Musee d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris presents Roman Ondak and Bertille Bak exhibition

Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris presents Roman Ondak and Bertille Bak, an exhibition on view 28 September–16 December 2012.

Bertille Bak, After the New Relief Map of Paris…Paris: Bauerkeller, 1840. © Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris. © Bertille Bak

The Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris is presenting two contemporary artists in the ARC contemporary art space: Roman Ondák, a Slovak artist and leading figure of today’s contemporary art stage, and Bertille Bak, a young French artist who works around particular communities.

Roman Ondák
The Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris has invited Roman Ondák, one of the leading figures in today’s art field, to design an exhibition for ARC, the Museum’s contemporary art arm.

Ondák’s work is often based on the various contexts in which he is invited to do projects. Focusing on reminiscences, minute differences and a sense of déjà vu, he uses memory as a core element, while leaving the viewer’s imagination to range freely. In this way, his exhibitions become repositories for individual and group experiences.

Aiming at more than a simple retrospective, Ondák sees this exhibition as the chance to provide an overview of his current concerns. Among the exhibited works is Measuring the Universe, here in its first French version, which weaves an intangible link with his earlier works. In this ongoing, open-ended piece, which requires the participation of the museum personnel and the public, each visitor can see his or her first name, a mark signifying height and date of measuring inscribed on a wall in the exhibition space. Thus the piece gradually takes shape according to the number of spectators who agree to take part.

Ondák’s intention is to create unusual situations and points of view through which our way of seeing the outside world changes imperceptibly.

Bertille Bak–Circuits
The Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris presents Circuits, an exhibition by French artist Bertille Bak (b. 1983). The exhibition follows a Paris-based path involving the artist’s two most recent works: Ô quatrième (O Fourth Floor), which looks into the existential questionings of nuns living in a convent, and Transports à dos d’hommes (Borne on Men’s Backs), a new project carried out with the residents of a Gipsy camp.

Bertille Bak is a storyteller. In her brief allegories of difficult human and social situations, forgotten and excluded populations whose voices usually go unheard are the protagonists of narratives mingling the utopian and the political. Groups and communities united in adversity by a cultural, social or religious identity are the focus of the artist’s investigations and experiments. Mingling documentary with touches of fiction, her narratives are driven by the stories, revolts and rituals of her subjects: people expelled from their living spaces, condemned to exile and migration, struggling to put down fresh roots without losing their identity and folklore.

Ô quatrième (O fourth floor)
Comprising a short video together with related artefacts and sculptures, this project looks at the order of the Sisters of Charity, alternating a portrait of one of the nuns with fictional filmed inserts.

The video details the artist’s interviews with Sister Marie-Agnès, whose thoughts and memories are accompanied by anecdotes from her daily life. Bertille Bak is especially interested in how the nuns spend their free time, and her picture of convent life interpolates the interviews—including her subject’s existential questionings and anxieties about death—with fictional material.

Transports à dos d’hommes (Borne on Men’s Backs)
Music plays a dominant part in Transports à dos d’hommes, the most recent project by the artist, who has researched the subway lines of various European capitals for their sound ambiences and the repertoires of Roma musicians.

The film and its sets were created with a number of Roma families from the camp at Ivry-sur-Seine, where Bertille Bak lived in her caravan for several months. The film brings a digressive approach to the strategies of concealment of a camp subjected to an endless series of expulsions. Special attention is given to do-it-yourself strategies.

Musée d’Art moderne
de la Ville de Paris
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75116 Paris
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