La Cité des arts

Mona Varichon

18 December, 2022 to 05 February, 2023 Opening 18 December, 2022, with screenings at 2:00, 4:00 and 6:00PM

Starring Nicolas Faubert
Curated by Cassandra Cassandra
With special guest screenings by Marie Losier and Genevieve Belleveau

The Cité Internationale des Arts is an artists’ residency program founded in 1965 in the center of Paris. Its grounds were once a densely tangled working class neighborhood, declared insalubrious in 1921 following several cholera epidemics. Now, at any given time, three-hundred artists from around the world populate its studios and courtyards. 

This is where Mona Varichon, a 2020-2021 resident, met dancer and artist Nicolas Faubert. They exchanged greetings in the corridors, and Nicolas invited her to a late hip-hop training session in one of the Cité’s dance studios. She went with her partner, the artist and CUNY Law student Jacob Eisenmann, and they freestyle danced in a cypher surrounded by Nicolas and members of his hip-hop family. From then on, the three of them met daily in their studios to discuss their experiences with art, dance and the outside world, and tried to teach each other what they knew.

The bustling life inside the Cité contrasted with the stillness of the exterior world: due to the pandemic, borders were shut, Parisians were confined after 6pm, and all art and performance spaces were closed. Meanwhile, Nicolas was busy organizing dance workshops, plotting collaborations with numerous residents, and inviting dozens of dancers from the hip-hop community to use the Cité’s facilities to gather and train.

Mona filmed daily to capture this period in their lives and in the history of the Cité; this footage became La Cité des arts. Currently at five episodes, the series follows them and their friends through the allegorical schema of The School. Referred to as The Teacher, Nicolas explores alternative, intuitive and horizontal ways of learning. His students are encouraged to let go of shame around their bodies moving in space, to trust their senses, and to be highly in tune with music. Humorous, existential and political interludes of dialogue offer context to the tense social climate within which the videos were produced.

La Cité des arts opens with an establishing shot of the Notre-Dame cathedral from the window of Mona’s studio, followed by glimpses of a protest against increased police power. The clichés of France are alluded to, but resisted. Instead, a real picture of France is transmitted by giving voice to a succession of characters and events. Borrowing codes and conventions from broadcast television and documentary, the series transforms the lives of its cast into a cinéma-vérité reality show. Mona allows her subject-collaborators to speak and move freely, and even turn the camera on each other. She does not privilege the camera: the action that unfolds is what is important.

La Cité des arts, Épisode 1, Roll call, 2021, 04:22 min

La Cité des arts, Épisode 2, Classes, 2021, 09:54 min

La Cité des arts, Épisode 3, The teachers’ lounge, 2021, 09:41 min

La Cité des arts, Épisode 4, The corridors, 2021, 07:42 min

La Cité des arts, Épisode 5, Recess, 2021, 13:58 min

This exhibition was produced with the support of Villa Albertine in partnership with the French Embassy.


Press Release
Mona Varichon. La Cité des arts, Épisode 5, Recess, 2021, 13:58 min.

Mona Varichon (b. 1989, Paris, France) is an artist and translator based in Paris. She recently presented performances at the Centre Pompidou (Paris, France) and the Capc musée d’art contemporain (Bordeaux, France), both times in collaboration with Nicolas Faubert. Together, they have led video and dance workshops for youths and adults in various French and European institutions. Mona’s films and photographs have been shown at The Vanity Gallery, the Redcat Theatre and the Echo Park Film Center (Los Angeles, CA), The Egyptian Theater (Hollywood, CA), Alienze (Vienna, Austria), the Sifang Art Museum Satellite (Shanghai, China), the National Gallery (Prague, Czech Republic) and on The Renaissance Society’s Renaissance TV (Chicago, IL). In January 2023, the artist Laura Owens invited her to be a resident at the Studio of the South in Arles, France. She is currently translating the memoirs of American artists George and Mike Kuchar into French, to be published with her imprint Varichon & Cie.

Nicolas Faubert (b. 1991, Libreville, Gabon) is a performer, artist and educator trained in classical dance, hip-hop, New Jack Swing, New School, popping, house, locking and breakdance. Faubert has recently performed at the Centre Pompidou, the Théâtre du Châtelet and Balice Hertling (Paris, France), the French Pavilion and the Diaspora Pavilion at the Venice Biennale (Venice, Italy) and the Musée Olympique (Lausanne, Switzerland). Aside from collaborating on projects with artists such as Laure Prouvost, Gabriel Moraes Aquino and Agata Ingarden, he is a community organizer for the non-profit Heart Street in Normandy, and leads freedom through movement workshops at the National Institute for the Blind in Paris.

