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Bertrand Dezoteux

by Raphael Fonseca

Bertrand Dezoteux

par Raphael Fonseca

On 2007, the Canadian band Arcade Fire released the album Neon Bible. The last song of the CD, My body is a cage, has initial verses that I am pretty sure that a whole generation knows by heart: “My body is cage that keeps me / from dancing with the one I love / but my mind holds the key”.

Yes, our bodies can be a prison to many acts that ask for courage and self-affirmation: dancing, loving, communicate, expressing ourselves. We all begin with our bodies and from there we experience the world. The same way that the body can be seen like this type of cerebral prison, it can be also be understood as a trampoline for freedom; as Barbara Kruger wrote in one of her most famous works, Your body is a battleground (1989) – it is an arena for shouting, screaming, dressing and showing to the public gaze: I exist. Sometimes there’s no time to leave the keys with the mind; we need to act in a libertarian way through our bodies – specially in times like these when we’re facing fascist waves all over the world.
The five artists I decided to share here on ElaineAlain come from a personal curatorial interest I have on the recent months: these relations between the human body and freedom in an anti-fascist point of view. These artists – Cecilia Bengolea, Claude Cahun, Bertrand Dezoteux, KengnĂ© TĂ©guia and Raphael Zarka - develop researches that deal with the body as triggers for reflections about resistance. These uses of the body have a range of media: some of them are central in performative ephemeral acts, while others are depicted through video, digital animation and photography. Their program can be quite different but they all dialogue looking at the human body as an agent of empowerment that can engage the audience physically or at least suggest them that our bodies can be tools of micro-micro-revolutions.

[…]

Using techniques like stop motion and computer-generated images, Bertrand Dezoteux creates narratives that comment not only existential issues but also cultural identity in contemporary France. The dialogues are essential and it’s not uncommon to notice the constant use of nonsense – this perception is certainly bolded by the fact that Dezoteux’s characters are not only humans but also animals, historical figures and even unanimated objects. Nature, landscape, politics and philosophical questions are all through his work with a sense of humor that quickly engages the public and invites us all to a fictional reality. His bodies are pure images that can be folded, fragmented and torned in a close dialogue to surrealism.

Raphael Fonseca, 2019

En 2007, le groupe canadien Arcade Fire a sorti l’album Neon Bible. La derniĂšre chanson du CD, My body is a cage, dĂ©bute par des vers que toute une gĂ©nĂ©ration, j’en suis presque sĂ»r, connaĂźt par cƓur : My body is a cage that keeps me/From dancing with the one I love/But my mind holds the key [Mon corps est une cage qui m’empĂȘche / de danser avec celui que j’aime / mais mon esprit dĂ©tient la clĂ©].

Oui, notre corps peut ĂȘtre une prison pour de nombreux actes qui demandent de s’affirmer de faire preuve de courage : danser, aimer, communiquer, s’exprimer. Tout dĂ©bute par le corps et c’est grĂące Ă  lui que nous faisons l’expĂ©rience du monde. On peut le considĂ©rer comme une sorte de prison cĂ©rĂ©brale, autant qu’y voir un trampoline pour la libertĂ© ; comme Barbara Kruger l’a Ă©crit dans l’une de ses Ɠuvres les plus cĂ©lĂšbres, Your body is a battleground (1989) – il est une arĂšne oĂč crier, hurler, s’habiller et se montrer aux yeux de tous en disant : J’existe.

Parfois, nous ne pouvons pas laisser les clĂ©s Ă  l’esprit, nous devons agir de maniĂšre libertarienne par le biais de notre corps, surtout en ces temps oĂč nous sommes confrontĂ©s Ă  des vagues fascistes dans le monde entier.

Les cinq artistes que j’ai dĂ©cidĂ© de prĂ©senter ici sur ElaineAlain orientent leur recherche sur un sujet qui me tient Ă  cƓur en tant que curateur ces derniers mois : les relations entre le corps humain et la libertĂ© dans une perspective antifasciste. Ces artistes – Cecilia Bengolea, Claude Cahun, Bertrand Dezoteux, KengnĂ© TĂ©guia et Raphael Zarka – conçoivent le corps comme un dĂ©clencheur de rĂ©flexions sur la rĂ©sistance. Le corps est envisagĂ© sur tout un Ă©ventail de supports : qu’il soit l’objet de performances Ă©phĂ©mĂšres, de vidĂ©os, d’animations numĂ©riques ou de photographies. Leurs programmes peuvent ĂȘtre trĂšs diffĂ©rents, mais ils dialoguent tous en considĂ©rant le corps humain comme un agent d’autonomisation qui peut impliquer physiquement le public ou du moins lui suggĂ©rer que nos corps peuvent ĂȘtre des outils de micro-rĂ©volutions.

[…]

En utilisant des techniques comme le stop motion et les images de synthĂšse, Bertrand Dezoteux crĂ©e des rĂ©cits qui abordent non seulement des questions existentielles mais aussi la question de l’identitĂ© culturelle dans la France contemporaine. Les dialogues sont essentiels et on note frĂ©quemment la prĂ©sence de non-sens –certainement parce que les personnages de Dezoteux ne sont pas seulement des humains mais aussi des animaux, des personnages historiques et mĂȘme des objets inanimĂ©s. La nature, le paysage, la politique et les questions philosophiques traversent son Ɠuvre avec un sens de l’humour qui interpelle rapidement le public et l’invite Ă  Ă©voluer dans une rĂ©alitĂ© fictive. Ses corps sont des images qui peuvent ĂȘtre pliĂ©es, fragmentĂ©es et transformĂ©es en un dialogue proche du surrĂ©alisme.

