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Texts by Olivia Fahmy & Myrto Katsimicha, Filira Athens GR, May 2017

"What we leave behind is not what is engraved in the stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others". In her work, Gabrielle Le Bayon emphasizes, through anachronistic reconciliations, questions, movements and more specifically the memory of certain forms inherent in the histories of men. Jacques Rancière, a contemporary French philosopher, states in The Distribution of the Sensible with regard to the relations between aesthetics and politics: "The arts never lend to the enterprises of domination or emancipation anything that they cannot lend them, and that is what they have in common: positions and movements of bodies, functions of speech, distributions of the visible and the invisible." In her video Athena's Gaze, Gabrielle Le Bayon looks for traces of bodily positions and movements from the Greek goddess rooted in the city that bears her name. She isn't looking for the traces of Athena's glorious worship, temples and statues; but the survival of Athena's features and memory, the joint movement with other figures that would be embodied in other female faces, filmed in the streets of Athens.

« Ce qu’on laisse dernière nous, ce n’est pas ce qui est gravé dans les monuments de pierres, mais ce qui s’est tissé au fil du temps dans la vie d’autres gens. » Dans ses travaux, Gabrielle Le Bayon souligne, par des rapprochements anachroniques, les questionnements, les mouvements et plus spécifiquement la revenance de certaines formes inhérentes aux histoires des hommes. Jacques Rancière, philosophe français contemporain, déclare dans Le partage du sensible au sujet des rapports entre esthétique et politique : « Les arts ne prêtent jamais aux entreprises de la domination ou de l’émancipation que ce qu’ils peuvent leur prêter, soit, tout simplement, ce qu’ils ont de commun avec elles: des positions et des mouvements des corps, des fonctions de la parole, des répartitions du visible et de l’invisible. » Dans la vidéo Le regard d’Athena, Gabrielle Le Bayon cherche les traces de ces positions et des mouvements des corps de la déesse grecque enracinées dans la ville qui porte son nom. Pas les traces de son glorieux culte, des temples qu’on lui aurait construit, des statues que l’on adorait d’elle ; mais la survivance de ses traits, de son souvenir, un mouvement commun à d’autres figures qui s’incarneraient dans d’autres visages féminins, filmés dans la rue.

Olivia Fahmy, independant curator, Athens May 2017

Gabrielle Le Bayon works mainly with film, photography and text that often intertwine into a visual narration that triggers our relationship with history and reality. Myth constitutes a core element in her artistic practice that brings us back to the social history of the place through the intimate gaze of her protagonists while questioning its power in our ever-uncertain present. The video work presented here is an adaptation of a longer film, titled “Athena’s Gaze” (2017), which Le Bayon shot in Athens during her residency in June 2016. Drawing inspiration on the one hand from the historic and mythical past so much embedded in the life of the city as well as from the reality of an urban setting, the film depicts a journey in quest for “Athena” –the goddess and guardian of Athens– through the eyes of the “marbles” and through a series of facial expressions of women recorded in the streets. In this shorter site-specific version presented in this Ethiopian café run by women the viewer encounters the female gaze twice, on the screen and through the mirror, as a reflection on the ways representation is constructed within society.

Myrto Katsimicha, independant curator, Athens May 2017