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Cathy Josefowitz & Susie Green / Empty rooms full of love

Cathy Josefowitz & Susie Green / Empty rooms full of love

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May 19th 2021 - August 22nd, 2021

Curated by: Bettina Moriceau Maillard, Director of the association Les Amis de Cathy Josefowitz and Marie Griffay, Director of the FRAC Champagne-Ardenne

The FRAC Champagne-Ardenne is pleased to present the first institutional exhibition in France of Swiss artist Cathy Josefowitz (1956, New York - 2014, Geneva) and English artist Susie Green (b. 1979). Empty rooms full of love orchestrates the unprecedented encounter between two bodies of work that share an affinity of medium— painting, drawing, collage, performance, music— both exploring themes such as otherness and disguise. In both works, the use of theatrical devices is part of questioning relationship to the body, itself engaged in the intimate journey of quest for self. This crossing of paths highlights two powerful and sensitive approaches focusing on the emancipation of the body through the gaze of two generations of female artists.

The first part of the exhibition, inhabited by characters dressed up, amplified and decorated by the artists and standing for avatars of themselves, plunge the viewer at the heart of a game of gazes. It takes the form of a theatre stage where acrobats, puppets and figures inspired by commedia dell’ arte characters, dance, run and slide along the floor. While the register is happy, certain characters convey a sense of melancholy: “The aim is to free oneself, thanks to a simple game of appearances that one plays or goes along with, thereby allowing a hidden or bridled part of the self to be expressed.” (1)

In the second part of the exhibition, the physical relationship is lived as a spiritual experience that allows to find oneself. A shift thus occurs, a transformation of the being, which can be seen in the work of both artists. Cathy Josefowitz’ s paintings and notebooks on the Kamasutra and the erotic paintings and drawings by Susie Green give way to an abstract form of representation. In Green’s work the bodies have evaporated, transformed into energy through sexual encounter, while Cathy Josefowitz’s colored skies depict the metamorphosis of thoughts into emotions. The end of this second chapter takes us into ecstasy with a hypnotic video installation co-authored by Kim Coleman and Susie Green.

Empty rooms full of love is an invitation to allow oneself to be permeated with the female gaze, that which describes a feminine experience of the world and that everyone can identify with. What does it mean to inhabit a woman’s body, to experience it and go beyond it? Do the empty rooms full of love refer to interior spaces, to women’s bodies, or to the museum space? Is the one that fill it with love, the person who enters this space or the one that it belongs to?

The exhibition features works co-authored by Cathy Josefowitz and Susie Green with: Simon Bayliss, Claire Bushe, Kim Coleman, Romain Denis, Cathy Frost, Lisa Halse, Tess McDermott, Rory Pilgrim and Mara de Witt.

This exhibition has benefited from the support of Fluxus Art Projects

(1) Marguerite Yourcenar on Roger Caillois’s theory of play: “L’homme qui aimait les pierres” in En pèlerin et en étranger. Essais, Paris: Gallimard, 1989

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