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Boule à Neige. This is the title of the new show by director Mohamed El Khatib, created in collaboration with Patrick Boucheron, historian and professor at the Collège de France.


As long-time fans of Mohamed El Khatib’s work and devotees of snow globes (which translates to ‘boule à neige’, a kitsch yet very satisfying object), we did not need persuading to go and see this show.



Boule à Neige is a fascinating dialogue between the actor-director and the historian on the emotional and societal significance of these popular objects which only come to life when shaken.

Not quite a toy, sometimes a paperweight, often a souvenir, the snow globe is a world put under a glass dome, a suspended snapshot and a fascination to collectors.

At the heart of an intimate scenography that features a stage like a cabinet of curiosities, the artist and the historian carefully analyse the snow globes and their stories, delivering an amusing and well-documented look at this complex object.



Miniature world, popular art, collector’s item: this trinket, whose aesthetic beauty and practical use evades explanation, is examined by the duo from every angle. They dissect an incredible collection of snow globes from around the world and tell a story illustrated by video testimonials and anecdotes compiled from the greatest collectors.

Mohamed El Khatib and Patrick Boucheron recount with precision and a certain humour the secret side of snow globes, the beliefs and fantasies, myths and legends, which are revealed when the synthetic snowflakes fall.


These objects become the starting point for metaphors about good taste and the various virtual worlds held under a globe and the questions they pose :

What relationship do we have with this sphere which, when turned upside down, causes snow to
fall ? How do we look at it ? How do we think of its owner ?
How does a simple trinket pass from the status of ordinary object to that of work of art ?
Should we consider the collectors of these witnesses of time as precious guardians of the temple ?

The debate remains open, as these questions have never been answered.

Here we find the essence of Mohamed El Khatib’s thought process, he who through his works considers contemporary creation as an experience, a social gesture, whose most demanding aesthetic dimension is confronted with the banality everyday life. This is perhaps also what the artist and the historian are aiming at here, playing with the notion of scale, rethinking what is grand or important, infinitely small or disproportionately large …

Go and see this show !
Discover the shows’ listings.


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