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Francette Pacteau


  • Francette Pacteau's research concerns the image understood not simply as optical event but as a complex of psychical processes set in motion by desire, indissociable from language. ‘Language’ itself is a complex of inimical tongues that Francette began exploring in her paper On Reflection (2012), in which she considers the experience of living in a foreign language in a country that is not one's own. Such reflections on language intersect with her longer established research on the varieties of experience of the house (and its representations) in that the language of origin, the 'mother tongue’, inevitably invokes the fantasy of 'home'.

  • Biography

  • Francette Pacteau is the author of The Symptom of Beauty (London, Reaktion, and Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1994; Japanese translation, 1997; Korean translation, 1999, Turkish translation, 2004; excerpted in F. Timeto (ed.), Culture della Differenza: Femminismo, visualità e studi postcoloni, Novara, 2008). Her essay contributions to books include 'The seduction of difficulty: a note on interpretation', in N. Bryson, P. Wollen et al, Victor Burgin, Barcelona, Fundació Antoni Tàpies, 2001, and 'In search of Lost Times', in Homi Bhabha, Stuart Hall et al, Mitra Tabrizian: Beyond the Limits, Göttingen, Steidl Verlag, 2004. She has written about the interrelations of narrative tenses and photographic times in a story by W.G. Sebald, 'Out of the Past (Dr Henry Selwyn)', 'Literary images', Photographies, Routledge, Oxford, 2011 and about intersections of modernist aesthetics, gender, sexual politics and biography in images of Mies van der Rohe's Farnsworth House, 'Seeing through', in J. Longhurst (ed.), On Perfection, Intellect Press, London, 2013. She has written about violence in relation to the image, considering the terms ‘violence’ and ‘image’ in their various relationships to each other: images of violence, the violence of the image, violence to the image ('On not watching Bambi', paper given in the History of Art Department at Bristol University, 2008. French translation in Retour d'y voir, Musée d'Art Moderne et Contemporain de Genève, Switzerland, forthcoming). Her latest essay ‘Small bites’ commissioned on the occasion of Dawn Woolley’s exhibition ‘Consumed – Still Lives’ at Leeds Arts University Gallery (12 July - 22 August 2019) introduces, in paratactic form, the fantasmatic dimension of our relationship to what we eat, or do not eat.

    She was guest curator at the Centre d'Art et Photographie de Lectoure (Occitanie, France) for which she organised the group show, Vers le Neutre - une exposition qui s'offre comme un discret hommage à Roland Barthes (2015) and Hayoun Kwon's one woman show, 389 Années (2016)

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  • External collaborations

  • Guest curator, Centre d'Art et Photographie de Lectoure, Occitanie, France.

    Group show: Vers le Neutre - un discret hommage à Roland Barthes (12/12/2015-29/03/2016)

    One woman show: Hayoun Kwon: 489 Années (30/04-19/06 2016). 

    For details see:
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  • Publications, exhibitions and other outcomes

  • ‘Small Bites’ in, Woolley, Dawn, (ed.) Consumed - Still Lives. Leeds Arts University/Ffotogallery, Leeds, 2019

    'On not watching Bambi', French translation in Retour d'y voir, Musée d'Art Moderne et Contemporain de Genève, forthcoming

    'Seeing through', in J. Longhurst, ed., On Perfection. London: Intellect Press, 2013

    'Out of the Past (Dr Henry Selwyn)', 'Literary images', Photographies, Routledge, 2011

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