Author Archives: Dorothée Perret


Daisy Hildyard in The Second Body: “Your body is infecting the world—you leak.” Shahryar Nashat once—not long ago—followed up with the question: “Where are the fluids?” The query remains unresolved; the leak has surged to a deluge. And we are drowning in it. The fluids, it seems, have been collected from carcasses drained of life, strung up on the disassembly line, packaged, contained, sealed, and ready for consumption. These are our surrogate selves suffocated in fat on a landscape of desolation and decay. This is an organic death: ethically sourced, carbon-neutral. Ed Smith: “I’m in no moo’d / said the cow.” (For Bruce Hainley.) There is a moment just before a body becomes flesh, before it becomes meat and bone, and then becomes simply matter. This is the threshold between life and death, when the body has been stripped of its faculties. An inert substance lacks the burden of memories. In a recent poem, Joyce Carol Oates writes: “The stroke / that wipes out / memory / is another word / for mercy.” We want to be nothing inside, we want to be merciful. Abstraction is just another word for dismemberment.

THEY COME TO TOUCH is the title of an exhibition by Shahryar Nashat. Taking place in a suite of vacated offices, the assembly of sculpture and video situates itself within the accretions of the building’s past life. Papier-mâché carcasses congregate and hang from the ceiling in concert with bags of urine and colorful rough-hewn cubes. The piss and “memory boxes” are accessories to the various accumulations, occupying the margins and corners throughout the multi-floor unit in which the exhibition takes place. A disembodied soundtrack floats in and out of earshot, animating the sculptures and finding interludes of synchronicity with a seventeen-second video that shows a figure falling to its knees, keeling over, and dying a digital death. The figure is trapped by this scenario—an endless sequence of three falling episodes, infinitely repeating in a simulated environment that takes its cues from the disused office where THEY COME TO TOUCH is situated. On occasion, the sound and image find their way to one another, and the figure falls in unison with a pulsating composition, which includes the exuberant rhythmic percussion of Maurice Ravel’s Bólero and a sorrowful lament by the cosmic superstar Dee D. Jackson. The ambient presence of sound permeates the exhibition and gives life to the sculptures just as easily as it maintains that they are wholly dead inside. — Aram Moshayedi

See link below for details.


Through May 2.

8762 Holloway Drive

West Hollywood.

Shahryar Nashat, They Come to Touch, 8762 Holloway Drive, April 8, 2021–May 2, 2021. Artwork images © Shahryar Nashat, courtesy of the artist.


The artistic language of Kader Attia takes its departure from the mixed cultures between France and Algeria that have accompanied him since his childhood. The painful history encompassed in the complex relationships of these countries, the colonizer and the colonized, has implemented a concept he envisions in the form of a trilogy around the themes of reappropriation, reparation, and repair. His work investigates historical, sociological, anthropological, and philosophical facets and phenomenon of traditional and modern societies. Through meticulous artistic analyses, Attia breaks away from binary dynamics and introduces dialogs turned toward notions of lineage and continuity while questioning senses of beauty. 

THE VALLEY OF DREAMS—Attia’s debut solo show at Regen Projects in Los Angeles—is a continuum of his research and investigations. Taking the promised land of the American West as a point of reference, Attia draws lines and mise en abimes with Arabian landscapes such as the sea and the desert. If he uses the land as a metaphor, Attia also questions the ways western cultures deal with the idea of injury—a concept he necessarily associates with one of repair. Where traditional cultures celebrate these marks with emphasis and artifacts, cultures of whiteness have been in complete denial in the face of it. However, Attia sees the trauma in these gestures of brutal erasure and buried histories.

What Attia offers through his rigorous science is an aesthetical therapy, where imagination through meaning heals the wounds. As he puts it: “Repair is an oxymoron, because ‘injury’ is its raison d’être. One cannot think about repairing something that hasn’t been injured. The state of the injured thing (the failure) and the state of the repaired thing (the repair) are forever bound in a causal layout that runs in the ethical and aesthetic loop of repair. This is true for all metaphors of repair: natural, cultural, political, immaterial, and so on…”

See link below for exhibition information.


Through December 23, by appointment.

Regen Projects

6750 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles.

Kader Attia, The Valley of Dreams, Regen Projects, Los Angeles, November 12, 2020–December 23, 2020, from top: Rochers Carrés, 2020, lightbox; Untitled, 2020, collage, ink, photograph, photocopy, print on paper; Untitled, 2020, Kraft paper with blue pigment framed in plexiglass box; installation view; Untitled, 2020, ceramic, terracotta, epoxy resin and steel plinth; Untitled (Skyline), 2007, refrigerators, mirror fragments; The Dead Sea (detail), 2015, floor installation made of secondhand blue clothes; Mirror Mask, 2020, wooden mask, mirror fragments, black pigment; Untitled, 2020, henna and thread on canvas. Images © Kader Attia, photographed by Evan Bedford, courtesy of the artist and Regen Projects.


I say Accolay. Located in Vermenton on RN6, the roadside store was also a gas station with a painted and diagonal concrete design. The display units would fold back, securely storing the ceramics. The production was carried out in the village of Accolay, a few minutes away. It was rich and multi-style, ranging from Africanist inspirations or naïve art à la Peynet to loosely geometric compositions. The surface treatment would use chamotte (grog clay), or have a rugged matte blue finish, like the famous “Gauloise” style vases… This production is fascinating in that the blend of styles, various borrowings, and clever lack of culture, gives it post-modern value and positioning.

