The Many Lives and Deaths of Louise Brunet: manifesto of fragility

16th Biennale de Lyon

Lyon, Musée d'art contemporaine
dal 14 Settembre al 31 Dicembre 2022

The exhibition

Departing from the context of Lyon, the exhibition is designed as a retelling of the obscure 19th century story of Louise Brunet, a silk spinner from the Drôme, who after joining the revolution of the “Canuts” (silk weavers) in 1834, embarked on an arduous journey of self-reinvention, which ended in the Lyon-owned silk factories of Mount Lebanon. In a sequence of sections that are conceived as focused explorations of various manifestations of fragility, Louise Brunet is portrayed as an elusive figure, part real, part fictional, that appears in different guises, in various places, at several moments in history. In doing so, the exhibition proposes a reconsideration of History – with a capital “H”, as an accumulation of many smaller ones, where the often forgotten voices of the marginalized person, become central to challenging the writing of the meta-narrative.

By imparting Louise Brunet with the possibility of acquiring different bodies, genders, ages, and species that are imagined as existing within and outside of history, the exhibition highlights the body as a vessel for a staggering range of experiences and forms of being. Racialized, gendered, depleted, or colonized, the body, and its various representations, becomes a site of reflection, mourning and celebration. Through juxtaposing different conceptions of the body, combining a wide plethora of mediums, territories and time periods, the exhibition addresses a range of political, economic and ecological issues, where fragility is reconsidered as a source of generative resistance, and as the only shared truth that connects us all.