February 28, 2018

Images en lutte @ Palais des Beaux-Arts, Paris - La culture visuelle de l ’extrême gauche en France (1968-1974)

Images en lutte. La culture visuelle de l’extrême gauche en France (1968-1974)
Palais des Beaux-Arts, Paris
Jusqu'au 20 mai 2018

Fosse qui ferme
Affiche sérigraphiée
70 x 50 cm
Coll. des Archives nationales

Fruit des regards croisés de deux disciplines souvent opposées, l’histoire de l’art et l’histoire, cette exposition propose une lecture documentée de ce moment particulier de l’histoire contemporaine, les années 1968-1974, où l’art et le politique, la création et les luttes sociales et politiques furent intimement mêlés.

L’exposition n’est pas une histoire visuelle du politique mais une histoire politique du visuel. Elle présente des affiches, des peintures, des sculptures, des installations, des films, des photographies, des tracts, des revues, des livres et des magazines, dont quelque 150 publications consultables dans le cadre d’une bibliothèque ouverte.

Poing levé
Affiche sérigraphiée de l’Atelier Populaire
Coll. des Beaux-Arts de Paris

Grève illimitée
Affiche sérigraphiée de l’Atelier Populaire
Coll. des Beaux-Arts de Paris

C’est donc un long cortège qui est ici dévoilé , qui commence dans les grandes manifestations contre la guerre du Vietnam, s’attarde dans l’Atelier populaire des Beaux-Arts en mai et juin 1968 pour, dans les années suivantes, parcourir les boulevards parisiens, occuper les usines, les mines, les universités, les prisons et tant d’autres lieux dans toute la France.

La mémoire collective des événements de mai 68 est largement liée aux affiches produites par l’Atelier Populaire, émanation de l’occupation de l’École des Beaux-arts de Paris à partir du 14 mai par ses étudiants et ses enseignants, bientôt rejoints par de nombreux artistes.

Mort pour la cause du peuple (Pierre Overney), 1972
Affiche, 60 x 50 cm
Coll. particulière

Merri Jolivet
Pompidou Overney, 1972
Technique mixte sur toile
115 x 148 cm
Coll. Jean-Claude Meunier

Ces affiches témoignent bien sûr de la mobilisation en France et à travers le monde de toute une génération dans cette révolte politique du tournant des années 1960-1970 ; mais ces affiches sont aussi porteuses d’une autre histoire, loin de celles des partis politiques désireux de participer au système parlementaire, mais proche de celles des organisations d’extrême gauche interdites dès juin 1968 et qui vont se multiplier pendant plusieurs années, changeant de noms au fil des opérations de police et des scissions, jusqu’à l’auto-dissolution de la Gauche prolétarienne (GP, maoïste) le 1er novembre 1973, un mois après le coup d’État du 11 septembre 1973 au Chili.

Elles démontrent que ce soulèvement d’une génération, qui est allé jusqu’à l’épuisement des utopies dans le terrorisme, la découverte des massacres commis en leur nom en Extrême-Orient (Chine de la Révolution culturelle, Cambodge des Khmers rouges) et la possibilité de l’accession au pouvoir de la gauche de gouvernement (avec l’adoption du Programme commun par les socialistes, les communistes et les radicaux, en 1972), a partie liée avec les images et avec l’art d’avant-garde de cette époque – non sans contradictions. Elles ne sont en même temps que la partie la plus connue d’un foisonnement de la création, qui répond à une volonté de renverser radicalement les systèmes en place, dont la plupart des résultats, lorsqu’ils sont montrés aujourd’hui, le sont en mettant de côté leur signification politique, au profit d’une esthétisation réductrice.

Monique Frydman
Maquette pour l’affiche d’Histoires d’A.,
film de Charles Belmont et Marielle Issartel, 1973
Crayon de couleurs et feutre sur calque (4 feuilles)
50 x 32 chaque.
Courtoisie : Monique Frydman et Marielle Issartel

Pierre Buraglio
Exercice de Camouflage, 1968
Tissu de camouflage, toile peinte
100 x 100 cm
Courtoisie : galerie Jean Fournier, Paris
Crédit photo : Alberto Ricci

L’exposition IMAGES EN LUTTE, la culture visuelle de l’extrême gauche en France (1968-1974), entend redonner à la création portée par ces utopies révolutionnaires, sans distinguer a priori ce qui relève de l’art et ce qui tient de la propagande visuelle, leur soubassement et leur complexité, en même temps qu’elle souhaite interroger les contradictions et les ambiguïtés des rapports entre art et politique, en considérant, depuis une époque où ces rapports ont perdu de leur acuité, une période où une grande partie de la création ne pouvait se penser sans eux.

L’exposition est construite comme une suite de lieux successivement investis par l’extrême gauche et permettant ainsi de lire une chronologie événementielle dans l’exposition elle-même. Elle vise à appréhender la façon dont la volonté politique de changer profondément la société dans un cadre révolutionnaire, que celui-ci trouve son moyen dans le trotskysme, le maoïsme ou l’élan libertaire, affecte les images, aussi bien lorsque celles-ci relèvent du champ explicitement artistique que lorsqu’elles appartiennent au champ plus large de la communication et de la diffusion des luttes politiques.

Louis Cane
Sol/Mur rouge n°73 A 24, 1973
Acrylique sur toile
264 x 212 et 204 x 172 cm
Coll. MJS, Paris

Eduardo Arroyo
Nature morte, Burgos, 1970,
La table du colonel Ordovas, Président du tribunal militaire, 1971
Huile sur toile
Coll. H. Parienté

L’exposition présente donc des affiches, des peintures, des sculptures, des installations, des films, des photographies, des tracts, des revues et des publications, dont quelque 150 livres, brochures et magazines en consultation libre, choisis à la fois pour leur signification historique et pour leur qualité visuelle, sans prétendre à l’exhaustivité mais en opérant un choix guidé par l’efficacité et la participation à une bonne articulation du parcours ainsi tracé. Il importe en outre de laisser à chacun de ces types d’images une inscription dans un régime propre de visibilité et de diffusion, qui ne les aplatissent ni dans le sens d’une esthétisation généralisée, ni dans celui d’une neutralisation documentaire.

Avec les oeuvres de Gilles Aillaud, Eduardo Arroyo, Pierre Buraglio, Louis Cane, Coopérative des Malassis, Noël Dolla, Gérard Fromanger, Monique Frydman, Michel Journiac, Julio Le Parc, Annette Messager, Olivier Mosset, Jean-Pierre Pincemin, Bernard Rancillac, Martial Raysse, Claude Rutault, Carole Roussopoulos, Nil Yalter...

Commissaires de l'exposition : 
Philippe Artières, directeur d’études au CNRS (Institut interdisciplinaire d’anthropologie du contemporain, EHESS)
Eric de Chassey, professeur d’histoire de l’art à l’ENS de Lyon, directeur de l’Institut national d’histoire de l’art (INHA).

Comité scientifique :
Jean-Michel Alberola, artiste, professeur aux Beaux-Arts de Paris ;
Françoise Banat-Berger, directrice des Archives nationales, Pierrefitte /Seine;
Emmanuelle Giry, conservatrice du patrimoine, Archives nationales, Pierrefitte /Seine;
Anne-Marie Garcia, conservatrice du patrimoine, responsable du service des collections aux Beaux-Arts de Paris ;
Pascale Le Thorel, responsable du service des éditions des Beaux-Arts de Paris ;
Nathalie Léger, directrice générale de l’Institut Mémoires de l’Édition Contemporaine (IMEC), Abbaye d’Ardenne ;
Marc Pataut, photographe, professeur aux Beaux-Arts de Paris ;
Valérie Tesnière, directrice d’études à l’EHESS, directrice de la Bibliothèque de documentation internationale contemporaine, Paris.

