Des maux, des musées, des mots

After having been interested in the theme of violence and otherness, the project “Evils, museums, words” proposed this year 2018-2019 to question the body and its representation in the world. art but also to question oneself about one’s body and that of the other.

In Western art, the body is one of the most treated themes and its representation has always questioned the artists. How and why do we represent the human body in painting and sculpture? What stories, for what purposes? What are the different modes of representation over time and what techniques are associated with it since ancient times?

Around this theme, the year will be punctuated by visits to the museum combining discoveries of masterpieces and exchanges with students. A dance presenter will also offer students the opportunity to work on movement, emotions and staging of the body, with a cross-over look at the various artistic expressions.


This project allowed students to question their own modes of representation and the aesthetic codes of their time. At the time of the selfie, it will be a question of putting into perspective the image of oneself and of coming out of norms to create otherwise.

Des Maux, Des Musées, Des Mots in Lille, 2017-2018

In the first two years, bullying and violence in schools were the central themes of the project in the form of museum visits, body language workshops and photographic creations.

Following numerous exchanges with students and teaching teams, it seemed appropriate to change the subject of violence to that of otherness, the “Other”. Thus, the project entitled “I am as I am” this year allowed us to address the issue of identity and think about the difference, be it ethnic, social, cultural or religious. The issue of gender and girl-boy relationships was also discussed.

Following the links with students and teaching teams, it seemed appropriate to change the subject of violence to that of otherness, the “Other”. Thus, the project entitled “I am as I am” this year to the issue of identity and to think about the difference, be it ethnic, social, cultural or religious. The issue of gender and girl-boy relationships was also discussed.



The project was punctuated by sessions in the museum, which took the form of exchanges and questioning around the works as well as by artistic sessions where Julie Maresq, photographer and videographer, and Esther Mollo, actress for a crossed approach, took part.

  • November-December 2017: Awareness-raising activities for students of the 4 classes during several visits to the museum (discovery of the museum, selected works, appropriation of works by image analysis, dialogue and exchange).
  • From February 2018: Intervention of Esther Mollo, actress and director (Diagonale Company) for a work of body language around the works: sublimation of emotions and role plays, from the works and thanks to the language of the body.
  • From April 2018: Intervention by Julie Maresq, photographer: staging students in their school and creating photos and artistic videos from the works studied.
  • Restitution of the program as part of the “Tous au musée! », June 21, 2018: exhibition of photos and videos of students and mediation by students with other young people

    Julie Maresq – From Jérôme Bosch’s Concert in the Egg – Ecole Desbordes Valmore, Lille

    Julie Maresq – After Silenus triumph, Honthorst – Ecole Desbordes Valmore-Lille

    Julie Maresq, after Melle de Lambesc, Nattier – School Desbordes Valmore, Lille

    Julie Maresq – According to The temptation of St. Mary Magdalene, Jordaens – Jean Zay College, Lomme

Interview Esther Mollo, director and actress, Diagonal Company

Have you fully accepted this new project?

Yes right now. But after the excitement, I asked myself the question of legitimacy: what would my role and my place in this experience?

Indeed, to the body of emotions from the works of the museum was not obvious at the start. And some paintings are very impressive … I think of Medea who wants to kill his children or to Belisarius who were blinded.

I first worked with students on the fundamentals of physical theater and on the portrayal of violence by the body beyond words. Initially, this testing ground seemed too wide but the meetings have confirmed to me that I was on track.

How did you approach this subject as director and actress?

I asked myself the question of violence itself: what violence should we talk?

Indeed, it was not to treat the theme of war but to address the violence of the everyday, ordinary violence that students suffer every day but do not identify as such. It took putting words, talk about degrees of violence and try together to find positive solutions to get out.

Can you give us some examples of exercises with the students ?

We did a lot of sketches where the mediator’s role was important. This allowed the triangular trade. Laughter could also be a solution to remotely dispute situations and out, by contradiction, conflict.

I have sometimes made the connection between the works and news. I think, in particular, the Judgment of Solomon Wicar where the mother prefers to leave her child to another to keep it alive. I made a parallel with the Syrian Parents leaving their children to other refugees in the hope they have a better life in a country at peace.

Another example: in a class, a Bulgarian child has just arrived. I used her story to illustrate the theme of isolation.

Which links with the works of the museum?

The works are still triggers debate and the stories told by the works are ultimately still relevant. And the work of a director and that of a painter are not so distant. Both have the same means to tell stories.

What would you add?

I want to clarify that the project’s success would not have been possible without the involvement of everyone: museum, teachers and artists … everyone is mobilized and invested in this adventure with a real team!


A body and cries


Throughout the school year , students in 5 classes of the Lille Métropole came to the Museum of Fine Arts to discover and discuss the works in connection with the violence. Esther Mollo and Maud Vergnaud of Diagonal Company also intervened with them to give body to the emotions through body language and the fundamentals of theater.