Théodora Barat
Théodora Barat © Nuit Blanche
Visual arts

Théodora Barat

I have been working on the relationship between the city and suburbs for years, to try to show how the suburbs stem from a practical vision.

The Théodora Barat artist manipulates light to create landscape-works in the form of films or installations. Her latest project, Micromégas, looks at the electricity infrastructures of Hong Kong.

Updated on 11/08/2021

2 min

The artist and director Théodora Barat was born in 1985 and is now based in Pantin. She first studied at the Fine Arts school in Nantes and then Manchester Metropolitan University, before going to Le Fresnoy, in Tourcoing. Her work, which is regularly exhibited internationally, develops a poetic and political consideration of urban spaces.

She won an Audi Talents award in 2016 for the film Pay-Les Monument, a documentary dedicated to a series of monumental architecture and museums in New Jersey. As she is passionate about the science-fiction imaginary world and objects connected to space conquest, for the Nuit Blanche all-night art event in 2018 she created Phase D, a performance that stages a sculpture inspired by space telecommunications’ station being built.

Théodora Barat’s work makes films and installations communicate together. Whereas her films reflect her preoccupation for shapes and volumes, her installations work more like artificial landscapes that tell their own story. The Pantin-based artist takes a particular interest in environments undergoing changes, to deteriorated industrial materials, by trying to enhance them through light effects and staging.

In 2018, her personal exhibition, Learning from New Jersey, at the Friche la Belle de Mai in Marseille, continues her Pay-Less Monuments documentary. It is devoted to the suburban American State, the birthplace of modernism, and she matches it with a set of sculptures and out-of-date town-planning modules. Two years later, for Nuit blanche, she designed the Une ville de rêve (Jesting Pilot) installation, as a major building site changed by a light system made up of film projectors. 

Théodora Barat’s approach has been more documentary and political in recent years. Her latest project, Micromégas, is part of a new exchange programme between France and Hong Kong, which is supported by the Institut Français in particularly. As part of an on-site residency, she has also looked at electrical infrastructures in the Nouveaux Territoires which supply the city-world. Using her camera, she questions the relationship between factories and the landscape, and industrial buildings become monuments with strange beauty, like a metaphor of neoliberalism mirages. The energy transfer from the suburban outskirts to the financial centre provides a sort of “technological sublime”.



  • 1985


    Born in Melun.

  • 2009


    Graduated from the École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Nantes.

  • 2010


    Graduated from Le Fresnoy – Studio national des arts contemporains.

  • 2016


    Pay-Less Monument, a 45-minute experimental documentary about New Jersey.

  • 2018


    Learning from New Jersey, a personal exhibition at the Friche la Belle de Mai.

  • 2020


    Micromégas, a residency initiative in Hong Kong supported by the Institut Français.

The Institut français and the artist

In 2020, Théodora Barat was laureate of the Etant donnés programme as well as the Micromégas programme. 


Coordinated by Institut français-Paris, the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States and FACE Foundation, the Etant donnés programme supports projects of artistic cooperation between the United States and France.

Find out more about the Etant donnés programme

L'institut français, LAB