Les commissaires anonymes

No man is an island

No man is an island

Guests : Grégory Jérome (sociologist), Mickaël Roy (art historian), Claire Migraine (curator), Alain Bernardini (artist), Joséphine Kaeppelin (artist), Romain Boulay (artist and leader of the collaborative workshop space MilleFeuilles in Nantes), Samuel Rivers-Moore (graphic designer), Rachel Vera Steinberg (curator), Jean-Damien Collin (coordinator for Les Nouveaux Commanditaires), Gabriel Mattei (conductor).
Works exhibited of the Frac Alsace collection from the artists Atelier Van Lieshout, Bertille Bak, Alain Bernardini, Franck Bragigand et Fabien Giraud.

Frac Alsace

The seminar at the FRAC No body is an island takes place as part of a collective working programme organized with and for the artists of the Bastion 14, a residency and workshop in Strasbourg. Meetings, workshops and an exhibition have been developed during a year of research around the stakes of common interests and collaborative tools.

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were :
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls ;
It tolls for thee.

John Donne

A romantic image of the lonely worker, of the outsider, sticks to the skin of the artist. Because academism always promotes the idea of artistic genius coming from one individual, preferably through waves of doubt or cathartic processes, because art schools teach more and more to students the obligation to differentiate themselves permanently from the competition and to systematically transgress collective rules to become an author with a capital “A”. But as original as their works are, are they forced to pit their practices against each other ? Each artist attempts to create a language proper to his/her experience of the world, but is it not in order to interact with others ?

“No body is an island” writes John Donne in 1624. With the image of the island, the poet describes the illusion of lonely accomplishment. Even if the workshop is still a space of respite where the artist can evolve alone, free and as creator, in this period of the budget cut, we are reminded even more that we can’t survive as “island”. The artist, the same as everyone else, must invent how to become a “piece of the continent” as J. Donne mentions. But the nature of the “the common continent” has to be in a state of perpetual recomposition.. The opposite of unchangeable, what is common is always in transformation.

The Frac Alsace opened its exhibition space and its collection to Les commissaires anonymes and to the artists of the Bastion 14 for one week of discussion and actions around the notion of the commons.
Professionals from art and culture have been invited to share their experience on specific issues such as the critical exercise of conversation, the identity of a regional scene, feedback after residencies, the tools to share knowledge and networks, etc.
Artworks from the Frac Alsace collection were exhibited in the workshop space, inspiring discussions and thoughts. Strolling, speed dating, singing and rhythm exercises and collective cooking have also been experimented with as other ways to trigger our consciousness of the commons.