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Portrait: Compagnie Galmae's collective performance

"C'est pas là, C'est par là" by Juhyung Lee-Compagnie Galmae

After touring around the world, the collective performance C'est pas là, C'est par là (It's not here, it's over here) by  Compagnie Galmae - Juhyung Lee captivates American presenters (Performance Spaces for the 21st century, ArtPark & Co., both FACE Contemporary Theater 2020 grantees, and more)

It's not here, it's over here, What is it About?

A string installation like a freshly woven spider's web reconfigures the public space. One takes a stone and starts to roll up the string bound to it, another walks into the middle of the labyrinth and contemplates the unraveling tangle. Passing over and under the threads, the spectators, who have become actors in this performance, help each other. The space becomes a meeting place. The individual becomes a community.

This collective work, full of emotions, is none other than the first personal project of the South Korean artist Juhyung Lee, previously experimented at the Pohang Street Art Festival in Pohang (South Korea), at the festival Les Tombées de la Nuit in Rennes (France), at the Chalon dans la rue festival in Chalon-sur-Saône (France) and at the Out There Festival in Great Yarmouth (United Kingdom) among others. After discovering street art through the French company Générik Vapeur, Juhyung Lee became interested in the spatial scale and the place of the individual in society. It is from these contemplations that he creates this social but also political installation.

Political interpretation and Tribute to Civil Society

"When I was creating this show, my question was: to what extent can one say that a performance is political? A "committed" show did not seem to be my answer. I wanted to imagine an installation in which the spectators look at themselves instead of at the artists. I wanted to avoid being in the position of giving a lesson to the audience", said Juhyung Lee in an interview.

The political dimension of Juhyung Lee's work can be found in the performance itself. As a social experiment, C'est pas là, C'est par là involves the audience and invites people to follow simple steps. In the middle of this labyrinth, the individual is not alone and must learn to live in community: to help the other, to share with the other, and to understand the other. It is this exact process that defines a group or a gathering.

"During the demonstrations I took part in, in South Korea, many police buses blocked avenues to prevent the march of protesters. We tied ropes to the wheels of the buses and pulled together to create a gap so that we could pass. At first, I wanted to do something with this rope, but I had no idea... And then, as I touched it, I saw that a rope was made of many strings... " Juhyung Lee

After participating in a demonstration in Ganghwamun, the epicenter of political and social events in Seoul, Juhyung Lee tries to reproduce the experience of gathering and gives meaning to the "we" that is sometimes lost in our new individualistic world. The artist guides the collective body in the city. The movement, the interplay between light and shadow as well as the music offer an element of poetry to the universal theme of the social link. In response to the fact that the individual loses a part of himself in the crowd, Juhyung Lee shows that the group experience is first an intimate reflection on oneself and then, a way of defining a part of one's identity in relation to the community to which one belongs…

C'est pas là, c'est par là© Augustin Le Gall

Can you also find the "we" when you will participate in this performance?

About Juhyung Lee-Compagnie Galmae

In 2012, the South Korean Juhyung Lee participated in the show Bivouac by Générik Vapeur at the Seoul Street Art Festival while doing his military service. This encounter was a real turning point because, in 2014, he left his law studies to join the team of Générik Vapeur in Marseille (France). During his first year at the Cité des arts de la rue, he met apprentices from the FAI-AR - Formation supérieure d'art en espace public - which also pushed him to do this training in 2015. In 2017, he created Compagnie Galmae, an artistic company working in public space. In 2018, he won the Bourse SACD Auteurs d’Espace.