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“Collective Transport”: the choice to focus on sharing

“Collective Transport”: the choice to focus on sharing

As the global health crisis keeps on isolating people dramatically, the Cultural Patronage of Societe Generale chooses to focus, more than ever, on what brings us together. It is what lies at the heart of the “Collective Transport - part 1” exhibition, a selection of works from the Societe Generale Art Collection and guest artists* by independent curator Marie-Ann Yemsi**. With the dialogue between different art pieces in mind, its goal is to think about new ways of existing.



Collective transport

On a global scale, as our time seems rife with tensions and the future with uncertainty, art proves to be the ideal meeting place: the exhibition has been built around echoes and affinities between works from the Collection and pieces from guest emerging artists. It is a place where to explore the increased fragility of our relationships to others, ourselves, and the environment, and where a new ecology of life flourishing with hope and harmony can be drawn. There, the human form seems to struggle with a fragmented world, between its tendency to withdraw and its craving for freedom. The body is a meeting place, an interface between the self, the other, and the world. The artists tackle many contemporary issues such as migration, deterritorialization processes, exclusion, discrimination by race, sex, and gender, and the decolonization of knowledge and collective representations.    

Tangible cartography

These artists from various backgrounds use the widest range of plastic approaches – painting, drawing, photography, video, sculpture, installation, performance – to draw a kaleidoscope of different points of view that can be contemplative or speculative, critical or oneiric, all revolving around the same mutating horizon. Bridges are built between the photographs of Jordi Colomer, Aglaé Bory, and Danica Dakić revolving around the human shape, and the angular sculptures of major artists François Morellet and Raymond Hains. In paintings by Kubra Khademi, Ulla von Brandenburg, and François Bard, the characters are getting closer, supporting or avoiding each other. With her fabric work, Turiya Magadlela evokes the question of the link in a way that is both metaphorical and tangible. On this open path, a story leads to another, and together, they form a polyphony of experiences.    

Common presence

Between the lines, René Char’s notion of “common presence” can be read: free association rather than linear thinking, dream rather than chaos, and a way of being together despite the distance. It is all the more so crucial now that the opening of cultural places remains uncertain: interviews with the artists and virtual tours will be put online so that the public and the actors of the art world can gather around the works presented and the ideas they bring forth. As explains Marie-Ann Yemsi, curator of the exhibition, in “Collective Transport”, “the intense, singular creations of the artists remind us that art is a constant factory of what could be different; a living, unruly matter that challenges our representations and certainties to dream and shape shared destinies in the upcoming world.” Just what is needed to start thinking of an inspiring way to build the future...  

C. Perrin

*Guest artists: Martin Faure, Antwan Horfee, Romuald Jandolo, Kubra Khademi, El Mehdi Largo, Daniel Nicolaevsky Maria, Josèfa Ntjam, Elsie Otinwa, Lyz Parayzo, Virginia Quadjovie, Rakajoo, and Emmanuel Tussore.   

Artists selected from the Societe Generale Art Collection: Kader Attia, Omar Ba, François Bard, Aglaé Bory, Ulla von Brandenburg, Stéphane Calais, Jordi Colomer, Danica Dakić, Sépànd Danesh, Philippe Decrauzat, Philippe Favier, Carole Fekété, Raymond Hains, Turiya Magadlela, Didier Marcel, Jonathan Monk, François Morellet, Lyndi Sales, Berni Searle and Barthélémy Toguo.   

** Marie-Ann Yemsi is an independent contemporary art consultant and curator. Born in Germany, she is a graduate in Political Sciences and lives and works in Paris. In 2005, she founded Agent Créatif(s), which has developed renowned expertise in cultural production and art consulting with a focus on contemporary artists from Africa and its diasporas. She was the Artistic Director of “Afrotopia”, the 11th edition of the Rencontres de Bamako – African Biennale of Photography (2017), and she has been the curator at several international exhibitions, including “African Odysseys” at the Brass Cultural Center (Brussels) in 2015, “The Days that Comes” at the Galerie des Galeries (Paris) in 2017, “A Silent Line, Lives Here” at the Palais de Tokyo (Paris) in 2018, and “HAVE YOU SEEN A HORIZON LATELY?” at the MACAAL – Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden (Marrakesh) in 2020. She is a guest curator at the Palais de Tokyo (Paris) for the collective exhibition “Ubuntu, a lucid dream” that will take place in fall 2021.   

> To see the exhibition: Societe Generale towers, 17 cours Valmy, 92800 Puteaux, from Monday to Friday, from 10:00 to 18:00, as soon as the sanitary measures allow it.   

> Reservations: online via the Contact page of the website or by email at   

In September 2021, the second part of “Collective Transport” will unveil the works of the 14 laureates of a call for application set up by Societe Generale Art Patronage with the Beaux-Arts de Paris, which will too be presented along with artworks from the Collection.     

Photo © Elsie Otinwa