Marianne Villière

Born in 1989 in Nancy, France.
Lives and works in France.

My work is focused on developing an approach that questions everyday urban space. It is through observation and the composition of performative postures that I attempt to put the public sphere into play as a shared experience. The collective, creative forms that I employ come out of my experience in cultural mediation, theater, civil disobedience and associative work. My interest in the incongruous has also led me to explore other disciplines, such as microsociology. I use context as a starting point to create unsettling, disruptive situations that inspire reflection on how we live together in a given space. This approach allows for engagement with the rhetoric of specific actions—sculpting and articulating select acts with critical intent.

The main focus of my work is to spark debate, generate latent controversial energy, and negotiate alternatives to existing power relations.



2014 –  Research-based Masters, Geneva University of Art and Design (HEAD), Switzerland
Graduated with honors
Thesis: Hiatus, un regard sur les micro-pratiques urbaines comme pratiques de liberté [Hiatus: An examination of urban micro-practices as exercises in freedom] (in French)

2012 –  Masters, Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Art et Design (ENSA), Nancy, France
Graduated with honors
Thesis: Articulations d’espace [Articulations of space]

Winner of the 2014 Gianni Motti Prize

Group Exhibitions

Il y a, sound installation (with Paul Heintz), exhibition: Brouhaha, Galerie du Granit, Belfort, France, Septembre 2017. Curator: Mickaël Roy

Les animaux sauvages, installation/performance, exhibition: Jet Lag/Out of Sync, Young Creators Triennial, June–August 2017. Curator: Anouk Wies

C’est qui lui ?, website (with Paul Heintz and Fabien Zocco), exhibition: Generosity, XPO Gallery, Paris, September 2016. Curator: Point Contemporain

Four musical, sound installation, Caravane Tighmert Residency/Festival, Morocco, July 2016. Curators: Mohamed Arejdal, Carlos Perez Marin

Devenir Mime, installation/performance, exhibition: Emergency, Fonderie Kügler, Geneva, October 2014. Curators: Chiara Bertini, Elise Girardot and Maria Adelaida Samper (Emergency collective)

La dame du tram, radio reading, La Reliure, Geneva, May 2014. Curator: Alexandra Roger

Para-site, installation, exhibition: À partir d’ici/distance retour, NaMima Gallery, ENSA Nancy, 14 March–4 April 2013. Curator: Harold Guerin

Échappée belle, installation, and Rires de sit’com, sound installation, exhibition: PanTotal, 59 rue de Rivoli, Paris, 19–27 April 2012. Curator: Alain Snyers

Ici et là, projection and performance, exhibition: Semaine des arts, Théâtre Mondésert, Nancy, 24 March 2012. Curators: Franck and Liza Natan

Abri de galerie, installation, exhibition: Cohabitation#2, Galerie NaMima, ENSA Nancy, 6–17 February 2012. Curators: Thierry Fournier and Jean-François Robardet

Distribution de carottesFile d’attente sans sens, absurbist group actions and performances, Excentricités festival, International Student Performance Conference, Besançon, France, 12–14 April 2011. Curator: Julien Cadoret
Cortège, acrylic on canvas, exhibition: Grand PP2, Poirel Gallery, Nancy, 8–24 April 2011. Curator: Nina Childress

One-off events – News

Unauthorized postering in public spaces
Metro Marathon, ritual, every 1st of May in the Paris metro: race in business attire


L’IDIOT, une posture critique et sensible [THE IDIOT, a critical and sensorial posture] – special week #2, Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Art et de Design, Nancy, 20–23 November 2017. At the invitation of Christian Debize.


Château Éphémère, Carrières-sous-Poissy, France: 18 April to 18 May 2018 – with Paul Heintz.

“Art et Territoire” [Art and Territory] residency, Syndicat Potentiel, Strasbourg: 16 October to 9 December 2017. Research residency with Shin Alexandre Koseki (architect) and Antonia Taddei (playwright and member of the collective XTNT – Le code de la déconduite).

Caravane Tighmert festival residency, Tighmert, Morocco: July 2016 (two weeks)

Reactions to my work :

Here we might mention the performances of Marianne Villière, which, like Garfinkel’s “disruptive experiments” [2007, pp. 97–147; Pecqueux, 2012c] are a direct examination of our routines. One cannot but be arrested (forced to do a sensorial double-take) when one sees her and her accomplices enact a “meaningless queue” facing a wall (Nancy, 2010; Besançon, 2011), or when she installs a sitcom laugh-track in the Paris metro (2011) and in an art gallery (2012). One is made to understand that an ecology of attention implies economy, and vice-versa: the two are but different sides of the same coin, which one must tackle head-on.

Anthony Pecqueux, in “Tordre l’attention. Ajustements perceptifs en situation. Partie : L’économie éthique et esthétique de l’attention” [Twisting attention: In-situ perceptive adjustments. Section: Ethical and aesthetic economy of attention]. L’économie de l’attention – Nouvel horizon du capitalisme ? [The Economy of Attention – New Horizon of Capitalism?] Dir. Yves Citton, Paris: La Découverte, 2014. p.228

Marianne Villière engages in a highly articulate reflection on the artist’s place in society, public space, and the process of legitimation that validates or discredits practices with respect to different value systems. In an extension of the practices of Andrea Fraser—but taking the risk of working outside the field of art—or, perhaps more aptly, Ben Kinmont, Marianne Villière undertakes a subtle interrogation of the instability and random character of art value systems and cultural systems.

Sébastien Pluot: professor of art history and theory at the Ecole Supérieure des Beaux-arts-Tours Angers-Le Mans (Angers campus); chief researcher, co-founder and director of Art by Translation; independent curator