Cathy Josefowitz: The Thinking Body

Cathy Josefowitz: The Thinking Body

Centre culturel suisse, Paris

November 24, 2021
Cathy Josefowitz
The Thinking Body
November 28, 2021–January 30, 2022
Opening: November 27, 5–7pm, featuring Garrett Nelson’s performance Anacrónica III: The Mesmeric Sermons of the Nudists
Centre culturel suisse, Paris
38 rue des Francs-Bourgeois
75003 Paris

T +33 1 42 71 44 50

The Thinking Body, the largest retrospective to date of the work of Cathy Josefowitz (1956–2014), showcases the entire range of her artistic output, in which paintings and drawings enter into a dialogue with choreography. Her whole life long, she never ceased to deconstruct the hierarchy between the dramatic and the visual arts and, thanks to works whose dimensions and expression reflect the range and the impact of her own body, her oeuvre personifies a reconciliation of two media often treated as disparate in art history. The body—in motion and in relation to other bodies—constitutes the core of her work.

Having departed this life in Geneva, in 2014, Cathy Josefowitz leaves a legacy comprising more than 3‘000 works of art spanning a period of over forty years. While Josefowitz’s work was rarely exhibited during her lifetime, the cosmopolitan Swiss artist’s extensive oeuvre now can be rethought in the context of current discourses: it resonate strangely in light of the present resurgence in Europe and the rest of the western world of questions of identity pertaining to the body, its self-expression, and its representation by others, as well as to the rise of a new syntax of feminist militancy. This retrospective highlights Cathy Josefowitz’s contribution to art history and contemporary dance and is an opportunity to discover an artist whose work remains still largely unknown.

The exhibition at Centre culturel suisse features Cathy Josefowitz’s main groups of works, from all periods of her life: her very first drawings with surrealist undertones; sketches of stage design; a series of puppets; the key figurative paintings of the 1970s depicting marginalized bodies, hybrid beings, and scenes of friendship, love, and interspecies relations; a large series of pastels from her notebooks; and works created during her stay in Italy. A selection of videos of her choreographies create the link between her experimental dance practice and painting. The series of Ciels (Skies), and Prières (Prayers) from the 1990s and 2000s show the more abstract and colorist side of her work towards the end of her life.

The exhibition also occasions a new performative work by the Swiss-American artist Garrett Nelson (b. 1982). In their research into Josefowitz’s work as a dancer and painter, Nelson explores the experimental dance context as well as a form of painting that “is embodied.” Their performance, presented at the Centre culturel suisse. Paris on the opening, and previously shown at the Kunsthaus Langenthal in Switzerland and the Arsenic—Centre d’art scénique contemporain, Lausanne, Switzerland, was produced in collaboration with La Becque | Artist Residency, La Tour-de-Peilz, Switzerland.

The exhibition at the Centre culturel suisse is conceived by the curators Claire Hoffmann and Elise Lammer, as part of a project initiated by Elise Lammer and jointly realized and shown by the Kunsthaus Langenthal (cur. Raffael Dörig), the Centre culturel suisse and the MACRO Roma (cur. Luca Lo Pinto), between 2021 and 2022. Supported by Les Amis de Cathy Josefowitz, Geneva; Arsenic—Centre d’art scénique contemporain, Lausanne and La Becque | Résidence d’artistes, La Tour-de-Peilz.

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Centre culturel suisse, Paris
November 24, 2021

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