Cassandra Cassandra was founded in 2019 as a not-for-profit gallery in Toronto with a focus on creating dialogue between Canadian and international artists. After organizing exhibitions and publishing an artists’ book, it is now operating as a roaming curatorial platform and is based in Saint-Ouen-sur-Seine, France.

Marie Losier (b. 1972, Boulogne-Billancourt, France) moved to New York City in 1994 as a young literature graduate and painting student, and stayed for 23 years as a film curator and filmmaker. Inspired by the many avant-garde artists turned welcoming friends that she met in the underground scene, she became known for making film-portraits that are both documents and odes to the lives of their subjects–which include artists and musicians Alan Vega, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Guy Maddin, Richard Foreman and Tony Conrad. Although made by a French artist, these films conjure a rich and intimate portrait of North-American counterculture.

Genevieve Belleveau (b. 1984, Bemidji, Minnesota) is known for her critically acclaimed conceptual and performative works which take the whole of everyday life as their raw material, transforming experiences into curious and complicated social sculptures. After graduating from art school in 2008, she moved to Brooklyn where she supported herself driving an ice cream truck and consolidated her multidisciplinary online and IRL art practice, encompassing live performance, objects, writing, video, photo, and new media investigations. From 2009 to 2011, she ran The Church of gorgeousTaps and the Reality Show, a Sunday gathering in the backyard of her Greenpoint apartment. Drawing on traditional church services, this ongoing performance created an inclusive hub for artists and others to come together in singing, listening, meditating and mingling.

La Cité des arts

Mona Varichon

18 December, 2022 to 05 February, 2023
Install view.
Mona Varichon. La Cité des arts, Épisode 1, L'appel/Roll call, 2021, 04:22 min.
Mona Varichon. La Cité des arts, Épisode 2, Les cours/Classes, 2021, 09:54 min.
Mona Varichon. La Cité des arts, Épisode 2, Les cours/Classes, 2021, 09:54 min.
Mona Varichon. La Cité des arts, Épisode 2, Les cours/Classes, 2021, 09:54 min.
Mona Varichon. La Cité des arts, Épisode 2, Les cours/Classes, 2021, 09:54 min.
Mona Varichon. La Cité des arts, Épisode 3, La salle des profs/The teachers’ lounge, 2021, 09:41 min.
Mona Varichon. La Cité des arts, Épisode 3, La salle des profs/The teachers’ lounge, 2021, 09:41 min.
Mona Varichon. La Cité des arts, Épisode 3, La salle des profs/The teachers’ lounge, 2021, 09:41 min.
Mona Varichon. La Cité des arts, Épisode 4, Les couloirs/The corridors, 2021, 07:42 min.
Mona Varichon. La Cité des arts, Épisode 5, La cour de récré/Recess, 2021, 13:58 min.
Mona Varichon. La Cité des arts, Épisode 5, La cour de récré/Recess, 2021, 13:58 min.
Mona Varichon. La Cité des arts, Épisode 5, La cour de récré/Recess, 2021, 13:58 min.
Mona Varichon. La Cité des arts, Épisode 5, La cour de récré/Recess, 2021, 13:58 min.
Mona Varichon. La Cité des arts, Épisode 5, La cour de récré/Recess, 2021, 13:58 min.
Mona Varichon. La Cité des arts, Épisode 5, La cour de récré/Recess, 2021, 13:58 min.
Mona Varichon. La Cité des arts, Épisode 5, La cour de récré/Recess, 2021, 13:58 min.
Mona Varichon. La Cité des arts, Épisode 5, La cour de récré/Recess, 2021, 13:58 min.
Mona Varichon. La Cité des arts, Épisode 5, La cour de récré/Recess, 2021, 13:58 min.
Mona Varichon. La Cité des arts, Épisode 5, La cour de récré/Recess, 2021, 13:58 min.
Mona Varichon. La Cité des arts, Épisode 5, La cour de récré/Recess, 2021, 13:58 min.
Mona Varichon. La Cité des arts, Épisode 5, La cour de récré/Recess, 2021, 13:58 min.
Mona Varichon. La Cité des arts, Épisode 5, Recess, 2021, 13:58 min.

