In most cultures, traditions depict opposing forces that compete for power over the universe, organise or disrupt social contracts, structure and deconstruct the individual, in a necessary and endless struggle. All order, including divine order, is fundamentally imperfect, limited and threatened with implosion. The awareness of chaos seems to be shared by all civilisation, as if disruptive forces were necessary to ensure the balance and continuity of the universe.
The exhibition examines the figures representing chaos, each with a place in the pantheon of our beliefs and cultures: gods or spirits, from Dionysus to Set-Typhon, and to the technicians, shamans and other intercessors here called the "masters of chaos", who are responsible for the negotiations with the forces of chaos. In this permanent compromise between turbulence and reason, ritual is the favoured form for negotiation with the powers that govern human societies. In parallel with these sacred rituals, festivals, bacchanalia, carnivals or feasts of fools seem to be the other, more profane means of enabling an outburst of transgressive drives.
Masters of Chaos presents objects, costumes and representations from great anthropological collections but also the works of contemporary artists such as Annette Messager, Jean-Michel Alberola and Thomas Hirschhorn.
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