"Our ocean, your horizon"
Heidi Ballet: Satellite 9
from 09 February 2016
until 15 January 2017
Jeu de Paume, Paris

Every year, the Satellite programme is entrusted to a different curator responsible for three exhibitions at the Jeu de Paume, and an exhibition at the Maison d’Art Bernard Anthonioz (Nogent-sur-Marne). For the ninth edition of this programme, the Jeu de Paume continues its partnership with the Fondation Nationale des Arts Graphiques et Plastiques and the CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux, and has invited Heidi Ballet, an independent Belgian curator, based in Berlin, to be the guest curator.

The four exhibitions “Our ocean, your horizon” may also be seen at the CAPC in 2016. The four exhibitions that are part of the Satellite programme are each accompanied by their own catalogue. Every year, the Jeu de Paume and the CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux employ the talents of independent graphic designers. The graphic identity and the four publications of this year’s Satellite program me were designed and created by Julie Rousset and Audrey Templier.

A comparison of the concepts of oceanic and terrestrial identity, two prisms through which everyone may consider his relationship to the world, is the starting point of the Satellite 9 programme. If terrestrial identity is based on a vision of the world that is turned inward, preoccupied with finite spaces that are demarcated by borders and sovereignty, oceanic identity is something altogether different. Identity linked to an “aquatic space” creates a perspective that is open to the exterior, fluid, large and all-embracing, focused on the horizon and what lies beyond. Seen from this perspective, identity is defined by navigation and movement, which corresponds to a reversal of a static interpretation of space.

This reversal is at the root of the very concept of oceanic identity. Fijian scientist Epeli Hau’ofa is the author of such a concept. In his essay Our Sea of Islands, published in 1994, he protested against the reductive territorial vision imposed on the islands of the Pacific, according to which they are too small to be viable. Hau’ofa was an advocate of the precolonial vision of the interconnectedness of the Pacific islands, undermining Western deterministic interpretations that see the ocean as a non-space, a mere absence of land.
Artists Edgardo Aragón, Patrick Bernier & Olive Martin, Guan Xiao and Basim Magdy sail at the whim of identities, which beyond the traditional dichotomy between land and water, are hybrid and fluid, thanks perhaps in part to the Internet. This series of four solo exhibitions offers alternative and imaginary perspectives going against the conventional rules of restrictive mapping in order to include a more flexible concept of identity.

Heidi Ballet is a Belgian-born independent curator and researcher based in Berlin. She recently organized the 2015 edition of the Brussels Cologne Contemporaries and the collective exhibition “Let the Body Be Electric, Let There Be Whistleblowers” (in collaboration with Anselm Franke) at the Dan Gunn Gallery in Berlin. Heidi Ballet was assistant curator of the 2012 Taipei Biennale, “Modern Monsters”, and curator researcher for the traveling exhibition “After Year Zero” presented at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in 2013, and at the Warsaw Museum of Modern Art in 2015.
From 2008 to 2012, she directed the Jan Mot Gallery in Brussels where she organized the collective exhibition “The Encounter”. In 2014, she participated in the programme “Young Curators Invitational” hosted by the Fondation d’Entreprise Ricard. She is a member of the board of the KIOSK Gallery in Ghent and of the artistic advisory board of the Contour Biennale in Mechelen. In 2017, Heidi Ballet will curate a large group show at the Contemporary Art Centre in Vilnius.

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