Musée International
de la Croix-Rouge et du Croissant-Rouge
Musée International
de la Croix-Rouge et du Croissant-Rouge

Letters From the Floating Island

By Audrey Cavélius, François Burland, Christophe Gonet and Myriam Schüssler

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With the participation of Samiya, Ariam, Luciana, Grace, Batool, Hameeda, Ancel, Aman, Mahdi, Pedram, Manuella, Flavia, Annette, Raphy, Marylaure, Chloé, Paula, Prosper, Ghislaine, Léa, Nora and Brigitte.

There are those who, forced or willing, leave home for a new land and fantasise about their country of origin. There are those who, forced or willing, imagine the lives of those they have seen leave and fantasise about the unknown destination. In both cases, the land of the other is a fiction.

In April 2022, Audrey Cavélius, François Burland, Christophe Gonet and Myriam Schüssler were in Mase in Valais, as part of the residencies organised by the Festival de la Correspondance and the Association Lettres de Soie. Over a two-week period, the four artists worked to create epistolary relationships between unaccompanied minors and sedentary villagers who were free and open to adventure. This exchange of letters, along with the creation of several maps, has turned this small village into a floating island on which the far and near have been nourished by real, moving and hopeful moments.

Discover a selection of letters and maps at the Museum. This project is presented in conjunction with the Checkpoint 2 exhibition at the Ferme des Tilleuls in Renens, from 8 February to 23 June 2024.

© Jacques Betant

  • François Burland

François Burland (1958) is renowned for his many series, which include landscapes from the beginning of the world, warriors astride the backbone of history, hijacked poyas and posters emblazoned with post-Cold War slogans. For more than 35 years, his work has displayed a wide range of artistic expression, and is now part of the international scene. In parallel with this abundant activity, in 2010 he opened his studio (CH) to young migrants, inviting them to work on large-scale engraving projects, while encouraging their integration in Switzerland. To consolidate this activity, in 2017 he created the Nela association, to which he will dedicate himself entirely until 2022.

In 2019, La Ferme des Tilleuls gave François Burland carte blanche. This led to the exhibition Checkpoint, presented in 2021 and co-produced with the association Nela and NoNameCompany (Audrey Cavélius). Strong, popular and media-friendly, Checkpoint was invited to Dakar in 2022, as part of the Biennale of Contemporary African Art. Wishing to return to more personal work, François Burland left the Nela association in 2022 and in 2023 set up the CHECKPOINT association (which refers to the eponymous exhibition), whose mission is to encourage research and creation, and to publicise, promote and widely disseminate the artist's personal work. François Burland continues to surround himself from time to time with young people in search of meaning, and to collaborate with other artists in Switzerland and Senegal.

  • Audrey Cavélius

 Audrey Cavélius is a stage and visual artist with a multi-faceted career path, which she is constantly challenging. After studying literature, specialising in translation, she began training in theatre at La Manufacture in Lausanne. Working for renowned directors such as Lupa, Coniglio and Gomez Mata, she soon went on to develop her own projects. Identity and all the forms it can take are at the heart of her preoccupations. Identity as a perpetual construction site where our constructions, our deepest selves, our dormant or roaring potentials rub and clash. A subject with infinite possibilities, offering the artist the chance to deepen her relationship with transformation and metamorphosis. Dispositions d'esprit, Autoportraits, Living Gallery, La poétique de l'autre, Variations, Séries - all these pieces present the pleasure and intranquillity of our shifting inner selves. 

Audrey Cavélius has won several major Swiss prizes (Premio and Prairie from the Migros Cultural Percentage, and a companionship grant from the City of Lausanne and the Canton of Vaud). Passionate about the link with others, encounters and polyphonic projects, following a collaboration with artist François Burland at the end of 2019, she is giving new scope to her work, with the identity of others taking precedence over her own identity. Un Abri, Autres and Autrement - developed in Switzerland and Senegal - are the result of work in contact with migrants, whose journeys have been dented, uprooted or interrupted. By helping them to dare project themselves into completely different versions of themselves, the artist gives them the opportunity to reconnect with deep-rooted ties and create new ones that are as real as reality. In film and television, Audrey Cavélius has worked with the NIFFF (Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival) as a web TV presenter, and with Bruno Deville, Delphine Lehericey, Bettina Oberli, Nicole Borgeat and Ursula Meier as a TV and film actress.

  • Christophe Gonet

Christophe Gonet is a multi-instrumentalist. From an early age, he played euphonium in various brass bands, before deciding to launch his own music groups. The metal band Mout was formed in 1997, followed by the Lausanne-based group Chambre Avec Vue (trio) in 2005. From then on, his preferred instrument was the bass guitar. Since 2009, the group Chambre Avec Vue (trio) has performed at various venues in Switzerland and France. In 2012 Christophe Gonet created GONSHOT'S, a pseudonym under which he developed his own compositions. In 2013, he composed the original music for Sylvain Renou's film Save the World, which was shortlisted for the Swiss Awards. From 2013 to the present day, he works closely with Audrey Cavélius on all NoNameCompany projects as a composer and performer.

  • Myriam Schüssler

Originally from the Alps, Myriam Schussler studied comics and printmaking at the Académie Royale des Beaux Arts in Brussels. She then set up her studio in a camper van (the Typomobile), enabling her to meet different audiences and events across Europe. Very active in micro-publishing and the publication of fanzines, strips and other experimental media, Myriam Schussler is a multi-disciplinary artist who is also a draughtswoman, printmaker and ceramist.

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