- Immaterial Salon
Le Sang! / Blood!, 2016-2022
Courtesy of the artist
Arlène Berceliot Courtin
Blood!¹ manifests itself through its oral dimension. It is an object to be read aloud and to embrace its full performative scope. You read it, but above all, you hear it. It responds to a non-scholarly and non-authoritarian will to displace the margins, an invitation to unlearn the dominant thought, to undo the nuclear families. Blood! exists in the form of an ebb and flow that is passed on during private readings or in front of an audience. Blood! circulates, Blood! must circulate.
Blood! is a strategy based on the deconstruction of language intended as a system established by order of a state grammar. Blood! becomes a new mode of defense. Its common, even neutral vocabulary is that of English. A form of shared server, from which everything becomes possible. English has the advantage of unifying as well as emphasizing the lexical field of affect, of affectivity, and of being affected. Or maybe even the one of the utopia of the affects.
English universalizes while refusing the universalism à la française. Therefore, it becomes the vector of a permanent elocution, which authorizes the existence of a metalanguage originating in the transition from a language to another. From Arabic (sometimes) to French (often) to English (always), it is constantly nurtured by the lack of ascendancy of one language over the other, by the absence of interference of one language over the others. Through these back-and-forths pronounced by a single mouth, Blood! becomes a body, Blood! becomes a story, Blood! becomes a family, the one which is possible to love.
Blood! federates around itself. Or rather, Blood! federates around them, as close as possible to them – like a she, as a plural form. Blood! does not stray from its origins and recalls for this reason sources such as Jean Genet or Monique Wittig. Blood! is eventually perhaps a sentence to be pronounced together. Blood! also evokes the American continent as exile. Blood! says the essential without ever essentializing. Blood! is radical and repeats its radicality, loud and clear. Blood! says that the Guérrilleres² are still there. Alive, in flesh, in bones. They are all around you, around me, around you. It also says that these Guérrilleres are yours, they are mine.
Blood! is present. It must be conjugated in the present tense. Blood! is not a romance, is not romantic, is not apologetic. It is unabashed. It is more like an anticipatory illumination.³ A queer island in which the weapon is the word.
¹ Blood! is the first collection of poems by Tarek Lakhrissi which brings together texts written between 2016 and 2022. The work presents itself as a mirror in two languages, English and French, and makes us discover the themes that structure the work of the artist such as, among others, the fight, the body, the language, and the minority queer experience. It was entirely designed in the publishing workshop of Lafayette Anticipations, text from the Lafayette Anticipations’ website (consulted in August 2022).
² “They say they have learned to rely on their own strengths. They say that they know what they mean together. They say that those who claim a new language, first learn violence. They say that those who want to transform the world first take up guns. They say that they start from zero. They say that it is a new world that is beginning”, Monique Wittig, Les Guérillères, front cover, Pocket edition, Minuit, Paris, 1969. Please note that this extract of the original text has been translated by the author herself as an alternative to several misunderstandings and approximate published translations since the 1970s. It is an interesting challenge to translate the plural form of “She” into English, and “Women” is definitely inappropriate as essentialist and/or exclusive. This complexity expresses the virtuosity of Monique Wittig’s use of the English language from the early 1970s to the chapter ‘Mark of the Gender’ within The Straight Mind, which was originally published in English in 1992. For more information on this topic, please see the current translation by Annabel Kim, Associate professor at the University of Harvard, USA.
³ “Certain performances of queer citizenship contain what I call an anticipatory illumination of a queer world, a sign of an actually existing queer reality, a kernel of political possibility within a stultifying heterosexual present.”, Cruising Utopia, The Then and There of Queer Futurity, José Esteban Muñoz, New York University Press, New York, 2009.
Arlène Berceliot Courtin is a curator, researcher, and independent writer involved in the IKT, CEA, AICA and ACD professional networks. In 2018, after spending ten years at the head of world-famous contemporary art galleries, she co-founded the curator-run space furiosa, a project devoted to research on art and curating. In 2019, she was a laureate of the French Institute’s « Sur Mesure » residency program. On this occasion, she began to research the interrelation between the French New Novel and the work of American choreographer and filmmaker Yvonne Rainer – in partnership with IMEC – France, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, False Library, NYU, New York. Since 2011, she has been working with cultural sites and institutes, including the Centre national de la Danse, the Institut national d’histoire de l’art, Air de Paris, Galerie des Galeries, Artorama, the Bureau des arts plastiques, Gallery Weekend Berlin, and Manifesta in Marseille. In 2022, she is Laureate of Centre National des Arts Plastiques x Villa Albertine – Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States of America, for her research on the interpretation of French writings by Yvonne Rainer, but this time from the perspective of feminist studies with Monique Wittig as a central figure.
Tarek Lakhrissi (lives and works in Paris) is a French artist and poet with a background in literature. He works across installation, performance, film, text and sculpture, engaging with transformative narratives within language, magic, codes and affects. His background in literature draws influence from feminist and queer writers providing his work with a critical atmosphere and an interest in queer of color experience. He currently teaches at CCC Research Master Program of the Visual Arts Department at HEAD (Geneva School of Art and Design). Lakhrissi has been exhibited internationally at galleries and institutions including Palais de Tokyo (Paris), Museum of Contemporary Art; 22nd Biennale of Sydney (Sydney), Wiels (Brussels), Palazzo Re Rebaudengo/Sandretto (Guarene/Torino), Manchester International Festival (Manchester), Mostyn, (Llandudno), Tinguely Museum (Basel), HKW (Berlin), Shedhalle (Zurich); Fondation Ricard (Paris), Quadriennale di Roma; Palazzo delle Esposizioni (Roma), High Art (Paris), La Verrière, Fondation Hermès (BE), Kevin Space (Vienna), Hayward Gallery (London), Auto Italia South East (London), Grand Palais, FIAC (Paris), Fondation Lafayette Anticipations (Paris), L’Espace Arlaud (Lausanne), Zabriskie (Geneva), Fondation Gulbenkian (Paris), Veda gallery (Firenze), CRAC Alsace (Altkirch), Kim? (Riga), Artexte (Montreal), Gaité Lyrique (Paris), SMC/CAC; (Vilnius). Lakhrissi’s artworks are part of different private and public collections like Defares, Sandretto Foundation or CNAP. He is represented by VITRINE Gallery (London/Basel).