L'Envers du décor 2024: everything you need to know about this contemporary art festival at the Palais de la Porte Dorée

Published by Cécile de Sortiraparis · Photos by My de Sortiraparis · Published on January 17th, 2024 at 07:02 p.m.
L'Envers du décor, at the Palais de la Porte Dorée, is back for its 7th edition. On February 3 and 4, 2024, a host of artists will be on hand to present free, original and contemporary installations and activities. Are you ready? Watch out, it's going to shine!

The new edition of L'Envers du décor is unveiled at the Palais de la Porte Dorée! This free festival of contemporary art offers Parisians a weekend of free entertainment on February 3 and 4, 2024. For the seventh year running, the L'Envers du décor festival offers a festive program, showcasing the greatest talents incontemporary art. Installations, concerts, performances, shows... This year's guest artists have pulled out all the stops, much to our delight!

During this first weekend in February, the Palais and its various spaces come to life. Exploration of the unconscious, poetry readings, immersive panoramas... A whole host of surprises await us! Don't hesitate: for this special occasion, all festival installations are free of charge. Please note, however, that performances are by reservation only, and the Aquarium is not free.

Can't wait? We understand, so are we! Here are the highlights of this year's edition of L'Envers du décor 2024:

Reservations required

    L'ANPU - Laurent Petit, Clémence Jost & Fabienne Quéméneur
    The Agence nationale de psychanalyse urbaine (ANPU) continues its exploration of the colonial unconscious with an XXL divan operation, a quirky lecture-show and a hilarious video. Relying as much on the foundations of a poetic science invented from scratch as on real scientific knowledge, ANPU artists create performances in which the real and the fake blend so well that audiences end up losing their bearings.
    Saturday and Sunday
    Forum, Escalier Nord & Atelier 5

    If the Palais de la Porte Dorée were an animal, what would it be? And if the Palais were a song, what would it be? Visitors are invited to answer all these questions, and many more, from the comfort of their own homes, immersed in the Forum, as they begin their analysis of the monument. All day long, a brigade of white coats will be inviting the public to take part in this major collective operation. A fresco drawn in situ by illustrator Clémence Jost offers an artistic rendering of the words collected.
    Saturday and Sunday
    Continuously from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
    Forum Free, open access

    Performer Laurent Petit offers a lecture-show that's as funny as it is erudite, filled with enlightening anecdotes, to evoke the constitution of the French Colonial Empire and the stereotypes associated with the colonial period. True to his offbeat spirit, and thwarting the codes of the lecture, he takes visitors on an unusual historical plunge to refine their perception of the place.
    Saturday and Sunday
    11 a.m., 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
    Workshop 5
    Duration: 40 min
    Free, booking required

    Cotton, bananas, rice, tobacco, manioc, tapioca and shea butter are all products that have become part of our daily lives, yet... Where do they come from? Where did they go? How did they get to us? In a hilarious video, ANPU takes a look at the history of these exotic products, revealing our associated imaginary worlds and exposing, not without humor, a persistent colonial unconscious.
    Saturday and Sunday
    Escalier Nord
    Free admission.

  • P/REC
    Performance sonore & participative
    On May 19, 1978, writer Georges Perec recorded a description of the Mabillon crossroads in Paris. Using a microphone, he rigorously described the crossroads for several hours. More than forty years after Georges Perec's death, Jack Souvant and Jeanne Paravert created P/REC, a participatory sound performance inspired by the author's work. Live, they invite the audience to describe a city square. For L'Envers du décor, the Palais de la Porte Dorée becomes their playground. On the forecourt, each participant describes what he or she sees, hears and feels in the present. Upon entering the Palais, the sound experience continues with an immersion in the Asia Lounge. Visitors are invited to enter the former office of Maréchal Lyautey, usually inaccessible to the public, to express their impressions. A poetic and intimate experience that appeals to our senses and imaginations in a unique Art Deco space.
    Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 7pm
    Parvis & Salon Asie
    Free, open access

    Jamila Bensaci, Jean D'Amérique & Marie-Julie Chalu
    Reconstituted in 2023 in its original location, the salon des laques was designed in 1931 by Albert Laprade, architect of the Palais de la Porte Dorée. It is in this intimate setting that poetic and committed texts resonate through three performed readings. Poet and playwright Jean D'Amérique reads extracts from his own collections, while Jamila Bensaci and Marie-Julie Chalu lend their voices to great figures of poetry.
    Saturday & Sunday
    Salon des Laques
    Free, by reservation
    Duration of each reading session: 20 min

Continuous February 3 to 4, 2024

    Francesc Ruiz Abad
    Création in situ
    With this monumental, entirely hand-painted work, he echoes the animal representations of bas-relief and the omnipresence of painting in the Palais. Conceived as a composition of images, the vast linen canvases activate alternative narratives to the colonial propaganda of 1931. The project is inspired by collections of graphic archives from the Jardin des Plantes Menagerie and the Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle, which help to perpetuate an exotic imaginary. Francesc Ruiz Abad continues his research into the analogies between the order of the animal kingdom and the exercise of power in Western heritage architecture. Finally, he invites us to reflect on the pigments used and their names, which have their origins in colonial history.
    Saturday & Sunday
    Continuous from 10am to 7pm
    Hall d'honneur

    Abigail Fowler
    Installation & creation in situ
    With the Boy's Club installation, visual artist Abigail Fowler aims to revisit the original use of the Salon Afrique: a ceremonial salon which, during the Colonial Exhibition, was used as the reception desk for the Minister of Colonies. She imagines what might have been said and happened there in 1931. The period furniture, which is still present, maintains a form of narration using the codes of representations of masculine and imperialist power. Through a staging that makes reference to cinematographic and popular culture, the artist creates confusion in this hushed space, the site of multiple negotiations, and questions the representation of women and Islam on the frescoes.
    Saturday & Sunday
    Continuously from 10am to 7pm
    Salon Afrique
    Free admission

    Faysal Boukari Vossah
    Digital art creation
    In response to a commission from the Palais, digital artist Faysal Boukari Vossah has created The Valley of Desires, an immersive animated panorama in the auditorium. Drawing inspiration from the site, its environment and its history, he composes a fantastical landscape in which figures emerge, decomposing and recomposing. With a strong dreamlike dimension, the installation plunges visitors into the graphic and sound universe of Faysal Boukari Vossah for a contemplative journey.
    Saturday & Sunday
    Continuously from 10am to 7pm

    Auditorium Duration: 10min
    Free admission

A listed Art Deco jewel dating from 1931, free entertainment and a wealth of culture - what more could you want? Make the most of this not-to-be-missed event, before we meet up again for the next one!

Practical information

Dates and Opening Time
From February 3rd, 2024 to February 4th, 2024



    293 Avenue Daumesnil
    75012 Paris 12

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