October 2017 – January 2018 : Cité-Fantôme

Artists duo: Pia Rondé & Fabien Saleil
Curator: Léa Bismuth

Pia Rondé & Fabien Saleil, Cité-Fantôme, 2017, exhibition view, © Rebecca Fanuele


Pia Rondé & Fabien Saleil seek to create a space at the Drawing Lab that visitors can roam both physically and mentally, like a narrative in which the images, projections, visions, and shadows interact as though in a ghost town. It will as such stand simultaneously as sculpture and architecture, like an architect’s drawing projected into space. However, far from establishing linear progression, the labyrinth’s full poetic potential will be explored in a structured chaos, with slow forward movement, or even regression. As a form of constructive disorientation, which will allow for a stimulating sense of confusion. The works will be arranged according to a grid system to amplify the viewer’s doubt as to the ghostly visions that emerge within this maze of drawing media, engravings, ink, photographs, rubbings, prints on plaster, glass structures, and more.

Léa Bismuth


Pia Rondé et Fabien Saleil, Cité-Fantôme, 2017, © photo Rebecca Fanuele



Pia Rondé and Fabien Saleil draw, sculpt, explore spaces, and set photographic images into them that stem from many kinds of processes. They walk outdoors under the sun to create new sanctuaries. All techniques employed allow them to produce pure images that can be exposed on paper or glass, working with both organic and architectural elements. Any image becomes a darkened film that covers transparency. At the origins of drawing, there is a legend recounted by Pliny the Elder in his History of Nature: «A young woman holds a flame Pia Rondé & Fabien Saleil in her left hand. In her right hand she holds a piece of coal. In front of her stands the young man she loves. But the daughter of Dibutades does not look at her loved one, who leaves to war. She leans over his head to draw the line traced by the shadow of his hair on the wall,» writes Pascal Quignard in his essay ‘On Images Lost to Time’ (Sur l’image qui manque à nos jours). We could say that Pia Rondé and Fabien Saleil take up this original gesture, comparable to the first instance of drawings on cave walls, but they also engage with this primordial ancient act which leaves a lasting impression of all memorable things and dreams. It is about a dialogue with shadows and carbon matter. The structuring organization of chaos guides these artists. Art is a sorcerer, open upon the labyrinth. We are faced with forgetting, with everything that remains submerged but is brought back to the surface. We face time that flies, but which will leave its mark – in black and white.


After studying art history and philosophy in La Sorbonne, Léa Bismuth starts to write for art press, in 2006. From 2013 – while still collaborating with institutions such as les Beaux-Arts de Paris, Le Fresnoy or le BAL, and writing for catalogs – she initiates her curator practice by working at the frontiers of exhibition space and writing space (to quote some of her works, Bruissements for Les Nouvelles Vagues at the Palais de Tokyo – 2013 ; Les Fragments de l’amour at the CAC La Traverse – 2015 ; Documents 1929-2015 at the URDLA Focus Résonnance Biennale in Lyon 2015 ; L’Eternité par les astres at the Tanneries – 2017). In 2016, she brings to light a wide curatorial research program at Labanque in Béthune, an exhibition trilogy engineered from George Bataille’s philosophic work : La Traversée des Inquiétudes (Dépenses – 2016 ; Intériorités – from the September the 7th, 2017 ; Vertiges – September 2018). Member of the AICA and the CEA, she lives and works in Paris.


What kind of impressions of your exhibition at the Drawing Lab do you have left?

Pia Rondé & Fabien Saleil: We are delighted to have created this exhibition, it gave us a new extent to our study about the practice of drawing and more generally about artistic installation.

What kind of result did this exhibition give to your work?

P.R. & F.S.: The production of this exhibition permitted us to set up a global installation in a given space, thus allowing a change of scale and density in our workshop practice.

What comes next?

P.R. & F.S.: The visibility and the public impact generated by this exhibition, as well as the mediatic publications, allowed us to picture a new step for our duo and we hope for new exhibition projects.