“artist”

Through the wormhole

Journalist, art critic and former head editor of AMA, Clément Thibault is also an exhibition curator, currently presenting “Wormholes”… In other words, a two-part exhibition, jointly curated with Mathieu Weiler. Showing in Paris, at the Galerie Laure Roynette and at La Ruche.   After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the USSR, our ideological system believed itself, for a time, to be victorious. The fact that some thinkers including Francis Fukuyama conceived that History had reached its end is a symptom of this stance. Of course, events would continue to occur, but the world’s march towards liberal and democratic consensus was underway and nothing more could stop it. It was the end of the dialectic of History, survived by a single immortal system. The new millennium on the horizon could only become a continuum. Nearly 30 years later, things have changed a great deal. Democratic systems are quivering, trembling, troubled by internal or external threats. Shaken by doubts that either produce inwardness (as incarnated by the virulent debate between nationalists and globalists) or openness. Critical openness, a questioning of values. Post-modernism had already started this task of re-examining History and art history, but with regard to modernism alone. Today, all hegemonic foundations of our culture are being challenged, some of them centuries old. Foundations of a culture that is Western in its focus, namely historical, capitalistic in its economy, bourgeois in its social character, white in terms of race, masculine in terms of its dominant sex. The artists at this double-exhibition, “Wormholes” (the first part at the Galerie Laure Roynette, the second at La Ruche), operate in this context. First things first: a wormhole, in physics, is a hypothetical object that links two distinct regions of space-time, a sort of shortcut between two dimensions. Poetically,...

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Where are our art schools going?

At a time when European tertiary education is undergoing reform, French art schools make a claim to certain specificities. Between standardisation and identity, they need to evolve today while affirming their differences… So what’s the future of our public art schools?   Should public art schools be a place to train artists and citizens to experiment on their reflections? Or should they, above all, seek competitiveness on an international level? It all depends on your point of view… The standardisation of higher-education establishments in Europe, imposed by European ministers ever since the 1999 Bologna Process, using the university system as a basis, meets two major objectives: facilitating the mobility of students and promoting Europe’s renown internationally. But any harmonisation process requires adjustments that need to take into account the specificities of each player. This investigation aims to give a voice to those who contribute to reflection on French art schools: artists, teachers and directors of schools. What are the unique features of these art schools? How can the reform be tweaked so that it can be incorporated into these schools?   Learning to look at the world The first specificity of art schools resides in the content of their teaching. They teach students to take a different approach, to unlearn. “We teach a way of approaching the world, of creating an imaginary world, rather than technical knowledge,” explains artist Bruno Peinado. He describes his role as a teacher at the École Européenne Supérieure d’Art de Bretagne as the following: “Teaching students to look at the world and to create an imaginary realm from this impression. Teaching them to get rid of automatic responses and savoir-faire, in order to enrich their vocabulary. It’s a school for unlearning before recommitting to something else which would be based on the singularity of...

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Rens Lipsius’ Ideal Artist Houses

New York, Paris, Amsterdam… Rens Lipsius laid down the foundations of his Ideal Artist Houses concept by meeting up with artists like John Coplans and Dennis Oppenheim, collectors, or else simple art lovers. Lipsius, or the art of seeing art differently.   Since the 1980s, he’s come up with his Ideal Artist Houses, spread out over the United States, the Netherlands and France, each conceived as a “complete work” in itself. A one-time artistic director of the Fondation Icar in Paris, Rens Lipsius has a global vision of the art world, the market, and his influences. We retrace the story of this globetrotting painter who has followed an original itinerary.   How was your Ideal Artist Houses concept born? Rembrandt once said about the act of painting: “All it takes is to pick up a brush and to paint.” I partly agree with this idea, but there’s nothing straightforward about starting a painting! You have to get hold of the tools to stimulate yourself. And for me, this is about creating an environment, a context that promotes the creative act. Setting up a space that is physiologically adapted to one’s needs acts as encouragement to the eyes. And of course, the Ideal Artist Houses didn’t suddenly pop up.   Before devoting yourself to painting, you started out as a photographer. How did you make the transition from one form to the other? I embarked on a photography career at the age of 20, but painting was always present. Very early on, I felt that the subject that interested me most of all was light. Because both in photography and in painting, everything is about light. In photography, this is translated fairly directly by chemical sensitivity, whereas in painting, it’s a matter of interpreting this light. As a teenager, I already...

