The Disappearance of the fireflies

Prison Sainte Anne, Avignon

May 18 – May 25, 2014

© François Halard

© François Halard

© François Halard

© François Halard

The year 2014 marks a watershed for the Collection Lambert in Avignon. Indeed, so as to offer an exceptional home to the important donation made by Yvon Lambert to the French state, comprising 556 contemporary artworks, the Collection Lambert must close its doors to the public until the summer of 2015 during the site’s extension.  

The museum staff decided to take advantage of this imposed closure to pursue a unique, important project combining contemporary art, retrospection and the showcasing of heritage. Thus was born “The Disappearance of the Fireflies”, an ambitious project beginning in late May 2014 and housed at the Sainte-Anne Prison. This emblematic heritage site for the town of Avignon, located behind the Papal Palace, this edifice – closed a decade ago – is a rare example of a purpose-built prison dating from the end of the 18th century (rather than representing a reconverted convent, hospital or military barracks).  

The Collection Lambert will occupy the cells, corridors and certain courtyards of the prison, to exhibit works from the prestigious private collection of Enea Righi. The title is borrowed from the famous text published by Pasolini in 1975 in the Corriere, which will impregnate visitors’ entire collection tour; indeed, this exhibition is meant to be a sensorial experience in which the memory-steeped locations and their hosted artworks will come together and interact in the manner of the Italian director’s beloved fireflies. The theme of imprisonment will naturally be evoked, as well as the passage of time, solitude and love.  

So as to maintain an intense and meaningful dialogue between the edifice and its housed oeuvres, the decision has been made to leave the Sainte-Anne Prison unaltered. Exhibited within its cell, each work of art thereby becomes a firefly, a poetic element of soft resistant light, offering spectators the possibility of experiencing a novel experimental field. This ambitious project will be complemented by a rich cultural events programme. Video projections, readings, performances and encounters linked to the exhibition and the site’s history will be organized throughout the length of the exhibition, while educational projects will also be organized for schools and for associations active in the prison environment.

The artists

Adel Abdessemed, Ai Weiwei, Francis Alÿs, William Anastasi, Carl André, Kader Attia, Mirosław Bałka, Roger Ballen, Robert Barry, Yael Bartana, Massimo Bartolini, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Neil Beloufa, Joseph Beuys, Barbara Bloom, Alighiero Boetti, Christian Boltanski, Pierre Bonnard, Louise Bourgeois, Brassaï, Marcel Broodthaers, Tom Burr, Mircea Cantor, Frédéric-Auguste Cazals, Claire Fontaine, Guy de Cointet, François-Xavier Courrèges, Berlinde De Bruyckere, Jason Dodge, Trisha Donnelly, Gardar Eide Einarsson, Emir El Quiz, Jan Fabre, Mounir Fatmi, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Spencer Finch, Michel Foucault, Gloria Friedmann, Mario Garcia Torres, Anna Gaskell, Kendell Geers, Jean Genet, Nan Goldin, Dominique Gonzalez Foerster, Douglas Gordon, Loris Gréaud, João Maria Gusmao et Pedro Paiva, Henrik Håkansson, Keith Haring, Mona Hatoum, Candida Höfer, Jenny Holzer, Roni Horn, Jonathan Horowitz, Louis Jammes, Joan Jonas, William E. Jones, Ilya et Emilia Kabakov, On Kawara, Žilvinas Kempinas, Anselm Kiefer, Kimsooja, Július Koller, Jiři Kovanda, Barbara Kruger, David Lamelas, Bertrand Lavier, Zoe Leonard, Claude Lévêque, Glenn Ligon, Richard Long, Jill Magid, Anna Maria Maiolino, Christian Marclay, Gordon Matta-Clark, Allan McCollum, Adam McEwen, Ana Mendieta, Melvin Moti, Vik Muniz, Deimantas Narkevičius, Cady Noland, Damir Očko, Roman Ondák, Roman Opalka, Jean-Michel Pancin, Philippe Parreno, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Dino Pedriali, Yan Pei-Ming, Adam Pendleton, Mathieu Pernot, Piranèse, Walid Raad, Ugo Rondinone, Martha Rosler, Anri Sala, Markus Schinwald, Yann Sérandour, Andres Serrano, Ross Sinclair, Kiki Smith, Nedko Solakov, Jana Sterbak, Pascale Marthine Tayou, Alessandra Tesi, Miroslav Tichý, Wolfgang Tillmans, Niele Toroni, Cy Twombly, Xavier Veilhan, Paul Verlaine, Francesco Vezzoli, Franz Erhard Walther, Andy Warhol, Lawrence Weiner, Rémy Zaugg, Chen Zhen.


France Inter, Agnès b, LVMH, Gares & Connexions, SNCF, Abbaye Sainte-Marie de Pierredon

See the exhibition catalogue