I say Le Vaucour. I don’t know much about this type of Vallauris pottery. I’m solely interested in it for a type of piece, which through an unspeakable shortcut managed to sneak its way into the local secular culinary pottery, with its numerous Suprematist spatial compositions. A repulsively speckled sur-face adorned with diagonal red and black surfaces. Ashtrays, cups, jugs… 

I don’t need to say more than propose these two paths to situate Sylvie Auvray’s work in the millenary litany of glazed fired clay that molds human civilization into a single inexorable model of survival. After that, history made things more complex and produced various narratives. But this is outside our purview.Franck Gautherot, “Wood Oven, Pizzeria, & Majolica, ” in Sylvie Auvray, Les Cambuses, 2019).

Sylvie has admitted to me that she decided to create brooms after looking out the window of a small shop in the desert, where she thought she’d caught a glimpse of a garage (for manufacture and repair) for witches’ brooms. The broom being also, of course, the preferred attribute of witches, whose demonization led to the persecution of several thousands of women from the Middle Ages onwards. And if the alleged witches were so disturbing, it is perhaps primarily because they appeared to be free and liberated women, since the witch might be the woman who escaped her husband’s clutches up the chimney, with her broom, to be ravished by the sky literally. And this is how the witch became the great feminist-identified figure, with her forbidden and scandalous sex toy, just like the bicycle seat later on, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, which was criticized for its masturbatory potential and therefore seen as detrimental to public health and morals.Anne Dressen, “Kurious Kat,” in Sylvie Auvray, Les Cambuses, 2019.

Sylvie’s sculptures are always about to do something, though you can never really tell what. They seem impatient and static at the same time. Like dogs or cute things, they will have you coo in an indecent way, making sounds that reduce language to onomatopoeia. When you look at them, you distort yourself, becoming a caricature of yourself, a comic book character. They itch, like “the brick,” in George Herriman’s comic, Krazy Kat. In one of the sketches, all we see is the brick, just lying there, but already a tension exists in anticipation of the next panel. Inevitably, it will move from the hands of the mouse to the head of the cat.  — Sarah Holveck, “Slapstick,” in Sylvie Auvray, Les Cambuses, 2019.


Through October 19.

Galerie Laurent Godin

36 bis, rue Eugène Oudiné, 13th, Paris.

Excerpts from the monograph SYLVIE AUVRAY—LES CAMBUSES, 2019, Is-Land Édition.


Tuesday, October 1, from 6 pm to 8 pm.

Ofr Librairie

20 Rue Dupetit-Thouars, 3rd, Paris.

Sylvie Auvray, Les Cambuses, Galerie Laurent Godin, 2019. Artwork images courtesy and © the artist and Galerie Laurent Godin. Book cover image courtesy and © the artist and Is-Land Édition.


Twenty years ago I got to know Anders Edström when he started taking pictures for a magazine I worked for, and still do, called Purple. He’d been taking pictures for Martin Margiela, Purple’s fashion hero. His pictures made me think he had a preternatural sense for photography, for which light is its primary medium. And while his subjects were the phenomenal world, his photographs were never flashy, graphic, geometric, sexy, or shocking. Yet he was always able to capture the essence or singularity of things in themselves.

Immanuel Kant called everything in the visible world phenomena. He called the invisible matter that holds the world together the noumenon. He had no idea what that was. Scientists in the coming century would revive the Greek thinker Democritus’s term atom to describe the building blocks of phenomena. Later they speculated on the existence of Dark Matter, which is as mysterious as Kant’s noumenon and supposedly occupies the majority of the universe.

Looking at Anders’ pictures all these years I’ve often felt he focused as much on the atmosphere of light as the phenomena caught in his lens. The best photographers do that. But most of life is a quest for some kind of foreground position, which is most often what is photographed. Ander’s always seemed to look a bit further or maybe a bit behind, letting the backgrounds come to the fore as he searched for the quiddity, the very thingness of the material world, which, as Einstein said, is composed of light and energy.

Two days before I wrote this Anders told me he set these pictures up in a spiral pattern, based on how and when the pictures were taken, often in many exposures. I thought of Heraclitus saying, everything remains in flux, you can’t step into the same river twice, accept the logos because its immanent in the world and transcends the mind. It’s how one might think about these pictures.

Jeff Rian
Paris, 2019

Anders Edström: Spreads
Exhibition running from February 16–March 31, 2019 at Fullersta Gård, Huddinge.


One could question the location Rei Kawakubo chose this season to present her Comme des Garçons Fall/Winter 2019/2020 collection. She picked the hall of a neoclassical building on rue Cambon—though not the famous number 29! As always, Kawakubo intervenes with the space. Here she created a stage from the marble flooring, overlaid with strips of red-passé carpet. This small arena is enclosed by a few rows of benches and six long, lighted perches—the same machines that will later follow each model in an idiosyncratic ballet, giving the set a futuristic twist. As usual, the assembly is small, but one should know Kawakubo is not here to convince a large audience, but rather one that focuses.

Silence. The show is about to start. The lights turn off, the room is dark, and the ambiance feels quite enigmatic. Rei Kawakubo holds her crowd in a meditative state for one minute of silence. Strangely, this minute feels like eternity—long enough to understand the roles that gravity and magnitude play in this collection. Finally the show starts, with a discontinuous soundtrack from the back. One by one each model comes out to follow the patch of a square—making sure to pass by every corner—and meet at the center. Yet we feel a sense of disorder on stage, and in the air. 

The ambiance is austere: each silhouette is uniquely worked with fastidious details and crafted in a range of solid black materials that echo throughout the space like shadows of knights stepping out of the nightfall. This season, Kawakubo envelops her women in a voluminous armor, dark and rigid. The collection recalls medieval and ecclesiastical themes reinterpreted in a raw couture spirit. One purple garment questions signs of royalty. As always, Kawakubo dazzles with radical strength and bold engagement.