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Antoni Clavé, a multiplier

In Paris, until 25 February, the BnF is presenting a short but stunning retrospective featuring lithographs and engravings by Antoni Clavé, accompanied by the publication of a new catalogue raisonné on his engravings. Spotlight on this event. Antoni Clavé once bathed in glory but over time, the tide has ebbed. In the 1950s up to the 1980s, his models, his kings and warriors, and his bullfights in earthy ochre and black tones gained a certain renown. Subjects that might seem a little dated today, like Bernard Buffet and his clowns some would argue. “Above all, he was a humble artist who steered clear of honours,” remarks Aude Hendgen, an art historian for the Archives de Clavé and head of the catalogue raisonné recently published by Skira. “In Barcelona, he always refused having a museum devoted to him despite several proposals.” A Clavé Galerie does exist, but in Japan: the first venue to be entirely dedicated to the artist, designed by Tadao Ando, and inaugurated in March 2011 in Yamanashi, near Tokyo – after the artist’s death, therefore, in 2005. Today, the exhibition at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (BnF), “Antoni Clavé, estampes”, mounted following the donation of 92 prints by Clavé’s grandchildren, displays fifty or so pieces executed between 1955 and 1995. The fruit of numerous techniques: lithography, etching, aquatinting, engraving, carborundum engraving, goffering, collage and lithography on Kraft paper. The exhibition’s aim, according to one of its curators Céline Chicha-Castex, is to establish a link between Clavé’s engraved and painted work, and to reveal a few of his references. But above all, it is to bring back into the spotlight an artist who has been a little neglected, left in the shadows of other great Catalans: Antoni Clavé, the bridge that one could nonetheless place between Joan Miró and...

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David LaChapelle: Love after the Flood

If you’re a fan of James Bidgood’s kitsch-erotic imagery, then you’ll love David LaChapelle’s trash-pop. With a dominant streak of fetishism and obsessive neurosis, After the Deluge is a dive head-first into a universe saturated with colour. After the deluge runs at the Museum of Fine Arts, Mons, until 25 February.   Those discovering David LaChapelle for the first time should be aware that some scenes may offend the sensibilities of the uninitiated. With hermaphrodite angels, naked girls straddling giant mushrooms, forewarned is forearmed! Encompassing porn-chic and transgressive visions, if transgender beauties make you squirm and masturbatory fictions provoke a nervous sweat, it might be best to give this particular exhibition a miss. Conversely, maybe it’s the perfect opportunity to explore the buried impulses, neurotic obsessions and wild thoughts that lie in the uncharted waters beyond your comfort zone – if so, the new hang at the Museum of the Fine Arts in Mons devoted to the (very) subversive David LaChapelle, might please you after all… One of the many urban myths in circulation about David LaChapelle, is the rumour that his first picture was of his mother Helga, in a bikini, Martini glass in hand, on a Puerto Rican terrace. If this particular urban myth is to be believed, it would sum up the work the photographer and film director born in Fairfield, Connecticut (1963) well; LaChapelle is the angry child of fashion and advertising. Moving to New York before the age of 20, a job at Studio 54, centre of the New York underground scene, and then – crucially – a meeting with the Pope of Pop art, Andy Warhol, with whom he would go on to collaborate for Interview magazine. David LaChapelle has become the Basquiat of the C-print. A post-modern Jérôme Bosch Despite all this,...

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