MO.CO. Hôtel des collections

13 rue de la République, Montpellier

Du 13 novembre 2021 au 13 février 2022

Ouverture le 12 novembre 2021

Bodies at stake


Artworks from Sandretto Re Rebaudengo collection


In a city of knowledge and medecine, it’s a poetic of the human figure that explores the new exhibition at the MO.CO. Hôtel des collections. 30 artists seize this subject and demonstrate the fact that the image of the body is also the image of the psyche.

The body is political, social, sexualized, fantasized, performed[ER1] , controlled. It’s the reflect of our fears, of our aspirations, of our time; its representations [ER2] depict celebrated bodies, probations, challenged bodies, in which technological developments allow making exoskeletons and artificial corporality, and in which the body becomes stretch and adjustable over and over again, but stays an indicator of differences. 

The representation of the body goes through the whole history of art. How the current artists, following Michel Ange, Rubens, Courbet, Alberto Giacometti or Francis Bacon (to mention only few artists who work from the flesh) appropriate the idea of the body? How to depict the human being nowadays?

At MO.CO. Hôtel des collections, 58 artworks created between 1977 and 2020 take possession of the body. This is not a matter of showing autopsied bodies, but to conceive an accurate examination of the human figure such as it is represented by the artists, the body as a means of expression, experimentations, and formal and esthetical research, inextricably tied up with social, political and cultural evolutions.

Most of the artworks are shown in France for the first time. The exhibition includes a large variety of mediums[ER3] , such as videos (Lina Bertucci, Elena Kovylina, Wael Shawky) and video installations (Ed Atkins, Gordon Parreno and Douglas Gordon), paintings (Sanya Kantarovsky, Enrico David, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye), sculptures (Maurizio Cattelan, Sarah Lucas, Michele Rizzo, Josh Kline, Berlinde de Bruckere, Michael Dean), and photographs  (Zoe Leonard, Cindy Sherman, Trisha Donnelly, Catherine Opie) to make a kaleidoscopic vision of the contemporary bodies and to conceive a diversity of points of view.

The self-portraits (Cindy Sherman, Roberto Cuoghi, Catherine Opie, Maurizio Cattelan) reveal a divided personality; the deformed bodies without a face are feminist (Zoe Leonard, Sarah Lucas, Senga Nengudi, Berlinde de Bruckere), the collective body explores the mechanisms of oppression and control (Cady Noland, Thomas Hirschhorn, Wael Shawky), historical figures and modern icons like Zinedine Zidane (Philippe Gordon and Douglas Gordon) deconstruct the society of spectacle.

Among the key works of the exhibition, we have to mention an ensemble of paintings by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, considered one of the most important painters of her generation but little shown in France, the video Hisser (2015) by Ed Atkins, a tragic animated film about the human condition, the impressive installation of 15 meters long, Ingrowth (2009) by Thomas Hirschhorn and finally the film Zidane. A portrait of the 20th century (2005) by Douglas Gordon and Gordon Parreno.

The scenography of the exhibition is delegated to Diogo Passarinho. He reconfigures the circulation and the rooms of the exhibition in order to propose a new and sensual experience during the course inside it treating walls like fleshes.

A bilingual catalogue is published by Silvana Editoriale. Richly illustrated, it brings together interviews of the art collector Patrizia Sandretto re Raubeuengo and of the choreographer Michele Rizzo about their relation with the body in the creation of the collection or works of art and critical texts by Julie Ackermann, Marie Applagnat, Angela Blanc, Jean-Baptiste Delorme, Marilou Thiebault, Justine Vic...


Avec Ed ATKINS, Lina BERTUCCI, Maurizio CATTELAN, Roberto CUOGHI, Enrico DAVID, Berlinde DE BRUYCKERE, Michael DEAN, Trisha DONNELLY, Douglas GORDON, Gordon PARRENO, Thomas HIRSCHHORN, Sanya KANTAROVSKY, Josh KLINE, Elena KOVYLINA, Barbara KRUEGER, Zoe LEONARD, Sarah LUCAS, Mark MANDERS, Nathaniel MELLORS, Senga NENGUDI, Cady NOLAND, Catherine OPIE, Michele RIZZO, Thomas RUFF, Waël SHAWKY, Cindy SHERMAN, Andra URSUTA, Lynette YIADOM-BOAKYE...



The exhibition "L'épreuve des corps" (Bodies at stake) is also an opportunity to establish a dialogue between the ancient statuary of the Musée des Moulages, located at the heart of the Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3 University campus, in an exhibition entitled "L'épreuve des corps au Musée des Moulages" which includes a word of art by Sherrie Levine as well as a selection of necklaces from the collection of costume jewellery of the Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Foundation. 


Coming from a family of collectors, Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo has begun her contemporary art collection since 1992, during a trip in London, rhythmed by meetings with artists and visits of numerous galleries, where she realized the difficulties of artists to create and exhibit.


Artistic team

Vincent Honoré, Head of exhibitions MO.CO., and Caroline Chabrand, Curator MO.CO.

Scenography : Diogo Passarinho Studio

Editorial coordination of the catalogue : Anna Kerekes