Alfred Jarry Archipelago: La Valse des pantins - Acte II

Art Center

from 18 Oct 2015 to 14 Feb 2016

William Anastasi, Julien Bismuth, Paul Chan, Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, Rainer Ganahl, Dora Garcia, Naotaka Hiro, Mike Kelley, Tala Madani, Nathaniel Mellors, Henrik Olesen



Curators: Keren Detton and Julie Pellegrin


All most people remember of Jarry is the King Ubu furore, which overshadows a complex body of work marked by radical experimentation and an unmannerly blending of genres. In bringing together a remarkable group of one-of-a-kind international artists, "Alfred Jarry Archipelago" demonstrates that an entire register of current art and performance is shot through with potent, "Jarryesque" transgression.

In his poetry, plays and drawings Alfred Jarry (1873-1907) shattered the boundaries of the social, moral and aesthetic order of the late 19th century. Like a thunderclap, his King Ubu’s famed "Shitr !" paved the way for the modernity that was waiting in the wings : from Marcel Duchamp to Harald Szeemann, and including the Futurists, the Surrealists, the Conceptuals and all the many others indebted to this "proto-Dadaist".


Between the turn of one century and that of its successor Jarry’s work and ideas seem to have breathed new life into society and art. The abolition of limits – to disciplines, identity, good sense, good taste – that he explored in his life and his work, led him to a totally new approach to theatricality, the body and language ; as well as issues of domination, whether related to desire, knowledge or power. Homing in a selection of Jarryesque motifs, "Alfred Jarry Archipelago" sets out to pinpoint their reappearance in the visual arts, on the cusp of theatre, dance and literature.


In his celebrated ‘pataphysical manifesto Exploits and Opinions of Dr Faustroll, Pataphysician Jarry describes an initiatory island-hopping voyage that abolishes factual geography in favour of its artistic equivalent. Each chapter of Book 3 recounts a landfall on an imaginary island dedicated to a writer or artist of the time. If he were sailing through today’s world, what kind of landscape of the last century would Jarry orchestrate ? In the same spirit "Archipelago" invites Jarry along as a posthumous curator: for a string of islands embodying the works of various artists and sketching an uncompromisingly subjective view of his heritage. Unfolding over several months, in different places and in different shapes and forms – group and solo exhibitions, screenings, performances, encounters – the project will be concluded with a festival and a major catalogue.


After an Act I at Le Quartier, Centre for contemporary art in Quimper (5 June – 30 August 2015), La Ferme du Buisson is presenting Act II: a mix of new works and monographic groupings, with each artist occupying a block in an architectural context inspired by a "Jarryesque" approach to the body and space.




"Alfred Jarry Archipelago" is initiated by Le Quartier - Centre for Contemporary Art in Quimper (France), Centre for Contemporary Art of La Ferme du Buisson in Noisiel (France) and the Museo Marino Marini in Florence (Italy). The venture is part of Piano, the Franco-Italian art exchange platform, in collaboration with M-Museum and Playground in Leuven (Belgium). With support from the Danish Arts Foundation, the Forum Culturel Autrichien and the Centre national des arts plastiques.



Sat 18 Oct 2015 at 4 pm 

Opening reception 


Sat 18 Oct 2015 at 5 pm 

Jarry and Joyce

William Anastasi proposes a reading of his texts on Alfred Jarry's influence on James Joyce's work.
with the participation of Vincent Thomasset 


Sat 28 Nov 2015 

Taxitram Tour 

Ferme du Buisson > Maison d’art B. Anthonioz > Maison Populaire

- Centre d'art contemporain de la Ferme du Buisson - « Alfred Jarry Archipelago – La Valse des pantins – acte II »

- Maison d'art Bernard Anthonioz, Nogent-sur-Marne - « Soudain... la neige »

- Maison Populaire, Montreuil - « L'art et le numérique en résonnance 3/3 : Conséquences »


Sun 10 Jan 2016 at 4 pm 

Curator's tour 

with Keren Detton and Julie Pellegrin 


Sat 13 Feb 2016 from 2 pm to midnight

Performance Day: Alfred Jarry Archipelago

To see and to read

Find the video interview with the curators of the exhibition Keren Detton and Julie Pellegrin with