Jean-Charles Massera

A shape is never given, it is always to be found

Art critic, writer, artist and director, Jean-Charles Massera will present at the Geneva Photography Centre until 2 February 2020 the exhibition "Transition attentionnelle volet 1: L'enfouissement de la puissance” (“Attention Transition Part 1: The Burial of Power”).

Updated on 14/01/2020

2 min

Born in 1965, Jean-Charles Massera began his career as an art critic and film critic, before publishing fiction and essays with evocative titles – France guide de l’utilisateur (France, A User Guide, 1998) and Amour, gloire and CAC 40 (Love, Glory and CAC 40, 1999) – and then associating his writings with photographs, videos and sound compositions.

From 2010, Jean-Charles Massera moved towards directing videos and making radio fiction, such as We Are Europe (Le feuilleton) or We Are Europe (The Soap Opera) in 2011. He is also pursued theatrical collaborations alongside directors such as Benoît Lambert with How Deep is Your Usage of Art? in 2018.

Whatever the medium, Jean-Charles Massera’s work endeavours to reveal some of the reasons for social alienation. So the video installation Ad Valorem Ratio (2015), presented at MAC VAL (The Museum of Contemporary Art of Val-de-Marne) as part of the exhibition “Chercher le garçon” (“Seeking the Boy”), explores the way in which the bodies of managers – men or women – are composed in space with the exercise of managerial power. Similarly, the series of photographs Don’t tell me she… (2017), depicting, for example, a girl fascinated by the glass towers of a business district, questions the subjugation of the contemporary individual to capitalism.

Jean-Charles Massera went so far as to adopt “the enemy’s format” by putting up monumental and quirky posters of the JCDecaux billboards during his personal exhibition “Kiss my Mondialisation” (“Kiss my Globalisation”) at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Villeurbanne in 2010.

His latest exhibition, “Transition attentionnelle volet 1”, presented in Geneva, continues this artistic research: through its posters scattered throughout the heart of the city, the artist takes a backseat to the commercial discourse that saturates the urban space.

The films and photographs of Jean-Charles Massera have been shown at numerous international festivals, notably in 2015 in the United States and Portugal as part of the Independent Film Festival and the Lisbon International Film Festival.

In 2016, the artist received the second prize for micro fiction at the Indie Gathering International Film Festival in Cleveland, the United States, for his short film L’homme qui pense que c’était en 2001-2002 (The Man Who Thinks It Was in 2001-2002) in 2015.

Some of his works have been incorporated into the collections of major European institutions, notably the Albertina Museum in Vienna (Austria) and the Fotomuseum in Winterthur, Switzerland.

  • 2010


    “Kiss my Mondialisation” exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Villeurbanne.

  • 2015


    Jean-Charles Massera takes part in the MAC VAL collective exhibition “Chercher le garçon” in Créteil.

  • 2016


    His short film "L’homme qui pense que c’était en 2001-2002" (2015) wins the second prize for micro fiction at the Indie Gathering International Film Festival in Cleveland.

  • 2019


    His personal exhibition, “Transition attentionelle volet 1: L’enfouissement de la puissance" is shown at the Geneva Photography Centre (Switzerland).

The Institut français and the project

Jean-Charles Massera's « Transition attentionnelle volet 1 : L'enfouissement de la puissance » is being presented with the support of the Institut français at the Centre de la Photographie de Genève.

L'institut français, LAB