take (a)back the economy curated by Barbara Sirieix

At the invitation of the CACC, curator Barbara Sirieix presents the exhibition “take (a)back the economy”, which brings together artists Anne Bourse, Eve Chabanon, Hanne Lippard, Ernesto Sartori and Jay Tan. Its name is inspired by the title of the 2013 book Take Back the Economy, which was co-authored by JK Gibson-Graham, Jenny Cameron and Stephen Healy.

The work of JK Gibson-Graham, feminist economists and geographers, no longer considers the economy as a unitary capitalist system or space but as an area where multiple economic forms coexist and contest each other – in short, a critical approach to what they call “capitalocentrism”. Using the image of an iceberg, they have highlighted different regimes of visibility within the economy. There exists what is above water level – wage labour, market production, capitalist trade – and what is submerged – non-wage labour, non-market or non-monetary economies, transactions within the household or communities, cooperatives, self-employed workers, donations etc. By supporting other forms of economic relationships within a diversified economy, their project aims to encourage economic self-determination in the individual, particularly through the creation of a more inclusive language.

Their concepts generate tools for thinking about the economies of artistic production, allowing us to consider certain less visible things such as, for example, what happens outside the gallery or the studio… those things we are not used to considering as part of the artists or the art’s economy. What are these invisible activities? What are the artists’ non-capitalist economies? What is the language of these economies? Does artists’ interest in production necessarily mean there is a production-driven logic at work?

These reflections take place in a political context where the economy of art workers is being challenged along with the institutional frameworks surrounding it. Several studies carried out in France and abroad show that these workers, despite being active in a highly profitable sector, are for the most part in a very precarious situation. Moreover, by thinking of artistic production in the context of a diversified economy, the artist’s slower economies, counterproductive processes, and ecological issues are here observed more closely.

Artists Anne Bourse, Eve Chabanon, Hanne Lippard, Ernesto Sartori and Jay Tan have developed singular perspectives on the economy of artistic production, whether it be through making the latter interact with the activities and objects located outside the symbolic space and time of their artistic work, through considering the political and geopolitical space of the production and/or through the recycling of objects or economic languages.

Barbara Sirieix