Les œuvres de mort / prises au hasard / se passent de commentaires

(The acts of death / chosen randomly / passes as comments)

A collaboration of Ioanna Neophytou and Amélie Durand

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Curatorial text:

The exhibition Les/ œuvres de mort,/ prises au hasard,/se passent de commentaires is a result of a collaborative work that we carried out in the context of the international contest «Crossing the borders. Perspectives on the First World War», organized by Paris 8 University and the National Archives. For the needs of the project, we used archive documents dating from the first 36 days of the World War I.

We were initially interested in notions such as perception, transmission and commemoration of the First World War in contemporary societies, as well as the newest generations’ – including ourselves – relation to war in general. Furthermore, we wished to relate these phenomena with the implication of contemporary societies in recent wars, and the difference of perception between a historical event and a contemporary war. What do we determine as war today? Which are the new forms of war and how are they related to World War I? These questions were the starting point of our work which examines our relationship with history through the archives.

A hundred years after the declaration of World War I, we wanted to reflect on the fact that for us, the conflict always happens in a temporal and spacial distance; either in the historical past or in a place far away, always mediated and never experienced. Consequently, in the project Les/ œuvres de mort,/ prises au hasard,/se passent de commentaires, we wished to reuse and revise historical archives with regards to their displacement and adjustment in the context of the artistic creation between reality and fiction. We wished to create an amusing environment which enables a singular and new approach of historical memory and commemoration as it engages a critical regard of public current affairs.

Ioanna Neophytou
Amelie Durand


Institution of the National Archives (Archives Nationales, Site Pierrefitte-sur-Seine),
1/10/2015 – 3/11/2015, Paris, France.

Installations presented during the exhibition:

Les œuvres de mort, prises au hasard, se passent de commentaires
Postcards, Posters, Newspapers

Y a tout le temps un conflit, tout le temps y a quelque chose à redire
Sound Installation, Vide
– The installation was made in collaboration with the history professor Andrien Vodslon and his students of the high school Henri Barbusse, Saint Denis.

Projet de Loi
Rolling Paper, Poem

More information:


Special Thanks to:

Adrien Vodslon and his students, Isabelle Chave, Séverine Bortot, Arno Gisinger, Dimitris Stamatis and Marie Willaime.