Only the Lonely

By Elina Suoyrjö, curator in residence, with Jonathan Baldock, Cécile B. Evans, Emma Hart, Essi Kausalainen, Nanna Nordström, Maxime Thieffine
23/05/2015 – 18/07/2015

“Only the Lonely” is a group exhibition that focuses on encounters. The exhibition addresses processes of making connections and disconnections, feelings of awkwardness and empathy, as well as group dynamics – the group consisting in this case of the artworks in the show that can be approached as characters. Featuring sculptural, video based and performative works by six invited artists, “Only the Lonely” explores the possibilities of applying artworks with agency and subjectivity.


There seems to be something in these artworks that we can recognize as human characteristics. Some of them embody awkwardness through defying social norms, while some appear humorous, displaced or fragile in their bodily existence.

Some of the characters seek desperately to be a part of a group while others just don’t belong. Through recognition, these ambiguous feelings have the potential to become those of compassion and sympathy. The exhibition aims to affect the visitor by evoking curiosity towards the characters, along with warm-hearted feelings and laughter.


For the exhibition, the invited artists are creating either new versions of earlier installations or in a few cases altogether new works.

The spatial installation becomes an essential part of the exhibition, as the works adapt to their new surroundings and to each other. The exhibition is a framework where a selection of apparent outsiders is brought together with the hopes of creating contacts within them, and also with the visitors of the show.


“Only the Lonely” seeks above all to focus on experiencing art on the layer of feelings and emotions – the layer of interpretation that might actually be based on immediate reactions and impressions. The exhibition offers a specific framework for encountering the artworks without demanding it is the only suitable framework for them.


The title of the exhibition is loaned from the melancholic love song by Roy Orbison from 1960. “Only the lonely, know the way I feel tonight. Only the lonely, know this feeling ain’t right”, Orbison sings in his fragile yet powerful voice. The song is all about a collective experience of heartbreak and loneliness, and about sharing this with those in the know. The lyrics never go deeper into explaining the feeling; it’s only the lonely that know exactly what the song is about.


Like the song, the exhibition plays with ideas on creating connections and looking for shared feelings. In the end it all comes down to questions concerning social exchange, communication and compassion we use in encounters with other humans. Could these skills be of use in encounters with nonhuman entities as well? Could we approach and encounter a work of art with a similar curiosity as another person?


“Only the Lonely” is accompanied by programmed events, including an invited text contribution by curator and writer Barbara Sirieix, which will be available at La Galerie’s website after the exhibition.



around the exhibition

  • 06/06/2015

    From 2 pm to 7 pm
    Eastern Trail #21: Exhibition tour by public transport: Les Instants Chavirés (Montreuil), La Maison Populaire (Montreuil) and La Galerie (Noisy-le-Sec).

  • 06/06/2015

    From 6 pm to 7 pm

    Performance by Essi Kausalainen.

  • 20/06/2015

    From 5.30 pm to 6 pm

    Reading: “Don’t Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder)” Adialogue with the works in the exhibition: several voices interpret a work of fiction by Barbara Sirieix.

  • 20/06/2015

    From 6 pm 7 pm

    Concert by the computer aided music class of the Noisy-le-Sec community conservatory of music and dance.

  • 04/07/2015

    From 2 pm to 10pm Hospitalities 2015:
    “House to the Power of Three”. Exhibition tour: La Maison Rouge, the Antoine de Galbert Foundation (Paris), La Galerie (Noisy-le-Sec) and La Maison Populaire (Montreuil).