La Cité des arts

Mona Varichon

18 December, 2022 to 05 February, 2023 Opening 18 December, 2022, with screenings at 2:00, 4:00 and 6:00PM

Starring Nicolas Faubert
Curated by Cassandra Cassandra
With special guest screenings by Marie Losier and Genevieve Belleveau

The Cité Internationale des Arts is an artists’ residency program founded in 1965 in the center of Paris. Its grounds were once a densely tangled working class neighborhood, declared insalubrious in 1921 following several cholera epidemics. Now, at any given time, three-hundred artists from around the world populate its studios and courtyards. 

This is where Mona Varichon, a 2020-2021 resident, met dancer and artist Nicolas Faubert. They exchanged greetings in the corridors, and Nicolas invited her to a late hip-hop training session in one of the Cité’s dance studios. She went with her partner, the artist and CUNY Law student Jacob Eisenmann, and they freestyle danced in a cypher surrounded by Nicolas and members of his hip-hop family. From then on, the three of them met daily in their studios to discuss their experiences with art, dance and the outside world, and tried to teach each other what they knew.

The bustling life inside the Cité contrasted with the stillness of the exterior world: due to the pandemic, borders were shut, Parisians were confined after 6pm, and all art and performance spaces were closed. Meanwhile, Nicolas was busy organizing dance workshops, plotting collaborations with numerous residents, and inviting dozens of dancers from the hip-hop community to use the Cité’s facilities to gather and train.

Mona filmed daily to capture this period in their lives and in the history of the Cité; this footage became La Cité des arts. Currently at five episodes, the series follows them and their friends through the allegorical schema of The School. Referred to as The Teacher, Nicolas explores alternative, intuitive and horizontal ways of learning. His students are encouraged to let go of shame around their bodies moving in space, to trust their senses, and to be highly in tune with music. Humorous, existential and political interludes of dialogue offer context to the tense social climate within which the videos were produced.

La Cité des arts opens with an establishing shot of the Notre-Dame cathedral from the window of Mona’s studio, followed by glimpses of a protest against increased police power. The clichés of France are alluded to, but resisted. Instead, a real picture of France is transmitted by giving voice to a succession of characters and events. Borrowing codes and conventions from broadcast television and documentary, the series transforms the lives of its cast into a cinéma-vérité reality show. Mona allows her subject-collaborators to speak and move freely, and even turn the camera on each other. She does not privilege the camera: the action that unfolds is what is important.

La Cité des arts, Épisode 1, Roll call, 2021, 04:22 min

La Cité des arts, Épisode 2, Classes, 2021, 09:54 min

La Cité des arts, Épisode 3, The teachers’ lounge, 2021, 09:41 min

La Cité des arts, Épisode 4, The corridors, 2021, 07:42 min

La Cité des arts, Épisode 5, Recess, 2021, 13:58 min

This exhibition was produced with the support of Villa Albertine in partnership with the French Embassy.


Press Release

Mona Varichon (b. 1989, Paris, France) is an artist and translator based in Paris. She recently presented performances at the Centre Pompidou (Paris, France) and the Capc musée d’art contemporain (Bordeaux, France), both times in collaboration with Nicolas Faubert. Together, they have led video and dance workshops for youths and adults in various French and European institutions. Mona’s films and photographs have been shown at The Vanity Gallery, the Redcat Theatre and the Echo Park Film Center (Los Angeles, CA), The Egyptian Theater (Hollywood, CA), Alienze (Vienna, Austria), the Sifang Art Museum Satellite (Shanghai, China), the National Gallery (Prague, Czech Republic) and on The Renaissance Society’s Renaissance TV (Chicago, IL). In January 2023, the artist Laura Owens invited her to be a resident at the Studio of the South in Arles, France. She is currently translating the memoirs of American artists George and Mike Kuchar into French, to be published with her imprint Varichon & Cie.

