Manon — © Centre culturel suisse. Paris

Manon

Sun 09 May – Sun 18 Jul 2021

Free entrance
From Tuesday to Wenesday, 1 pm - 7pm 

OPENING
Saturday, May 8, 2 - 7 pm

MEDIATION
20 minutes tours by CCS mediators, every week-ends at 4 pm

The exhibition planned from 26.04 to 12.07.2020 is postponed from 08.05 to 18.07.2021

A trailblazer on the Swiss performance and art scene since the mid-1970s, Swiss artist Manon (*1940, lives and works in Zurich) is a seemingly inexhaustible source of thought-provoking radical social commentary. Her subversive way of tackling shifts in society, feminism, and the sexual revolution resonates with the current debate on hierarchical power relations and notions of identity, particularly gender identity.

Her photographic series and photo-performances reflect the gradual elaboration and metamorphosis of her persona—Manon. The figure presents itself—or she presents herself—in serial masquerades of potential identities, and variously as a sexualized body, an androgynous character, or a cross-dresser (La dame au crâne rasé, 1977–78; Elektrokardiogramm 303/304, 1979). More recently, her self-portraits are pervaded by fragility, age, and illness (Borderline, 2007; Hôtel Dolores, 2008). This tension between intimate space and its dramatization, personal experience and artificial appearances was the base note in her first ever work, Das lachsfarbene Boudoir (The Salmon-Pink Boudoir, 1974). The luxuriant cosmos bursting with rhinestones, lingerie, feather boas, and fetishes, a sheer explosion of encoded hyper-femininity, was her own bedroom. 

Manon also pioneered the practice of performance as a staged tableau or installation, creating immersive environments or edgy voyeuristic scenarios to investigate male-female power dynamics, exhibitionism, and role reversal. Inter alia, she has locked herself up with visitors for an eye-to-eye interrogation, posed in chains as a captive femme fatale, and put six men in a store window display, as objects of desire.

Manon chose her name in order to be rid of her father’s (or husband’s) surname, allying herself instead with feminism’s second wave, which reclaimed the body and sexuality by performative means. To this day, she deploys provocative readings of female existence as a feminist strategy, challenging heteronormative roles and constraints, and exploring how the gaze can make or break patterns of objectification and power shifts. 

In addition to her work of photography and large-scale installation, Manon continues to fathom her field of existential inquiry by writing every day.

Partnership

In Partnership with the Kunsthaus Zofingen

Media partners : Libération, Mouvement, Zéro Deux

Press Release

Download the press release - FR
Download the press release - EN

Sun 09 May – Sun 18 Jul 2021