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Haus am Waldsee: Bruno Pélassy and the Order of the Starfish | 20.10.2023–14.1.2024

Editors’ Choice

From 20 October 2023 the Haus am Waldsee presents the first institutional exhibition of the French artist Bruno Pélassy (*1966 in Vientiane, Laos, †2002 in Nice, France) in Germany. Pélassy was a dazzling and multifaceted figure throughout his life and his art can only be categorised to a limited extent. He painted, drew, performed, created sculptures, films, couture and jewellery.

Fig. above: Bruno Pélassy with Starfish, Coco Beach, Nice, 1997, Photo: Laura Cottingham.

Formal and playful material excesses sometimes blur disciplinary boundaries, making his artistic work difficult to separate from his approach to everyday life. The exhibition explores his practice as a personal and political exploration of the conventions of desire, gender, social values and health, as well as an appeal for the dissolution of entrenched binaries.

DEEDS NEWS - Haus am Waldsee - Bruno Pélassy - Foto AAA Production - Michel Coen - Privatsammlung Courtesy Air de Paris Romainville
Bruno Pelassy, Sans titre, 2001, Series Bestioles, Fell, Kristall, Metall, Klangspielzeugmechanismus, Batterien, Foto: AAA Production/Michel Coen, Privatsammlung, Nizza, Courtesy Air de Paris, Romainville

One photograph shows Bruno Pélassy, just emerged from the blue depths of Nice’s Coco Beach, wearing a starfish like a living brooch on his chest, as if he belonged to a secret maritime order. Laura Cottingham, curator and close confidante of Pélassy, recalls his fascination with “the blurred distinction between plant and animal that exists so obviously in the sea, as if it were a perfect metaphor for the philosophical limits of all binary distinctions: Good and Evil, Male and Female, Day and Night, Black and White.” [1]

DEEDS NEWS - Haus am Waldsee - Bruno Pélassy - Foto Muriel Anssens - Courtesy Pélassy-Familie und Air de Paris, Romainville
Bruno Pélassy, Sans titre, 2001, Series Créatures, Aquarium: 53 x 90 x 40 cm, Sockel: 122,5 x 90 x 40 cm, Foto: Muriel Anssens, Courtesy Pélassy-Familie und Air de Paris, Romainville

Significantly influenced by an early HIV diagnosis, Pélassy’s work reflects the ambivalent dynamics of illness and death, and the understanding of the body as a porous, imponderable entity moving towards death. In the exhibition, Pélassy’s artistic approach enters into an exchange with selected artworks and ephemera by his contemporaries as well as artists working today. The group exhibition will include contributions by Marc Camille Chaimowicz, Beth Collar, Jesse Darling, Brice Dellsperger, Leonor Fini, James Richards and Soshiro Matsubara, who will also develop the exhibition architecture.

[1] Laura Cottingham, “Remembering Bruno Pélassy”, in: “Bruno Pélassy”, Nizza: Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain, 2003, S.32 (Übersetzung).


Haus am Waldsee
Argentinische Allee 30
14163 Berlin


Friday, 20.10.2023 – Sunday, 14.1.2024

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