Chantal Akerman: Jeanne Dielman 23, Quai du commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, 1975, Filmstill
Petra Bauer: SCOT-PEP, Workers!, 2018, Production Shot

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

In the context of the exhibition Defiant Muses. Delphine Seyrig and the Feminist Video Collectives of 1970s and 1980s France, Württembergischer Kunstverein invites two artists, Saddie Choua and Petra Bauer, who have created works that directly relate to Chantal Akerman's iconic film Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975). Akerman's film starring Delphine Seyrig and being “the best film ever made” according to a recent poll by the British magazine Sight & Sound, marks a turning point in Seyrig's career from a celebrated actress of French auteur cinema to a feminist activist. 

Friday, March 31, 2023, 7 p.m.
Saddie Choua. On the relationships between Chantal Akerman's Jeanne Dielman (1975) and Ousmane Sembène's La Noire de … (1966)

With Saddie Choua
Moderation: Iris Dressler
Event in English 

In a video by Saddie Choua that is part of her video triptych Today is the Shortest Day of the Year But Somehow Hanging Around With You All Day Makes it Seem Like the Longest, the artist asks to what extent Chantal Akerman's film Jeanne Dielman can be traced back to Ousmane Sembène's film La noire de ... from 1966. Jeanne Dielman focuses on the monotonous daily life of a white widowed housewife and mother who occasionally prostitutes herself and eventually murders a client. La noire de ... revolves around the life of a young Black woman from Senegal who works under slave-like conditions for a French family, increasingly rebelling but ultimately killing herself. Choua compares several key scenes from both films, which have strong aesthetic similarities.

Saddie Choua (*1972) is a Belgian-Moroccan writer, mixed-media visual artist and filmmaker. She trained as a sociologist. In her artistic work, her approach often starts from “documentary” material, mixing in fiction literature, music, theatre and installation art. In 2007, she made the film Mijn zus Zahra (My sister Zahra), in which she explores her own family’s reaction to her sister’s (homo)sexual inclination. Choua was a resident at Wiels, Cité Internationale des Arts Paris and, more recently, at Kunsthal (Ghent).


Tuesday, April 4, 2023, 7 p.m.
Petra Bauer & SCOT-PEP, Workers!, 2019, 38’

Screening, followed by a zoom talk with Petra Bauer and Iris Dressler
Event in English

In addition to Jeanne Dielman, the video Les Prostituées de Lyon Parlent (The Prostitutes of Lyon Speak), which was produced in the same year by Seyrig’s comrade Carole Roussopoulous, was decisive for Petra Bauer & SCOT-PEP’s film Workers!: especially Roussopoulous’ feminist attitude of making films with their subjects, and not about them – in this case sex workers. Roussopoulous' video was made in the context of the occupation of a church in Lyon by prostitutes that marked one of the key moments in the sex worker rights movement.

Workers! is co-authored by artist and filmmaker Petra Bauer and sex workerled organisation SCOT-PEP.  Within the film long passages revolving around household and organizational labor recall the aesthetic language and thematics of Jeanne Dielman. The film centres on the experiences of a collective of sex workers in Scotland, their fight for labor rights and relationship to womxns’s work. It was filmed in the Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC) in Glasgow, a building rooted in workers’ struggles for rights and political representation. “To speak out as a sex worker you must constantly negotiate between anonymity and visibility. This became an important point of departure for the film.” (Frances Stacey, 2019).

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Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart