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Pierre Joseph, presented by Natalie Portman



​Public epilogue on August 28th 2021, 6–9 pm

Illustration: Lena Scheiwiller, Graphic: Mathis Pfäffli

How to begin a story? Does one start with the setting or the characters? Often a certain combination of the two crystallizes a situation with the potential to unfold an entire universe in its wake. When we are told something, we assimilate slice by slice as many hints that we unfold in our minds a diegetic panorama in construction.


Inversely, sometimes fragments of stories detach themselves from their world like meteorites, and by escaping them, end up stranding in other systems. In places and times that are foreign to them. There they gravitate more or less visibly, hidden from the radars and the eyes, to finally appear to those who pay attention.


“Zur falschen Zeit am falschen Ort” is the outline of a summer novel, the script of a film to come or a succession of coincidences.


For this exhibition, the artist collective Natalie Portman presents in a unique format the series “Les personnages à réactiver” by the artist Pierre Joseph, which he initiated in 1991. Together, they have conceived three characters that will appear and disappear over the course of days in the surroundings of the Kunstverein.


In the irregular rhythm of their presence, these characters with their respective universes will gradually merge with the daily life of this corner of the city, blurring the boundaries between the stories we live and those that live in us.


Un, deux, trois

Ils sont encore là


Quatre, cinq, six

Serait-ce une fausse piste ?  


Sept, huit, neuf

Exposer le bluff


Dix, onze, douze

D'ces vies qu’on jalouse 


Instead of an inaugural opening, the exhibition will end with a public epilogue at the Kunstverein on the 28th of August. This final event will be the occasion to celebrate the exhibition and will mark the last visible presence of the characters in Dresden.



Pierre Joseph (born in 1965 in Caen) lives and works in Paris. He graduated from the École supérieure d’Art de Grenoble and collaborated with Dominique Gonzales-Foerster, Philippe Parreno and Bernard Joisten on prominent projects such as “Ozone” (1989) and “Les Ateliers du Paradise” (1990). He is considered one of the forerunners of a movement that Nicolas Bourriaud will later describe as the “Relational Aesthetics".



Since 1991, Pierre Joseph (among other works) programs and stages living characters named “characters to be reactivated”. Inspired by fairy tales, video games, cinema, advertising and contemporary life, they appear at exhibition’s openings that they parasitize in form of a superman, a catwoman or a witch. International institutions and galleries presented his work in solo and group exhibitions, such as Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna; Air de Paris, Nice/Paris; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Frieze, London; FRAC Champagne-Ardenne, Reims; Forde, Geneva or MAMCO, Geneva.


Natalie Portman is an artist collective based in Zürich, Switzerland. This name gathers a group of friends: Paula Henrike Herrmann, Philémon Otth and Arnaud Wohlhauser. Through events, exhibitions and performances, they seek to create moments of friction and contamination in which different worlds and audiences collide. Natalie has shown its work at several institutions and contexts including: Istituto Svizzero, Rome; Circuit, Lausanne; Cabaret Voltaire, Zurich; Ueli & Wild Maa Ferries, Basel; La Dépendance, St-Imier.

Illustration: Lena Scheiwiller

Graphic: Mathis Pfäffli





Gefördert durch die Kulturstiftung des Freistaates Sachsen, die Schweizerische Botschaft in Berlin, die Stiftung Kunstfonds im Rahmen des Sonderförderprogramms 20/21 NEUSTART KULTUR und die Landeshauptstadt Dresden, Amt für Kultur und Denkmalschutz.

 Diese Maßnahme wird mitfinanziert durch Steuermittel auf der Grundlage des vom Sächsischen Landtag beschlossenen Haushaltes.

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