Although A’s have played a crucial role in her life, curator Isabelle Le Normand gradually noticed the importance of people with the last name of B. Her stable of artists always included Baghriche, Bastard, Berthier, Blais, Blanc, Blazy, Boulard, and so on.
Life is strange, full of personal superstitions, feelings not discussed which seem irrelevant, irrational, purposeless, odd and not serious.
She started to wonder why Bwhy not L, for example? L was a perfectly straight and respectable letter. So one night Isabelle scheduled meetings only with L’s, but there was nothingshe stopped trying to force it, she learned to trust her instincts: There was de nitely something about B’s; it was part of her destiny. Isabelle’s show celebrates her story with B’s and the artists who use destiny as a material for art. In the B-side of life, there is freedom, risk-taking, the B-movie is never pretentious, and this is what Isabelle loves in art. Something accessible but also beyond, a discovery that makes us believe in what’s beautiful. Art made her life better, it’s true she still believed. Berthier noticed the B pattern, and joked that it was an important criteria. He is now in her show with a series of drawings about everyday miracles.
He represents the rst generation welcoming a second generation of B’s. Artists who search for serendipity, expect unexpected encounters, and create art that gracefully transcends the anecdotal while
holding strong to the power of real life.
This past year Isabelle lived in Paris at the Cité des Arts, an international residency where the artists in the show have all lived (Berthier is the exception, a reward for solving the riddle). She found
an old list of former residents of the Cité and sent an email to an excited Icelandic writer in love with art who never expected to be included in this project. «Dear Baldursdóttir, your name begins with
B., do you believe in destiny?» She invited Beckers because his videos are about coping with uncontrollable events in life that a ect us and those we love. Other artists she met or already knew: Boutros uncovers
hidden messages of love in grocery receipts; Bezu transforms Star Wars advertisements into precious crystallized objects; Broisat travels to Japan in search of an ordinary baseball rst discovered in the
background of a newspaper photograph. Bernad takes pictures while kissing her in front of art (she met him on a bus her rst time travelling in Los Angeles and he searched the city for two days before meeting
again in a museum). Each searches the world for something they need without understanding why. Likewise, Isabelle creates exhibitions intuitively, passionately, a bit crazily.
But it’s important to be inclusive, since everyone has a B-side, a B-movie, a B-philosophy in life. Pauline Curnier Jardin, an honorary B, is collaborating in the show with her baby, Balthazar.
Because everyone who believes can be a B.
Isabelle Le Normand (b. 1980, lives and works in Paris) is Director of Visual Arts at Mains d’OEuvres, a multidisciplinary space in Saint-Ouen where she has curated over 30 exhibitions.
She has also curated independently in Paris, Los Angeles, Bourges, Budapest, and Marseille.
In 2013 she created an artist exchange program between Paris and Los Angeles in partnership with Machine Project and Mains d’OEuvres.
Isabelle Le Normand recently founded Courtesy, a commercial gallery and a curatorial agency based in Los Angeles.