Cette exposition bénéficie d’un partenariat avec les Archives nationales et avec la Bibliothèque de documentation internationale contemporaine (BDIC).

La réalisation de cette exposition, ainsi que les évènements associés qui se dérouleront du 12 au 20 mai aux Beaux-Arts de Paris, sont rendus possibles grâce au soutien et à l’engagement de la Maison Sonia Rykiel et de son président Jean-Marc Loubier.

BEAUX-ARTS DE PARIS
beauxartsparis.fr

February 25, 2018

Icônes de Mai 68 @ BnF François-Mitterrand, Paris - Les images ont une histoire

Icônes de Mai 68 - Les images ont une histoire
BnF François-Mitterrand, Paris
17 avril - 26 août 2018

Comment s’est construite notre mémoire visuelle collective des événements de Mai 68 ? Selon quels processus certaines photographies, présentées comme documentaires, ont-elles atteint un statut d’icônes? S’appuyant sur près de deux cents pièces - photographies, planches contact, magazines, documents audiovisuels -, l’exposition présentée par la BnF fait l’histoire de certaines de ces images désormais célèbres. Elle suit leur trajectoire médiatique pour mettre en évidence les conditions de leur émergence culturelle dans la mémoire collective.

La barricade, le duel CRS/étudiants, le pavé lancé, le poing levé... depuis 50 ans, la représentation des événements de Mai 68 est associée à des motifs récurrents. L’exposition analyse le parcours sinueux de différentes photographies, depuis la planche-contact jusqu’à leur circulation dans les magazines et autres produits éditoriaux : elle revient sur l’élaboration médiatique et culturelle de la représentation de ces événements historiques.

De la photographie à l’icône

Le portrait de Daniel Cohn-Bendit face à un CRS par Gilles Caron et la « Marianne de 68 » de Jean-Pierre Rey constituent deux exemples caractéristiques de la fabrique des icônes. 

La photographie de Daniel Cohn-Bendit par Gilles Caron n’a pas immédiatement été distinguée et mise en exergue par les grands titres de la presse magazine. Reprise dans le milieu photojournalistique à partir de 1970, elle circule plus largement à partir de 1978 puis à l’occasion des anniversaires décennaux de Mai 68 et de l’agence Gamma (fondée en 1967). Ce sont ces publications successives dans la presse et autres supports culturels (livres, catalogues,…) qui ont contribué à sa singularisation. Pour éclairer la trajectoire de cette photographie devenue icône, l’exposition en présente des tirages originaux mais aussi de nombreuses formes éditées jusqu’en 2008, tout en retraçant la légende photojournalistique de son succès dans les médias. 

La « Marianne de 68 » de Jean-Pierre Rey a également évolué vers un statut d’icône. Publiée en petit format en 1968, elle a ensuite été diffusée à plusieurs reprises jusqu’en 2008. Au fur et à mesure de ses publications, le cadrage se resserre, faisant perdre à la photographie son ancrage historique, et les commentaires se recentrent sur l’image elle-même faisant d’elle un symbole de Mai 68.

Une mémoire en noir et blanc

L’exposition interroge également la pratique de la couleur : comment et pourquoi la mémoire visuelle de Mai 68 se conjugue-t-elle en noir et blanc alors que les événements ont été couverts et diffusés en couleurs par la presse de l’époque ? Des clichés couleurs ont été pris par de nombreux photographes : Janine Niépce, Georges Melet, Bruno Barbey, Claude Dityvon... Peu de ces images sont pourtant remobilisées dans les médias par la suite. L’exposition éclaire ces choix éditoriaux rétrospectifs et l’amnésie associée à cet usage de la couleur .

Récits photographiques

D’autres récits photographiques des événements ont à l’inverse échappé à la mémoire visuelle commune. En marge de la presse magazine, des photographes ont pris part à des démarches collectives. Des initiatives d’expositions et de projections photographiques ont vu le jour, portées par des personnalités qui racontent leur propre printemps 1968 et participent aux réflexions politiques et sociales à l’oeuvre. C’est le cas de l’exposition du club amateur des 30X40 ou du diaporama collaboratif de Jean Pottier et Jacques Windenberger présentés dans l’exposition. Ces montages et séries photographiques constituent une redécouverte de recherches d’alternatives aux représentations dominantes des grands médias.

« L’icône absente »

Pour finir, l’exposition interroge en creux le statut d’icône. Pourquoi la première « nuit des barricades » n’a-t-elle paradoxalement laissé aucune image persistante ? Il s’agit de la nuit du 10 au 11 mai, qui a fait monter en Une des principaux magazines d’information de l’époque les événements du printemps 1968. Malgré l’imaginaire puissant qu’elles suscitent, ces scènes d’affrontements nocturnes n’ont généré aucune icône. Les photographies produites ont peu fait l’objet de publications à l’époque et de citations ultérieures. Cette absence d’icône trouve des pistes d’explication dans le manque de lisibilité de ces images et leur inadéquation visuelle avec le récit porté par les médias : celle d’un duel entre jeunesse et forces de l’ordre.

Commissariat : 
Dominique Versavel, conservatrice au département des Estampes et de la photographie, BnF 
Audrey Leblanc, docteure en histoire et civilisations (Ehess), Université Lille 3

Publication : Catalogue de l’exposition - Editions de la BnF, 20x30 cm, 128 pages, Prix : 29 euros

BnF François-Mitterrand
Quai François-Mauriac, 75013 - Galerie 1
www.bnf.fr

February 16, 2018

Peter Lavery @ The Harley Gallery, Welbeck, Nottinghamshire - Circus Work

Peter Lavery: Circus Work
The Harley Gallery, Welbeck, Nottinghamshire
Through 15 April 2018

PETER LAVERY
Ruslan Daurbekov in a bear suit, Moscow State Circus, 1988
Copyright Peter Lavery

For anyone who has ever dreamt of running away with the circus or simply wondered what life is like for the jugglers, clowns, and acrobats, a new exhibition at The Harley Gallery by acclaimed photographer Peter Lavery captures what goes on behind the scenes at the Big Top.

Peter Lavery has spent the last 50 years following circuses the length and breadth of Britain and Ireland. His intimately detailed, large-scale photographs, taken in both black and white and colour, show circus performers relaxing while off duty, practicing, getting ready to perform, part made-up and costumed, and revealingly off-guard.

The son of a miner, Peter Lavery has developed an enduring interest and passion for his subject since dropping in on a small indoor circus in his home town of Wakefield in 1968. ‘Circus Work’ is part of Circus250 a UK-wide celebration of the first circus near London’s Waterloo in 1768.

PETER LAVERY
Nell Gifford, joint founder of Gifford's Circus with Toti Gifford, 
with their children Red and Cecil
Copyright Peter Lavery


Nell Gifford, who founded Gifford's Circus with Toti Gifford. Nell is pictured here dressed in riding regalia with their children Red and Cecil. Nell is a regular equestrian performer, and the children sometimes make an appearance at weekends. "I held the jewel of my childhood up to my eye, and through it I saw ponies and a dressing up box, and a tent, and that was Gifford's Circus". The discerning viewer may recognise that the set up of this shot bears some resemblance to Dorothea Lange's iconic 'Migrant Mother' that captured the essence of the great depression. One of Peter's favourite photographers, this portrait was partly intended as a homage to Lange's great work.

