Abraham Poincheval (b. 1972, Alençon, France; lives in Marseille, France; represented by Galerie Semiose) is an insatiable explorer. Whether it’s crossing the Alps in a capsule that serves as a shelter, locking himself away in a rock for a week or walking on clouds, his expeditions - whether itinerant or static - require total engagement of the body. The habitable sculptures the artist designs are laboratories through which he experiments with time, confinement and immobility. They are the envelope that welcomes the performer, the object that disrupts the landscape and exists through the stories of witnesses.

Associated artist

On the occasion of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, as part of the Les Victoires itinerary Abraham Poincheval will inhabit his work La Bouteille, commissioned by Plaine Commune, the production of which is delegated to the cneai = in partnership with Ilotopie from July 25 to August 3, 2024. Measuring 580 centimetres long and 190 centimetres in diameter, it will become a real vessel this summer, as it will be floated and inhabited by the artist on the Saint-Denis Canal for the first time, at the time of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Positioned opposite the Stade de France, it will enable the artist to observe the Olympic flame show from the canal. For ten days, he will stand on the edge of the quay, where residents, strollers, fans and intrigued tourists will pass by.

Abraham Poincheval, accustomed to extreme practices, echoes notions of confinement, isolation and immobility, opening himself up to meditative journeys and questioning the resilience of bodies and their environmental interactions. In this bottled-up state, Abraham Poincheval surrounds himself with the bare essentials of life - water, food, first-aid kits and conveniences - and a plant ecosystem, turning the cabin into a garden, a greenhouse, a bedroom, a kitchen, a living room, a dining room and a dry toilet all in one. He recreates the conditions of a possible, singular and rudimentary life. The experience of La Bouteille takes up notions of performance and endurance to question them: in a fast-paced society with intensified lifestyles, isn’t immobility a remarkable effort, a potentially political object, a performance of self-denial or self-mastery?

In this Olympic year, Abraham Poincheval’s work paradoxically highlights immobility. At a time when sport and performance are the focus of attention, performance time invites audiences to pause and observe the experience of immobility, the resistance of bodies, to create or criticize our relationship with the world. Immobility is experienced by the inhabitants of Seine-Saint-Denis, placed at the heart of this global event in which they participate in a roundabout, participatory way. Immobility is invested in the Olympian spectators, whose frenetic movements are halted by the intrigue of immobility as a choice. The absence of body mobility, an eminently political element, allows us to distance ourselves from a plastic and physical form that is a priori not so easy to exercise in its societal context.