Rachel Labastie

Illusions nécessaires

Illusions nécessaires
Illusions nécessaires
Illusions nécessaires
Illusions nécessaires

An installation - white brains in a dark attic

These brains are of an ordinary size and can be grafted onto the many skulls, so often on display in exhibitions. One can make out their finely veined convolutions, gentle, deep, palpable… full and hollow at the same time – life flows through these fluctuating, unmanageable folds. These brains are made of paraffin wax, from the Latin “parum affinis”, meaning: which has little affinity with.

Paraffin wax is used to make candles and is also a necessary  constituent in the manufacturing of explosives. It is both delicate and explosive, like a poetical foray in a space very like that of consciousness: the attic.

Here lies a reservoir of souls - these minds will be filled with a line of thought for apostles, for a party, for an effective method; like that which warranted “comrades” being sent to the Gulag during the great purges, but not only.

In his book, Necessary Illusions, the American writer, Avram Noam Chomsky, identifies the processes which the media and politicians use in order to communicate and draw attention away from true political issues. Maintaining confusion, maintaining an illusory sense of proximity prevents democracy from being effective: the citizen's vote is a participative Utopia, a game initiated by the State which draws attention away from what is essential.

Words chosen by decision-makers are pernicious: social networks, the citizen's vote, awareness…. however, as Ferdinand de Saussure used to point out: “a word has no meaning, it only has usages”.

Yet the brain is useful, it is excitable. It secretes serotonin, dopamine and many other illegal drugs. One now treats forms of physical traumas by sending signals to certain areas of the brain. The emotions thus triggered but also other spaces, lying “outside of reality”, allow people to feel without being subjected to. An industry built on the experiencing of emotions by proxy is developing. Already our friend Facebook allows connections that are targeted, walls are privileged, meetings are programmed, up there, from the attic, a global brain for total control.

Deviance is no longer judged or punished by the ruling power but by a powerful form of self-censorship. We are thought. The enemy can no longer be represented; the norm is internalised. The dictatorship of the superego has generated born consumers.

Michel Foucault clarified this some time ago: surveillance, (self) censorship. Security-sociability.

A sirens' song can be heard everywhere and it is most flattering, most transparent and most soft; its music is played to the ego: become yourself.

Like everybody else.

Laurent Quénéhen

Translation: Jessica Stephens.

Previous Work

View of the solo exhibition “De l’apparence des choses”

View of the solo exhibition “De l’apparence des choses”
Ailes, 2008 - stoneware and matt enamel, 130 / 50 cm (x2) (private collection)
Chapelle, 2009 - sycamore maple wood, h 225 cm / w 237 cm / l 1175 cm .
Entraves, 2008 - porcelain, surface 310 cm / height 182 cm (collection fnac)

Workshop view

Workshop view
close-up of Entraves, 2008 - porcelain
(fnac collection)

View of the exhibition “One day I will be a star” 2009

View of the exhibition “One day I will be a star” 2009
Pills 2007 series, (star, clover, crown, diamond) sculpture,
80 cm - 90 cm diameter, painted plaster and enduit
Invitation 2007, How to raise your manifestation vivration!,
watercolour on paper, 54 / 76 cm

Rachel Labastie Born in 1978 at Bayonne. Lives in Lyon. E-mail info@rachellabastie.net Web www.rachellabastie.net Solo Exhibitions


, Vladivostok Regional Museum and Gallery, Russia

De l’apparence des choses

, Espace Valles, St Martin d’Heres & Point éphémère, Paris

L’objet comme désir

, Galerie la Bank, Paris


, Espace d’Arts Plastiques, Vénissieux (69), in conjunction with Lyon’s Biennale d’art contemporain Group Exhibitions

Circuit céramique

, Musée des arts décoratifs de la ville de Paris


, Espace Valles, St Martin d’Heres

Le droit du plus fort

(curator Laurent Quenehen), Les Salaisons, Romainville (93)

La rose pourpre du Caire

(curator Jean-Charles Vergne), Musée d’Aurillac

One day I will be a star

(curator Christian Alandete), Maison du livre de l’image et du son de Villeurbanne

La disparition des corps

(curator Christian Alandete), galerie Katchamka, Paris

Voir la nuit à Arles

(les Rencontres d’Arles)

Logiques du rêve éveillé

(curator Maëlle Dault), Les Instants Chavirés, Montreuil

Tout contre

(curator Daphné Le Sergent), La Manufacture de Sèvres, Paris Public collection
le Fonds national d’art contemporain, f.n.a.c -

9 Entraves, porcelaine, 2008


De l’apparence des choses

- Espace Vallès (text Cécilia Bezzan)


- Editions la passe du vent,

Hors les murs series

(text Judith Souriau) Residencies
July 2011
Château de Sacy, Sacy-le Petit (

Illusions nécessaires

January - March 2011
École d’Art du Beauvaisis, Beauvais
September 2008 - March 2009
Point éphémère, Paris Education
DNSEP, École des beaux-arts de Lyon