PETER LAVERY
Jana 'The Little Devil' Roberts backstage, 
The Blackpool Tower Circus, 2005
Copyright Peter Lavery

Jana 'The Little Devil' Roberts backstage at The Blackpool Tower Circus in 2005 where she performs acts including a diabolical triple fire hoop trick.

PETER LAVERY
Gabor Eotvos Senior, Tibor Eotvos, and Gabor Eotvos Junior, ‘Eotvos’, Billy Smart’s, 
Fairfield Hall, Croydon, 1971 
Copyright Peter Lavery

The Eotvos Hungarian clowning troupe ran their own circus, Eotvos Produccio, in Hungary. Tibor, the youngest Eotvos son, directed the show, and his mother advised them, as she helped with the running of circuses, including the Hungarian State Circus, for over twenty years.

PETER LAVERY
Five Blackpool Tower Circusettes in their changing room, Blackpool Tower, 1974 
Copyright Peter Lavery 

The Circusettes were a troupe of attractive young women who preceded the acts with a short dance routine. It was their job to fill in the gaps between acts, keep the show flowing and generally look good.  

PETER LAVERY
Caroline Gerbola on Conchita, Fossett Brothers, Tralee, lreland, 1986 
Copyright Peter Lavery

Caroline performed in ‘The Flying Cherokees’, an aerial act with her husband, as well as her equestrian act in which she shows her horse Conchita. 

Bertram Mills, the famous British circus proprietor, believed that a gentle approach is vital in training horses: “Training secrets?”he said “There are none. Patience, understanding and carrots are the eternal triumvirate. There is no other way with a horse, and never was....!"

THE HARLEY GALLERY
A60 Mansfield Road
Welbeck, Worksop,
Nottinghamshire.

S80 3LW
www.harleygallery.co.uk

February 15, 2018

Women Look at Women @ Richard Saltoun Gallery, London - Curated by Paola Ugolini

WOMEN LOOK AT WOMEN
Curated by Paola Ugolini
Richard Saltoun Gallery, London
15 February – 31 March 2018

WOMEN LOOK AT WOMEN explores feminine identity through the work of thirteen internationally renowned women artists. In this inaugural exhibition at Richard Saltoun’s new gallery in Dover Street, each of the works on show reflects a different aspect of the relationship women have with their own bodies and how they judge and respond to the physicality of other women.

FEATURED ARTISTS

Eleanor ANTIN (b. 1935, Bronx, NY) lives and works in San Diego, CA. A pioneer of conceptual and performance art movements of the 1970s, Antin has worked across photography and staged performances to confront issues of identity, social structures and the role of women.

Renate BERTLMANN (b. 1943, Vienna) lives and works in Vienna, Austria. In the 1970s she was considered too radical to be included in museum exhibitions. 40 years later, Bertlmann, who won the 2017 Austrian State Art Prize, has achieved iconic status to become an inspiration to feminist artists all over the world. Her work focuses on representations of sex, love and relationships.

Elisabetta CATALANO (b. 1944, Rome – d. 2015, Rome). An actress turned photographer, Catalano was described by Alberto Arbasino as a “genius of portraiture masked as a beautiful woman”. Her black and white photographs bring out the inner beauty of the stars and artists that were her trademark subjects.

Helen CHADWICK (b. 1953, Croydon, Surrey – d. 1996, London). A leader of the feminist art movement in 80s and 90s Britain and an inspiration to generations of young artists, including many of the YBAs, Chadwick’s provocative sculptures and installations often use visceral materials to create works of great aesthetic beauty.

Rose ENGLISH (b. 1950, Hereford, UK) lives and works between Denmark and London. English sets up elaborately choreographed productions featuring musicians, dancers, circus performers, magicians and horses to satirize British sensibilities and conventions.

VALIE EXPORT (b. 1940, Linz, Austria) lives and works in Vienna, Austria. Now recognised as one of the most vital feminist artists of the last century, VALIE EXPORT achieved notoriety for her guerrilla performances in the 60s such as Genital Panic where she used her body to provoke a reaction to her political, feminist approach to art.

Rose FINN-KELCEY (b. 1945, London – d. 2014, London). One of the most inventive artists of her generation, Finn-Kelcey’s artistic language spanned all media and scale, using installation and sculpture, and even land art to voice her socio-political messages.

Alexis HUNTER (b. 1948, Auckland, New Zealand – d. 2014, London). An important figure of the feminist art movement in Britain; as an artist and activist, Hunter weaponised photography to reject gender stereotypes and exploitative images from media and advertising.

Friedl KUBELKA (b. 1946, London) lives and works in Vienna, Austria. One of Austria’s major filmmakers and photographers, associated with the Viennese Actionist movement, Kubelka's photographic works focus on the body, autobiography, and identity.

Annegret SOLTAU (b. 1946, Luneburg, Germany) lives and works in Darmstadt, Germany. During the 1970s Soltau held performances where she would bind herself and audience members in black thread, concealing their faces and confronting issues surrounding the body, female identity, censorship and silencing.

Jo SPENCE (b. 1934, London – d. 1992, London). One of Britain’s most important feminist artists, Spence used the camera to redefine the traditional role of women, class and politics, her personal battles with ageing, weight and ultimately, cancer.

Francesca WOODMAN (b. 1958, Denver, Colorado – d. 1981, New York). From age thirteen until her suicide at age 22, Woodman created work using her body as both subject and object. Her adoption of new photographic techniques assured her status as one of the most ground-breaking artists in the history of feminist photography.

Marie YATES (b. 1940, Manchester, UK) lives and works in Crete, Greece. Yates has been making art for over 50 years. Her radical conceptual works address issues of representation, language, sexual difference and fantasy.

Highlights:

In 1974 Eleanor Antin staged a performance in the Californian surfer town Solana Beach, dressed in drag as her fictional character The King of Solana Beach. Wearing a full beard, her gender-binding alias tests preconceptions of male and female roles throughout history. In Men from The King of Solana Beach (1974) we even see “His Majesty” taking a trip to [the men’s] bathroom.

Renate Bertlmann’s Transformations (1969/2013) comprises 53 staged self-portraits, where Bertlmann transforms into different female character types; the free spirit, the demure girl, the mad eccentric, and so forth. Posing for the camera, she performs “femininity” in its many guises, playing a game of seduction with her viewer, whilst staying in full control.

Exhibited at The Venice Biennale in 1984, Ego Geometria Sum (1982-83) maps Helen Chadwick’s history from birth to age thirty. Sculptures reminiscent of mathematic structures or children’s building blocks, layered with surreal tableaux of familiar objects and her naked body, become time capsules; leading us through the artists past.

Friedl Kubelka’s work, Pin Ups (1973-4), are intimately staged self-portraits taken during lone night stays in Parisian no-tell motels. Dressed to provoke, she takes full control of her orchestrated identity, multi-casting herself as a subject of discussion, object of desire, and image maker and choosing how she wants to be presented, on both sides of the lens.

RICHARD SALTOUN
41 Dover Street, London W1S 4NS
www.richardsaltoun.com

Hughie O’Donoghue @ Marlborough Fine Art, London - Scorched Earth

Hughie O’Donoghue: Scorched Earth
Marlborough Fine Art, London 
15 March - 14 April 2018

Hughie O’Donoghue 
Lavender Field’, 2017-18 
Oil on prepared tarpaulin, 179 x 238 cm. 
Courtesy of the artist and Marlborough Fine Art

Marlborough Fine Art presents Scorched Earth, a solo exhibition of new works by acclaimed British artist HUGHIE O'DONOGHUE.

