Le Grand Balcon draws loosely on Jean Genet’s Le Balcon, in which the play’s high porch is a space of contestation between revolution and counter-revolution, reality and illusion. A recurring motif in Genet’s writing, his balcony is a place where representation itself can be perversely troubled.
For Genet (and for many other writers, including Shakespeare) the balcony is also a topos of amorous flirtation:
a privileged but ambiguous space that brings lovers closer while keeping them apart. It is a desiring apparatus and a theatrical space that articulates the complex relationship between inside and outside, up and down. The balcony is also subject to a particular regime of visibility, a space where a person can dramatically stage herself, with power and vulnerability on display.
In Genet’s play, the Grand Balcony is the brothel that presents a fiercely ironical microcosm of the power elite besieged by revolutionary forces at the gates.
In turn, the exhibition Le Grand Balcon enacts Genet’s concern with meta-theatricality and role-playing by unfolding incidents alongside “objects” that often refuse to reveal themselves as truths. As an exhibition, Le Grand Balcon aims to open up a mental space to rethink some of our most pressing matters and their interconnectedness—our culture of waste and excess, the accelerating dematerialisation of the economy and the global evolution towards a clash of prophesying communities.
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