Following the spirit of the festival, which is committed to treating any artistic discipline on the same level, Meaning Can Only Grow out of Intimacy is a series of 13 solo projects gathered between the Espace Arlaud and TILT. Rather than driving the works into a theme, each artist was invited to produce a new project and invest one room freely.

As a result, the coherence between the projects can only be visible once all the works are installed simultaneously in the same city and, for most of them, under the same roof. In an attempt to build up a momentum, during the making and unmaking of a temporary community, this exhibition brings a variety of works that highlights the almost invisible threads that connect many people’s hopes and dismay. In light of the bitter cynicism that characterizes the current social and political context, it’s no coincidence that all the projects of Meaning Can Only Grow out of Intimacy seem to deal with affect and resistance.

The title of the show suggests a new strategy of survival; or rather a fresh observation: stripped from any negative connotation, it puts intimacy at the center of a new reflection, where the human body serves the quest for alternative coping strategies. With a characteristic relationship to the body, history, nature and technology, the artists propose to give up the idea of universal improvement and rather to learn how to live with an ever shifting paradigm. As suggested by Donna Haraway in her recent book, “living-with and dying-with each other (…) can be a fierce reply to the dictates of both Anthropos and Capital” 1 and although the outcome is uncertain, it seems it’s time to accept and celebrate uncertainty.


Vanessa Safavi’s work concentrates on the body and the way in which different materials and textures can assist or alienate it. In a new installation, she presents a series of sculptures inspired by anthropomorphic funerary urns present in ancient Etruscan art. Arranged in a chess-like manner, they function as cane holders. Subtly suggesting the poetry lying in the human body’s fragility, the colourful ceramic ladders leaning against the back wall evoke yet more therapeutic props.

all photos © Julien Gremaud / Les Urbaines

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Installation view “Meaning can only grow out of intimacy (Limbs, Water, Nostalgia)”
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Installation view “Meaning can only grow out of intimacy (Limbs, Water, Nostalgia)”
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Installation view “Meaning can only grow out of intimacy (Limbs, Water, Nostalgia)”
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Installation view “Meaning can only grow out of intimacy (Limbs, Water, Nostalgia)”
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“Reasons and disguise I, II, III”, 2016. Glazed porcelain and leather
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“Reasons and disguise I, II, III”, 2016. Glazed porcelain and leather
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front: “Reasons and disguise I, II, III”, 2016. Glazed porcelain and leather. back: “Protection I, II, III, IV”, 2016. Ceramic
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Detail of “Protection I, II, III, IV”, 2016. Ceramic Floor: “A Taste for Everything (Syndrome Sympathy)”, 2016 Painted ceramic
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“A Taste for Everything (Syndrome Sympathy)”, 2016 Painted ceramic
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“Ménage à trois”, 2016 Ceramic and porcelain
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“Ménage à trois”, 2016 Ceramic and porcelain
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“Mauvaises Langues”, 2016 Ceramic and porcelain
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“Mauvaises Langues”, 2016 Ceramic and porcelain
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“Lies”, 2016 glazed porcelain