Mon nom est personne

Alexandre Périgot
20.06.29 → 20.08.17

Commissioner: Marie-Charlotte Calafat
An expanded version of the exhibition presented in 2018 at the Cneai = in which Alexandre Périgot presents his research on anonymity in art and its corollary, celebrity. The artist once again thwarts the mechanisms of valorization and starification in the realm of art.

No less than 1,300 reproductions of anonymous artworks from the 16th to the 21st century—paintings, photographs, drawings, diagrams, craft and design objects—form an installation on the ground, akin to the “engraving spreaders” of the 18th century and contemporary street vendors. These artworks, drawn from the collections of the National Center for Visual Arts, the MUCEM, the Museum of Arts in Nantes, the Museum of Fine Arts in Rennes, the Rodin Museum, and for this new opus, from the LaM in Villeneuve d’Ascq and the Fesch Museum in Ajaccio, are neither signed nor attributed. Most of them are extraordinary, composing a concealed yet complex art history, as numerous visible references exist between a popular and anonymous art on one hand, and a spectacular art as it’s currently recognized.

Alexandre Périgot’s work reveals the processes of spectacularization. His often performative installations draw from the worlds of cinema, architecture, performing arts, sports, or media to stage the unlikely dimension of “live.” Faced with phenomena of popularity, anonymity is a complex strategy that the artist has been exploring for two years. He discovered, during the Voyage à Nantes, while researching at the Museum of Arts in Nantes, that museums have a significant portion of unknowns in their collections—works sometimes major, often absolved of signature, which curators hesitate to exhibit or publish. It became necessary for the artist to establish the first museum of the anonymous, the MNEP.

The practice of signing is ambivalent: it only truly appeared in the 18th century and has only recently been applied to furniture and craft objects. Mon nom est personne reveals a fascination with celebrity that is inherently paradoxical: attraction and repulsion coexist, just as evasion and responsibility do. The exhibition questions the status of these enigmatic works but primarily imposes reflective and subjective work on us, as we are naked before the works: no information to cling to. Authority is restored to us by default. The works brought together at the Cneai under the denomination “anonymous” can have multiple justifications, and the complexity of the reasons leading to anonymity allows for recounting not one story but several. The exhibition implicitly forms a narrative on the sacralization of art, the justification of disciplines, and the exercises of legitimizing its value.

The title of the exhibition originates from three historical fictions: the mythical western My Name is Nobody by Tonino Valerii, the famous ruse of Ulysses in L’Odyssée by Homer during his battle with the Cyclops, and the film Dead Man by Jim Jarmusch. “My name is nobody” these heroes respond when questioned about their name. This is not unrelated to Marcel Mariën’s epitaph: “There is no merit in being anything.” The exhibition becomes a stage where researchers, musicians, and dancers are led to interpret works without knowing their authors.


Alexandre Périgot was born in 1959 in Paris. He participated in the Venice Biennale in 2003, Istanbul in 2008, Belleville in 2010, and Lodz in 2013. The Testimony Houses: The House of Elvis (2005-), The House of Dalida (2000-), and The House of Fada (2005-) and his other major projects such as Radiopopey (2002-), Fanclubbing (1999-), Blondasses (2002-), and Dumbodélire (2013-) have been the subject of solo exhibitions in numerous museums and art centers, including the Pompidou Center (Paris), MAMCO (Geneva), the Museum of Contemporary Art in Marseille, the Tramway in Glasgow, the Cneai = (Paris), the Arsenal (Bialystok), the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and La Criée (Rennes).

The exhibition is accompanied by a book: Mon nom est personne. Artist’s book 304 p., 24 x 17cm, offset, 137 illustrations, Co-edition cneai =, MUCEM, 2018. The publication presents 137 anonymous works, from the 16th century to the 21st century, from the collections of the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations (MUCEM) in Marseille.

More information at:

{MUCEM, J4 - level 2. From Monday, June 29, 2020, to Monday, August 17, 2020.}

{Centre national des arts plastiques} {MUCEM} {Musée d’Arts de Nantes} {Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rennes} {Musée Rodin} {Le Voyage à Nantes} {Magasins généraux} {ESAD - École Supérieure d’Art et de Design de Valenciennes}