Shared Booth with
Air de Paris11.05.23 - 14.05.23
Air de Paris and NıCOLETTı are delighted to participate in Independent Art Fair, New York, with a solo exhibition by French-Haitian artist Gaëlle Choisne (1985, FR).
SO MANY KINDS OF SILENCE TO BREAK
The quivering of our breath
captured by the withered hand
I would like to preserve time
without swaying or trembling
Evelyne Trouillot, “Memory” in Through the crack of my words, 2014
With this body of work, Gaëlle Choisne focuses on the role of women in the Haitian Revolution. In this sense, her project echoes the words of Haitian author Évelyne Trouillot who, in an interview with Annette Joseph-Gabriel, stated the agenda of her poetic struggle: “The other kinds of silence that I would like to break are those surrounding historical facts, particularly concerning women’s participation in the struggles, the uprisings and the war of independence. According to official history, the number of women who resisted slavery and fought for freedom and independence amounted to a dozen. For it is a little less than a dozen women who have remained in Haitian collective memory. […] All in all, the kinds of silence that need to be broken are those surrounding anonymous people whom we don’t talk about and whose lives are crumbling around us.” Far from having been supporting characters in these struggles, their role proved crucial in maroon communities, which cannot be reduced to escaping, as expressed by philosopher Hourya Bentouhami. In order to fight against the crumbling and lack of archives, we must reactivate myths: “[…] the lack of archives often leads to the mythical reconstitution of the role and presence of women in these Stateless territories, which set their own rules for survival. It is, in fact, on the basis of mythical accounts, including in the memory of Afro-descendants and maroon descendants, and of topographic imaginaries, that we can bear witness to the significant role of maroon women.”
While it is, for Gaëlle Choisne, a matter of “reconstituting rooms of one’s own “, of bringing back to life the stories embedded in official history, buried in memory, a part of magic is necessary. This is reflected in the implementation of what she calls “scrap-painting” — or a “safe space for passing history” —, which echoes the practice of scrapbooking (a vernacular self-narrative made up of photographs and pieces of reality collaged into albums).
“Gris-gris on a global scale”, paraphernalia, hijacked transport crates, textile weavings: they all create new archives as various forms of living memory. Gaëlle Choisne thereby prepares “various food supplies for the afterlife”, with metaphorical as well as material components, which stand “at the crossroads of spiritual worlds”. The works presented bring together, in a seemingly paradoxical manner, residual images or mirror objects that evoke and bear witness to the forced evacuation of Afghan refugee camps, and textile technical feats achieved in collaboration with Maison Lemarié (passion flowers and Damask rose with silk petals, feather marquetry cigarettes, sophisticated pleats). This gap is reminiscent of the social inequalities between Haiti’s inhabitants as expressed by Évelyne Trouillot: “All the inhabitants of Port-auPrince share the streets,the traffic jam, the pollution and filth, but when they get home, their worlds are totally different.” This sharing of filth, of cigarette butts transformed into phantasmagorical elements, “the love of risk and a bit of equipment”, is the necessary paraphernalia deployed by Gaëlle Choisne to resist oblivion.
Text by Émilie Notéris, translated by Callisto McNulty
Gaëlle Choisne was born in 1985 in Cherbourg, France. She currently lives and works in Paris, as well as working with a number of public and private institutions in Haïti, where she is engaged in various alternative, collective and cultural projects. Selected solo exhibitions include Monument aux Vivant·e·s – DÉNI, Palais de la Porte Dorée, Paris, FR; Blue Lights in the Basement, NıCOLETTı, London (2022); Temple of Love – Atopos, MAC VAL, Vitry-sur-Seine, FR (2022); Mondes Subtiles, Air de Paris, Paris (2021); Défixion, curated by Nicolas Bourriaud, archaeological site of Lattara – Musée Henri Prades, in collaboration with MO.CO., Montpellier, FR (2020); Temple of Love, Nuit Blanche, Musée d’Art Moderne de la ville de Paris, FR (2020); Temple of Love — Adorable, The Mistake Room, Los Angeles, CA (2019), Temple of Love, Bétonsalon, Paris, FR (2018).
Her work is regularly exhibited in international group exhibitions, including Soft Water Hard Stone, 5th New Museum Triennial, New York, USA (2021, forthcoming); GIBCA, Göteborg International Biennial of Contemporary Art, DK (2021, forthcoming); the 15th Biennale de Lyon (2019); the 14th Curitiba Biennial, Brazil (2019); the Sharjah Biennial 13, Beirut (2017); the 12th Havana Biennial, Cuba (2015); and the 13th Biennale de Lyon (2015). She has also had the opportunity to exhibit her work in international institutions such as the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Lyon; the MAMO, Cité Radieuse of Le Corbusier, Marseille; the CAFA Museum in Beijing, and the Pera Museum in Istanbul.
Selected public and private collections include Lafayette Anticipations, Paris, FR; Musée National de l’Histoire de l’Immigration, Paris, FR; MacVal, Vitry-sur-Seine, FR; Musée Fabre – Fondation Tiphaine, Montpellier, FR; Kadist, Paris, FR; FRAC Champagne Ardenne, Reims, FR; and CNAP (Centre national des arts plastiques), Paris, FR.