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Louise Siffert’s work is rooted in contemporary management theories, workplace wellness and the corporate coaching typical of start-ups and the service industry, as well as in burlesque performance, the one-woman show, the baroque aesthetic and the New Age. Her performances present characters that are hybrids between manipulative guru, reassuring coach and living sculpture who, by overexploiting their language and behaviour codes, produce a feeling of discomfort that reveals the imperceptible violence and alienation at play in today’s working world.
Since 2015, the artist has been developing her project Le Centre des Organisations positives, a series of installations and performances based on Abraham Maslow’s pyramid (1943), a hierarchy chart of working people’s needs that still inspires marketing techniques and human resources management in our day. From these she appropriates the communication codes of the working world, lending credibility to words that are, however, thrown off balance by her knocked-up sculptural devices made of unstable materials, signifying the absurdity and vacuity of a Coué method solely devised for employee performance and productivity. Louise Siffert does not forget the audience, which is directly involved in her performances through emotional manipulation and incorporative techniques like hypnosis, relaxation and neuro-linguistic programming.
Her approach more broadly questions our behaviour in society and the unconscious development of our habits, while raising the question of the relationship between art and labor. Because if performance at work seems to be the driving productive force in today’s economy, then what distinguishes artists from employees, when they too perform and produce? And let us not forget that the artist figure and associated way of life now seem like a prime example of an above-ground worker of the liberal economy.
While doing her residency in Lindre-Basse, Louise Siffert wishes to take advantage of this period to work on writing a short fictional film based on Baltasar Gracián’s book The Art of Worldly Wisdom(1647), a manual for those who wanted to succeed in the society of its day. This is another text that is used in management today. It contains a performative, self-sufficient and persuasive dimension that the artist wants to exploit in a new film, for which the Lindre-Basse studio will serve as a rehearsal room, set and sculptural apparatus. The open studio will offer a chance to see how this project is progressing, and speak to the artist about this new phase in her work.
The artist residency programme is organised by the CAC - la synagogue de Delme in collaboration with the Lorraine Regional Natural Park and the Commune of Lindre-Basse.