Hughie O’Donoghue often uses historic events and figures from art history as a point of departure in his work. In this exhibition, the artist questions the legacy of Vincent Van Gogh in our collective cultural memory, particularly focusing on the paintings Van Gogh made during the last two years of his life in Arles and St. Remy in the south of France.

Hughie O’Donoghue 
When the Last Fires Have Burned Out’, 2017-18 
Oil on linen canvas, 125 x 158 cm. 
Courtesy of the artist and Marlborough Fine Art

Technically inventive and on a human scale, Hughie O’Donoghue’s richly worked new paintings revisit and reimagine the imagery observed and invented by Van Gogh as he struggled to make a lucid vision manifest while his health deteriorated in demoralising circumstances. Although personally familiar with Arles, St. Remy and the setting of the Saint-Paul asylum where Van Gogh was a patient, having first visited the area in 1973, Hughie O’Donoghue has chosen to situate these paintings in his own immediate environment: the enclosed fields beside his studio. The subject therefore is brought into Hughie O’Donoghue’s own territory and field of vision.

On show are new large scale paintings which reimagine some of the seminal late works of Van Gogh, in particular the lost painting The Painter on the Road to Tarascon but also The Wheatfield with a Reaper and Enclosed Field with a Peasant, both shown in London as part of The Real Van Gogh at The Royal Academy 2010. The encounter with these two paintings sowed the imaginative seeds in Hughie O’Donoghue that have led to this new body of works.

Hughie O’Donoghue 
Photography by Anthony Hobbs 
Courtesy of the artist and Marlborough Fine Art

HUGHIE O'DONOGHUE 

Born in Manchester in 1953, Hughie O'Donoghue lives and works in London and County Mayo, Ireland. He was elected member of the Royal Academy of Arts in 2009 and to Aosdána (an Irish association of artists) in 2013. He has been an artist-in-residence at the National Gallery, London and St John’s College, Oxford. He received an Honorary Doctorate from the National University of Ireland in 2005. Since 2011 the artist’s work has been represented by Marlborough. His work has been exhibited widely in Britain (including solo exhibitions at: Leighton House Museum, London, 2016; University Gallery, Newcastle, 2013; Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal, 2012; Leeds City Art Gallery, 2009; Imperial War Museum, 2003; Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge and touring, 2001-03; and Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, 1999), as well as in Ireland, Germany, France, Holland and the Czech Republic.

A fully illustrated catalogue with an introduction by Martin Gayford accompanies the exhibition.

MARLBOROUGH FINE ART  
6 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4BY
www.marlboroughlondon.com

February 14, 2018

Anthony McCall @ The Hepworth Wakefield - Solid Light Works

Anthony McCall: Solid Light Works
The Hepworth Wakefield 
16 February - 3 June 2018

Anthony McCall
Anthony McCall 
Face to Face (II) (2013) 
Installation view, Eye Film Museum, Amsterdam, 2014 
Photograph by Hans Wilschut

The Hepworth Wakefield presents a major survey of work by British born artist Anthony McCall (b.1946). Solid Light Works is the first UK exhibition of McCall’s work in over a decade and includes the UK premiere of three new ‘solid light’ installations. 

Anthony McCall
Anthony McCall 
Doubling Back (2003) 
Installation view, LAC, Lugano, 2015 
Photograph by Stefania Beretta 

Anthony McCall describes his practice as existing in the space where cinema, sculpture and drawing overlap. He is best known for his large-scale, immersive sculptural light installations that incorporate the visitor and invite them to become active participants in the work.

Anthony McCall said “I am thrilled to be showing in the UK and particularly in the David Chipperfield designed galleries at The Hepworth Wakefield. These carefully proportioned and gently angled spaces are unusually sympathetic to the work on display.”

Anthony McCall
Anthony McCall 
Five Minute Drawing, 1974/2007 
Installation view at the Musée de Rochechouart, 2007 
Photograph by Bruno Barlier

Anthony McCall
Anthony McCall 
Five Minute Drawing, 1974/2007 
Installation view at the Musée de Rochechouart, 2007 
Photograph by Bruno Barlier

The exhibition has been shaped closely with Anthony McCall and explores all facets of his work. It highlights how drawing has been an enduring and essential component of his practice. At the heart of the exhibition, two galleries are devoted to a survey of his graphic works. These rooms emphasize the importance of drawing for Anthony McCall, both as a way to imagine three-dimensional form and to explore temporal structure.

For Anthony McCall, the circle, the straight line, and the wave are the basic elements that underpin his practice and each solid light work is a variation of these drawn shapes, often concealing, revealing or traveling through one another. The exhibition will demonstrate Anthony McCall’s meticulous planning of how a drawn line or shape will behave when rendered as though it were a physical three-dimensional structure. The drawings and notebooks will also show how Anthony McCall’s current work remains in active dialogue with his earliest ideas.

Anthony McCall
Anthony McCall
Face to Face II (2013)
Installation maquette 
The Eye Museum, Amsterdam, 2014

Anthony McCall
Landscape for Fire II (1972) 
16mm film still

Many of the works on paper connect directly to the three solid light installations in the exhibition. Harnessing the full capabilities of digital projection, Anthony McCall’s new installations are minimal in means, using only projected light and a thin mist, yet they create physically powerful works that take on the appearance of sculptural forms in space. These works are in a permanent state of flux, moving slowly through precisely mapped sequences that advance and return in repeating cycles over the course of the day. Visitors are encouraged to engage with the planes and chambers created by the projections which, at their expanded scale, take on almost architectural qualities.

Anthony McCall
Anthony McCall 
Leaving (with Two-Minute Silence) (2006/8).
Pair of working drawings in a set of 24. 
Pencil on paper, each 28 cm x 35 cm

Anthony McCall
Anthony McCall 
Smoke Screen (2017) 
Gelatin silver print, 156 cm x 114 cm.

Anthony McCall began his career in the UK, making outdoor performances based on grids of small fires. Shortly after moving to New York in 1973, he produced his first solid light work, the 16mm film Line Describing a Cone. Anthony McCall went on to produce a number of variations of this piece where, as the projected form unfolded, or swept through the darkened spaces, ambient dust and cigarette smoke created the illusion of volume. These works were related to the Expanded Cinema and Structural Film explorations of the London Filmmakers Cooperative. Line Describing a Cone will be restaged and shown in full at The Hepworth Wakefield over a special weekend of activity during the exhibition.

Anthony McCall withdrew from his artistic practice at the end of the 1970s, establishing a successful graphic design studio that specialised in art publications. He reemerged in the 2000s, propelled by the development of the haze machine and of digital projection, that together enabled him to realise more ambitious concepts. Anthony McCall has attracted international recognition for his work, taking part in numerous important solo and group exhibitions at acclaimed institutions and his work is represented in collections worldwide.

THE HEPWORTH WAKEFIELD
Gallery Walk, Wakefield, West Yorkshire WF15AW
hepworthwakefield.org

February 13, 2018

Axel Kasseböhmer @ Sprüth Magers, Berlin

Axel Kasseböhmer
Sprüth Magers, Berlin
Through April 7, 2018

The new exhibition in Sprüth Magers’ Berlin gallery offers a retrospective look at the work of Axel Kasseböhmer, who passed away last year after a long illness. Though Kasseböhmer consciously pivoted away from various painting trends throughout his lifetime, his work impacted the 1980s Cologne art scene and played a key role in the development of West German painting. He leaves behind a vast, influential body of work characterized by a radical, conceptual approach to painting. 

This spotlight exhibition of Axel Kasseböhmer’s oeuvre is the second show taking over the whole Berlin gallery. Many paintings in the exhibition have long been inaccessible to the public. The show’s main focus is the Walchensee (Lake Walchen) series created during the last years of his life—a never-before-seen body of work and the brilliant finale to a singular, lifelong exploration of painting as a medium. 

