Download Contemporary French Art 1: Eleven Studies. (Faux Titre) (v. by Michael Bishop PDF

By Michael Bishop

Ben Vautier, Niki De Saint Phalle, François Morellet, Louise Bourgeois, Alexandre Hollan, Claude Viallat, Sophie Calle, Bernard Pagès, Jean-Pierre Pincemin, Annette Messager, Gérard Titus-Carmel: 11 significant French artists of the final 40 years or so, tested within the gentle in their forte and their rootedness, the specificities in their differing and every now and then overlapping plastic practices and the swirling and sometimes hugely hybridised conceptions entertained in regard to such practices. therefore does research variety from dialogue of the feisty, Fluxus-inspired, free-spirited funkiness of Ben Vautier’s paintings to a few of the modes of transcendence of trauma and haunting worry generated by means of the phenomenal gestures of Niki de Saint Phalle and Louise Bourgeois, to the alyrical formalism but imbued with irony and ludicity of François Morellet, via to the serene intensities of Alexandre Hollan’s vies silencieuses, the countless a-signatures of Claude Viallat’s event within the sheer pleasure of a poiein of self-reflexive color, the powerfully stylish and muscular disarticulations of Bernard Pagès’ sculpture, the good sweep via art’s background implied by way of Jean-Pierre Pincemin’s chameleon-like gestures, the colossal swirling programme of socio-psychological research the humanities of Annette Messager and Sophie Calle provide of their noticeably special manners, the obsessively serialised oeuvre of Gérard Titus-Carmel permitting a burrowing deep into the opaque good judgment of a true although doubtful ‘presence to the world’.

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Extra resources for Contemporary French Art 1: Eleven Studies. (Faux Titre) (v. 1)

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Hers is an oeuvre, a practice, built precisely on that subjectivity a François Morellet sought to evacuate, a profoundly inscribed subjective experience urgently requiring release, knowing instinctively the wisdom of such a mode of work, self-work, beyond the frivolities of aesthetics though caught up in the rigours of material form and whatever tense beauties the latter might afford. To look at the early drawings of He Disappeared into Complete Silence (1946 on) or the even earlier seven wooden stelae of Quarantania (1941), or recent work such as Ventouse (1990) or the large 1991 wall relief Mamelles with its female breasts forming a frieze or, yet again, the raw ink and crayon Untitled of 2000, with its seven pairs of eyes darting, crossed, and its necklaced neck – to look at such work is to appreciate its ever surging viscerality, its “intense emotional substance” as Nancy Spector has written, a primitive but aesthetically caressed representation of the psychic whereby fetishised objects offer themselves as a place wherein may be acted out bloody traumas and a symbolic coping with, if not resolution of, such obsessing and still proliferating disturbances.

The 1952 Dessins that Zelevansky compares to Stella’s of 1977 (cf. FMRF, 23) demonstrate Morellet’s surging need to venture simultaneously into systems and symmetries whilst not necessarily seeking to seal their functioning into some tight, self-contained and absolute space. The concept of the all-over, which greatly pleased Morellet, thus allows for the generation a kind dynamic stillness or staticness, whose dynamics yet remain implicitly infinite and hint at an “all-overness” far beyond the created piece, which thus functions metonymically, its partialness always winking at an (un)imaginable whole.

It enacts a (sacred) sacrifice of one’s capacity to live fully, presumably, in joy and love – I shall return finally to this –, an acceptance of that death-to-life but tombalrebirth-to-art Mallarmé speaks of, as of an anguishing ideal – but a trajectory for him too involving failure. No doubt this may seem like an over-dramatisation of any Bourgeoisian ontology, though she is quite lucid, “seeing”, enough to point to its elements of truth. Yet rebirth in art’s “minute tomb of the soul” is no small thing.

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