For this third edition of The Artist Presents, French visual artist Jean-Luc Moulène has been invited to comment and share his ideas about the works and overall oeuvre of Michel Journiac.
Conceived in homage to the famous Artists on Artists lectures held at the Dia Art Foundation, this series of lectures invites artists to share their ideas and opinions about the work of another artist on display at the Bourse de Commerce — Pinault Collection.
Born in Paris in 1935 and died in 1995, Michel Journiac was one of the inventors of body art. He burst provocatively into the art world with his Messe pour un corps (“Mass for a Body”) in 1969), distributing fake hosts made of sausage that contained his own blood. His works and his actions sought to subvert the rituals that condition the human body to become an object that society can shape at will. An anti-death penalty activist, he constructed a replica of a guillotine, thus proposing to transform the human body into a post-mortem work of art. His series 24 heures de la vie d’une femme ordinaire (1974) made innovative use of the photographic image. Divided into two sub-series, Realities et Phantasms, the work documents a “photographic action”, which consisted of spending an entire day dressed as a woman and performing her daily tasks. In playing with the aesthetics of photographic storytelling, the first series portrays a middle class woman who emancipates herself through her work, all the while straining to perform he traditional household chores. The second depicts the fantasies that this “ordinary woman” nurtures in her daily life. By parodying the clichés served up to us by the media, Journiac caricaturises the ordinary gestures that symbolize society’s subjection of women.
Born in Reims, Jean-Luc Moulène lives and works in Paris. He has long used photography to express his radical critique of aestheticising representations, and his work now exploits the tension between body and object to investigate the relationship between individual and collective space. His most recent solo exhibitions have been at the Fondation Hermès in Brussels in 2018, at the Secession in Vienna in 2017, at the Centre Pompidou in Paris in 2016, and at the Villa Medici in Rome in 2015. He also participated in the Taipei Biennale in 2016, the International Design Biennale in Saint-Étienne in 2015, the Busan Biennale in 2014, the Venice Biennale in 2003, the São Paulo Biennale in 2002, and documenta X in Kassel in 1997. His works were shown at the Punta della Dogana as part of the exhibitions “Accrochage” in 2016 and “Slip of the Tongue” in 2015.
Portrait Jean-Luc Moulène (2005). Photo : © Florian Kleinefenn.