Palais de Tokyo presents ‘Rester Vivant’ an exhibition view of French writer Michel Houellebecq. The exhibition opened on the 23rd and will run until September 11th and is curated by Jean de Loisy. This is not a show “about” Michel Houellebecq, but a show “by” Michel Houellebecq, demonstrating how the writer has produced a form that contributes to the reinvention of exhibitions, by mixing up literature and photography, between fact and fiction
Poet, essayist, novelist and filmmaker, Michel Houellebecq has always had close ties with the cinema and the world of the visual arts, which have accompanied and extended his reflexions since the start of his career, as the frequent allusions to them in his novels attest.
This show is a scenario, leading visitors through the writer’s obsessions. Made up of sounds, photographs, installations and films he has conceived, as well as the presence of several guest artists (Robert Combas, Raphaël Sohier, Renaud Marchand and Maurice Renoma) it will offer an immersion into the world and mind of the protean creator who is Michel Houellebecq.
Michel Houellebecq is, since the 1990s, one of the contemporary authors of French language the most translated and read in the world.
“Michel Thomas was born on the French island Réunion in 1958, his mother was a doctor and his father a mountain guide. His early years were marked by frequent moves (Savoy, Algeria, back to Réunion). His life gained a certain stability after his parents’ divorce, when, at the age of six, he went to live with his paternal grandmother (whose maiden name, Houellebecq, he adopted as his penname).
His childhood was spent in Dicy, in the Yonne. Then his teenage years in Villiers-sur-Morin, in Seine-et-Marne.
After a high-school diploma, which he passed at the age of seventeen, he continued his education in Paris where, five years later, he qualified as an agronomist (specialising in vegetal ecology).
There then followed periods of unemployment intercut with periods ofwork (firstly to do with agronomics; then mostly for IT service providers).
1991 saw him publish his first book, as well become an administrative secretary at the Assemblée Nationale.
There, he had a brief career in the IT department. In 1996 he took unpaid leave for personal reasons, before resigning in 2008.” Michel Houellebecq
Photos courtesy of Palais de Tokyo & Claudine Colin Communication