Raphael Fonseca, 2020

Traduit de l’anglais par Elsa Maggion

Bertrand Dezoteux, Zootrope, 2019, filmstill of a vidéo, 14min 42s, © ADAGP, Paris, 2021

Bertrand Dezoteux, Zootrope, 2019, filmstill of a vidéo, 14min 42s, © ADAGP, Paris, 2021

Bertrand Dezoteux
Bertrand Dezoteux

Bertrand Dezoteux, born in 1982 in Bayonne, lives and works in Nouvelle-Aquitaine. His animated films cultivate a keen sense of detail and a deliberately iconoclastic aesthetic of computer-generated images. Each of them is an opportunity to enrich the repertoire of cinematographic genres. In recent years, he has produced an anti-heroic surf film, a cosmic opera inspired by Parade, the ballet composed by Erik Satie, Jean Cocteau and Pablo Picasso, a space opera featuring the evangelistic mission of a certain Jesus Perez, and an ubiquitous fable in which a deliveroo crosses paths with the hybrid creatures of sculptor Bruno Gironcoli.

Bertrand Dezoteux regularly presents his work in France (Palais de Tokyo, Centre Pompidou, Musée des Abattoirs) and internationally (Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival, MCA Chicago, Frieze London). In 2021, he is the guest curator of the inaugural exhibition of the Pernod Ricard Foundation, for which he brings together 13 artists of different generations and backgrounds.

http://bertrand.dezoteux.com/

Bertrand Dezoteux, nĂ© en 1982 Ă  Bayonne, vit et travaille en Nouvelle-Aquitaine. Ses films d’animation cultivent un sens aigu du dĂ©tail et une esthĂ©tique volontairement iconoclaste de l’image de synthĂšse. Chacun d’entre eux est l’occasion d’enrichir le rĂ©pertoire des genres cinĂ©matographiques. Il a notamment produit ces derniĂšres annĂ©es un film de surf anti-hĂ©roĂŻque, un opĂ©ra cosmique inspirĂ© de Parade, le ballet composĂ© par Erik Satie, Jean Cocteau et Pablo Picasso, un space opĂ©ra mettant en scĂšne la mission d’évangĂ©lisation d’un certain JĂ©sus Perez ou d’une fable ubuesque dans laquelle un livreur deliveroo croise la route des crĂ©atures hybrides du sculpteur Bruno Gironcoli.

Bertrand Dezoteux prĂ©sente rĂ©guliĂšrement son travail en France (Palais de Tokyo, Centre Pompidou, MusĂ©e des Abattoirs) et Ă  l’international (Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival, MCA Chicago, Frieze Londres). En 2021, il est le commissaire invitĂ© de l’exposition inaugurale de la Fondation Pernod Ricard, pour laquelle il rĂ©unit 13 artistes de diffĂ©rentes gĂ©nĂ©rations et horizons.

http://bertrand.dezoteux.com/

Raphael Fonseca
Raphael Fonseca

Raphael Fonseca is a researcher in the areas of curating, art history, art critic and education. He worked as a curator at MAC NiterĂłi (Contemporary Art Museum of NiterĂłi, Brazil) from 2017 to 2020. He holds a PhD in Critic and Art History (State University of Rio de Janeiro). He’s one of the curators of the next edition of the SESC_VIdeobrasil Biennale, working along with RenĂ©e Akitelek Mboya and Solange Farkas, in 2023. Since mid-2020, he develops the project “1 curadorx, 1 hora” (“1 curator, 1 hour”) where he interviews curators related to Brazil and from different generations and regions of the world. He received the Marcantonio Vilaça Curatorial Award (2015) and the Centro Cultural SĂŁo Paulo curatorial award (2017). He writes regularly for artists, institutions and publications. Recently he curated “Sweat” (Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany, 2021) and “To-and-fro” (Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, SĂŁo Paulo, Brazil, 2019).

https://raphaelfonseca.net/

Raphael Fonseca est chercheur dans les domaines du commissariat d’exposition, de l’histoire de l’art, de la critique d’art et de l’Ă©ducation. Il a travaillĂ© en tant que commissaire d’exposition au MAC NiterĂłi (musĂ©e d’art contemporain de NiterĂłi, BrĂ©sil) de 2017 Ă  2020. Il est titulaire d’un doctorat en critique et histoire de l’art (UniversitĂ© d’État de Rio de Janeiro). Il est l’un des commissaires de la prochaine Ă©dition de la Biennale SESC_VIdeobrasil, aux cĂŽtĂ©s de RenĂ©e Akitelek Mboya et Solange Farkas, en 2023. Depuis mi-2020, il dĂ©veloppe le projet “1 curadorx, 1 hora” (“1 curateur, 1 heure”) oĂč il interviewe des curateurs liĂ©s au BrĂ©sil et issus de diffĂ©rentes gĂ©nĂ©rations et rĂ©gions du monde. Il a reçu le prix du conservateur Marcantonio Vilaça (2015) et le prix du conservateur du Centro Cultural SĂŁo Paulo (2017). Il Ă©crit rĂ©guliĂšrement pour des artistes, des institutions et des publications. RĂ©cemment, il a Ă©tĂ© commissaire de “Sweat” (Haus der Kunst, Munich, Allemagne, 2021) et de “To-and-fro” (Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, SĂŁo Paulo, BrĂ©sil, 2019).

https://raphaelfonseca.net/

The paintings from the series ‘L’Air de Rien’ and ‘Surfaces’ are evocations of a fluid world. It seems as if paint and support have briefly solidified before the paint continues to drip, curve and flow. For Robbe, fluidity represents freedom. He doesn’t want to control the creative process but prefers letting things run their course and to leave things to drift. Not one sketch precedes these paintings. It arises in the here and now by anticipating what happens with the material.

JĂ©rĂŽme Robbe, Nanda Janssen