Pierre Leguillon




My Labzone will continue the project started last year. We will work with a group of 8 to 12 students on an exhibition that will open at CAC, Centre d’Art contemporain de Genève, at the very end of next January.

The exhbition is titled Scrivere disegnando (“Writing by Drawing”). This is an exhibition about writing and its double. Its aim is to look back over a number of practices, from the early twentieth century to the present day, in which writing leaves the function of communication behind and moves into the sphere of the uncommunicable, the unsayable. It sets out to explore the tension inherent in script, the way that it hovers between the genuinely semantic realm and the uncharted territory of mere arabesques, automatisms, repeated marks and scribbles. All of the works on view inhabit a special terrain vague in which the act of writing is more about “trying to say” than “saying” itself, more about potentialities of meaning than about signification, to paraphrase Giorgio Agamben. It is a kind of writing that sometimes verges on delirium; it is carried beyond meaning, to become an existential self-affirmation, but also a fanciful metaphor for the world and its mysteries.

As the very first collaborative project between the Collection de l’Art Brut in Lausanne and the Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève, this exhibition brings together a diverse range of figures: from “outsider” artists, some of whom carried out their work while institutionalized, all the way to “official” artists, some of whom played key roles in twentieth-century avant-garde and neo-avant-garde movements. What these very different individuals have in common is the desire to capture an “elsewhere” within writing, to move past the semantic dimension and freely mine the innovative and imaginative resources of language. Another interesting aspect of this project is the significant number of female artists. Since the early twentieth century, women have been using compulsive, often illegible handwriting to express an existential need for personal affirmation, often in response to a patriarchal world that preferred them to be politically invisible and socially voiceless. In their case, writing is almost for self-consumption: written by and for themselves, in order to understand who they are, their meaning in the world. The moment of writing becomes a moment of life, a private act, a sign of existence and tool of self-knowledge.

The exhibition comprises several dozen historic works, most from the Collection de l’Art Brut in Lausanne, and more recent ones from various private collections and galleries. This ambitious project also includes works commissioned for the occasion from young artists who have been focused for some time on constructing their own “private languages.” Placed throughout the exhibition are showcases presenting an impressive selection of books and documents which allow visitors to examine the question of personal languages, secret alphabets and indecipherable codes in relation to the history of literature.

The group of the studends from the WorkMaster will focuses on the preparation of the public program related to the exhibition, which can include film screenings, lectures, performances… We will elaborate this program in resonance with the show. We can include artists’ films of course, but also documentaries, anthropological films, etc. This program could also find echoes in the very ambitious publication that will be published alongside the exhibition, and that won’t be a catalog per se, but more of an extension of the exhibition…

So as you can imagine, there is a lot to do in a short time. And one of the first cession we will have will be devoted to a meeting dicussion with curator Andrea Bellini about specific strategies of displays in the shows, as it won’t be alsways easy to exhibit the writings.

I can of course not directly answer to any question right now, but I propose that the students who did participe last year will answer the questions you may have.

The Labzone will always held on thursdays, for the entire day, from 9.30AM to 1PM and from 2PM to 5PM.


OCTOBER: Thursday 3
OCTOBER: Thursday 10
OCTOBER: Thursday 31

NOVEMBER: Thursday 7
NOVEMBER: Thursday 21

DECEMBER: Thursday 5
DECEMBER: Thursday 19


I also propose a series of meetings which are not a LabZone. It is call “INFORMED”. The principe for it is very simple. A student who lived for some years in another country than Switzerland propose to share with us information about an artist, a movement, an architecture – whatever he or she things could be interesting for the others – and not information to be found on Google easily.

The idea is to focus on a specific work/artist/movement, and to replace it in its geographical and political context. It can be contemporary or historical. Last year, we had presentations about Iran, Bolivia, Québec, South Korea…

Each présentation last for an hour (with images, music or short films). It’s not a lecture per se, even if it requires a little preparation of course.

Each “INFORMED” will be published therefore in a shorter written version on the ISSUE review online of Head–Genève.

The first “INFORMED” would take place in the Cafétéria on Wednesday OCTOBER 9th at 6PM.

Please contact me by e-mail if you are interested to present one.

I’m looking forward to work with you this year and wish you a pleasant back to school!

“Dirty Prose” by Joe Brainard, in Big Sky #4, 1972