Jan Fabre or the big Belgian blowout

In the last few weeks, a breeze of eroticism and festivity has been blowing through number 28 Rue du Grenier Saint-Lazare, where Daniel Templon recently set up his latest Parisian quarters. To launch his new address, the gallerist is presenting an artist as Belgian as he is inspired: Jan Fabre.   Who better than this protean, corrosive artist to celebrate this new birth, his beguiling and subversively inclined art here tinged with folklore and gaudiness? Yet behind this glitzy burlesque show hides deep reflection on Belgian identity, which the artist, Flemish in origin, continually defends against all extremist stances. An interview accompanied with chocolates (Belgian of course), hovering between religious kitsch and mirthful sacrilege.   How did you design this exhibition “Folklore Sexuel Belge, Mer du Nord Sexuelle Belge”, which rings out like a celebration of life? You know, Daniel Templon and I met at least 20 years ago. Daniel gave me carte blanche to inaugurate his new Parisian space on Rue du Grenier Saint-Lazare. So I wanted to celebrate the birth my own way! I visited and studied the premises, then partly designed this exhibition in response to the environment.   So you produced some works specifically for the site? I’m showing some big sculptures produced for the occasion, but also some of my drawings produced between 2017 and 2018, which are small reinvented chromos.   Can you explain what is meant by “chromos”? In fact, my exhibition is titled “Folklore Sexuel Belge (2017-2018), Mer du Nord Sexuelle Belge (2018), Édité et Offert par Jan Fabre, le Bon Artiste Belge” (Belgian Sexual Folklore (2017-2018), Belgian Sexual North Sea (2018), Edited and Donated by Jan Fabre, the Good Belgian Artist). Part of my inspiration came from our national folklore, but also from those small vignettes found on chocolate bars...

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A round table discussion on “Political and social engagement in art and drawings” at Drawing Now

On Saturday 28 March at Drawing Now, there was a round table discussion entitled “Political and social engagement in art and drawings: how far can collectors, gallerists, and institutions go, and what risks do they run?”. The debate was led by Fabien Simode, editor in chief of the L’OEil magazine, who was joined by; Martine Mauvieux, curator of press drawings at the Bibliothèque nationale de France;  Catherine Millet, chief editor at Art press; Marion Papillon, vice-president of the Comité des Galeries d’Art; Marc Donnadieu, chief curator of contemporary art at the LaM (Lille Métropole, Musée d’art moderne, d’art contemporain et d’art brut); and Estelle Francès, collector and co-founder of the Francès Foundation. Fabien Simode began the discussion speaking about the tragic events of 7 January 2015, which provoked an emotional response from the guests and the audience. The moderator then listed various restrictions and events which have recently affected the art world: from the recently destroyed Piss Christ, which led to the resignation of Macba’s director, to the attack on Paul McCarthy. “Must we show everything, draw everything? What about self-censorship?”, asked Fabien Simode. Provocation The moderator first addressed Catherine Millet, asking her if “artists are more provocative today than in the past?” The chief editor responded: “At first, I would say that audiences are more puritanical than in the past. However, I find that there’s actually a lot less provocation in art, as compared to say, the 1970s, as now contemporary art is much more embedded into society.” Fabien Simode replied, asking “ what kind of artistic expression is the most shocking?” Millet replied: “Representations of children; just look at the whole ‘Presumed innocent’ affair, the exhibition which incurred a lawsuit for displaying ‘images of children of a pedophiliac nature’. Exhibiting images of children always provokes strong reactions […] I think that there’s been a realisation that what we previously thought...

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“How to bring a collection to life”: A round table discussion at Drawing Now

On the Thursday of Drawing Now fair, held at Paris’ Carreau du Temple, there was a round table discussion entitled “How to bring a collection of drawings to life”: led by Guy Boyer of Connaissance des Arts magazine; with Véronique Souben, director of the FRAC Hautes-Normandie; Gilles Fuchs, president of the ADIAF (Association for the diffusion of French art); Benjamin Peronnet, international director of the ancient and 19th-century drawings department at Christie’s; and Aurélie Deplus, head of artistic sponsorship at the bank Société Générale. The event gathered a large crowd, as the round table discussion took place in four stages: constitution, conservation, presentation, and transmission. The constitution of a collection According to Benjamin Peronnet, one of the main problems in the case of historical drawings is their rare nature, which makes it difficult to establish a collection dedicated to one specific area, such as a school or period. This is something that the FRAC has struggled with, their collection being barely 30 years old, as Véronique Souben reminded the audience. She explains that she tries, along with her four colleagues on the selection committee, to orientate the collection towards works which can complete pre-existing sections. Gilles Fuchs, as a collector, affirmed that he was not reluctant to diversify his collection. However, he did say that he was more drawn towards paper as a medium due to its fragile, sensitive, and intimate nature. With the exception of a few artists, he said that drawing was a more accessible medium than painting or sculpture, and is a good introduction for collectors who are just staring out. Gilles Fuchs, as well as Véronique Souben and Aurélie Deplus, all admitted to buying mainly from galleries who tend to know the tastes and needs of their clients. At the bank Société Générale, the collection was started 20 years ago, in order to establish their headquarters at...

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Drawing Now: a discussion between Barthélémy Toguo and Philippe Piguet

Paris, 28 March 2014, Art Media Agency (AMA). Barthélémy Toguo is a storyteller. Questioned by Philippe Piguet, the Artistic Director of Drawing Now, in the setting of the Parisian fair’s “drawing interviews”, his answers enchanted the audience. Delicately-phrased questions revealed much about his relationship with drawing. He revisited his childhood through sketchbooks that he created during primary school, containing elements of African urban life that fascinated him at the time. He also spoke about his years of study: his family’s inability to understand his decision to leave for art school in Abidjan (Ivory Coast), which he described as a “stab in the heart”, followed by classical and academic training in Grenoble, which differed greatly from his education in Africa. Toguo recounted his story and his struggles. His spokesperson gently nudged him to speed up his biographical memoirs to talk about his latest artistic training in Düsseldorf, and the das Bett series, which includes more than a thousand ballpoint pen and coloured pencil drawings. He created more than a thousand drawings on his bed, which thus became a place charged with memories of Africa, and his family which he missed. He spoke of the intense homesickness that he felt, and drawing became a way of expressing this displacement. The dialogue between the art critic and artist then shifted, centring around the artist’s graphic work – his Baptism and Dream catchers series. Throughout the discussion, the artist was also keen to emphasise that drawing is only one element of his work, which blends sculpture, installation, performance and video. Toguo explained that an idea underpins his artistic process, and he then seeks to translate this idea in a pictorial way, using the most suitable medium. Yet even in his installations, drawing manages to find a place in his work – he stated that he finds it...

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Talk by Faith Ringgold to be held at the National Museum of Women in the Arts

New York, 10 October 2013, Art Media Agency (AMA). The National Museum of Women in the Arts in New York is holding a lecture presented by artist Faith Ringgold. Entitled “Faith Ringgold: More Than 50 Years”, the event is to take place on 28 October 2013. Ringgold’s discussion is centred on her artwork and the political context of the 1960’s. She is to begin the lecture with an explanation of the political imagery of the early sixties, particularly the illustrative work based on civil rights of the series American People (1963-1967). She is to continue with a discussion on the series Black Light (1967-1971) and the use of political posters. Finally, she is to look at images such as The Flag is Bleeding (1967), Die (1967), For the Women’s House (1971) and The United States of Attica (1971-1972). As an artist, author, professor, activist and mother, Ringgold is to recount the incredible evolution of her life and work. A question and answer session is to be held at the end of the...

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