May 21, 2019 - Le Grand Café – Contemporary Art Centre - Countervailing Winds / Claude Lévêque: Human Fly
May 21, 2019

Le Grand Café – Contemporary Art Centre / LiFE – submarine base in Saint-Nazaire

Courtesy La Parole Errante, Claude Lévêque and kamel mennour.

Countervailing Winds
Working class, student and rural solidarities in the west of France: a genealogy
Claude Lévêque: Human Fly
May 26–September 29, 2019

Opening: May 25, 6pm
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This summer, Le Grand Café - Contemporary Art Centre offers two exhibitions, within the art centre and off-site at LiFE, submarine base.

At Le Grand Café - Contemporary Art Centre

Countervailing Winds
Working class, student and rural solidarities in the west of France: a genealogy

Invited curators: Guillaume Désanges and François Piron

Hosted by Le Grand Café, the exhibition Contre-vents [Countervailing Winds] opens up an undisclosed chapter in the social and political history of Brittany region and the West of France. It focuses on the countercultures and the forms of action that appeared during struggles around Saint-Nazaire from 1968 to the present day. Taking a range of graphic, filmic or literary documents—among other sources—as a starting point, the exhibition brings a new perspective on the connections between artistic gestures and militant actions.

The image of Parisian students throwing cobblestones in May '68 has come to sum up a movement that brought the whole of France to a standstill. It overshadowed the repercussions of these events in geographies and social environments other than Paris. May 68 has infused forms of struggle and modes of solidarity within working class environments and in rural areas, inspiring political, cultural and artistic experiments that have remained overlooked histories to this day. In the West of France in particular, the industrialisation of agriculture, the impoverishment of the working class, large-scale environmental pollution and authoritarian State projects aiming at reshaping territories for the sake of a technocratic "modernisation," were some of the enduring and pressing concerns of the 1970s. These grassroots struggles, where anger and hope converge, emerged with a claim for a regional identity linked to the struggles of decolonisation, as a systematic connection between the here and the elsewhere.

With works and documents by:
Soazig Chappedelaine and René Vautier, Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Armand Gatti, Danielle Jaeggi, Jean-Paul Fargier and Anne Caro (collectif Cent Fleurs), Nicole Le Garrec, Jean-Louis Le Tacon, Alain Lefaux, Jacques Loiseleux, Patrick Prado, Carole Roussopoulos, Bruno Serralongue, Torr E Benn
Sound design: Dominique Petitgand

This exhibition is presented as part of the Généalogies fictives [Fictional genealogies] cycle, developed by Guillaume Désanges for the art centre from late 2018 to summer 2020.

This exhibition is made possible thanks to the support of Riso France.

At LiFE - submarine base

Claude Lévêque
Human Fly

Le Grand Café has invited Claude Lévêque, a major artist on the contemporary French scene, to take over the LiFE. He uses a formal vocabulary essentially composed of light and sound to create a site-specific apparatus that generates tension within a host site, always creating an ambivalent experience traversed by conflicting sensations and feelings. The exhibition Human Fly is an immersive system, specifically designed for the LiFE’s monumental space, that upends the visitor’s sensory space.

The title of the exhibition refers to a song by the American rock group The Cramps. The fly’s field of vision approaches 360° and the insect can break down the movement of an immediate threat through an ability to perceive almost ten times more images per second than a human being. Its augmented vision is directly linked to the sensory paroxysms that are one aspect of the installation at the LiFE.

“I’m working in the bay of the Saint-Nazaire submarine base on a specific project. This structure, stripped of the oneiric quality at work in other projects, brings about sensory alterations and disorders through collisions of forms, lights and sound parasites circulating in the whole of the space. This agitation impregnates visitors, physically and mentally, well beyond the experience of the site itself.”

Claude Lévêque, February 2019

Curator: Sophie Legrandjacques, director of Le Grand Café – contemporary art centre

Press contact
Brunswick Arts / Annabelle Türkis aturkis [​at​]

Le Grand Café – Contemporary Art Centre
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