Bruno Pélassy and the Order of the Starfish
20.10.2023 – 14.1.2024
Haus am Waldsee is pleased to present the first institutional exhibition of French artist Bruno Pélassy (b. 1966 in Vientiane, Laos, d. 2002 in Nice, France) in Germany. Throughout his life, Pélassy embodied a complex and multifaceted persona, and his art defies easy categorization. He painted, drew, performed, created sculptures, films, couture and jewelry. Formal and playful material excesses tend to blur disciplinary boundaries, making it challenging to separate his artistic endeavors from his approach to daily existence. The exhibition delves into practice, functioning both as a personal and political engagement with the norms of desire, nature, gender, social values and health, as well as a plea for the dissolution of rigid binaries.
A photograph captures Bruno Pélassy, freshly emerged from the deep blue of Nice’s Coco Beach, wearing a starfish like a living brooch on his chest, consigning him to some secret maritime order. Laura Cottingham, curator and close friend of Pélassy, remembers his fascination with ‘the blurred distinction between plant and animal that exists so obviously in the sea, as if it offered a perfect metaphor for the philosophical limits of all binary distinctions: good and evil, male and female, night and day, black and white’. 
Significantly shaped by an early diagnosis of HIV, Pélassy’s work mediates upon the ambivalent poetics of illness and death, and the perception of the body as a porous and erratic entity. In the exhibition, Pélassy’s artistic approach will rub shoulders with selected artworks and ephemera by his contemporaries and current artists. The group show component will include contributions by, among others, Marc Camille Chaimowicz, Beth Collar, Jesse Darling, Brice Dellsperger, Leonor Fini, James Richards and Soshiro Matsubara, who will also devise the exhibition’s architecture.
Press preview: Thu, Oct 19, 2023, 11 am
The exhibition is supported by:
Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Gesellschaftlichen Zusammenhalt
Haus am Waldsee – Freunde und Förderer e.V.
Phileas. The Austrian Office for Contemporary Art
Federal Ministry Republic of Austria – Arts, Culture, Civil Service and Sport
 Laura Cottingham, ‘Remembering Bruno Pélassy’, in ‘Bruno Pélassy’ (Nice: Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain, 2003), p. 32.
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