24 Portraits by Alain Cavalier
hosted by Bureau des Réalités with Juan de la Cosa/John of the Thing
ill: Alain Cavalier, videostill, “La Trempeuse”, 24 Portraits (1987/1991)

The event will take place at Etablissement d'en face, Ravensteinstraat 32, 1000 Brussel.

The screening of 24 Portraits by Alain Cavalier is part of A table made again for the first time, a three-day event organised by Bureau des Réalités with Juan de la Cosa /John of the Thing from 9 to 12 September 2018.

For the full programme click here.


Bureau des Réalités is pleased to present Juan de la Cosa/John of the Thing, a Mexico City and London-based publisher run by artists Tania Pérez Córdova and Francesco Pedraglio. The project focuses on commissioning, republishing and distributing works of fiction and poetry by writers and artists alike. With bilingual editions (English/Spanish) and a specific focus on translation, Juan de la Cosa/John of the Thing explores the line separating literary works and the experimental writings put forward by visual artists. Its main goal is to publish authors who propose new and ambiguous spaces for fiction, testing the limits of narrative and poetic writings.

For Bureau des Réalités, Juan de la Cosa/John of the Thing present A table made again for the first time, a project structured around three events focusing on the idea of translation, both on the written page and in the exhibition space. From its canonical definition as a journey from one language to another to its metaphorical reading as a link between mediums, all the way to its sociological interpretation as a lens capable of displaying the hidden mechanisms of a culture, translation seems to be in a moment of some fervour. As such, and through the work of the invited artists and writers, A table made again for the first time aims at opening a space for further discussion on and around the topics of what a translation could be and might do. Programme At La Loge, Juan de la Cosa/John of the Thing and Bureau des Réalités screen and discuss a selection of Alain Cavalier’s short documentaries 24 Portraits (1987/1991). A series of sketches about handwork trades and vernacular traditions, the portraits examine women’s labour, focusing in particular on rare and disappearing crafts and traditions on the brink of being forgotten. Via the documentary medium, Cavalier observes the tools, the hands and the environment of those women asking questions while minutely and delicately observing their work, somehow proposing an odd balance between manual labor, speech and image making.


Tania Pérez Córdova is an artist based in Mexico City, where she also co-directs the publishing project Juan de la Cosa/John of the Thing. Recent exhibition include: Daylength of a room, Kunsthalle Basel, Basel (2018, upcoming), Smoke, Nearby, MCA Chicago (2017); Ayrton, Museo Tamayo, Mexico City (MX); Handhold, Galerie Martin Janda, Vienna (AT); A rock that keeps tigers away, Kunstverein München, München (DE); The Eighth Climate (What Does Art Do?), Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju (KR); 2015 Triennial: Surround audience, New Museum, New York (US); Mercosul Biennial, Porto Alegre (BR).

Francesco Pedraglio is an artist and writer based Mexico City, where he also co-directs the publishing project Juan de la Cosa/John of the Thing. His work has been shown and performed at Museo Leonora Carrington, San Luis Potosí (2018); Norma Mangione Gallery, Turin (2017); P///AKT, Amsterdam (2017); Kunstverein Munich (2017); CRAC Alsace (2017); Kunsthalle Wien (2015). A collection of poems titled 99 Battle and 1 War (an extract) was published in October 2016 (Piano Nobile, Genevre). His novel A man in a room spray painting a fly was published by Book Works (London) in summer 2014.

Alain Cavalier is a writer and director who worked in the tradition of auteur cinema before experimenting with genres and developing a highly personal and unconventional style. Amongst his films, Le Combat dans l’ile (1962), L’Insoumis (1964), La Chamade (1965), Thérèse (1986), Un étrange voyage (1981) and Libera me (1993). He won several awards, including the César Award for Best Film and César Award for Best Director for his film Thérèse (1987). His film Pater premiered at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.

Lilou Vidal is a French independent curator based in Brussels and Turin and founder and director of the non-profit organization Bureau des Réalités established in Brussels since May 2015. Bureau des Réalités aims at creating an intimate and critical approach to contemporary art practices through the participation of artists, curators, writers and editors in the cross-sectional domain of image, object and language circulating in the environment of the Bureau (office*) as a site of thought production.

Practical information

Date: Tuesday 11 September, 7 pm
Entry: 3 euros

No reservation necessary but capacity is limited. seats will be provided on a first-come, first served basis.

Language: English and French (the screening will be in French, followed by a conversation in English)
Venue: Etablissement d'en face, Ravensteinstraat 32, 1000 Brussel.