Mali Arun

The question of the artist's eye is always complicated. It's best to be as simple, honest, and sincere as possible.

Following in the footsteps of a generation of artists who worked at the crossroads between different genres and media, Mali Arun investigates bodies in movement with fine precision.

From fiction to documentary and video art, her work also asks questions of the beliefs our civilisations hold.

Updated on 07/04/2020

2 min

After earning a Baccalaureate in cinema, Mali Arun studied at the Beaux-Arts in Paris, Tianjin and Brussels. Of mixed origin (Chinese, Turkish and German) and well-travelled, she honed an artistic vision distinctive for its openness, with the boundaries between genres gradually dissolving away. 

Combining documentary with fiction, her early work quickly attracted the attention of the contemporary artistic scene. The docufiction Barak (2013), filmed while in immersion in a Roma camp, and above all the video Paradisus (2016), revealed a deft, uncompromising eye. 

Having been awarded the prestigious Grand Prix at the Salon de Montrouge in 2018, at just 31, Mali Arun tried her hand at immersive video with Mutatis (2018),presented at the Palais de Tokyo in 2019, before setting out to write her first feature-length fiction film Fan-Kueï (2020).

At the heart of Mali Arun's work is the body, its movements and the mark it leaves on the places through which it passes. These motifs are expressed first in the figures of the other and the stranger, embodied by the Roma of Barak (2013) as well as by the extravagant hermit of La Maison (2019). 

Whether it’s fiction or documentary, installation or film, each of Mali Arun’s works appears intent on digging deep into the unsettling presence of magic in popular ritual - Saint John's Day in Feux in 2015 - or the unsettling folly of other more devastating processions (tourists taking over the idyllic site of Paradisus).

Each time, nonetheless, the artist's eye reveals, without judging, the intensity of these relations, permeated with a special form of the sacred.

Well before she won the Grand Prix at the 2018 Salon de Montrouge Show, Mali Arun was already spreading her wings on the international scene. In 2011, she exhibited in China – in the Me/You/Themexhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tianjin and in Belgium, at The Good, the Bad and the Uglyat the Cultuurcentrum Strombeek in Grimbergen. In 2016, she delivered her first solo show, Another Light, at the T66 gallery in Freiburg. 

As a film-maker, she is also regularly invited to show her works, and has been commended at the international festivals in Clermont-Ferrand, New York and Nyon, which will deliver the Sesterce d'Or at the Visions du Réel festival to the La Maison film in 2019. She owes her success as much to the boldness of her approach as to the universal scope of the legendary themes and stories (religion, borders) to which she gives new form in her work.

  • 2010


    Mali Arun enters the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. After exchange programmes with the Fine Arts School in Tianjin, and La Cambre in Brussels, she graduated in 2013.

  • 2014


    Her first documentary Barak won the Jury's Pick at the Point Doc Festival in Paris.

  • 2018


    She exhibits her work at the Montrouge Show, coming away with the most prestigious award, the Grand Prix.

  • 2020


    Mali Arun is preparing her first Fan-Kuei feature film with La Ruche Productions, a company that has supported her from the start.

The Institut français and the artist

In the context of the Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic, Institut Français wishes to continue offeringyou portraits, meetings with creators fromall walks of life, works and portfolios. We hope these few pages will bring some breathing space back into an everyday shaped by lockdown.


Mutatis (2018) by Mali Arun, is one of the works in the VR Selection of the Institut français, a selection of virtual reality content intended for non-commercial distribution within the facilities of the network or its partners.


You can also find Mutatis on Futurimage, a platform offering a rich panorama of new narratives in all its forms. 

Find out more information about Futurimage

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