Étoiles ou Tempêtes

Benoît Piéron

Curated by Céline Kopp
| Produced by Magasin CNAC, Grenoble
28 juin – 20 octobre 2024
– vernissage 27 June 2024

Étoiles ou Tempêtes [Stars or Storms] is an exhibition, as much as a library, a waiting room, a phantasmagorical bedroom or a children’s playhouse… The space it holds recounts the power of imagination at the heart of everyday life, and its ability to transform the harshest circumstances into “something that feels good”. Hospitalised and bedridden from an early age, Benoît Piéron recalls readings from his childhood, among which Angela Sommer-Vandenburg’s Petit Vampire part en vacances [Little vampire goes on holiday], whose character he then identified with, as they shared a parallel life rhythmed with nocturnal awakenings and inaccessible thresholds. Today, accompanied by his bat cuddly toys made from repurposed hospital sheets, which he names Monik in homage to the author Monique Wittig*, Benoît Piéron continues to feed off the desire to transform experiences of alienation and to “fertilise dreams until they become real”.

At Magasin CNAC in Grenoble, Benoît Piéron’s exhibition brings together for the first time a wide selection of works that retrace his career, with some produced for the occasion. The title is a reference to Gaston Rébuffat and his book Étoiles et Tempêtes (1954), an account of his ascent of the most famous north faces of the Alps, still inhabiting the dreams of every mountaineer. In his books, the author conveys his love of mountains whilst sharing sensations of altitude, of light, and the human stories behind physical performances. For Benoît Piéron, these exhilarating ascents are always carried out horizontally, without protruding muscles, underneath the folds of white bed sheets that can be imagined as crevasses or summits. Here, in his words, the art centre becomes a “visitor centre for immobile travelers”.

Reacting to the temporary closure for renovation of two local libraries near the art centre and concerned with their social function of unconditional welcome, Benoît Piéron has created an unprecedented experience where exhibition space and public library merge. They mutually transform, share their uses, their reasons for being and their teams at the service of the public.

The project with Benoît Piéron and the collaboration with the municipal library of Grenoble it brings forth are perfectly aligned with the artistic and cultural programme that Magasin CNAC has been pursuing since 2022: placing artistic practice and imagination at the heart of daily existence and as essential elements in tackling the challenges of today’s world.

By converting the CNAC into a temporary library, and bringing the figure of the vampire who needs to be invited in, the institution continues to question its missions at the intersection of experimentation, creation and local civic life.

*Le Corps lesbien (Editions de Minuit, 1973), the author uses a literary device that fragments and dissolves bodies.

Curated by Céline Kopp, with assistance from Alexia Pierre / Coproduced with La bibliothèque municipale de Grenoble / In partnership with Centre Hospitalier Universitaire (CHU)—Grenoble Alpes.

Benoît Piéron (b. 1983, lives in Paris) spent a large part of his childhood in the hospital, a place he still has to visit today. At the age of 41, Benoît Piéron has transformed a tamed illness into a potential for action. In his sculptures, patchworks and installations, which often borrow their pastel colours from hospital linen, he has developed a body of work in which the medical world is transformed into an intimate reverie, a reflection on waiting, the garden and sensuality. The result is a hallucinatory and uncertain inner journey.

His work has been presented in recent solo exhibitions at Sultana, Paris (2024); Chisenhale Gallery, London (2023); Mumok, Vienna (2023); Antre Peaux, Bourges (2022); Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris (2021);  and Tannerie contemporary arts centre, Amilly (2018).

Benoît Piéron is represented by Sultana, Paris.

Le Magasin CNAC

Site Bouchayer-Viallet
8 Esplanade Andry-Farcy, 38000 Grenoble
+ 33(0)4.76.21.95.84

©Benoît Piéron