“Fireflies” is a collaborative meditation on liminal spaces and desire. The film was developed together with the sex workers from the Feel Good Cooperative in Rome, which was co-initiated by the artist in an effort to provide financial assistance to sex workers during the pandemic. It was shot on the margins of the ancient imperial city. Long ago, there used to be fireflies there. Today, the headlights of cars act like searchlights, while suitors spot sex workers through erratic flashes of light. They in turn may be lit up by a flashlight directed at their invisible bodies, a brazier or little bonfire. In this instant, the mostly trans sex workers working and performing there are themselves reminiscent of fireflies.
At the centre of Pauline Curnier Jardin’s practice stands the refusal to identify with the masks and markers of violence and the categories and genres of visibility and narratability that sustain and naturalize this violence. Her works animate lived solidarity with violations and subjections, but even more so, with vivid and perpetual rebellions against the total framework of life’s subjection.
Pauline Curnier Jardin (b. 1980, Marseille, France) is an Berlin-Rome based artist working across installation, performance, film and drawing.
Selected solo and group exhibitions, commissioned projects and screenings include: Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin, DE (2021); Art Basel, Basel, CH (2021); INDEX – The Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation, Stockholm, SE (2021); Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW), Berlin, DE (2021); Palais de Tokyo, Paris, FR (2020); 1646, The Hague, NL (2019); Fondation Ricard pour l’Art Contemporain, Paris, FR (2019); Thomaskerk, Amsterdam, NL (2018); Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art, Copenhagen, DK (2018); KRIEG, Hasselt, BE (2018); Cobra Museum of Modern Art, Amsterdam, NL (2018); 57th Venice Biennale, IT (2017); Videoart Midnight, Babylon Cinema, Berlin, DE (2018); Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, DE (2018); Ellen de Bruijne Projects, Amsterdam, NL (2018); Tate Modern, London, UK (2017); International Film Festival, Rotterdam, NL (2017); Futura, Prague, CZ (2017); Performa 15, New York, US (2015); The Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, Paris, FR (2015); Migros Museum of Contemporary Art, Zurich, CH (2015); University of São Paulo, São Paulo, BR (2015); MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, US (2014); Centre George Pompidou, Paris, FR (2012); Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris, FR (2010); ZKM Museum of Contemporary Art, Karlsruhe, DE (2010).
Curnier Jardin is the winner of the 2019 Preis der Nationalgalerie and recipient of the 2019/2020 Villa Medici Residency in Rome and the 2021 Villa Romana Fellows in Florence. She was the winner of the Dutch prize NN Award (2018) and laureate of the Prix Fondation d’Entreprise Ricard (2017).
She was tutor at the Dutch Art Institute and teacher at Kunsthochschule Kassel. She is tutor at De Ateliers in Amsterdam since the past year. In 2015-2016 she completed a residency at the Rijksakademie Van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam.
Collaborators & Friends
“Feel Good Cooperative” members: Alexandra Lopez, Serena Olcuire, Pauline Curnier Jardin, Andrea, Alexandra Mapuchina, Gilda Star, Giuliana (made in Rome, June 2020)
«Feel Good Cooperative» was born with a workshop made during the severe Italian lockdown of spring 2020. With the help of the photographer and sex worker Alexandra Lopez, architect and academic Serena Olcuire, Curnier Jardin invited a Rome-based, Columbian group of sex workers to draw their work and paid them at equivalent cost for their labour, in order to produce the content of an exhibition. The project created a space of expression and financial compensation for these Roman workers whose daily life is linked to intimacy and to the foreign body.