Histoire.s de l’œil, MAMAC Musée d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain Nice, 2021

"Histoires de l'oeil" gatheres works that intertwine histories of gazes, desires, eroticized or suggested bodies. In 1975, in her essay Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema, the critic Laura Mulvey introduced the concept of Male Gaze and analysed how the cinema – and more generally, the dominant visual culture – are defined and conditioned by the male and heterosexual vision, participating in the construction of stereotypes. Eroticized fragmentation of the female body, fantasized visions, the cult of the star… everything, including the construction of shots and the distribution of roles, contributes to reducing women to an object of desire and pleasure. This history of the eye is for long rooted in art, with scenes of the irruption of a voyeuristic, even predatory gaze into an alcove or the intimacy of a toilet being a great classic. It is this complexity of the gaze, of desire, of projections; of voyeurism or narcissism; of fantasy or repulsion that is summoned here with artists of different generations. It also instills counter-narratives with the statuesque faces, the hermaphrodites and the “erotic” drawings of Katrin Ströbel, the works of Aïcha Hamu, the genderless bodies of Jean-Charles Blais or the sculptures of Liz Magor which whisper a promise of seduction and fragility.

*the title is based on Histoire de l’Oeil, Georges Bataille, published in 1928 under the pseudonym Lord Auch.

Katrin Ströbel and Aïcha Hamu in dialogue with works from the collection: Jean-Charles Blais, Pierre Klossowski, Liz Magor, Robert Malaval, Julião Sarmento.