My hands in your shoes

Curators: Emilie Renard and Vanessa Desclaux


Titled “Your Hands in My Shoes”1, the 2016–2017 season takes the form of a slow morphing within the art centre over the period September 2016–July 2017. By doing away with the usual one-exhibition-after-another approach, we want to test the effects of this new form of continuity on the art centre as a whole. This season is seen as a time of slow transformation, enabling a redefinition of the relationships between artists, the public and the art centre team, and looking into the way each participant can interpret and identify with one or more of these roles.

To interpret is to address not so much the facts as the meaning we attribute to them: to provide our own version. Someone who interprets a stage part or a piece of music remains more or less faithful to his source material, and out of this room for manoeuvre can emerge an entire dynamics of performance and re-creation, as well as a highlighting of the role of the author. Our intention is to place the emphasis on the relationship brought into play by the concept of interpretation: the relationship to an original, the power of the original—and the possibilities for calling it into question, testing its limits and reworking it. By making interpretation the season’s core issue, we are foregrounding involvement by bodies and seeking to go deeper into what is at stake in the personifying of a specific function—and, today, in the work performed by those bodies.

In the animation field morphing is a technique for effecting the smoothest possible transition between an initial and a final image. On the scale of a small institution like La Galerie it allows for an unbroken shift from one exhibition to another while testing the elasticity of each. As such it entails both inventing a form of continuity and generating unforeseeable associations. It is a process in which the links between intervening stages count more than the final image. Thus this programme underscores improvisation and adaptation, leaving us free of the need to predict and master everything; the idea being to endow an institution like ours with potential for responsiveness, flexibility and adaptability to the present moment, rather than endlessly shunting back and forth between past results and forward planning.

In this dual context of interpretation and morphing, this season’s project makes our guest artists interpreters of these slow metamorphoses, authors of these associations, agents of this ongoing activity. They may feed off preexisting sources, works by other artists or by themselves, and specific roles, situations and contexts in which each formulates his or her own role as interpreter. This kind of morphing involves incorporating into the art centre’s time and space framework certain peripheral considerations in theory invisible to the public. In this way the project aims to create relational and representational modes relevant to both the material and symbolic facets of the art centre; to act, then, on every aspect of its functioning—exhibition, production, communication, mediation, administration—and thus to
develop further the transitions between the exhibition areas,the floors occupied by the art centre staff, and the surroundings from which the visitors come. It will then be a matter of generating dynamic three-way relationships—between artists, institution and public—and establishing the preconditions for reciprocal attentiveness, caring, trust and commitment throughout the year. With this project, which is “on, with, for, between, against”2 the art centre, the artists and the public, we want to make visible the ethical and political implications of this kind of relationship, whose inner conjunctions make it the focus of a transforming, performative programme happening in and around this house that is home to the art centre.


  1. The exhibition title is taken from Jean-Charles de Quillacq’s catalogue My Hands in Your Shoes, published by Villa Arson, Nice, in 2015.
  2. This “on, with, for, between, against” is borrowed from the title of Vanessa Desclaux’s article in the journal for
    the “Greek-type Problems” exhibition at La Galerie in 2015.