The volume documents the Mineur Mineur project of the artist Bertille Bak, winner of the third edition of the Mario Merz Prize, conceived for the Fondazione Merz and curated by Caroline Bourgeois. The artist turns, with her work, to communities of people more or less aware of the characteristics of their identity and to those minorities often forgotten or repressed. The title of the exhibition itself refers to the video installation Mineur Mineur ("minor miner"), addressing the issue of child labor which still today deprives about 152 million children worldwide of their childhood. Through a fairytale language that employs artifices, Bak offers a contemporary truth made up of tragic destinies, a social story that becomes a sort of memory archive that intertwines the lives of the people with the production of a new common imagination. The volume documents the genesis and development of the exhibition, and includes, in addition to the curator's introduction text, an extensive conversation with the artist and other writings from different disciplinary fields that collect points of reflection on such an important and urgent social issue and on Bertille Bak's artistic career.
Bertille Bak, the granddaughter of Polish miners from northern France, was born in 1983 in Arras and lives and works in Paris. From 2002 to 2007, she attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Paris where she was a student of Christian Boltanski and then continued her studies at the Fresnoy Studio National des Arts Contemporains in Tourcoing.
Her works can be found in numerous collections worldwide. She has exhibited in group and solo shows at institutional venues and private galleries, such as The Gallery Apart, Rome, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, Maison du peuple de Vénissieux and Galerie Xippas, Paris.