Image credits


Exhibition explores Jean Genet’s life

Few that have read the novels, plays, poems and essays of the prominent and controversial 20th century writer Jean Genet will know that he visited Norwich in 1964. It is this tidbit of trivia that has inspired the artist Marc Camille Chaimowicz to make Genet the subject of his new show: ‘Jean Genet…The Courtesy of Objects, Chapter One’, which opens in The Gallery at Norwich University of the Arts (NUA) on Tuesday 19th April.


Detail from work by Marc Camille Chaimowicz

Chaimowicz, who forged links in Norwich through his exhibition ‘Jean Cocteau’ at NUA in 2003, is famed for installations and performances that include preparatory photographs and prototypes as well as found objects and artwork by others. A Frenchman who works out of London, he has shown in major cities around the world including Paris, Zurich, Berlin, Vienna and New York.

Presented as part of the programme of events of the Norfolk & Norwich Festival 2011, ‘Jean Genet…The Courtesy of Objects Chapter One’ will explore themes derived from Genet’s fascinating life, from his empathy with Palastinian refugees and the Black Panther movement in the USA to high profile endorsements such as those of Jean-Paul Satre (in an essay entitled ‘St Genet’) and David Bowie (who wrote ‘Jean Genie’ in tribute to Genet).

The context for Genet’s visit to Norwich was to act as a witness at the wedding of Jacky Maglia. Marc Cammille Chaimowicz says: “Jacky was the stepson of Genet’s lover Lucien Senemand. In Norfolk he bought Maglia a customised Lotus Elan. They grew very close, later travelling widely together and covertly entering the US to cover the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention for Esquire.”

The exhibition is curated by NUA’s Professor Lynda Morris, who says: “Chaimowicz is an exile. After the liberation of France his family migrated to England, where he grew up in Stevenage New Town piecing together the otherness embedded in his French and Polish identities. Genet’s interest in Arab countries connects with Chaimowicz’s idea of Vienna. The figs in the coffee, the dome of the Secession, the architecture of Alfred Loos all reflect the North African Arab influence understood by intellectuals in Vienna.”

The exhibition runs in The Gallery at NUA until Saturday 21st May (open to the public 12pm-5pm, closed Sundays and Mondays) before travelling to Nottingham Contemporary and the Performa Festival in New York.

Two portraits

Two works by Marc Camille Chaimowicz

Press and media

NUA news stories

Staff and students featured in NUA press releases are available for further comment.

Interview requests

Our academic staff are leading practitioners and researchers in the fields of the arts, design and media. They are available to provide expert comment on regional, national and international news stories related to higher education and the creative arts.

On campus filming and photography

All camera crews and photographers need advance permission to operate on the NUA campus. Alternatively the University has a wealth of photography and footage which can be provided on request.


Members of the press are welcome to attend all events at NUA. Most exhibitions on the campus, including the Degree Shows, will have a private view event in advance of the public opening for the press and special guests. Details of these events are available on request.

Press visits

We are delighted to arrange campus tours and on-campus interviews with staff and students.

Media Contact

Paul Hill
Head of Communications

Call +44 (0) 1603 753270
email press@nua.ac.uk