Pauline Curnier Jardin & Feel Good Cooperative
MACRO – Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome, Rome
9 February – 12 May 2024

Triviale presents the work of French artist Pauline Curnier Jardin (1980) with and within the Feel Good Cooperative collective, founded in Rome in 2020 by the artist herself with architect and researcher Serena Olcuire and a group of Colombian trans sex workers. The core of the Cooperative is composed of photographer and sex worker Alexandra Lopez, Giuliana Mira, Gilda Star, Barby de Martinez, Diana Veruzca Martinez, Serena Olcuire and Pauline Curnier Jardin. This is the first time the Cooperative presents its work, in exhibition form, in the same city in which it has been conceiving and creating a collective practice.

Triviale, Italian for trivial is understood as something vulgar and pedestrian, banal. Trivia, on the other hand is the Roman divinity of spells and specters; she is the protector of three-way junctions (trivi), watching over all those who travel on foot. Her triple gaze is reflected throughout the exhibition both spatially and conceptually, overlooking the overlapping monumental power structures that characterize the city of Rome—the Roman Empire, the Church, the legacy of Fascism—and revealing them from the perspective of a group of sex workers. 

The exhibition will consist of a theatrical set in which the public and the domestic nature of sex work are enacted and humorously elaborates on themes of gender identity, migration and the legacy of colonialism. 

In addition to three filmic installations realized by Feel Good Cooperative Fireflies/Lucciole (2021), The Death of the Pope (2023), Le Colonne della Colombo (2023) that divide the exhibition into chapters and the space into islands, the exhibition space is scattered with sculptural elements conceived by individual members of the Cooperative. Altogether, the works in the exhibition present the layered experience of the Cooperative with unashamed playfulness. They explore the art of joy and of feeling good through performance, role play, entertainment and beauty, revealing the fundamental presence of these elements in both sex and artistic practice. 

The exhibition has been conceived within the backdrop of an ongoing workshop, dubbed the Feel Good Accademia di Belle Arti, which began at the start of 2023. It has consisted of a series of meetings, film screenings, lectures and practical sessions with artisans, as well as conversations around the meanings behind making art work. Self-representation and self-determination, but also the seldom discussed theme of economic renumeration. Triviale as a result seeks not only to expand the languages of art and authorship, but also to reveal voices and visions narrating the city of Rome with and from its margins. Concealed by the overt power of the monuments they attempt to deconstruct, the members of the Cooperative present their own liminal history of Rome.

Photos by Agnese Bedini – DSL Studio