Starting in 2008, Mathieu Briand set up a temporary studio on a small island in the Channel of Mozambique (Madagascar). This is a sacred place, inhabited for generations by a Malgache family that agreed to allow Mathieu Briand to invite a number of artists to create works in situ or send instructions for others to do so.
The project is called Et in Libertalia Ego, an allusion to the famous inscription in Nicolas Poussin’s painting Et in Arcadia Ego. The idea is to recreate Libertalia, the pirate’s utopia described in A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious Pyrates (1724), whose origins are an ambiguous mix of fiction and reality.
The author’s name, Captain Johnson, may have been a pseudonym for Daniel Defoe, the author of Robinson Crusoe.
Since 2012, la maison rouge has supported Mathieu Briand’s initiative and will present it in an exhibition running from February 19 to May 10, 2015. The show will then travel to Tasmania’s Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in September 2015.
All images: Exhibition view © Marc Domage