Axel Kasseböhmer made a name for himself in the late 1970s while still a student at the Art Academy in Dusseldorf, where he studied under Gerhard Richter and Joseph Beuys. His breakthrough came with a series of enigmatic oil paintings featuring enlarged details from historical paintings, elevating them to a motif in their own right through a play of perception and proportion. At a time when art history was less and less the standard measure in contemporary art, Kasseböhmer—who regularly skipped school as a teenager so that he could visit art museums instead—returned to the classical repertoire. While some motifs in this body of work are fairly easy to trace (his 1985 Picasso-homage Stierschädel [“Bull Skull”] for example), most leave the viewer uncertain as to their origins. Häuser (“Houses,” 1980) for instance, draws on an insignificant architectural detail from a Fra Angelico crucifixion painting. Grünes Kleid mit Rot (“Green Dress with Red,” 1979) inflates a vaguely-familiar excerpt from Jan van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait to a full image motif; the large-scale work Stoff 1 (“Fabric 1,”1981) quotes the folds of a dress in a saint portrait by Francisco de Zurbarán while Landschaft mit Architektur (“Landscape with Architecture,” 1981) cites an arbitrary painting snippet from a neoclassical allegory by Nicolas Poussin. In most cases, Axel Kasseböhmer never saw the original paintings, which hang in the Louvre, the National Gallery or the Prado. Instead, he painted from color reproductions printed in books and catalogues. His works are testament to an incomparable trust in the persuasive power of historical paintings, yet they also have a completely autonomous, sensual and auratic quality of their own. 

Axel Kasseböhmer once said that he ended his quotation-series when it started to be subsumed under the term postmodernism. From that time forward, he concentrated mostly on genres of painting that have been little more than an art historical footnote since Modernism: still life and landscapes, again and again. Kasseböhmer used various styles and methods to systematically probe the possibilities of painting, something that becomes particularly evident in his series of tree, city and marine landscapes from the 1980s and 1990s. His development of original content and a signature formal language was accompanied not only by an increased exploration of the painterly craft, but also with a progressive seriality in which he “played through” this language in an almost musical way. One example is his Meereslandschaften (Seascapes), for which Axel Kasseböhmer used oil paint that was so diluted that it took on a water-like transparency, allowing the paintings to oscillate between naturalism and abstraction. The gestural forms in his Landschaft gelb, grün (“Landscape Yellow, Green”) series, for which he focused on only two shades, point to both environmental themes and the destruction of art. Axel Kasseböhmer’s decided renunciation of irony struck a distinct contrast to many of his contemporary Cologne painter colleagues and their ideas about the end of painting. His pictures confidently counter a time when anything could be made into a mediatized picture and any facet of painting could be conceptually “destroyed.” Instead they try to show the viewer what only painting can do. 

The Walchensee series of large-scale paintings, created in the years before Axel Kasseböhmer’s death after a series of smaller Walchensee landscapes, brings many strands of his lifelong exploration of painting together. He knew that Lovis Corinth’s last landscapes were also created just before his death by a lake in the Alpine foothills of Bavaria. Like Corinth, Axel Kasseböhmer was pursuing a private project in his two Walchensee series: recalling the religious tradition of meditation images, he appears to be confronting his grave illness and immanent death. 

The stylistic elements of these works are in some instances art-historically coded and reminiscent of Corinth, Matisse, Munch or contemporary artists such as Richter, Polke and Lichtenstein. Some draw on experimental painting techniques. The oil paint on these paintings is frequently scratched, combed, dabbed or painted on canvas. Sometimes Kasseböhmer uses the paint in a way that makes it shine; other times, he gives it a matte finish. In some cases it seems virtually transparent; in other instances, it is applied so thick that an orange peel-like texture appears on the surface. The result is a panorama that playfully captures the landscape around Lake Walchen, but also the history of landscape painting and the associated idea of a “landscape of the soul.” These paintings seem both obsolete and exceedingly contemporary at the same time. 

The salient feature of the Walchensee works is their resistance. The images are characterized by a psychological energy that deeply believes in the painting tradition—an energy that also comes through in Axel Kasseböhmer’s last two self-portraits, which are painterly variations of a photograph and can also be seen in the exhibition. In some ways, Kasseböhmer’s entire oeuvre can be understood as an attempt to save the pictorial space of painting and bring it intact—with all its rich knowledge base, technical interplays and entire depth of meaning—into the present day. Axel Kasseböhmer was always aware that this attempt was doomed to failure from the outset. His work is based on the belief that it is nevertheless important to continue trying. It is an oeuvre that sees in painting a model of hope and a lifeline—expressing the conviction that painting can be so much more than life. 

Axel Kasseböhmer (1952-2017) lived and worked in Munich. His works have been shown in institutions including Deichtorhallen, Hamburg; Guggenheim Museum, New York; ICA, Boston; Kunsthalle, St. Gallen; Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf; Kunstverein München; Leopold-Hoesch-Museum, Düren; Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt; The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Axel Kasseböhmer’s paintings are in various collections including MoMA, New York; Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt and Pinakotheken, Munich.

Sprüth Magers 
Oranienburger Straße 18, 10178 Berlin
www.spruethmagers.com

Anthony McCall @ Sprüth Magers, London

Anthony McCall
Sprüth Magers, London
February 22 - March 31, 2018

Sprüth Magers presents a solo exhibition by British born, New York based, Anthony McCall, to coincide with a major survey of his work at The Hepworth Wakefield. On view in the lower galleries is the solid-light work Meeting You Halfway II (2009), as well as a selection of large-scale silver gelatin photographs from Smoke Screen (2017)—an entirely new series that marks a departure in the artist’s practice. 

Anthony McCall began his career in the UK making landscape performances and performative film and photographic works, before moving to New York in 1973. The same year, he initiated the solid light series with his seminal Line Describing a Cone, in which a volumetric form composed of projected light slowly evolves in three-dimensional space. He became associated with the London Filmmakers Cooperative in the 1970s and showed work there including the five hour solid-light installation Long Film for Four Projectors. 

After a long hiatus, Anthony McCall returned to his solid light works in the early 2000s, and began a new series. He moved to digital animation which enabled him to animate more complex interactions, and he used haze machines to ensure the visibility of his projected forms. He began making vertical as well as horizontally oriented installations. These immersive, sensory installations could be said to occupy the liminal spaces between sculpture, cinema and drawing. 

In the basement gallery, Meeting You Halfway II (2009) projects two identical partial ellipses, that expand and contract at different speeds, angles and proportions from each other. Occasionally the forms and mobile planes of light align perfectly, but only ever for a fraction of a second. Visitors are encouraged to actively manipulate the changing light constellation by physically passing through it, thereby navigating the shifting environment within the exhibition space. The dialogic nature of Meeting You Halfway II is characteristic of the immersive and participatory conditions that are so celebrated in Anthony McCall’s oeuvre. 

On view in the lower-ground space are five photographs from Anthony McCall’s newest series, Smoke Screen (2017). These photographic studies are meditations on the “smoke” that has been central to Anthony McCall’s practice during the near-fifty years since he developed Landscape for Fire (1972-1974) and started the solid light series of the 1970s. Until now, this crucial component of the artist’s practice has not been explored formally in isolation. Smoke Screen had its roots in Swell (2015), an installation that Anthony McCall made for the Nevada Art Museum. The forms within the photographic series, though close to one another, reveal the striking evolution of the smoke’s drift, capturing its mesmerizing meteorological effect in two-dimensional form. Unlike many of Anthony McCall’s earlier graphic series, Smoke Screen is non-sequential and each image is autonomous. Two further works from the series, as well as a number of solid light works, are on view in Anthony McCall: Solid Light Works at The Hepworth Wakefield, West Yorkshire, from 16th February to 3rd June 2018. 

