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Translated by Anna Knight

Carbone 20

by Éloïse Labie

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On 29 October 2020 Carbone 20 opened in Saint-Étienne, the second edition of this “biennale of collectives and artists’ spaces”. The visit began under the battered sign of a ready-to-wear boutique, “Miss Mode”, where the reception and bookshop were installed, before leading into the various vacant spaces of the former industrial complex destined for reconversion into a design capital. This choice makes this event unique and ensures its relevance: far from presenting itself as a social and economic benefactor from the outside world, the art project initiated by a local network (the project supported by Les Limbes, Saint-Étienne) consists of installing the art, temporarily, wherever there is an empty space. Space is well and truly what artists in cities lack, and what Saint-Étienne has to offer. Another particularity is that this biennale of artists’ spaces did not stem from a shared curatorship and therefore does not defend any discourse about art or about the state of the contemporary world. In light of the works presented, the organisations and workers who render contemporary creation possible are showcased – a reality that is too often eclipsed in recent biennials.1

Carbone brings together a widely diverse range of projects and organisations, artist-run spaces, workshops, residencies, magazines or radiophonic productions, situated in the region, but also, for this second edition, broadened to the national and international levels (Switzerland, Portugal, Morocco, and Russia). It is therefore a rare opportunity for the artists and stakeholders of the associative art world to get together. Spaces oriented towards young creation and established within a regional network, such as the Sumo studio in Lyon, rub shoulders with international project spaces exhibiting more established artists, such as Issmag in Moscow, historic places such as Circuit in Lausanne, and they share the pavement with brand new spaces like the Sissi Club in Marseille, founded in 2019 by art historians Elise Poitevin and Anne Vimeux.

Each organisation invited translates or transposes for Carbone its identity and its modes of operation, often relating to particular contexts or economies. Home alonE (Clermont-Ferrand), which organises exhibitions within a shared house, recreates a domestic space in an abandoned premises. Other organisations produce an inverted image of their activity, such as cONcErn, which hosts voluminous artworks on its site in Cosne-d’Allier that have not found a storage solution. In collaboration with La Société des Nouveaux Mondes (Chloé Devanne Langlais), this artistic infrastructure presents the RE-produce project: artworks in storage are replicated in miniature using a 3D printer, as though in an attempt to salvage them.

The independence of these spaces is also manifested by the critical freedom and political positions they maintain. L’appartement 22 in Rabat chose to present the Help project undertaken by curator Abdellah Karroum and artist Georgia Kotretsos in the Mediterranean Basin, whose archive takes the form of a series of photographs of calls for help, such as messages of shipwreck survivors, illustrated by rows of sun umbrellas on tourist beaches. Further along, the Moroccan art centre invites visitors to get together and take care of house plants, replaying a sequence of resistance and transition during which L’appartement 22 was structured as a cooperative to confront the crisis. The theme of community recurs among various parties and assumes the features of a secret organisation in the mobile radiophonic project S.C.A.L.A.R.I.S.A.T.I.O.N. whose soundwaves influence the images of Antoine Palmier-Reynaud. It is this kind of community that Olivier Marboeuf evokes, the founder of KHIASMA in the Lilas neighbourhood of Paris, who looks back on the history of the space, closed in 2018, evoking “something that results from a shared experience – of time spent burning the midnight oil together, with artists, people passing through, or residents from near and far – around artworks as they are taking shape.”

After an initial postponement from spring to autumn, Carbone 20 held a “quick opening before confinement”, unfortunately cancelling some of the exhibitions and performances, as well as a focus day on temporary and self-managed artistic communities.2 It will have existed intensely for a day, which was enough to demonstrate the dynamism of the volunteer team and the enthusiasm of the guest organisations, until the next edition.

Carbone 20

Luísa Abreu, Sadik Alfraji, Miguel Angelo, Gonçalo Araújo, Luisa Ardila, Francisco Babo, Ismaïl Bahri, Christian Barani, Yto Barrada, Alain Barthélémy, Laura Ben Haïba, Vitaly Bezpalov, Marie Bouts, Olaf Breunig, Thomas Cap de Ville, Tom Castinel, Filipa César, Stéphanie Cherpin, Collectif Circuit, Collectif somme toute, Louis Cyprien Rials, François Daireaux, Rémi Dal Negro, Rémi De Chiara, Valentin Defaux, Chloé Devanne Langlais, Inès Di Folco, Cécile Di Giovanni, Fanny Durand, Dymanche, Badr El Hammami, Fadma Kaddouri & Isabelle, Laurent Faulon, Juliette Feck, Film Base & Kodok AF, Thomas Fontaine, Gaëlle Foray, Ian Ginsburg, Matthieu Haberard, Ségolène Haehnsen Kan, Jennifer Hardel, Louis Henderson, Noémie Huard, Idoine & Pierre Courtin, Vítor Israel, Karim Kal, Raili Keiv, Julie Kieffer, Georgia Kotretsos, Sebastien Lacroix, Nadine Lahoz Quilez, Maxime Lamarche, Francisco Laranjeira, Lou-Maria Le Brusq, Marie L’Hours, Fiona Lindron, Lauren Luloff, Sébastien Maloberti, Franck Mas, Corentin Massaux, Sabine Massenet, Pierre Michelon, Anita Molinero, Nicolas Momein, Mondial Poets Big Band, Norman Nedellec, Olivier Neden, Sara O’Haddou, José Oliveira, Johan Parent, Nicolas Pegon, Estefania Penafiel Loaiza, Johanna Perret, archive materials from Jill Posener, Alex Pou, Sophie Pouille, Laurent Quin, Karim Rafi, Annelise Ragno, Frank Rambert, Théo Releven Bernard, Jean-Xavier Renaud, Joana Ribeiro, Till Roeskens, Tom Rubnitz, Summer Santana, S.C.A.L.A.R.S.T.A.T.I.O.N — feat Antoine Palmier Reynaud, Robert Schlicht, Romana Schmalisch, Anna Škodenko, Vahan Soghomonian, Ruiz Stephinson, Daniel Sygit, The Living and The Dead Ensemble, Viktor Timofeev, Ana Vaz, Fadma Kaddouri & Isabelle Stragliati

Curated by : art spaces and radio stations, invited by Carbone 20.
L’appartement 22
(Rabat, Maroc), Circuit (Lausanne, Suisse), Issmag (Moscou, Russie), Rua Do Sol (Porto, Portugal), Les Ateliers Vortex (Dijon), Sissi Club (Marseille), La Tannerie (Bretagne), Exo Exo (Paris), Goswell Road (Paris), Khiasma (Les Lilas), S.C.A.L.A.R.S.T.A.T.I.O.N. (radio), Sumo (Lyon), Super F97 (Lyon), home alonE (Clermont-Ferrand), Somme Toute (Clermont-Ferrand), Showcase (Grenoble), La Montagne Magique (Hauteville), cONcErn (Cosne-d’Allier), Relief (Savoie), Idoine (Paris, Lyon, Grenoble, Saint-Étienne), R22 (radio), Galerie Ceyson & Bénétière (Saint-Étienne, Paris, New York, Luxembourg), Greenhouse (Saint-Étienne), Surface (Saint-Étienne), Gran Lux (Saint-Étienne), Galerie Giardi (Saint-Étienne), Poing de vue (Saint-Étienne), Béluga (Saint-Étienne).


29 October 2020

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