersection of a working group and pseudo-organic entities, the sculptures converse by following several scripts that touch on such notions as empathy, memory, and the economy. While their collective and individual identity is a work in progress and will eventually be determined through writing and exchange, different programmatic and material elements serve to define them.

Concretely, each sculpture is encoded to act according to philosophical as well as pragmatic directions, which are in a way, and only partly, represented by the structures and materials making up the pieces. So it goes for a cast bell decorated with hands, a small conveyor belt enclosed in an aquarium, and a sham quantum computer. Thanks to the exhibition, viewers grasp the allegorical dimension of Xavier Antin’s work along with how the artist articulates together the group of signifiers, signifieds, and referents he manipulates.

In collaboration with Julien Jassaud and Camille Pageard.
Curator: Céline Poulin

1 Co-edition Tombolo Presses and CAC Brétigny, with the support of the Centre national des arts plastiques.


CAC Brétigny, Contemporary art center of national interest, is a facility of Cœur d’Essonne Agglomération. It enjoys the support of the Ministry of Culture—Drac Île-de-France, the Île-de-France Region, and the Departmental Council of the Essonne, with additional support by the Ville de Brétigny-sur-Orge. It is a member of the TRAM and d.c.a networks.

This exhibition is realized with the support of Némo Biennial of digital arts of Île-de-France, the Departmental council of the Essonne, the Fondation des Artistes and in partnership with the Paris-Saclay University within the framework of Exoplanète Terre, an Arts & Sciences program bringing together nine cultural partners in Île-de-France Region.

Céline Poulin
  • Opening Saturday, January 18, 2020 5 PM → 9 PM

    Opening Saturday, January 18th, from 5 pm

    Free shuttle is availaible. Pick up at 5:30 pm at 104 avenue de France, 75013 Paris (the Bibliothèque François Mitterrand metro stop). Request at

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 artist

  • Xavier Antin