Three artists listening to the body

affiche expo autour du corps

  Three contemporary artists, Lydie Arickx, Christian Dupuis and Gabriela Valencia, tell the public about words and phrases related to the body as they understand it.  

  Lydie Arickx, Christian Dupuis et Gabriela Valencia.

  From 6th to 28th April 2010

Galerie Saint Germain, Paris Descartes University

12 rue de l'École de Médecine 75006 Paris
Curator : Yvan Brohard


Along with the exhibition two lectures are presented in Paris Descartes University’s board room:

Georges Vigarello, Tuesday April 13th

“The invention of the silhouette at the limits of art” (18th-21st century)

Georges Vigarello is a research director at the EHESS (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, School for Advanced Studies in Social Sciences).

The notion of silhouette is a historical invention. The word actually originated in the second half of the 18th century. It showed a specific desire: the desire to take the whole body into account whenever its presence is mentioned, the desire to point out its very presence in a single glance. This new word came along with a new type of iconography that was to draw looks and bearings differently, to emphasize the general meaning of lines and outlines. The focus was thus to highlight the importance of the body as a whole as well as a singular entity. This 18th century invention, the very invention that allowed words and lines to meet, focuses on what has kept haunting modern western societies until the most recent sensitivities: the desire to question the “mystery” of physical presence (and no longer only the mystery of the soul), the desire to question its individuality, its obvious personalization.

Why choose the silhouette? To lead the studies on the body towards detailed and specific objects. Approximations and generalizations have to be avoided at any cost because they merely weaken the investigations social sciences carry out about it.

Georges Vigarello

 > Watch the video online  (limited access to Paris Descartes University's community thanks to their ENT (Digital work environment) login and password.


Michela Marzano, Wednesday April 14th

“The Shattered Body”

Michela Marzano is a philosopher and a researcher at the CNRS (French National Center for Scientific Research), Paris Descartes University.  She works in the field of moral and political philosophy and is particularly interested in the place currently held by the human being as a being of flesh and blood.

The body is obviously part and parcel of human existence: each of us was actually born, lives and dies in and with his or her body. We find our place in the world and meet others in and through our body. Each of us is both a physical body projected in the “outside” world and a mental body which relates back to the inner being. And yet the only acceptable body today seems to be a perfectly controlled body.

Besides, from advertising pictures to video clips we have been confronted with a growing number of representations which somehow all relate back to the idea of “control”: Exhibiting a well controlled body seems to be the obvious evidence of the ability of an individual to exert control over his or her own life. It is the body image that may well appeal or shock, tempt or repel. Contemporary rhetoric is well polished up. Each individual must be free to choose the life that suits him, he must be able to be himself. But for that purpose he cannot content himself with just being himself. His body has to be controlled so that that it can even be said, without being mistaken, that behind the alleged freedom to determine one's own life through body taming something is hiding: the  dictatorship of  preferences, desires and emotions.

Michela Marzano

Watch the video online

Three contemporary artists, Lydie Arickx, Christian Dupuis and Gabriela Valencia, tell the public about words and phrases related to the body as they understand it.