Defiant Muses. Delphine Seyrig and the Feminist Video Collectives of 1970s and 1980s France

Delphine Seyrig and Ioana Wieder, 1976, Courtesy: Centre audiovisuel Simone de Beauvoir, Photo: Micha Dell-Prane

February 25 – May 7, 2023

Defiant Muses. Delphine Seyrig and the Feminist Video Collectives of 1970s and 1980s France homes in on the intersection between the histories of cinema, video, and feminism: the exhibition sheds light on a network of creators and political figures around the actress, videomaker, and activist Delphine Seyrig to sketch a history of feminism as media history.

Delphine Seyrig (1932–1990) rose to fame with her performances in the films of French auteur directors, starring, for example, in Alain Resnais’ Last Year at Marienbad (1961). In the 1970s, she became actively involved in the feminist movement, working with filmmakers like Chantal Akerman, Marguerite Duras, and Ulrike Ottinger. In 1975, she starred in Chantal Akerman's iconic feminist film Jeanne Dielman. 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, which was voted the best film of all time in a 2022 poll by British film magazine Light and Sound.

Around 1975, Seyrig teamed up with Carole Roussopoulos and Ioana Wieder to form the collective Les Insoumuses (The Defiant Muses), producing videos that harnessed the medium as a tool of emancipation and political activism. From this collective the Centre audiovisuel Simone de Beauvoir in Paris emerged in 1982.

Photographs, films, and other works by eminent artists and filmmakers illustrate the manifold political issues and demands that were raised at this historic juncture and still echo today: structural sexism in the movie industry and the invisibility of women as cultural producers and social actors more generally are profound and persistent grievances. In this light, the exhibition speaks directly to today’s urgent concerns, presenting a template for how women can become effective political agents and succeed in the struggle for self-determination.

Artists
Fani Adam, Etel Adnan, Florence Assouline, Claire Atherton, Ti-Grace Atkinson, Mary Barnes, Cathy Bernheim, Danièle Bordes, Aloïse Corbaz, Francoise Dasques, Micha Dell-Prane, Catherine Deudon, Marguerite Duras, Éditions des Femmes, Anne Faisandier, Claire Goriot, Henriette Grindat, Ellsworth Kelly, Erica Lennard, Guy Le Querrec, Les Insoumuses, Babette Mangolte, Rosine Nusimovici, Ulrike Ottinger, Brigitte Pougeoise, Michèle Richer, Nadja Ringart, Yvette Roudy, Carole Roussopoulos, Paul Roussopoulos, Carlos Santos, Abraham Ségal, Delphine Seyrig, Valerie Solanas, Vidé, Ioana Wieder und andere

Curators
Natasa Petresin-Bachelez, Giovanna Zapperi

Curatorial assistant
Julia Hartmann

An exhibition by
Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart

Organized by
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía Madrid

in cooperation with
Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart
Kunsthalle Vienna
Centre audiovisuel Simone de Beauvoir Paris

Funded by
Kulturstiftung des Bundes
Kulturamt der Stadt Stuttgart
Ministerium für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kunst des Landes Baden-Württemberg
ProLab



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