Press Release

The Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne (MCBA), is pleased to present Colombian-French artist Gina Proenza’ solo exhibition You and Your Gang, especially commissioned for its Project Space.



International exhibitions

International ongoing exhibitions

Gina Proenza, You and Your Gang

MCBA, Lausanne (Switzerland)

24.05 - 01.09.2024




In her exhibitions, Proenza develops narratives in which each work functions like an individual protagonist, an independent creation that is simultaneously an integral part of a story that has to be deciphered by the viewers. Gargoyles that stick out motorised tongues, words that are spelled out on perforated sheets of paper, voices delivering pleas—anguage, whether oral, written, allegorical, or anatomical, lies at the heart of her work. The artist has transformed the museum’ Project Space into a territory in which a story with multiple voices plays out. Nothing is given to be seen or heard immediately, a wall with openings both obstructs the entrance to the gallery and invites us to look beyond it, curtains move slowly opening and closing off spaces, while sounds are heard coming from gargoyles.

The transcription of medieval trials in which animals were the accused, a historical source that has already provided material for elaborating other recent works, underpins the whole current show. A not uncommon practice in the Middle Ages, such legal proceedings enjoined the guilty creatures to vacate the area without delay. They also reflect a struggle over the lands and their resources. The trials that Proenza focuses on especially are those initiated by an ecclesiastical court between the 15th and 16th centuries around Lausanne, brought against grubs that were accused of having ravaged local crops. This relationship of humans with other creatures and the world they share, these demands made by one species to evict another oddly resonate with the present. As the artist puts it, ‘owadays, these narratives may seem completely irrational or fictional to us. At the same time, they echo issues that are very much of our day and age, interspecies coexistence, the ecological emergency, and those lawsuits that confer legal personhood on entities like rivers, for example.’

While in medieval trials only humans had a say and addressed the animals directly (‘ou and your gang’, here humans speak up but only on the insects’behalf. The voices we hear throughout the venue are those of three solicitors in criminal law whom the artist asked to argue in the grubs’defence and plead for acquittal. Using by turns arguments that would have been admissible in the Middle Ages and lines of reasoning that could be heard in a court of law today, the pleas reshape the dynamics at work between accusers and accused, raising the question of the responsibilities that rest with us.

Through this polyphonic installation, Proenza interrogates the positions of the sentencing and the sentenced, while opening up a space for imagining what is playing out between time periods that have centuries between them and species that are quite distinct. Echoing those timeframes, the artist taps into the question of territories and their delineation. Large, motorised curtains made from fabric scraps slowly move around, opening and closing off areas of the venue. Silent protagonists of the narrative used by the artist, the curtains determine visitors’potential movements in the space while allowing the eye to see through them at any time. They blur and obscure then the limit between here and there, time present and time to come.

Curated by Nicole Schweizer, Curator of contemporary art, MCBA

Exhibition 24 May - 1st September 2024. Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne (MCBA), Place de la Gare 16, PLATEFORME 10 - 1003 Lausanne (Switzerland). T +41 21 318 44 00. Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 10am–6pm, Thursday 10am–8pm.





Gina Proenza, You and Your Gang, MCBA, Lausanne (Switzerland)

© ArtCatalyse International / Marika Prévosto 2024 All Rights Reserved

Gina Proenza, Toi et ta bande, 2023. Straw, Plexiglas, nails, 155 ×900 cm. Produced with Emma Bruschi (straw) and Virginie Sistek. Courtesy the artist. Photo: @ Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne/Etienne Malapert.

Gina Proenza, Toi et ta bande, 2023. Straw, Plexiglas, nails, 155 ×900 cm. Produced with Emma Bruschi (straw) and Virginie Sistek. Courtesy the artist. Photo: @ Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne/Etienne Malapert.