Critics’ Picks

View of “Louise Hervé and Chloé Maillet: L’Iguane” (The Iguana), 2018.


Louise Hervé and Chloé Maillet

Centre d'art contemporain d'Ivry - le Crédac
25-29 rue Raspail La Manufacture des Oeillets
January 20–March 25

L’Iguane” (The Iguana) is a miniretrospective of work by Louise Hervé and Chloé Maillet, an art duo active since 2001. Much of their output takes the form of performance, a discipline they refer to as their “research laboratory.” They also produce videos, at times silly or aloof. And they don’t shy away from painting, either: In the exhibition’s first gallery, the artists have hung art brut pieces from the early twentieth century. Some of them are attributed to spiritualist painters from mining regions in the north of France; others are re-creations of works by Hervé and Maillet. As part of a scheduled program, actors come in to perform from scripts written by the pair in front of this display. The texts question the way spiritualism is rooted in collective projects and utopian thinking, such as Communism or the philosophies of Joseph Fourier and Henri de Saint-Simon.

In the second gallery is Spectacles without Objects, 2016, a film-and-slideshow piece that explores Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s reflections on public representation, which the artists link to the history of performance art. In the final gallery is Pythagoras and the Monsters, 2012 a sword-and-sandal Super 8 film made up of partial gestures and elusive, in-between moments. We see clips of someone playing Pythagoras exercising, along with some images of his waiting disciples. The myth surrounding the man is turned into bits of campy “found” footage.

As the founders of the comically named International Institute for Important Items, or IIII, the artists interrogate the idea of the archive through a feminist lens, building a universe where political community projects grow within a timeless anthropological backdrop.