Foreword by Agnès Violeau, guest curator for the 11th Satellite Programme at Jeu de Paume :
“Words lie at the heart of what it means to be a curator, words in the form of the conversation between curator and artist. In the context of ‘NOVLANGUE_’, the curator’s role implies a correspondence between the subject (the simplification of language in a post-digital era) and the chosen curatorial methodology, i.e. adapting one’s language to the other’s way of thinking as part of an exhibition project.
I invited Damir Očko for the first part of this programme based on the three types of vocabulary that constitute Orwell’s Newspeak (novlangue in French). These three vocabularies – political discourse, functional everyday language and technical terms – provide the foundations for Orwell’s novel 1984. It seemed to me that Damir Očko ’s artistic practice singles out the political animal of which Aristotle speaks, a man guided by the power of speech. Očko’s proposal conveys notions of shortcomings, constraints and discursive limits. Parrhesia is a term in ancient Greek that can be translated as free speech, but which also conveys the idea that it can be dangerous to freely express certain truths or opinions. Contrary to flattery, words can also help others to progress and it is this freedom that I see in Damir Očko ’s work.
How do the artists of today express themselves? In the plays of Sophocles, which are an implicit part of Očko’s film Dicta 1, the heroes do not see themselves as they actually are. The spectator however is aware of the truth thanks to the chorus that comments on the situation in real time. The same also applies to Shakespeare’s plays, although there is only one chorus member. Could this essential voice of resistance not be the one we attribute to artists today?”
Agnès Violeau, independent exhibition curator and art critic.
Damir Očko has been the focus of numerous solo shows, notably at the Dazibao, Montreal (2016), the Croatian Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale (2015), the Künstlerhaus Halle für Kunst & Medien in Graz, the Temple Bar Gallery & Studios in Dublin (2014), the Palais de Tokyo in Paris (2012), the Kunsthalle in Düsseldorf (2011), the Kunstverein in Leipzig (2010), and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb (2005). His work has also been featured in a number of group exhibitions, notably at the Austrian Cultural Forum in New York (2016), the Württembergischer Kunstverein in Stuttgart (2015), the Kunsthalle in Vienna, the Lambert Collection in Avignon, the Plateau Collection in Paris (2014) and the MUDAM in Luxembourg (2013).
Background info: Each year, the Satellite Programme is entrusted to an independent curator, charged with designing and organizing three exhibitions at the Jeu de Paume. For the 11th edition of this programme, the Jeu de Paume continues its partnership with the CAPC Musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux and joins forces with a new partner: the Museo Amparo de Puebla, Mexico. Agnès Violeau, an independent curator based in Paris, has been invited to curate this programme, entitled “Newspeak_”. The three exhibitions will also be presented at the CAPC and the Museo Amparo de Puebla in 2018.