Anthony McCall (b. 1946, London) lives and works in New York city. He was awarded the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow in 2008. Solo shows include Nevada Museum of Art, Reno (2016), Lac Museo Cantonale d’Arte, Lugano (2015), Sean Kelly Gallery, New York (2015), Eye Filmmuseum, Amsterdam (2014), Deichtorhallen Hamburg, Hamburg (2013), Les Abattoirs, Toulouse (2013), Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, St. Gallen (2013), Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louise, Missouri (2013), Galerie Martine Aboucaya, Paris (2013), Project Room, New York (2012), Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne (2012), Tate Modern, London (2012), MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt (2011). Group shows include Queensland Art Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane (2016), Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2016), Neon Foundation, Athens (2016), Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2015), Museum of Contemporary Art, Sidney (2015), Centre Pompidou-Metz, Metz (2014), Hayward Gallery, London (2013), The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, Los Angeles (2012), Museum of Modern Art, New York (2011), Whitechapel Gallery, London (2009). 

Sprüth Magers, London
7A Grafton Street, London, W1S 4EJ
www.spruethmagers.com

Robert Irwin @ Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles

Robert Irwin
Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles 
Through April 21, 2018 

It would be difficult to overstate the importance of Robert Irwin’s work, both to the art history of his native Southern California and across contemporary art more broadly. In the late 1960s, he shifted focus from creating traditional art objects to producing sculptures and installations that explore perception and the very conditions of art viewing. Irwin has continued to push the boundaries of artistic practice into the twenty-first century through installations precisely conditioned to the sites they occupy, both inside and outside the walls of cultural institutions. It is with great pleasure that Sprüth Magers announces its first exhibition with the artist, several years in the making, on view at the Los Angeles gallery. It is the first large-scale presentation of Irwin's work in Los Angeles since 2011. 

In keeping with Robert Irwin’s experimental approach to light, space, and the phenomenological experience of the viewer, the artist has produced an immersive installation comprising an arrangement of scrims that responds directly to the architectural layout and visual qualities of Sprüth Magers’ modernist interior. As he wrote in Artforum in 2016, “The scrim is a great material; it both is there and it’s not.” Irwin has used scrim since the early 1970s as a means to alter viewers’ experience of their environment; by stretching it to create new interior walls and pathways, he deploys a simple material to shift space in radical ways. 

At Sprüth Magers, the gallery’s interior walls have been removed, exposing the large windows that surround the 5,000-square-foot exhibition space for the first time since the gallery opened in 2016. Inside this glass box, slender pillars are placed along the building’s architectural grid and around its central load- bearing column. Robert Irwin’s semitransparent white scrim connects several of the pillars to form impenetrable, but see-through, chambers that reach to the ceiling. If Robert Irwin’s scrims are understood as a vertical axis, a series of black squares cuts through them along a horizontal one, via tinted squares on the gallery’s windows, square spray-painted atop the scrims, and a row of square black paintings lining one remaining gallery wall. These recurring shapes create visual sight lines that link interior and exterior, moving from the nuances Robert Irwin’s site-conditioned installation to the bustle of cars and pedestrians moving along Wilshire Boulevard, visible through the tinted glass. Viewers moving through this layered space, from different angles and at different times of day, have distinctly attuned experiences. 

On the gallery’s second level, several of the dynamics at play on the floor below are inverted. Newly constructed walls block out most of the room’s windows, and surrounding a central wall of black scrim, four of Irwin’s fluorescent light sculptures emanate shades of reds, pale greens and yellows, and soft whites. Irwin constructs these works using rows of vertical neon tubes, tinting them using theatrical gels, electrical tape and spray paint, and lining their colors into symmetrical patterns. The artist’s evocative titles (Faust and Misty Miss Christy, for example, the latter named for singer June Christy) add an additional hint of narrative potential to the sculptures’ otherwise minimalist, industrial forms. 

Visible only in natural light, during daylight hours, the exhibition at Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, will highlight Robert Irwin’s long-standing investigations into the subtle, yet significant ways in which the spaces we navigate affect our understanding of and relationship to the world around us. 

ROBERT IRWIN (b. 1928, Long Beach, California) has been working at the forefront of modern and contemporary art for the last six decades. Major solo exhibitions include All the Rules Will Change at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC (2016), Primaries and Secondaries at the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego (2007), and a large-scale retrospective organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, that traveled to the Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne, the Musée d'art moderne de la Ville de Paris, and the Reina Sofía, Madrid (1993-1995). Since the early 1970s, Irwin has created site-conditioned installations at institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego and La Jolla; and the Chinati Foundation, Marfa, Texas, among many others. The artist has also designed major architectural and environmental installations at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Dia:Beacon, and the Getty Center. The recipient of numerous awards, including the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Architecture (2009), a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship (1984), and a Guggenheim Fellowship (1976), Robert Irwin lives in San Diego. 

The exhibition Robert Irwin: Site Determined is on view concurrently at the University Art Museum, California State University Long Beach, through April 15, 2018. 

Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles
5900 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036
www.spruethmagers.com

February 12, 2018

Kupka. Pionnier de l’abstraction, Grand Palais, Paris

Kupka. Pionnier de l’abstraction 
Grand Palais, Paris
21 mars – 30 juillet 2018

Première rétrospective, depuis l’exposition de 1975-1976 au Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum de New York et au Kunsthaus de Zurich, et celle de 1989 au Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris, elle couvre l’ensemble de l’œuvre de l’artiste, de ses débuts marqués par le symbolisme jusqu’à ses dernières réalisations dans les années cinquante. Grâce au parcours européen de František Kupka (1871-1957), enraciné dans sa Bohème natale, formé dans la Vienne fin de siècle et dans le Paris des avant-gardes, l’exposition conduit à une nouvelle approche de deux courants majeurs des XIXe et XXe siècles, le symbolisme et l’abstraction, dont Kupka fut l’un des principaux acteurs.

Conjuguant parcours chronologique et thématique, cette exposition rassemble quelque 300 œuvres – peintures, dessins, gravures, manuscrits, journaux, livres illustrés, photographies et films – déployées en cinq sections qui permettent au public d’entrer de façon attractive dans l’univers spécifique du créateur : Chercher sa voie ; Un nouveau départ ; Inventions et classifications ; Réminiscences et synthèses ; et enfin Ultimes renouvellements.

Elle met l’accent sur les moments-clés de sa période créatrice, les chefs-d’œuvre symbolistes et les premiers portraits expressionnistes parisiens, son passage à l’abstraction en 1912, le cycle des peintures organiques saturées de couleurs, l’abstraction géométrique finale tout en évoquant des épisodes moins connus comme la période dite « machiniste » à la fin des années vingt.

L’exposition met également en valeur la personnalité riche et singulière de František Kupka, habité par une quête existentielle et souligne son intérêt pour la philosophie, les cultures anciennes et orientales, les religions, la poésie ou encore la science.

​Cette exposition est organisée par la Réunion des musées nationaux-Grand Palais en partenariat avec le Centre Pompidou, Paris, la Národní Galerie v Praze, Prague, et l’Ateneum Art Museum, Helsinki. Elle sera présentée par la Galerie nationale de Prague au Palais Wallenstein du 7 septembre 2018 au 20 janvier 2019 puis à l’Ateneum Art Museum, à Helsinki, du 21 février au 19 mai 2019.

