Une vie à l’Opéra

Group Show
June 30 - July 30, 2022

PARIS-B is pleased to present its summer group-show, Une vie à l’opéra, with a selection of works of eleven artists from June 30th. Following Erving Goffman’s  essay in sociology, the exhibition illustrates the notions of staging and identity.

Thus, the show will begin in front of the patiently seated audience. Between silence, concentration and quick rehearsals, the actor become his caractere and will eventually never coming back, giving up his public, toggling in the illusion.

Beginning with the artwork of Dorian Cohen, Une nuit à L’Opéra, we invite you to take place. The show is about to start for the quietly installed public. Between silence, focus and quick rehearsals, the actor gets into his character. Playing, acting, mimic, setting, for Socrate, the theatrical genre would be the closest to real life. Thus, by our imagination and our scripts we start to romanticize our own life. Hoping to stay in the script of our fantasies and setting our impulses of confrontation or amorous momentum, we pursue a moment that we have pre-written. From serenades sung below the balcony to more intimate moments where we embody a character symbolizing seduction just like the Vénus of Marion Bataillard, we all play roles occasionally. But it happens that we undergo this setting, orchestrated at our expense as the Perp Walk of Léa Belooussovitch illustrates it. Then, the actor can show up from the crowd to get on stage. All of this is brought by representative models which make us dangle an ideal. Just like our favorite novels do, public figures have an influence on our actions and we tend to forget that they are fiction or overplayed. The artworks from Lucia Tallová remind us of our walls covered with pictures of idols when we were at the crucial period of the development of our personality, while Paradoxe from Hervé Priou suggests the readings that fulfill our fantasies. It is indeed tempting to become those representative figures. Sometimes, the actor that we create interferes in the public and blends into the crowd, sometimes he manages to escape from the stage. The big curtain doesn’t fall in front of one who doesn’t stop his role after closing the door behind him, thus playing in front of an invisible public fantasized by the person. Reminding that «person» etymologically means «mask», E.Goffman thinks that we are perpetually in representation. He describes an utopian world where every actor owns a single mask representing the true self. Women and dark figure from Fu Site illustrates those masks created by the social interactions which have long range effects. For E. Goffman, every representation participates in the legitimacy of the fake roles that we play. But the masks that we wear can escape from our control. In the symbolic iconography, the forest represents those moments of doubt and self-seeking. Zhu Xinyu’s artwork darkly evokes this moment which can be critical in the relationship we have with ourselves. By incorporating those masks, we stop playing the roles that end up defining us entirely. Thus, we lose our footing, fall into illusion and become ersatz of ourselves. The actor is then no longer on stage.