Interview to Rebecca François, french curator and art critic, and Eve Petruschi, artist.
I had the privilege of meeting Rebecca François at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nice (MAMAC) several years ago where I assisted her in some curatorial and research projects. This young curator and critic of intrepid and curious French art also carry out independent curatorial projects to the museum. One of these projects is «les autostopeuses» in which, together with the artist Eve Petruschi, they travel together to search for random encounters since 2014. It is a project of exchanges and collaborations where what matters is the journey, the Journey more than destination or arrival.
How did you start designing the “autostoppeuses” project?
After several joint projects, we wanted to work more closely on projects that favor dialogue, exchange. We wanted to arouse meetings and let go, also advocate the slowdown. The idea of hitchhiking (or rather the mental state of hitchhiking more than its actual practice) made sense to us. The hitchhiking has seemed to us a positioning in relation to the world, in relation to society. Therefore, from the beginning, we delineate a kind of creed that can be found on our website. ( http://www.lesautostoppeuses.com/panorama.html )
What is the way of working at random and in collaboration between you and, in turn, with the host?
We are very complicit and complementary. Eve is an artist, Rebecca, curator and art critic. Our guests are always exquisite. Everything is done naturally and simply. It is true that the exchange is often carried out around a good table and a delicious meal to delight our palate!
The onboard diary (carnet d’abord), the report (le constat) and the newspaper (le journal) demonstrate the game of writing at the heart of this curatorial project: What is the importance of the trace and documentation as the way par excellence of late ownership of the project by the viewer?
The itineraries of our collaborations combine writing and artistic creation. Each stop is tracked on our website. The “logbook” and the “report” answer the question of how to restore this experience and also our desire.
The logbook is a record in which we transcribe the conditions and parameters that accompany the completion of the project. It is a tool that allows the always incomplete restitution of the process, whose observations can take the form of notes, photographs, sketches, sound or video recordings. The report develops the project carried out by all the people involved according to their own points of view.
The notebook describes the current project; report arrives later. It can be an exhibition in the maison abandonée (the abandoned house) in Nice, an edition as in Saignon, or simply a picnic in the area of Beaulieu highway or correspondence such as the hitchhiking in Saint-Saphorin. Subsequently, we also produced a newspaper: “le journal des autostoppeuses” which is composed of images and text fragments, printed and disseminated with a very small print run. All this helps preserve the traces of the process, share that experience with others and keep a memory of it.
What is the next itinerary? Are you currently traveling on a new trip?
The “autostoppeuses” travel bouncing from one destination to another. Because we are not in real time, that is, a fast time that requires performance and efficiency, we take the luxury of a break of approximately 1 year. We have many ideas for the future. And maybe we can imagine a stop with you in Buenos Aires? On the way, all possibilities are crossed. Let’s make a trip for unexpected discoveries, without a preconceived project, we will see where it takes us, maybe in the middle of nowhere. In good time! Spaces without qualities are always interesting!
I think there are points in common between this project and “entre-deux”: it is also a project that takes place in alternative spaces and in a collaborative way, can this be due to your way of conceiving the curatorship? And to your look on contemporary art?
For me, the exchange and the human relationship create meaning: the relationship with the artists, with the public, with other authors, curators or personalities … I think that Eve works in the same way, there are correlations between our project of hitchhiking and its practice. Do you agree?
* That term that does not have a translation into Spanish refers to a female who “hitchhikes” or hitchhiking.