Commissariat de l'exposition : Brigitte Leal, conservatrice générale, directrice adjointe chargée des collections du Musée national d’art moderne - Centre Pompidou ; Markéta Theinhardt, historienne de l’art, Sorbonne Université,  et Pierre Brullé, historien de l’art.

GRAND PALAIS, PARIS
www.grandpalais.fr

Colin Brant @ Jeff Bailey Gallery, Hudson, NY - People of the Forest

Colin Brant: People of the Forest 
Jeff Bailey Gallery, Hudson, NY 
February 10 – March 18, 2018

COLIN BRANT
Owl #3, 2016  
Oil on canvas, 20 x 36 inches
Courtesy the artist and Jeff Bailey Gallery, Hudson

When is the familiar unfamiliar? Colin Brant’s paintings of landscapes, birds and animals register with recognition, but unfold through improvisation and memory.

The mystic concentration of Nabis like Bonnard is inflected with the joy and color of the Fauves. With jungle cats and unblinking owls, the specter of the Douanier Rousseau lurks nearby. Landscape is refracted for effects both empathic and naïve, distant and interior. The tension between passages of loose-limbed brushwork and precisely calculated color harmonies, even a carefully detailed bird in a forest of blurs and veils, induces the dreamlike focus of a slow-motion nature documentary. 

In these realms of foliage and camouflage, a space is built with paint for a journey of discovery and delight.

COLIN BRANT (born 1965) received a BA from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1987 and an MFA from The University of Iowa in 1995. His work has been exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions. He received a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Painting in 2002 and a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant in 1998. He lives and works in North Bennington, Vermont.

JEFF BAILEY GALLERY
127 Warren Street, Hudson, NY 12534
www.baileygallery.com

Ruby Palmer @ Jeff Bailey Gallery, Hudson, NY

Ruby Palmer
Jeff Bailey Gallery, Hudson, NY
February 10 – March 18, 2018

Ruby Palmer
RUBY PALMER
Blue Lines, 2016
Painted basswood on support, 21 x 12 inches
Courtesy the artist and Jeff Bailey Gallery, Hudson

Jeff Bailey Gallery presents an exhibition of new work by RUBY PALMER.

Ruby Palmer’s constructions swivel easily from overhead to underfoot, from aerial perspective to crystal lattice, branching trees or forest floor. They are arrangements that trouble the distinction between painting and object, their aggregate structure creating a boardwalk between the two.

Strips of painted basswood stack and fan like dominoes, compounding their flatness. Closely layered planes seem to tunnel downward and expand outward. Infinitely suggestive, a scaffold for association, they summon leaf forms, fireworks, minerals, pinwheels, sketches for fantastic architecture.

RUBY PALMER (born 1969) received a BA in Painting from Hampshire College in 1992 and an MFA from the School of Visual Arts in 2000. Her work has been exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions including Campsite: Hudson Valley Artists 2016, Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, SUNY New Paltz, NY. She received a Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant in 1999. She lives and works in Rhinecliff, New York.

JEFF BAILEY GALLERY
127 Warren Street, Hudson, NY 12534
www.baileygallery.com

February 11, 2018

Maria Lai @ Marianne Boesky Gallery, Aspen, Colorado - Invito a Tavola

Maria Lai: Invito a Tavola 
Marianne Boesky Gallery, Aspen, Colorado
February 23 - April 8, 2018

Marianne Boesky Gallery presents Invito a Tavola, an exhibition dedicated to the work of artist MARIA LAI (1919–2013). The exhibition highlights Lai’s career-long commitment to community, from her early drawings depicting the women of her hometown in Sardinia to a major late-career installation that invokes ideas of communion and for which the exhibition is titled. Invito a Tavola marks Maria Lai’s first solo exhibition in the U.S. since 1956, and provides an intimate portrait of the late artist through one of the most enduring themes from her illustrious sixty-year practice. The exhibition is the first organized by the gallery since it commenced representation of the artist’s archive in November 2017.

The exhibition is anchored by the installation Invito a Tavola (The Invitation Table), which is comprised of a large-scale table, measuring approximately nine feet in length and three feet in width, set with terracotta-cast breads and books. The work, created in 2004, expresses Lai’s deeply felt belief that art provides essential nourishment for the soul, and at the same time suggests the importance of breaking bread as a means of binding communities together and healing discord. The installation also underscores Lai’s experimentation, play, and mastery of materials, which can also be seen in her extensive work with textiles. Invito a Tavola has not previously been displayed in the U.S., and is one of only two such installations produced by the artist. The second is on display in Lai’s birthplace, Ulassai, at the Stazione Dell’Arte, a museum dedicated to Maria Lai’s work.

The exhibition also features a selection of Maria Lai’s early drawings, which depict the women of Ulassai in their daily routines. Inspired by the poetry and teachings of her close friend and mentor Salvatore Cambosu, and concerned in particular with the female voice, Lai developed a rhythmic visual language that interpreted the domestic and social lives of these women. Her drawings and watercolors, produced between 1958 and 1965, gave way to a deep and long-lasting engagement with the loom and textiles—one that would shift her focus from realistic representation to an interrogation of gesture and the collective experience. Indeed, the large-scale tapestry included in Invito a Tavola includes the line, “Every work of art must become bread to be shared at a common table.”

Perhaps even more than her object-based practice, performance and community-activated engagement were at the core of Maria Lai’s career. Her most famous of these works is Legarsi alla Montagne (To Bind to the Mountain), which she created in 1981 as a “monument to the living” in response to a request to make a war memorial in Ulassai. In this social action, inspired by a local legend, neighbors tied blue fabric together, creating a single ribbon that wove around homes and other structures until it encircled a peak that overlooked the town. The performative work served to physically and metaphorically bind the town, mountain, and people, establishing a sense of community and bringing the individual into a bigger whole. This work led to the development of other social actions initiated by Maria Lai in cities across Italy and Europe.

MARIA LAI was born in Ulassai, Sardinia in 1919. Though her early artistic endeavors took her to Rome and Venice, she was often drawn back to the customs and histories of the island, and in particular to the lives and voices of the women who lived there. Over the course of her illustrious sixty-year career, her work was shown extensively in solo exhibitions throughout Italy and Europe, and she was invited to participate in group shows across the globe, including at the Venice Biennale of 1978. In addition to her visual and social arts practice, which encompassed works on paper, sculpture, textiles, performances, and community actions, Maria Lai collaborated with several theater companies, including Fueddu and Gestu. She received a degree from the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice in 1943, and in 2004, she was awarded an honorary degree in Literature from the University of Cagliari. Following her death in 2013 in Cardedu, institutions in the towns of Cagilari, Nuoro, and Ulassai came together to present a major, joint retrospective of Maria Lai’s work. Most recently, her work was included in documenta14 in Athens and the Venice Biennale, both in 2017, and in March of 2018, the Uffizi Gallery Museum in Florence, Italy will open a retrospective of her practice.

BOESKY WEST
100 South Spring Street, Aspen, CO 81611
www.marianneboeskygallery.com

Les Hollandais à Paris, Petit Palais, Paris

Les Hollandais à Paris, 1789-1914
Van Gogh, Van Dongen, Mondrian...
Petit Palais, Paris
Jusqu'au 13 mai 2018

Vincent van Gogh
Vincent van Gogh
Vue depuis l’appartement de Theo, 1887 
Huile sur toile 
Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum (Vincent Van Gogh Foundation)

Le Petit Palais présente actuellement, en collaboration avec le musée Van Gogh d’Amsterdam et le RKD (Institut Néerlandais d’Histoire de l’Art) de la Haye, la première grande exposition en France dédiée aux riches échanges artistiques, esthétiques et amicaux entre les peintres hollandais et français à Paris, de la fin du XVIIIe siècle jusqu’au début du XXe siècle. Cent quinze œuvres empruntées aux plus grands musées des Pays-Bas, mais aussi à d’autres musées européens et américains, jalonnent ce parcours retraçant un siècle de révolutions picturales.

