Lost Password

Interview: Performing Barthes, an interview with Arianne Foks (Paris)

On June 7-9, 2013, Arianne Foks and Laurent Quénéhen will present a program of performances, videos and installations at Les Salaisons in Romainville (Paris suburbs).

Inspired by Roland Barthes, “La désinvolture de nos gangsters” will question “Who are our gangsters? Our politicians, our lovers, our enemies, our philosophers, our experts in genetics, or our golden researchers?”


In the interview below, curator Arianne Foks discusses the content of the event and some of her views about performance art.

Coming up next, an interview with Norwegian artist Agnes Nedregard, who will be performing at “La désinvolture de nos gangsters.”

Arianne Foks is a multidisciplinary artist, based in Paris. Her work investigates identity and displacement, focusing on the question of desire and how desire produces a new body or space.

Opie Boero Imwinkelried: “La désinvolture de nos gangsters,” could you please translate and tell us the reason for this title?

Arianne Foks: I can’t translate the title and I’ll explain why…La désinvolture de nos gangsters comes from a text of Roland Barthes, French literary theorist and semiotician, published in his book Mythologies (1957). What Barthes describes, has for me an immediate relation to what I perceive fundamental in performative forms of art. I searched for the English translation of the book, and I was surprised to discover that this particular extract, these 3 pages where he compares Greek Gods and Gangsters from movies isn’t translated into English. La désinvolture des gangsters doesn’t exist in English, and I like the fact that non French speakers can create their own meaning for the word « désinvolture ». The title already opens the imagination, and that’s what I find important in Performance Art, not knowing what is going to happen next.

OI: Could you please present the event?

AF: The event came from the desire of Laurent Quenehen, Director of Les Salaisons, art space situated in the outskirts of Paris, to present a Performance art exhibition. He invited me to co-curate the event. We decided to open the space during 3 days, 7, 8, 9th of June, and present up to 3 performances per day. Installations and videos will also be presented in the space. Each day will have its surprises and the audience is invited to experience the space in different ways through the multiple propositions of the artists.

OI: How would you explain to the general public that performance art is meaningful?

AF: I think this question can be asked about any form of art, when artists are trying to create a thought, in a formal or conceptual way it creates meaning. What does it mean is not the point in Art, but rather what does it creates, in terms of ideas or in terms of feelings.


Arianne Foks, photo Monika Sobczak

OI: What do you think the status of performance art will be in the near future?

AF: I’m torn between two feelings, on one side I’m thrilled that nowadays, in France, you can see much more performances than 5 or 10 years ago. When I was an Art student and I chose performance as my main practice, my work would be criticized and compared with performance from the 60’s or 70’s, and questioned as a not contemporary form of art. This issue seems to have been dissolved, probably because the social and economical context that is driving us towards more ephemeral and immediate forms of a living.
On the other hand, this democratization of performance art is a disaster in terms of quality. I see a lot of artists trying performance art for fun (I’m not saying performance has to be serious), or as a ‘cool’ and ‘easy’ way of doing things, and that leads to very bad experiences. Art and more particularly performance art is not about entertainment; it has to create thought. For entertainment, turn on your TV if you have one.

OI: Is there anything else you would like to add?

AF: I just want to specify that it’s the first time I’m curating a show, and it’s an amazing experience. This is only possible because of the trust of all the amazing artists I met during these past three years. Special thanks to Laurent Quenehen, director of Les Salaisons, who is doing an incredible job with his space, fighting everyday to keep this place alive. Thanks to the artists Mireia Arnella (Esp), Andrea Aversa (It/Fr), Marie Johanna Cornut (Fr), Odie Chaavkaa (Mongolia/Fr), Helmut Heiss (It/Aut), Anya Liftig (US), Agnes Nedregard (Nor), Tomaz Szrama (Pl/Fin).
Special thanks to all the people, artists, curators, friends, that are supportive and encouraging my work, and that have been inviting me around the world.

La désinvolture de nos gangsters:

25/27 Avenue du Président Wilson, 93230 Romainville
M° Mairie des Lilas – Bus 105, arrêt Liberté
Free Admission
Friday 7th 7-10pm
Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th 4-9pm

Share This Post

Opie Boero Imwinkelried’s work explores language and technology with a focus on the ancient Roman and Greek worlds in connection with contemporary society. Imwinkelried organizes Dimanche Rouge, an experimental performance art event taking place monthly in Paris, France, and abroad. Imwinkelried has shown video works at several international venues including the European Media Art Festival (EMAF), Clermont-Ferrand Videoformes, British Film Institute’s London LGBT Film Festival, and NewFest 2008: The New York LGBT Film Festival. Opie’s work is distributed by Frameline. In the realm of video performance, Imwinkelried has performed at venues including Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Nuit Blanche Paris, and La Gaite Lyrique. In addition to the art practice, Opie Boero Imwinkelried is currently teaching at the largest school of architecture in France, the Ecole National Superieur d’Architecture de Paris La Villette (ENSAPLV), and has taught at the State University of New York at Buffalo and other institutions. Imwinkelried holds a Master’s from the renown Media Study Department at the State University of New York at Buffalo, and pursued studies in different fields including law, philosophy, and a doctorate in classical Latin literature as well as a Master’s in classical archaeology. Imwinkelried spoke at Harvard at the ICAC International Classical Archaeology Congress. Imwinkelried was also involved in several research projects including directing the digital data production and publication project at the Old Fort Niagara excavations, researching for the virtual “reconstruction” of the palace of Ashurnasirpal project using ImmersaDesk™/CAVE™, and coding for the digitalization of Dyonisos inscriptions from the Greek corpus. Facebook: Twitter: Vimeo: Livestream: YouTube: SoundCloud: Flickr:

Related Articles