COMPLEXE OU COMPLIQUÉ Conversation entre Mélanie Matranga, Thomas Boutoux et Benjamin Thorel Thomas Boutoux : Tu as emménagé dans un nouvel atelier pour pouvoir produire les pièces de ton exposition au Palais de Tokyo, notamment tous les objets et les sculptures en silicone qui lui donneront sa couleur et sa matérialité. Que peut-on voir dans l’atelier aujourd’hui, plusieurs semaines avant l’ouverture de l’exposition ?
MM : J’enduis les objets, les tissus, de colle vinylique, et ensuite je coule le silicone dessus. Parfois on fait des housses. Pour les canapés, par exemple, je fais des housses en voilage, j’étale le silicone et tout ça est démoulé en plusieurs parties, pour obtenir une contre-forme en silicone. Pour les armoires, il y a toute une armature en tissu et en bâche, qui est recouverte de silicone, Mélanie Matranga : pour conserver la forme, les gonds. À l’atelier, on a fait une espèce de Comme elles vont être suspendues au plafond un peu bourgeois avec une plafond, ça permet d’avoir une tenue. rosace au centre. C’est un motif qui va se répéter sur de très grandes TB : tentures qui formeront un plafond Ces objets sont plus « mous » que dans l’espace d’exposition. Il y a ceux que tu montrais il y a quelques d’autres pièces que nous avions déjà années quand tu rigidifiais les faites avant, en silicone. surfaces de lits ou de canapés à l’aide de colle. Benjamin Thorel : Mais du silicone plutôt sale… MM : Oui, pour moi, ça n’a pas du tout le MM : même sens : figer un geste, ou retirer Oui, c’est dégueulasse et désinvolte. une forme. BT : BT : Tu as mis au point une technique de Qu’est-ce que tu entends par « figer » moulage sur objets ? des gestes ? 15
p. 54 – 57 Tribute to you (2015) Impressions sur PVC vinyle / Prints on PVC vinyl Courtesy de l’artiste / of the artist et / and Keizo Kitajima
Fortune light (2015) Installation de 20 lampes en papier / Installation of 20 paper lamps Courtesy de l’artiste / of the artist
Mezzanine en bois, lits, colle vinylique / Wood platform, beds, vinyl glue Courtesy de l’artiste / of the artist
SPEAKING AND CURSING IN SONG By Delphine Manetta Introduced by French colonisation, celebrations of the New Year in Jàa villages in South-West Burkina Faso start on January the 1st and can continue for several days. This has gradually become a time for collective festivities during which certain songs and dances have acquired a particular, if not unique, place of expression, above all in the village of Sedongio. What has arised is a form of the sacred as transgression—subject upon which reflected Georges Bataille, Roger Caillois and Michel Leiris—which makes use of a paradoxical form of saying. Apparently intransitive and based on foreclosure, this celebration allows to consider how Jàa society has come to be in the world. It is in the middle of the afternoon that groups of female singers and male musicians begin their performance. After having saluted in song the land chief, the troop of singers wanders through the maze of paths of the village, like the Rara bands in Haiti, headed by houngan voodoo priests. Guided by several musicians, they sing and dance in people’s yards, on the market square, on the lanes and in the bars where millet beer can be imbibed. When it arrives in a family courtyard, the troop hails the head of the household in song, then he gives them a drink in return. As taught by Goffmanian sociology, these salutations pertain to a sacred rite coming from their everyday, reciprocal nature. They attest to the acceptance of a relationship and, thus, participate in the production of a society. But, at New Year, they can be refused in improvised song: “You may salute us, but as for him, we won’t salute him!” The contestation of this social imperative in a song of ostracism shows the existence of underlying conflicts. In fact, it leads to the violation of the conventions that allow for an exchange, and to the endangerment of society itself. This breaking down of the discourse can also be seen in the identity of the addressee of a song in memory of the former land chief Dougoutigi, who was accused of witchcraft at his death. Constructed on a series of interpellations, it aims at opening up a dialogue with those who have died during the past year.
He spoke to us and Dougoutigi spoke true He spoke to us and Dougoutigi had told us clairvoyantly That after his death, the village would prosper He is dead and now the village does indeed prosper Village life has improved He spoke to us, Dougoutigi spoke to us He told us, Dougoutigi told us That once he was dead, the village would prosper He spoke to us and Dougoutigi spoke true He spoke to us and Dougoutigi told us clairvoyantly When you see him, tell him in the land of the dead That village life has improved Village life has improved When you see him, speak to him in the land of the dead Speak to him and say that the “tar” has arrived in the village Explain to him that the “tar” has arrived in the village When he was there, the “tar” didn’t exist Times now are better, the “tar” has arrived in the village It has arrived in the village, the “tar” has arrived in the village When he was there, the Jàa didn’t “eat” gold Times now are better, they can “eat” gold He told them that to “eat” gold was forbidden Times now are better, the ban has been lifted An intimate dialogue with the dead opens a breach between the human world and the supernatural one, showing these festivities to be exceptional; this also leads to the lifting of religious bans, such as dealing in gold. The extra-ordinary context of the New Year, created by this evocation of the dead, then allows men and women to perform funeral dances, normally reserved to periods of mourning. Everywhere in the village, until dawn, the inhabitants dance to “bury” the year which has passed and put an end to the journey of the deceased to the land of the dead. In this respect, the practice of dances devoted to the dead gives these New Year celebrations the appearance of a liminal ritual, comparable to a “grand funeral.” The point is to bring about the passage between two states, by taking care of the end of a calendar cycle. The celebration as a revolution, which is both temporal and spatial, thus lies in the definition of both masculine and feminine gender identities. The men parody the funereal dance of the women, and the women that of the men, to such an extent that genders seem to merge. This unexpected cross-dressing of some men as women and vice versa brings out the ambiguity of genders even more. However, the occupation of space by the wandering female singers, as well as the 71
Photographies / Photographs : dora-diamant (couverture / cover ; p. 1 ; p. 3 ; p. 6-12 ; p. 14 ; p. 77-83 ; p. 85-87 ; p. 89-91). Marilou Chabert (p. 2 ; p. 4-5 ; p. 13 ; p. 84 ; p. 88).