Maja Bajevic – ECHOS

The Jean-Cocteau Cultural Center invites the Franco-Bosnian artist Maja Bajevic (Sarajevo, 1967) to present Echos, her first personal exhibition in a French public institution. Internationally renowned artist, Maja Bajevic took refuge in Paris during the Yugoslav conflict in the early 1990s. This ordeal animated in her a deep reflection on the political construction of identities and the social and historical fractures of our time. From an exiled artist, she becomes a nomadic artist living between Paris, Berlin, Venice and Sarajevo. Through performance, video and installation, she weaves her experience with individual and collective stories to build a common memory.

The existing works and those produced specifically for Echos carry the voices of resistance fighters and victims of the repressions of the 20th and 21st century in a hymn to humanity. Through research and collection work in archives and the media, Maja Bajevic composes a polyphony of stories, inviting visitors to discover them by going through a succession of environments that immerse them in an experience that is both intimate and collective, physical and mental. She creates a space where the words stifled by the power (s) intermingle, resonate and reactivate each other. The visitor’s body becomes the sounding board, like the gospel choir of the Jean-Cocteau Cultural Center, with which the artist worked during a residency, and which will embody in a video the plural voices of the exposure.

Revolutionary song melodies remind us of the possibility of a different future. Resistance fighters imprisoned by the Gestapo have testified to their daily life on the walls of their jails, with graffiti which is now threatened with disappearance. The artist illuminates them in the form of neon lights. Among the latter, a parachutist formerly engraved on the wall of a prison cell in Paris by members of Free France is installed at the entrance to Fort Romainville, a former internment camp for more than 7,000 political prisoners. From historical testimony, it becomes the luminous symbol of these trajectories brought closer by the wind of history.

The geographic and temporal distance of the lives that nourish Maja Bajevic’s works is canceled out by the common echo that emanates from them, making the exhibition a poetic space for meeting, activating memory and collective reflection. The systemic police violence denounced all over the world and in the United States by the Black Lives Matter movement can be read in the last words spoken by George Floyd embroidered on linen sheets. These embroideries bring together the fates of victims who still suffer from discrimination and oppressive systems like LGBTQIA + people whose suicide rate is still increasing, especially in the face of harassment on social networks. From darkness to light, from noise to silence, from confinement to opening,

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