Le parcours chronologique raconte ces liens qui se sont noués entre les artistes hollandais et leurs confrères français, les influences, échanges et enrichissements mutuels à travers les figures de neuf peintres néerlandais : Gérard van Spaendonck pour la fin du XVIIIe et Ary Scheffer pour la génération romantique ; Johan Jongkind, Jacob Maris et Frederik Kaemmerer pour le milieu du XIXe siècle, George Breitner et Vincent van Gogh pour la fin du XIXe siècle et enfin Kees van Dongen et Piet Mondrian pour le début du XXe siècle. Leurs œuvres sont présentées aux côtés de celles d’artistes français contemporains comme Géricault, David, Corot, Millet, Boudin, Monet, Cézanne, Signac, Braque, Picasso... afin d’établir des correspondances et comparaisons.

Johan Barthold Jongkind
Johan Barthold Jongkind 
Rue Notre-Dame, Paris, 1866 
Huile sur toile
© Collection Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. Purchased with the support of
the BankGiro Lottery, the Rijksmuseum Fonds and the Vereniging Rembrandt,
with additional funding from the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds

Jacob Maris
Jacob Maris
Le Peintre Frederik Kaemmerer au travail à Oosterbeek, 1861 
Huile sur papier marouflé sur bois  
Dordrecht, Dordrechts Museum
© Dordrecht, Dordrechts Museum

Frederik Hendrik Kaemmerer
Frederik Hendrik Kaemmerer 
Vue de Scheveningue, vers 1870 
Huile sur toile 
La Haye, Haags Historisch Museum 
© Collection Haags Historisch Museum

De 1789 à 1914, plus d’un millier d’artistes hollandais se rendent en France, attirés par la Ville-Lumière et le dynamisme de sa vie artistique. Paris est en effet la destination prisée de nombre d’artistes du monde entier. Elle attire par les multiples possibilités qu’elle offre : son enseignement, les opportunités de carrière, la richesse de ses musées et un marché de l’art en plein essor. Les séjours des artistes néerlandais, plus ou moins longs, sont parfois le premier pas vers une installation définitive en France. Ces artistes ont en tout cas une influence décisive sur le développement de la peinture hollandaise, certains comme Maris ou Breitner diffusant des idées nouvelles à leur retour en Hollande. De la même manière, des figures comme Jongkind ou Van Gogh apportent à leurs camarades français, des thèmes, des couleurs, des manières proches de la sensibilité néerlandaise.

George Hendrik Breitner
George Hendrik Breitner 
Le Kimono rouge, 1893 
Huile sur toile, Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum 
© Collection Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

Le parcours chronologique s’ouvre sur l’œuvre de Van Spaendonck, jeune artiste ambitieux spécialisé dans la peinture de fleurs qui arrive à Paris en 1769. Par son talent et ses relations bien placées, il est nommé en 1793 professeur de dessin botanique au jardin des Plantes. Ami de Jacques-Louis David, Van Spaendonck devient une personnalité importante de la vie artistique parisienne et fait figure de précurseur pour toute une génération de peintres néerlandais qui souhaitent faire le voyage jusqu’à Paris. Ary Scheffer est l’un d’entre eux. Il s’installe dans la capitale en 1811 et devient l’un des artistes les plus en vue sous le règne de Louis-Philippe. Parrainant de nombreux jeunes artistes français, il est l’un des relais essentiels entre les Pays-Bas et la France.

Vincent van Gogh
Vincent van Gogh 
Autoportrait, 1887 
Huile sur carton,
Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)

Vincent van Gogh
Vincent van Gogh 
Le Boulevard de Clichy, 1887 
Huile sur toile 
Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)

Vincent van Gogh
Vincent van Gogh 
Jardins potagers et moulins à Montmartre, 1887 
Huile sur toile 
Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)

À partir du milieu du XIXe siècle, l’afflux d’artistes étrangers dans la capitale française devient de plus en plus important. Le succès des expositions universelles en est l’une des raisons. C’est à cette période que s’installent les peintres Jongkind, Maris et Kaemmerer. Ils fréquentent assidûment les cafés et se lient d’amitié avec les artistes français, tels Boudin ou Monet avec Jongkind ou tout du moins ils observent attentivement leur peinture comme Maris très influencé par l’école de Barbizon. Cette vie artistique foisonnante inspire leur manière de peindre. Le développement du marché de l’art leur permet également de mieux se faire connaître. Kaemmerer profite en effet de ses liens avec la galerie Goupil pour accroître sa renommée.

À la fin du XIXe siècle et jusqu’au début du XXe siècle, l’attrait pour Paris est à son apogée. La capitale est un passage obligé pour tous les artistes internationaux. Breitner, Van Gogh, Van Dongen puis Mondrian ne font pas exception. 

Jan Sluijters
Jan Sluijters
Bal Tabarin, 1907 
Huile sur toile
Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum 
© Collection Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

Piet van der Hem
Piet van der Hem 
Le Moulin-Rouge, vers 1908-1909 
Collection particulière
© Photo by courtesy Mark Smit, Omnen. Piet van der Hem droits réservés

Breitner ne reste pas longtemps à Paris, mais les artistes français et notamment Degas le marquent durablement et influencent sa peinture. Vincent van Gogh lui y restera deux ans. Son séjour sera décisif pour l’évolution de son style. Il se lie d’amitié avec de nombreux artistes comme Emile Bernard, Toulouse-Lautrec, Camille Pissarro, Signac… Aux contacts des impressionnistes, sa palette s’éclaircit et sa touche devient plus déliée. Kees van Dongen quant à lui fait partie des artistes qui s’installent définitivement à Paris. La vie nocturne parisienne le fascine et constitue le sujet principal de ses tableaux aux couleurs vives et violentes. 

Au début du XXe siècle, Piet Mondrian voit également son style évoluer grâce à ses séjours parisiens. En 1912, il s’y installe pour y trouver un nouveau souffle et poursuivre son cheminement de la figuration vers l’abstraction au contact des toiles de Braque et Picasso.

Piet Mondrian
Piet Mondrian 
Paysage avec arbres, 1912
Huile sur toile
© Collection Gemeentemuseum, La Haye 

Piet Mondrian
Piet Mondrian 
Composition XIV (Compositie XIV), 1913 
Huile sur toile 
Collection Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Pays-Bas 
© Photo Peter Cox, Eindhoven, The Netherlands

La scénographie de l’exposition plonge le public dans des univers très différents pour chacun des neuf peintres hollandais présentés et donne des clés pour comprendre leur époque.

Une salle dédiée à la médiation est intégrée dans le circuit de l’exposition. Intitulé L’atelier du peintre, cet espace propose aux visiteurs de découvrir et d’expérimenter la technique des peintres présentés et l’évolution marquante de leur style. Un audioguide accompagne les visiteurs.

Commissariat de l'exposition :
Edwin Becker : conservateur en chef des expositions, musée Van Gogh, Amsterdam
Stéphanie Cantarutti : conservatrice en chef au Petit Palais
Mayken Jonkman : conservatrice en chef, RKD – Institut Néerlandais d’Histoire de l’Art, La Haye
Christophe Leribault : directeur du Petit Palais

PETIT PALAIS 
Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris
www.petitpalais.paris.fr