Fondation Cartier hosts SA institution for the first time

The Centre for the Less Good Idea, established by William Kentridge and Bronwyn Lace, relocates to Paris for a week-long residency this May

By Debbie Hathway
Pepper's Ghost, Hands - Micca Manganye
Pepper's Ghost, Hands - Micca Manganye

Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain in Paris will host a week-long residency by The Centre for the Less Good Idea from 14-20 May 2024. The event will feature workshops, performances, and encounters with over 30 artists from various countries.

This marks the first time Fondation Cartier is hosting an institution for a residency. It offers a unique opportunity for collective explorations using text, movements, sounds and images, without a set brief, for eventual presentation to the public throughout the Boulevard Raspail building and the garden exhibition space.

A Defence of the Less Good Idea – William Kentridge

The Centre, founded in 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa, is known for its experimental and collaborative arts practices that encourage the pursuit of the ‘less good idea’, i.e., the one that occurs by chance and often engenders the most inventive works.

The organisation will relocate to Paris for the residency, which will include performances, workshops, discussions, and screenings for around 20 artists from South Africa as well as those from Benin, Belgium, Netherlands, Austria and France, and students from the Fine Arts Department at Université Paris 8 – Vincennes.

Visual Radio Plays –
Neo Muyanga

Aimed at young musicians, dancers, playwrights and choreographers, among others, the Centre offers a “place to play, experiment, fail and try again”, according to Bronwyn Lace, a Botswana-born visual artist who collaborated with internationally acclaimed artist William Kentridge to establish The Centre.

Kentridge, hailing from Johannesburg, South Africa, is renowned globally as a draughtsman, performer, filmmaker, and the visionary behind The Centre for the Less Good Idea. His acclaim stems from his diverse body of work spanning drawings, films, theatre, and opera productions. Kentridge’s artistry thrives on collaboration and the fusion of various media, responding adeptly to the historical contexts of colonialism and apartheid in his home country. Central to his practice are themes of erasure, play, and uncertainty, all guided by a process-oriented approach. His early forays into theatre and stop-motion animation continue to shape and define his artistic output.

His work will be featured during the residency, showcasing his multidisciplinary approach and engagement with socio-political themes.

Pepper’s Ghost – Bronwyn Lace

Meanwhile Lace, now based in Austria and South Africa, intertwines her artistic practice with diverse disciplines, including physics, literature, philosophy, museum practice, and education. Site-specificity, responsiveness, and performativity are central to her work and have greatly influenced her early creations. Her process strikes a delicate equilibrium between solitary introspection and collaborative exploration, fostering an environment where chance encounters and deliberate innovation converge to shape fresh artistic perspectives.

The residency week commences Tuesday, May 14, with the performance lecture and choral work ‘Collapses & Defences’. From Wednesday onwards, visitors can enjoy ‘HOW | Showing the Making’ sessions in the evenings, which highlight workshops and interdisciplinary performances like ‘Pepper’s Ghost’ and ‘Sizendlebe | We are Ears’.

On Sunday, May 19, and Monday, May 20, daytime workshops and discussions, including open sessions for ‘The Great YES, The Great NO’, William Kentridge’s new production for the 2024 Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, will be available. On the evening of Saturday, May 18, visitors can enjoy a celebratory atmosphere with a live DJ set.

‘Moments of Making,’ a documentary showcasing The Centre’s past five seasons (2019–2022), will be screened in Fondation Cartier’s small room, which will be transformed into the Less Good Lounge, a space for relaxed encounters and discussions.

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