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Hakima El Djoudi

first performed on March 17, 2011
Masseran Boxing Gym, Paris, France
performed five times in 2011


with Frederic Attuil, Fabrice Allouche, Jérôme Abotsi (corner) and Hakima El Djoudi (photographer)

Paris, France

Description translated from French by Luke Arnason

This performance follows a physical transformation I underwent when, in 2010 in New York City, I gained 66 pounds in four months. I had rendered several states of this expansion through public performances by making light of certain signifiers of representation, notably those of stand-up comedy. As a paradoxical double of this American period, I have been staging the process of the drying out of my body by undergoing quasi-professional training in English boxing.

Throughout the year 2011, I conditioned my body through a classic regimen of boxing techniques, regular training and a tireless repetition of sequences. Jump rope, extreme workout, shadow boxing, punching bag, sparring… On March 17, 2011, as part of an evening of ten public fights in Paris, I fought an adversary in three rounds. My corner was made up of Frederic Attuil (coach), Fabrice Allouche (coach) and Jéröme Abotsi (medic and fighter). I was declared victor at the end of the third round.

Problems: In this performance, I chose, through a critical approach, to push the limits of sublimation. In this process, I opt for an impoverishment of the objectification of the work in order to touch the character of the real more vividly, that of idiocy. Intrinsically, the work gives itself up as a mise en abyme and by this phenomenon of reduction, I arrive at the conditions of my concentration with profound acuity.

Jean-Yves Jouannais in “La Conjuration des cochons extraordinaires” wrote, “How far can we take images, including the image of the self, the image we have of ourselves and the image we give of ourselves, while remaining ourselves? Without disguise, by becoming the incarnation of our obsessions, by becoming the obsessive idea, what is left of us? These are the questions Gaël Peltier seeks to answer as he tries not to play or to mime, but to put himself in the skin of a Robert de Niro, himself seeking to incarnate Jake LaMotta. Just as today, by undergoing quasi-professional training as a boxer, the artist, by changing bodies, attempts to go back to the same reality, namely the sensations and the physique of the original model, Jake LaMotta in the ring, in his own time and his own sweat.”