The Grey Library

Art Center

from 19 may to 5 Sept 2021 - Centre d'art

Chapter 4: Speaking Objects

Jérôme Dupeyrat & Laurent Sfar

For La Bibliothèque grise Jérôme Dupeyrat and Laurent Sfar pool their reading, marshal objects relating to it and collect ideas from different interlocutors, thus building up a set of resources to be shared and reused via publications, films, exhibitions, etc.

Since its beginnings in 2015 La Bibliothèque grise has been exploring the circulation of knowledge and skills, with a view to testing out forms of transmission and sharing. The library is arranged in five categories resulting from intermeshed readings: “Teaching and Learning as Performing Arts”, “A History of Reading”, “A Room of One’s Own”, “How to Inhabit the Earth” and “La Parole mangée” [“Speech Eaten”] – titles of books by, respectively, Robert Filliou, Alberto Manguel, Virginia Woolf, Yona Friedman and Louis Marin.

At La Ferme du Buisson the fourth chapter of La Bibliothèque grise brings together “speaking objects” bearing messages in text and image like the “speaking” plates, illustrated with captioned playlets or rebuses, that were common in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Among the books, documentary material, films, images and other odds and ends collected or made by Jérôme Dupeyrat and Laurent Sfar, the exhibition presents renaissance knives serving as singing scores and illustrated handkerchiefs as textbook; models of plants made for educational purposes by Dr Louis Auzoux in the 19th century; popular imagery in prints or on plates showing the world upside down (an ox working as a butcher, a horse leading a man out to work in the fields); and the rag dolls recording the education of Marie-Jeanne Nouvellon and demanding women’s rights since the 1960s–1970s.

Some of these objects are put into perspective in films made for the occasion and the use value of the collection will be heightened throughout the exhibition by protocols of activation and utilisation: gathering and cooking mushrooms grown on structures inserted into the art centre building; enjoying a meal as you sum up a study of the agro-ecological transition; collectively working through a book about what this radically changed world is going to be like.


sun 30 may

3 pm

guided tour of the exhibition

4 pm

screening of François Bégaudeau’s film Autonomes 

followed by a discussion with the director at the Cinéma de la Ferme du Buisson

admission: 7.50€

concessions: 6€


sat 26 june

9 am – noon

mushrooming excursion

with Patrice Lainé (French Mycological Society) around La Ferme du Buisson

free entrance


sat 4 sept

2 – 6 pm

group reading (survey) of James C. Scott, Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts (New Haven:Yale University Press, 1992)

in partnership with La Ferme du Buisson media library

free entrance

7:30 pm

meal and discussion: urban agriculture. With a special tablecloth publication.

Guests: Christine Aubry (AgroParisTech), Julie Lou Dubreuilh & Guillaume Leterrier (Les Bergers Urbains/Urban Shepherds)

5 € per person


sun 5 sept

2 - 5 pm

mushrooming excursion with Patrice Lainé (French Mycological Society) around La Ferme du Buisson

free entrance


advance booking essential for all events: +33 (0)1 64 62 77 77
numbers restricted; compliance with current health


The new publication Digression #9: The Grey Library [Jérôme Dupeyrat and Laurent Sfar] is available at the contemporary art centre.

The exhibition La Bibliothèque grise  – ch. 4 : "Objets parlants" by Jérôme Dupeyrat and Laurent Sfar was conceived with the collaboration of Sandra Foltz, Jean Guillaud, Glenn Guillou, Marie-Jeanne Nouvellon, Rovo and Ryōko Sekiguchi, as well as with the complicity of Michel Duru, Marie-Dominique Leclerc and Alain Robert, Nathalie Leleu, Lise Lerichomme, Yvan Poulain, Cécile Poblon and Marie-Hélène Robin.


The presented artworks come, among others, from the collections of the Ateliers d'art de la Réunion des musées nationaux - Grand Palais, the Bibliothèque du Musée des Arts Décoratifs (Paris), the INSPÉ (Paris), the Musée Calbet (Grisolles), the Musée des Arts et Traditions Normands (Château de Martainville) and the Musée national de la Renaissance (Château d’Écouen).


The artwork Plans de table by Jérôme Dupeyrat, Sandra Foltz and Laurent Sfar, 2019-2020, received the support of the Ile-de-France Region Cultural Affairs Office/Ministry of Culture and Communication.


This fourth chapter of La Bibliothèque grise was produced thanks to the Ferme du Buisson team, assisted by the associate curator Céline Bertin.

Since 2015, Jérôme Dupeyrat and Laurent Sfar have been working on a joint art project titled La Bibliothèque grise [The Grey Library]. At the same time each has been following up personal projects that fuel their collaborative interests.


Laurent Sfar’s practice has two main focuses: publication of the Ex-libris series of artist’s books offering visualisations of such literary texts as George Perec’s La disparition [A Void], Charles Nodier’s Moi-même [I Myself] and Edwin Abbott Abbott’s Flatland; and installations in public spaces including the forest of Sénart, the National Theatre in Belfort and the Palace of Versailles gardens.


Initially a researcher, art critic and exhibition curator, Jérôme Dupeyrat has a particular interest in the connections between art, publishing, the media and education. Since 2010 he has also worked on numerous projects with artists and graphic designers like Laurence Cathala, David Coste, officeabc (Brice Domingues and Catherine Guiral) and Laurent Sfar.

infos pratiques

opening hours

Wednesday – Sunday, 2 – 7:30 pm


free admission

advance booking essential for all events: +33 (0)1 64 62 77 77
numbers restricted; compliance with current health



— workshops for parents and children 
every Saturday in July and August, 4 pm
aged 5+ / 5 € per child / book ahead
 — story time visit, 

July 25th and August 29th, 4 pm

aged 3+ / 5 € per child / book ahead


general public

— guided tours
at any time / free entrance
guided tours on request groups
book ahead:


how to get here

— by train

RER A towards Marne-La-Vallée, get off

at Noisiel (20 mins from Paris)

— by car

A4 towards Marne-la-Vallée

exit Noisiel-Torcy, take the Noisiel- Luzard road

+33 (0)1 64 62 77 00