“exhibition”

Alain Lombard, the new head of the Collection Lambert

A graduate of the French administration school ENA, he was previously secretary general of the Villa Médicis, a cultural attaché in Budapest, but also general administrator for the Musée d’Orsay and the Musée de l’Orangerie… His name ? Alain Lombard, who this year takes over from Éric Mézil at the helm of the Collection Lambert. An encounter in Avignon.   The news was released on 5 February this year… Éric Mézil, who had directed the Collection Lambert since 2000, would be handing over his position to Alain Lombard. After working for 17 years alongside dealer Yvon Lambert, Éric Mézil has left an enduring print on the Avignon cultural landscape, marked by ambitious programming. We remember of course his big solo exhibitions: Cy Twombly in 2007, Miquel Barceló in 2010, Andres Serrano in 2016, or more surprisingly, the outside-the-walls show, in 2014, in the former Sainte-Anne prison, titled “La Disparition des lucioles”. Now at the helm, Alain Lombard has taken on the mission of bringing life to this extraordinary contemporary-art collection… Indeed, the Collection Lambert, born in 2000 in Avignon, is quite a special museum. The works owned by art dealer and collector Yvon Lambert were long stored in the Hôtel de Caumont, and the donation of over 550 works to the French State only became official in July 2012. Now housed in two eighteenth-century townhouses – after the addition of the Hôtel de Montfaucon to the project –, the Collection Lambert offers a selection of major works from the second half of the 20th century and the start of the 21st century.   Can you tell us about your background? I had the fortune to be able to choose to join the French Ministry of Culture when I graduated from the ENA, and I’ve worked there since 1982, in...

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Images that come to life…

Art critic, journalist and former head editor of AMA, Clément Thibault is also a curator. He is presenting, in Paris, “Rituels, Images vivantes”: an exploration of the things handed down from magic and shamanistic thought and surviving in the work of contemporary artists.  On show at H Gallery.   Why, in 2018, would anyone set up an exhibition on the permanence of images, gestures and ideas derived from magic thought and living on in contemporary art? Firstly, because spirituality, as a whole, is experiencing a resurge in interest, echoed and sometimes initiated by artists. Western societies are on the lookout for magic again, and seeking to emerge from long centuries of all-triumphant phenomenology and the excesses of rationalism. As if there were a need to rekindle ties, sometimes awkwardly, with the inexplicable. For some time now, scientific writings have had a lot to say about modified states of consciousness and timeworn religious practices. The New Zealand parliament has recognised the Whanganui River as a living entity with its own legal identity… There are countless examples of this spiritual upsurge, nurtured by ecological stances, rethinking about humans as opposed to non-humans, and the development of non-anthropocentric materialism, supported by global networking. The second reason is because the H Gallery space and layout are well suited to such an exhibition: its two rooms separated by a corridor are like two states separated by a passageway. A layout that offers an architectural metaphor of ritual.   The effects of ritual The intention, in the first space, was to consider the way in which the iconography of ritual inspires artists, before examining the idea of living images. The fact that an image plays with its referent, and cultivates a type of haziness with it, is a classic basis of all magic thought, as...

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Klein continues to conquer

After the immersive installation featuring Gustav Klimt at the Atelier des Lumières in Paris, it’s Yves Klein’s turn to get the augmented-reality treatment. See you this summer in Nice for a digital dive into the “blue Revolution”. A real eyeful!   Yves Klein was born in Nice… in 1928. So it comes as no surprise that the 90th year since his birth is being celebrated this year on the French Riviera. Where things get a bit more unforeseen is that the exhibition-homage in his honour is being held… in the middle of a shopping centre: Nicetoile, in other words 19,600 m² wholly devoted to blatantly consumerist desires. But the most hair-raising detail about the venture is the hanging: an immersive installation that flirts with augmented reality! In short, from the art of shopping to the art market, Yves Klein, the eternal apostle of the intangible, returns in a digital version. Here, original works have been digitised and transformed into 3D ultra-HD format by the company LEXPO Augmentée, in collaboration with Artcurial Culture. Titled “La vibration de la couleur” (The vibration of colour), this first module of a digital retrospective set to travel around for a period of ten years is an absolute wonder. But let’s first take a step back in time…   We’re at the start of the 1960s. Castro has just come into power in Cuba, while in New York, economist John Kenneth Galbraith is on the verge of publishing The Affluent Society. Against this backdrop, in Europe, the Nouveaux Réalistes (New Realists), led by art critic Pierre Restany, offer their take on seeing objects. As distant cousins of the American Pop Art movement, the members of this somewhat hazy collective set to work in earnest. Exaltation of the object, a sense of performance, appropriation of reality…...

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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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The Fondation Martell or the art of self-invention

Established at the heart of Cognac’s historic centre, the Fondation d’Entreprise Martell has transformed the Gâtebourse building into a site dedicated to experimentation in savoir-faire: a combination of art, architecture, handicrafts and design. Open and multidisciplinary… A key architectural feature of the town of Cognac, this former cognac-bottling plant, constructed in 1929 as part of the rise of the International Style, is in the midst of being revamped. By 2021, the building’s 5,000 m2 over five floors will gather exhibition spaces, production workshops, a digital platform, a resource centre, a restaurant and a panoramic café. On the strength of its three-century-long history, Martell is commencing a new chapter stretching towards creativity, research and diverse professions. The Fondation Martell, in the words of César Giron, CEO of the Martell, Mumm, Perrier-Jouët group, is “open to the town, the region, the international sphere, with a multidisciplinary vocation.” Nor has it suffered any shortage of funds since its launch in October 2016, as illustrated by its ambitious programme and an endowment of 5 million euros over 5 years. We meet Nathalie Viot, its very dynamic director…   You are behind the Fondation d’Entreprise Martell’s forerunner programme, and since 1 January 2017, you have been the foundation’s director. How did you envisage its cultural identity? I proposed a multidisciplinary foundation without a collection. Firstly, I wanted to avoid conservation, maintenance and insurance issues. The other thing is that if you buy art, you have to follow its market, and it was important for us to stay independent. I come from the world of contemporary art; I was previously artistic advisor for the City of Paris and co-director of the Galerie Chantal Crousel, so I’m very familiar with its ins and outs. Instead, we decided to commission designers and craftspersons to create the foundation’s...

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