Exhibit B

  • Exhibition
  • Performance
  • Music
The 2013 archive

Brett Bailey

Le Cap - Avignon / First time in France

Exhibit B © Christophe Raynaud de Lage / Festival d'Avignon


In the first decades of the 20th century, in Europe and the United States, at the large-scale colonial exhibitions, “human zoos” presented “savages”. Men, women and sometimes even children whom the visitors of these colonialist curiosity shows came to look at, sometimes with curiosity and fascination, sometimes with disgust and repulsion, always with the feeling of superiority faced with these beings to whom “civilization” had to be given. Two humanities face to face, held at a distance, who wouldn't have anything to say to each other, anything to exchange. It is based on this calm and assumed violence of the imperialist ideology that Brett Bailey reverses the principle of these exhibitions. By building “tableaux vivants” around immobile and silent actors who look us straight in the eye, he forces us to consider the humanity of these men and women “objects”. His installation urges us to position ourselves faced with the historical reality of a brutal and manipulative colonialist propaganda, but also the latent racism that still persists today. Each tableau is built from a situation that had existed, meticulously recreated from photo archives or convincing personal accounts, in a skilfully thought-out staging. Embracing more than a century, Exhibit B is a journey through time, but also a reflection on the contemporary prolongations of this relationship of domination, and sometimes of mistreatment that endures in relations between the West and Africa. It is a performance composed of fascinating exhibits. A proposal with great plastic and political force that asserts, loud and clear, the necessity of “decolonizing imaginations” by connecting the past and the present of a still unequal relationship. JFP


conception and direction Brett Bailey

with Kevin Amisi, Diyé Ba, Nathalie Beck, Aretha Belle, Adama Cissoko, Mamadou Diatta, Thomas Lancien, Marie-Claude Leuret, Pierre Noir, Constant Sery (in progress)
and singers Lelsey Melvin Du Pont, Chris Nekongo, Avril Nuuyoma, Marcellinus Swartbooi


production Third World Bunfight
coproduction Wiener Festwochen (Vienne), Festival Theaterformen (Hanovre-Braunschweig), Kunstenfestivaldesarts (Bruxelles)
with the support of Saisons Afrique du Sud-France 2012-2013 and Institut français dans le cadre du programme Afrique et Caraïbes en Créations
Festival d'Avignon is supported by Total for this show.

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