“artist”

Bertrand Lavier, an a cappella interview

Following a long collaboration with the gallerist Yvon Lambert, Bertrand Lavier is, for the first time, showing work at the Almine Rech gallery. The artist is presenting a set of works from different “construction sites”, series that he gradually picks up over time as his work evolves. A guided tour.   Bertrand, your exhibition starts with a “painting room”… Here, I present several series of works, including new “Walt Disney Productions”. These works have classic frames, which give them a kitsch insolence. Stemming from one fiction – the one drawn by Walt Disney – they tip over to another – one associated with the field of art. These bright white wooden frames with foliage and arabesques highlight their artificial aspect. This is the first time that you’re using frames even if they were already present in the 1947 Walt Disney cartoon Mickey at the Museum of Modern Art. The Walt Disney Productions “construction site” started in 1984 with a series of Cibachromes, then ink jets on canvas until 2013, the year when I started painting on these prints. It was also in 1984 that I started covering mirrors with a “Van Gogh touch”. From 2011, I stopped covering their entire surface but instead would paint them with a “brushstroke touch” immortalised by Roy Lichtenstein. This way, I appropriated a fundamental gesture from contemporary painting and used it on the mirrors and Walt Disney Productions. This gesture, freer than the “Van Gogh” touch, allows me to easily follow the curves of painted motifs. For the Walt Disney Productions presented here, the fact that the whole of the canvas isn’t covered with paint means that the motif of the serigraphed outline is left visible, showing the stages preceding the final result. Have you used all the works that Mickey and Minnie discover...

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Peter Campus, withdrawal and extension

The Musée du Jeu de Paume is devoting a rare and beautiful retrospective to the work of Peter Campus, a video-art pioneer who remains too little known in France. From collective introspection to the serenity of his recent years, we take a glimpse at his trajectory. It’s a shame how rare are the opportunities that arise to see Peter Campus’ work in France. Only one appearance stands out in the last five years. That was in 2015, at the Galerie mfc-michèle didier exhibition “Anarchive, Affinités / Diversités”, presenting a collection of interactive multimedia projects. On that occasion, Peter Campus’ video offshore (2013) was presented: a fixed shot of the banks of Shinnecock Bay (New York State) synthesized into large reworked pixels. The last solo exhibition of Peter Campus in France dates all the way back to 1993: a project at La Box, the gallery of the École Nationale Supérieure d’Art de Bourges. And there’s a good reason for this rarity… If Peter Campus’ video work is so little displayed, it’s because they’re a real headache to show. Regarding Optical Sockets (1972-1973), made up of four video-surveillance cameras placed on tripods on floor-level, each at a corner of a square, with four monitors superimposing the images of visitors penetrating the field of the camera’s range, the video artist exclaims: “We took two days simply to adjust the settings of this installation!” More than mere logistical issues, his setups also gave him cause to worry about the endurance of his work. “Once the work is switched off, it’s over. It’s not as if it could stay present like a sculpture in a museum. I didn’t know if my installations could live more than a few years,” he explained to Mathilde Roman in the exhibition catalogue. With “peter campus, video ergo sum”,...

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Rendezvous at the Patinoire Royale!

