Rochechouart Museum of Contemporary Art houses one of the world’s largest collections of works and documents by the co-founder of the Berlin Dada movement, Raoul Hausmann (1886-1971). Regularly on display, it captures aspects of the artist’s highly varied productions and experiments, from early days in Germany to his final years in France.
The exhibition title, La pleine lune dort la nuit [The Full Moon Sleeps at Night] comes from one of Raoul Hausmann’s poems in his book Poèmes et bois [Poems & Woodcuts] published by Iliazd in 1961. The museum asked 8 young international artists to react to the self-baptised “Dadasopher” and his works. They have responded in a mixture of poetry, literature, performance and dance.
Instead of a direct homage, the result can be envisaged as an intuitive landscape shaped by artists who, like Hausmann, also explore regions beyond accepted syntax, semantics or logic in language and body. Several graphical works and photos by Raoul Hausmann are used to point out various notions in language, translation, polysemy as well as issues concerning body and identity. All seem relevant to us today, in an age fashioned by internet, Culture Club and gender studies.
The exhibition broadly consists of three sections in which a number of themes can be discerned; phonetic poetry (Hanne Lippard, David Horvitz), links with calligraphy and with Apollinaire (Laetitia Badaut Haussmann), body movement and creation of gestural vocabulary (Emilie Pitoiset) plus voice and literature as affirmations of semantic space (Maheke, Cally Spooner) or of political and social spheres (Nora Turato, Tarek Lakhrissi).