Rochechouart Museum of Contemporary Art is delighted to show the first retrospective of films, videos and graphics by the artist Joëlle de La Casinière.
Born in Casablanca in 1944, Joëlle de La Casinière lives and works in Brussels despite pursuing a predominantly nomadic life-style. Over five decades, her tally of works includes the making of 400 poem-paintings, 19 hand-written and illustrated books, 9 films and 15 videos. Collectively, they cast a distinctive poetic, critical and amused eye on media and late 20th century civilisation in general.
Having already established herself as a painter in Paris, Joëlle de La Casinière abruptly turned her back on the pop-influenced work she had been producing up till then and started making films in Latin American countries. Together with writing and collage, this became her principal means for recording everyday existence.
So it was that in the early seventies, she set out across Colombia and Peru making films with Michel Bonnemaison and Carlos Ferrand. Their documentary aesthetic style enabled her, for example, to relate the lives of Cuzko porters and their giant loads (Cargadores, 1971) or show street mechanics working in Lima (Suite,1975).
The seven-year period spent in South America also coincided with the beginnings of her graphic poems. These poem/collages freely meld poetry with typography, ornament and graffiti, a practice she prolonged until 2014 in a mammoth series she calls Tablotin.
From the eighties on, Joëlle de La Casinière adopted the medium of video which she used to develop a genuine dialectic concerning television and its discourse. In these works, her interests in medieval literature, illuminations and advertising imagery are mixed with a pinch of humour.
However, perhaps the single area that best reflects her approach, is that of making books. Her self-published large manuscripts represent an original form that creates a meeting point between poem paintings and her music-text-video works.
The present exhibition has no intentions to provide an exhaustive chronological review of Joëlle de La Casinière’s entire works. Instead, multiple aspects of her work are allowed to percolate through the museum spaces. Text, image and music mingle to create poetic meanderings that lead visitors to encounter, for instance, the friendships that burgeoned in the artistic community at the Montfaucon Research Center she co-founded in 1972. Her fellow founders included her muse and friend Michel Bonnemaison, the young and initially stateless artist-poet Sophie Podolski, Portuguese poet Al Berto, Italian painter Olimpia Hruska and the group’s official musician, Jacques Lederlin.
Joëlle de La Casinière’s work is currently being enthusiastically (re)-discovered and has been shown in a number of galleries; at the International Poetry Centre in Marseille (2006), Dresden Kunsthaus (2010), Argos Centre for Art and Media in Brussels (2014), GB Agency Galleries in Paris, Catriona Jeffries Gallery in Vancouver plus in 2019 at the Ricard Foundation in Paris and at the Malmö Konsthall in a show curated by François Piron. Pieces by Joëlle de La Casinière have recently been acquired for permanent national collections in Paris at the Musée national d’art moderne and the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid.
Tout doit disparaître is a reference to the first catalogue of the same name that Joëlle de La Casinière made in 2005 as an archival record of the Montfaucon Collection and of all her own publications since 1972.