Some works by French artist Tania Mouraud (b. 1942) carry the legacy of the Holocaust: after her father, a member of the resistance movement, was shot dead by the Nazis at Vercors, she took it upon herself to always be on the side of the oppressed and, more generally, of women. As a worldly, socially conscious individual, Mouraud uses her art to explore—at the intersection of cultures—the nature of life, with all its contradictions and upheavals. Her work is a melting pot of influences from music (John Zorn, the Japanese noise scene, the Klezmer tradition, Luigi Russolo’s The Art of Noises) and the choreography of Indian martial arts, with references to art history (from Leonardo da Vinci’s notebook to the Russian avant-garde) and historical resistance figures (such as Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr.). 

The exhibition covered Mouraud’s works from the 1970s and 1980s, with a particular focus on her “meditation rooms”: psychosensory spaces, with or without sound, that the artist suggested including in all newly built homes. These spaces—as places to refocus and just be—were conceived as part prayer room (“In India, everyone has a prayer room,” says Mouraud) and part Virginia Woolf’s Room of One’s Own

In 1977, Mouraud began adorning the internal and external walls of her meditation rooms with words, blowing up the letters so they covered the entire wall. At this scale, reading the text becomes more akin to a slow-paced deciphering exercise—a deliberate pushback against the kind of skim reading associated with modern media. Mouraud invites viewers and passers-by to contemplate expressions such as “DCLLDF” (DIEUCOMPTELESLARMESDESFEMMES, or GODCOUNTSTHETEARSOFWOMEN), a phrase taken from Jewish mysticism, and “STOPONYOURWAYHOMEJUSTTOLOOKATAFLOWER”, which comes from The Tale of Genji, a classic work of Japanese and world literature written by a woman in the 11th century.

The show at MAMCO, entitled Da Capo, also featured MENTATION, another piece by Mouraud held in the Museum’s Minimal and Conceptual art collection displayed in the “Apartment” space. Since the exhibition, this work—which evokes the present, the here and now, the very act of feeling and experiencing—is shown in its original format: a text printed on tarpaulin.

  • Exhibition curated by Sophie Costes
  • With the support of Ceysson & Bénétière gallery
FONDATION MAMCOÉtat de GenèveVille de GenèveJTIFondation LeenaardsFondation genevoise de bienfaisance Valeria Rossi di Montelera