The Espace culturel Louis Vuitton is presenting an exhibition (until September 15) of different artistic representations of the concept of “Otherness”. This universal philosophical concept poses the question of how we construct our identity and our ways of relating to the world. This interior journey travels between yin and yang, femininity and masculinity, darkness and light.
The staging of the exhibition evokes these dualities. Visitors navigate between day and night, going from somber alcoves to immaculate bright rooms. The surrealistic photomontages of Pierre Molinier introduce this path of contrasts. Hybrid portraits of semi-clothed women pay tribute to the feminine body, adulated by the photographer.
A few steps away, the blurred and fragmented silhouettes by photographer Francesca Woodman symbolize the extreme fragility of the human being, divided between ruin and renewal. This same dichotomy is examined by Tal Mazliach. Sheltered in a kibbutz, the artist exorcizes his physical pain through pointillist self-portraits.
The “other” is also the “foreigner”. Midway through the exhibition is an installation by French artist Kader Attia – a dogon witch mask that one is tempted to try on – reflecting the contribution of multiculturalism to art. Further on, the drawings of the young Afghan artist Rez Hazare explore the worlds of people who are stateless, uprooted in a quest for happiness and freedom.
Rarely exhibited, the stage costumes of Australian performance artist Leigh Bowery depict his search through countless identities: masculine, feminine, animal. Israeli artist Gil Yefman knits strange wool sculptures in the form of human organs, a therapy in his quest for recognition of an identity.
In his dual self-portrait photos, Tomoko Sawada revisits Kawaii culture, denouncing the stereotypes of Japanese society. “Otherness. I is somebody else” relentlessly challenges visitors and their own relationship with “the other”. This compelling exhibition is open to the public free of charge.
From June 5 to September 15, 2013
Espace culturel Louis Vuitton, 60 rue de Bassano, 75008 Paris – France
Open Monday to Saturday from 12pm to 7pm, Sunday from 11am to 7pm.
Video teaser here.