Mohamed El Khatib
Valérie Mréjen Gardien Party


“People don’t ask us many questions. Matisse, Chagall and the toilets.” After setting off to meet museum attendants from all over the world, Mohamed El Khatib and Valérie Mréjen draw upon their experiences to summon up routine life and inner life. Six security guards from all different horizons are invited onstage.

Here, the security guards are not in the corner of a room watching us. They are in front of us and it is us who are looking at them. The guardians of our artistic heritage look us straight in the eye and talk to us about their everyday lives, ranging from boredom and vigilance, immobile bodies with mobile glances, and the pragmatic reality of the surveillance itself to the fictions they make up in order to fight the boredom. Gathered from museums in Paris, Lausanne, Vienna, Tehran, New York, Saint Petersburg, Marseilles, Hamburg, Aubusson, Prague, Orleans and Lisbon, these spoken words give us a unique insight into our love of art. Alternating between tact and facetiousness, Valérie Mréjen and Mohamed El Khatib, carry the fine art of the portrait to new heights. By means of this highly original collaboration, they depict a museum-based portrait of a truly unexpected nature.