In Conversation with Françoise Sémiramoth

Conversation with Françoise Sémiramoth

Director(s)  Victor & Simon
Participant(s)  Hans Ulrich Obrist
Participant(s)  Maja Hoffmann
Participant(s)  Françoise Sémiramoth

July 2020,
Arles (FR)

In conversation with:
Maja Hoffmann, Founder and President LUMA Foundation, LUMA Westbau, LUMA Arles
Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director, Serpentine Galleries, Core Group, LUMA Arles

Françoise Semiramoth carries Caravaggio within her. She is herself, quite simply, the Creole Caravaggio, thus demonstrating that down the ages and in spite of the different gender, there is a secret filiation that resists all definitions and reason.” An extract from the text which appeared in 2020, “Françoise Semiramoth cannibalises Caravaggio” by Maryse Condé. The writer was invited to LUMA Days in 2018.

Françoise Semiramoth and Maryse Condé were invited to take part in the It’s Urgent! installation, presented in Arles during the summer of 2020. During this conversation with Maja Hoffmann and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Françoise Semiramoth talks about her meeting and exchanges with Maryse Condé, but also about her admiration for Caravaggio and the historical and geographical re-interpretation of his paintings in the “Creole Caravaggio”, in which the creative medium used is silkscreen printing.

Françoise Sémiramoth
Born in 1968 in Guadeloupe, she lives and works in Marseille. After a short period at the École du Louvre (the Louvre School) in Paris in the 90s, in the year 2000, Françoise Sémiramoth, an artist originally from Guadeloupe, settled in Marseille where she exhibited her work at the Galerie du Tableau in 2005. In 2006, she met Maryse Condé and Françoise Donadieu with whom she established strong ties of friendship but also creative ties in the fields of the visual arts and also of writing. She collaborated too with Gilles Benistri, an artist from Marseille. A multifaceted artist, her preferred medium is painting, and this has lead her to researching various different pictorial languages, going from the shape to the colour and back again, until she has ended up with a fascination for the static image on paper, canvas or wall. In time, her work and her artistic expression were directed towards a form of connection with, amongst other things, narrative figuration, and abstraction (Bridet Riley, Sol LeWitt, Joseph Alberts) but also to the painting of Matisse and Caravaggio. Different exhibitions, both in France and abroad, have marked her progress: in Arles, Marseille, Paris, Nantes, Angers, Brussels, Dubaï, Cardiff and Guadeloupe… Her works have been acquired by the Frac Paca (Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain – Regional Funds of Contemporary Art, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Region, The Charles Nègre Mediatheque in Grasse and by private collectors. Françoise Sémiramoth also works alongside some of the numerous structures that propose artistic projects linked to the arts for different audiences

Maryse Condé
Originally from Guadeloupe, Maryse Condé is the author of a considerable oeuvre for which she has received many awards. Her book Ségou (published by Robert Laffont, 1987), the great African saga and an international bestseller, has been translated into about fifteen languages. After spending twelve years in Africa, she went to teach in the United States in some of its most prestigious universities such as UK Berkeley, Virginia, Harvard and Columbia, where she created the Centre for Francophone Studies, before later being nominated Professor Emeritus. In France, she was president of the Comité pour la Mémoire et l’Histoire de l’Esclavage (Committee for the Memory and History of Slavery) from 2004 to 2008 after the Taubira Law of 2001 which classified slavery as a Crime against Humanity.

Maja Hoffmann
Executive Director of LUMA Arles and President of the LUMA Foundation, Maja Hoffmann has been engaged in the conceptualisation and development of institutions, programs and initiatives focused on the production and appreciation of new art, documentary film, human rights, and the environment for nearly two decades. She founded the LUMA Foundation in 2004 as a vehicle for artistic experimentation, followed by LUMA Arles, officially launched in 2013 and of which she is an active member of the Core Group. She is a Tate Trustee and chairs its International Council, helped in the creation of Tate Modern 2 and the New Museum, New York, and is on the boards of the Palais de Tokyo, Paris and Fotomuseum Winthertur, the vice president of Basel’s Emanuel Hoffmann-Foundation, both in Switzerland. She is also committed to the preservation of the environment and its natural resources through her work with MAVA Foundation, Tour du Valat Foundation, and to protecting individual rights through Human Rights Watch.

Hans Ulrich Obrist
Artistic Director of the Serpentine Galleries, London, and co-founder of 89plus, Hans Ulrich Obrist was prior to this, the Curator of the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. Since his first show World Soup (The Kitchen Show) in 1991, he has curated more than three hundred exhibitions. He has lectured internationally at academic and art institutions, and is a contributing editor to the magazines Artforum, AnOther Magazine, 032C, a regular contributor to Mousse, Kaleidoscope, Kinfolk, Numero and Hero, he also writes columns for Das Magazin and Weltkunst. In 2011 he received the CCS Bard Award for Curatorial Excellence, in 2015 he was awarded the International Folkwang Prize for his commitment to the arts. In 2018, The Appraisers Association of America presented Hans Ulrich Obrist with an award for Excellence in the Arts. Ways of curating (Faber and Faber, Inc. New York, NY 2014). Lives of The Artists, Lives of The Architects (Penguin Design, 2015). The Age of Earthquakes with Douglas Coupland, Shumon Basar (Penguin, 2015). Conversations in Mexico with Patrick Charpenal, editor Karen Marta (Fundacion Alumnos47cosentino, 2016). Mondialité Or, the Archipelagos of Édouard Glissant with Asad Raza (Skira, 2017).

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