Archives Michel Journiac, Courtesy Galerie Christophe Gaillard, Paris

Michel Journiac


Michel Journiac (1935-1995) was an artist. Trained in theology and philosophy, from 1969 onwards his artistic practice turned towards body art, of which he was one of the leading proponents. Michel Journiac’s art takes as its material the body, both in its biological materiality (flesh, blood) and in its social and cultural representations, and questions the way in which society conditions it with the tools of sociology and psychoanalysis. Between 1993 and 1995, he produced a series of works entitled Rituel de transmutation du corps souffrant au corps transfiguré [Ritual of transmutation of the suffering body to the transfigured body], in which he reconsidered the habitual materials of his work in the context of the HIV/AIDS crisis: rituals as a means of structuring of a social group, blood as a form of stigmatisation of the homosexual community and as a symbol of political corruption in the contaminated blood affair, which, when it came to light in 1992, led Journiac to devise a Rituel en hommage à ses amis disparus [Ritual in Homage to His Deceased Friends].