Manif d’art 11 – The Quebec City Biennial. The Strength of Sleep. The Cohabitations of All the Living

Curatorial : Marie Muracciole

From February 10 2024 to April 28 2024

About —

Manif d’art 11 – The Quebec City Biennial draws its inspiration from the Canadian winter and the sleeping earth to focus on human sleep and the multiple nuances of the process of waking. Both sleep and the cold season are times of latency, transition, and pause, of suspended productivity, and of resistance against the exploitation of bodies and resources. These daily or seasonal alterations, where different species and their environments interconnect, provide the living with the opportunity for regeneration, as well as for listening, attention to self-knowledge, and interaction with other life forms. By liberating inner, uncontrolled, and sometimes crucial strengths, and by altering our reflexes and shifting our perceptions, sleep can change how we perceive the world.

Biological rhythms of activity and rest have a social and political history. Indeed, both the duration and structure of sleep have been governed by a succession of norms. In the industrial era, sleep, which imposes idleness, has been a hot political issue, as evidenced by capitalism’s efforts to enforce the reign of profit over “24/7”. Modernity wants the body to be “recycled” overnight. The contemporary world cultivates and exploits the ideology of sleep disorders. Meanwhile, the most dispossessed among us, in metropolises the world over, sleep outside.

The Biennial is organized into different exhibitions—moments of awakening meant to engage multiple levels of attention. The artistic processes involved can provoke astonishment, unforeseen experiences that trigger a rearrangement of our perceptions, our certainties, and the hierarchies that govern us. As visitors move through the exhibitions, they encounter spaces of fertile retreat: projection rooms, bedrooms and beds where we abandon and find ourselves, houses and burrows where we take shelter and unite with others, hideaways and refuges where resistance and observations are born. Other matters for consideration include navigating the deep cold and the plant world’s extraordinary survival strategies.

Vigils, meditations, daydreams—these are forms of half-slumber that nourish our days and give us time to experience out-of-sync perceptions, discordant thoughts, and suspended judgments. The artists remind us that these moments are made of forces that allow us to grow into our ways of living and cohabiting on a planet of which we are not the owners and where we are not the only subjects.


Artists —

Francis Alÿs, Yto Barrada and Rodney Graham

Biographies —

Marie Muracciole is an art critic, author, teacher, and independent curator who lives in Paris. From February 2014 to June 2019, she lived in Lebanon, where she was director of the Beirut Art Center (BAC). From 2005 to 2011, she was head of cultural programming at the Jeu de Paume in Paris. She runs a seminar at the Malmö Art Academy, in Sweden.

Françis Alÿs worked as an architect before moving to Mexico City in 1986, where he began to make a series of often ambulatory, urban performances. His observations of daily life in complex geopolitical contexts have resulted in visual and poetic parables in a variety of mediums and formats. His work has been shown in museums around the globe. Alÿs was part of Documenta 13 in Kassel, and represented Belgium at the 59th Venice Biennale with his work Children’s Games.

Rodney Graham built a wry and witty universe in which he plays the central figure in visual fables that examine the world of photography and critique the history of representation.
His practice includes not only video installation, film, performance, and painting, but also music. He represented Canada at the 1997 Venice Biennale, and was the subject of numerous solo exhibitions around the world. In 2016, he was also appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Yto Barrada’s multidisciplinary practice is based on subordinate narratives and the ubiquity of fiction in official history, particularly in the context of Tangier where she was raised. Her work celebrates strategies of resistance against domination. Barrada studied political sciences at the Sorbonne and photography at the International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York. In 2006, she cofounded the Cinémathèque de Tanger, and she has recently established The Mothership, a research and residency centre. She has shown her work internationally and is the recipient of numerous prizes and awards.

This exhibition is presented in collaboration with Manif d’art – The Quebec City Biennial.

Images in the banner:

© Rodney Graham, Halcion Sleep, 1994. Courtesy of the Estate of Rodney Graham. Photo: Romain Guilbault

© Yto Barrada, Beau geste, 2009. Photo: Romain Guilbault

© Francis Alÿs, The Nightwatch, 2004. Photo: Romain Guilbault

© Francis Alÿs, image from the work The Nightwatch, 2004.