It’s a majestic space stretching over nearly 3,000 m2, which once delighted roller skaters. Today it’s an exhibition space with a difference, in the middle of Brussels. We spend an hour with Valérie Bach and find out about her commitment to contemporary art… at the heart of a historic monument. Valérie Bach moved to Brussels in 2005. At that time, she opened her first art gallery in the Sablon district. It was in 2007 that she and her husband discovered La Patinoire Royale, a neo-classical building constructed in 1877 right in the centre of the Belgian capital. Semi-circular arch windows, a magnificent Polonceau structure, period glasswork… They fell in love with it immediately, and very soon after, the couple bought the site. As of 2012, the Galerie Valérie Bach began presenting its programme on this site in the wing looking out onto Rue Faider, while restoration of the building’s nave continued, overseen by the Jean-Paul Hermant and Pierre Yovanovitch architecture firms. It was thus in April 2015 that Valérie Bach, along with her director Constantin Chariot and his team, inaugurated this new hybrid venue which has preserved its historic name. Already, three exhibitions have taken place here: “La Résistance des images”, showing nearly 170 works representing major figures in narrative figuration, curated by Jean-Jacques Aillagon; “Let’s Move!”, a vast retrospective of kinetic art organised by Arnauld Pierre; and “Prouvé / Takis” organised in collaboration with the gallery Downtown. And now, until 25 March, and for the first time since the opening of La Patinoire, all of the venue’s spaces are being handed over to one artist: Joana Vasconcelos from Portugal, whose show includes a few monumental works. You are the manager of the Patinoire, as well as of the gallery bearing your name. What is the relationship between these two spaces? Despite...

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Speedy Graphito is not a street artist!

Pertinence and impertinence… These are the traits of Speedy Graphito’s artistic journey, as revealed by the retrospective on him currently being held at the Musée du Touquet in France. See for yourself. How did you become Speedy Graphito? I’ve always painted, and I took my first drawing lessons at the age of nine. From then on, one thing led to another: I created stage sets between 14 and 20 years, and then I went through five years of training at an art school, including two years at the Ecole Estienne in Paris. My first paintings produced under the name of Speedy Graphito date back to 1984, the same year as my first exhibition at the Espace Pierre Cardin. Afterwards, the gallery Polaris – run by France’s youngest gallerist at the time – decided to back me. It was my creation of the poster for “La Ruée vers l’Art” in 1985 which ensured me sudden, immediate notoriety throughout France. Then came exhibitions, solo shows at the FIAC, and street-art interventions on the walls of Paris… “La Ruée vers l’Art” is incidentally the starting point of the show on you at the Musée du Touquet, the gateway that allows us to sweep through more than 30 years of your career. Is this retrospective important for you? I find that it’s important, at this stage of my career, to show the different periods that have marked the last few years, because people mainly know the recent works that they’ve seen on Internet. The show is a way to present series that seem dissociated from the rest, but which slot in with a global approach. The 70 paintings on show mainly come from my own collection: I try to keep at least one painting per period. Something else that is important in an...

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Pascal Pinaud or the memory of gestures

A big season lies ahead for artist Pascal Pinaud. Two exhibitions are currently featuring him near Nice (“Sempervivum” at the Fondation Maeght and “C’est à vous de voir” at the Espace de l’Art Concret), before being followed up by another at the FRAC Marseille. The south of France is fertile artistic territory, and Nice is one of its breeding grounds. Near the end of the 1950s, the Ecole de Nice wrote a chapter in the history of art. This artistic movement asserted its independence from Paris, led by figures including Arman, Albert Chubac, Yves Klein, Martial Raysse, Ben and Bernar Venet. Found at the crossroads of different movements – Nouveau Réalisme, Fluxus, Support/Surface –, this school would add colour to the French scene. Pascal Pinaud is a child of this Nice School, even if he was born a bit further off to the west, in Toulouse, in 1964. Graduating from the Villa Arson (Nice) in 1990, he has taught at the same school since 1999. He has also carried out a number of projects in the region, such as an “exuberant composition of hybrid street lamps” for a tram stop in the Saint-Jean-d’Angély district (Nice, 2007). The three institutions which have programmed Pascal Pinaud in 2017, the Fondation Maeght, the Espace de l’Art Concret and the FRAC PACA, thus pay a fine homage to a child – albeit an adoptive one – of the region. One retrospective, two in situ projects At the Fondation Maeght, “Sempervivum” resembles a retrospective:  paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures, installations and neons, produced between 1989 and 2016, are being shown to the public. “The show conveys the impression of a collective exhibition,” confides Pascal Pinaud. He’s not wrong either, so wide a formal spectrum is covered by the artist’s works. Pascal Pinaud works in series...

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