Nicolas Faubert (b. 1991, Libreville, Gabon) is a performer, artist and educator trained in classical dance, hip-hop, New Jack Swing, New School, popping, house, locking and breakdance. Faubert has recently performed at the Centre Pompidou, the Théâtre du Châtelet and Balice Hertling (Paris, France), the French Pavilion and the Diaspora Pavilion at the Venice Biennale (Venice, Italy) and the Musée Olympique (Lausanne, Switzerland). Aside from collaborating on projects with artists such as Laure Prouvost, Gabriel Moraes Aquino and Agata Ingarden, he is a community organizer for the non-profit Heart Street in Normandy, and leads freedom through movement workshops at the National Institute for the Blind in Paris.

Cassandra Cassandra was founded in 2019 as a not-for-profit gallery in Toronto with a focus on creating dialogue between Canadian and international artists. After organizing exhibitions and publishing an artists’ book, it is now operating as a roaming curatorial platform and is based in Saint-Ouen-sur-Seine, France.

Marie Losier (b. 1972, Boulogne-Billancourt, France) moved to New York City in 1994 as a young literature graduate and painting student, and stayed for 23 years as a film curator and filmmaker. Inspired by the many avant-garde artists turned welcoming friends that she met in the underground scene, she became known for making film-portraits that are both documents and odes to the lives of their subjects–which include artists and musicians Alan Vega, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Guy Maddin, Richard Foreman and Tony Conrad. Although made by a French artist, these films conjure a rich and intimate portrait of North-American counterculture.

Genevieve Belleveau (b. 1984, Bemidji, Minnesota) is known for her critically acclaimed conceptual and performative works which take the whole of everyday life as their raw material, transforming experiences into curious and complicated social sculptures. After graduating from art school in 2008, she moved to Brooklyn where she supported herself driving an ice cream truck and consolidated her multidisciplinary online and IRL art practice, encompassing live performance, objects, writing, video, photo, and new media investigations. From 2009 to 2011, she ran The Church of gorgeousTaps and the Reality Show, a Sunday gathering in the backyard of her Greenpoint apartment. Drawing on traditional church services, this ongoing performance created an inclusive hub for artists and others to come together in singing, listening, meditating and mingling.

Install view.
Mona Varichon. La Cité des arts, Épisode 1, L'appel/Roll call, 2021, 04:22 min.
Mona Varichon. La Cité des arts, Épisode 2, Les cours/Classes, 2021, 09:54 min.
Mona Varichon. La Cité des arts, Épisode 2, Les cours/Classes, 2021, 09:54 min.
Mona Varichon. La Cité des arts, Épisode 2, Les cours/Classes, 2021, 09:54 min.
Mona Varichon. La Cité des arts, Épisode 2, Les cours/Classes, 2021, 09:54 min.
Mona Varichon. La Cité des arts, Épisode 3, La salle des profs/The teachers’ lounge, 2021, 09:41 min.
Mona Varichon. La Cité des arts, Épisode 3, La salle des profs/The teachers’ lounge, 2021, 09:41 min.
Mona Varichon. La Cité des arts, Épisode 3, La salle des profs/The teachers’ lounge, 2021, 09:41 min.
Mona Varichon. La Cité des arts, Épisode 4, Les couloirs/The corridors, 2021, 07:42 min.
Mona Varichon. La Cité des arts, Épisode 5, La cour de récré/Recess, 2021, 13:58 min.
Mona Varichon. La Cité des arts, Épisode 5, La cour de récré/Recess, 2021, 13:58 min.
Mona Varichon. La Cité des arts, Épisode 5, La cour de récré/Recess, 2021, 13:58 min.
Mona Varichon. La Cité des arts, Épisode 5, La cour de récré/Recess, 2021, 13:58 min.
Mona Varichon. La Cité des arts, Épisode 5, La cour de récré/Recess, 2021, 13:58 min.
Mona Varichon. La Cité des arts, Épisode 5, La cour de récré/Recess, 2021, 13:58 min.
Mona Varichon. La Cité des arts, Épisode 5, La cour de récré/Recess, 2021, 13:58 min.
Mona Varichon. La Cité des arts, Épisode 5, La cour de récré/Recess, 2021, 13:58 min.
Mona Varichon. La Cité des arts, Épisode 5, La cour de récré/Recess, 2021, 13:58 min.
Mona Varichon. La Cité des arts, Épisode 5, La cour de récré/Recess, 2021, 13:58 min.
Mona Varichon. La Cité des arts, Épisode 5, La cour de récré/Recess, 2021, 13:58 min.
Mona Varichon. La Cité des arts, Épisode 5, La cour de récré/Recess, 2021, 13:58 min.