Critics’ Picks

View of “Jagna Ciuchta: A Fold in the Cosmic Belly,” 2021. Photo: Jagna Ciuchta.

View of “Jagna Ciuchta: A Fold in the Cosmic Belly,” 2021. Photo: Jagna Ciuchta.


Jagna Ciuchta

Bétonsalon - centre d'art et de recherche
9 Esplanade Pierre Vidal-Naquet
September 16–November 27, 2021

Jagna Ciuchta’s practice is steeped in an ethos of collective authorship and togetherness—a field of political action more important than ever in these neoliberal times. The key word linking Ciuchta’s name and those of the other artists included in her exhibition “The Fold of the Cosmic Belly” is with, embracing multifaceted notions of collaboration. At times, Ciuchta invites artists to contribute an existing work or produce a new one; at others, she develops pieces together with her colleagues; at still others, she integrates selections from collections. (In this instance, she worked closely with, among others, the Antoine de Galbert collection, a key force behind Paris’s La Maison Rouge.)

The resulting exhibition features works by established artists such as Patty Chang, Graciela Iturbide, Miriam Kahn, Alina Szapocznikow, and Dorothea Tanning alongside younger talents such as Marta Huba, Samir Ramdani, and Eden Tinto Collins. Nancy Holt’s video Sun Tunnels, 1978, and Nan Goldin’s slide projection Self-Portrait (All by Myself), 1995, appear on equal footing with an untitled series of expressive ceramics made between 2017 and 2021 by Arnaud Cousin, who learned his craft at a community college. Karima El Karmoudi’s Wafae, 2021, a wall-mounted collage of magazine spreads touting Orientalist tropes, was inspired by her Moroccan Berber roots. It is shown in dialogue with vivid drawings by her parents, Allal and Fadma.

Ciuchta has woven her own family’s history into the show. The exhibition’s eponymous work, an overlapping accumulation of images on laquered panels and black Plexiglas from 2021, is decked out with wycinanki, traditional Polish cut paper, produced by the artist’s mother, Janka Patocka, who is listed as a co-creator of the piece. Ciuchta at once dominates and dissolves into the exhibition design, which doubles back upon itself, quoting the works it presents in an act of aesthetic digestion.

Translated from German by Gerrit Jackson.