Julien Prévieux
Julien Prévieux © ENSBA Lyon

Julien Prévieux

I see artistic practice as a revelation, a spotlight on situations that seem natural at first sight but are in fact socially constructed.

Julien Prévieux is an artist who questions the world of work and new technologies, expressing his opposition to data collection and artificial intelligence in his wryly constructed works. 

Updated on 07/09/2021

5 min

Born in Grenoble in 1974, Julien Prévieux graduated from the École supérieure d'art de Grenoble and the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris. He made a name for himself at the end of the 1990s with Roulades, a video in which he performed a series of rolls in the street. During the 2000s, he devoted himself to the Lettres de non-motivation, composed of several thousand letters responding to job offers published in the press, in which he explains his reasons for not applying.

He has also given workshops to police officers from the Brigade Anticriminalité (BAC) in the 14th arrondissement of Paris. His work What shall we do next? about patenting hand gestures won him the Marcel Duchamp Prize in 2014 at the FIAC (International Contemporary Art Fair). Since 2019, he has been a head of studio at the Beaux-Arts de Paris.

Julien Prévieux's work, never without humour, is always the result of extensive preliminary research. He questions the world of work, statistics, new technologies and, more generally, control devices. Several of these works are long-term projects that take on successive forms. This is the case with Lettres de non-motivation, which is an exhibition, a book and a play; and also What shall we do next?, the result of numerous years of research into the patents that catalogue the various gestures of the hand. Winner of the Marcel Duchamp Prize, this project consists of several films and a series of performances.

Julien Prévieux has no hesitation in hijacking the patents of the largest American companies and questioning their most absurd aspects. For example, he took photographs of Google's offices in California to extract drawings made by employees on boards, a gesture he presented as a way of reversing the dynamics of data collection. This reflection on the role of GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon, but the term can also refer to tech giants in a more general way) and their research in the field of artificial intelligence is continued in the piece Where is my (deep) mind? (2019).

His work is regularly exhibited in centres for art, galleries and museums in France and abroad, notably at the Blackwood Gallery in Toronto, the RISD Museum of Art in Providence, the Festival Art Souterrain in Montreal, and the MUDAM in Luxembourg. His Lettres de non-motivation was adapted for the stage in 2015 and has toured in several European countries.

Where Is My (Deep) Mind?
Where Is My (Deep) Mind?
  • 2004


    First exhibition at the Jousse Entreprise gallery.

  • 2011


    Drawing workshop with the Brigade Anticriminalité of the 14th arrondissement of Paris.

  • 2014


    What should we do next? film and performance.

  • 2014


    Awarded the Marcel Duchamp Prize at the FIAC.

  • 2019


    Head of workshop at the Ecole des Beaux Arts de Paris.

The Institut français and the artist

The work Where is my (deep) mind?, by Julien Prévieux, is presented as part of the Escape exhibition. 

Initiated by the Institut français, the exhibition Escape, voyage au cœur des cultures numériques will be presented by the French cultural network abroad (Instituts français, Alliances françaises…) and his partners from November 2021. 

Members of the diplomatic network will find information on how to schedule this exhibition on this page

L'institut français, LAB