Home > ArtoftheDay Weekly > #238 - from 8 December 2011 to 14 December 2011

Art Of The Day Weekly

#238 - from 8 December 2011 to 14 December 2011

Jan Fabre, Skull, 2010, photo Pat Verbruggen © Angelos BVBA Jan Fabre (exhibition Wunderkammer at Botanique, Bruxelles)


Cabinets of curiosities keep AAA rating

At a time when all certainties are crumbling down, when even Germany is threatened to lose its maximum financial grade, when all governments are obsessed by the compliance with a standard and orthodox policy, an old taste for fancies and whims and for resistance still remains in the world of art. The cabinet of wonders, or cabinet de curiosités as it is best known, an avowable sin of your writer’s, is a tradition that goes back to the Renaissance and has ignored all fashion trends. The members of this sect, carried by the sole sense of beauty and of the bizarre, accumulate haphazard collections, nourished by all styles and times, by all the aberrations of nature (from petrified eggs to Cymbalaria muralis plants and sculpted apricot seeds). One can neither duplicate them nor explain them nor synthesize them: the cabinets de curiosités, resistant to the advice from consultants and experts and discouraging financial evaluations, are one of the last surviving expressions of free-will. After the beautiful example shown at the Maison rouge in Paris, here is another version at the Botanique of Brussels, made up by artists’ whims. This comes as a gust of fresh air in the midst of the surrounding gloom that affects all the aspects of our daily lives …
Wunderkammer. Cabinet de curiosités contemporain at the Botanique (Brussels), from 8 December 2011 to 29 January 2012.
• Further reading: Cabinets de curiosités by Christine Davenne and Christine Fleurent, La Martinière, 2011, 39,90 €.

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Gérard Vulliamy, Original print of the Horse of Troy corresponding to the first state of the painting 18.5 x 27.3 cm (private collection) © ADAGP

Vulliamy, the forgotten Surrealist

BESANCON -In the club of the Surrealists, you have the stars – Dalí, Max Ernst, Tanguy in particular – and the others. Among the latter, some pop up periodically out of oblivion. Such is the current case of Gérard Vulliamy. Born in 1905, he was not a member of the first generation but joined the movement in the middle of the 1930s, after an incursion into the Abstraction-Creation movement. He was exhibited in the Paris galleries that meant something at that time – Pierre, Jeanne Bucher, then Denise René – and he himself closed the Surrealist parenthesis by plunging into Abstraction after the war. The exhibition unveils for us a universe that expresses itself almost only through drawing: organic forms, original liquids, fantastic animals stuck in strange folds. This atmosphere illustrated many litterary works, from Ponge to Eluard.
Gérard Vulliamy, les dessins surréalistes at the musée des Beaux-Arts et d’Archéologie, from 9 December 2011 to 2 April 2012.

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Art of the day also recommends...

• MADRID – The Mapfre Foundation dedicates a retrospective of over 100 images to Swiss photographer Gotthard Schuh (1897-1969), one of the exponents of the « Nouvelle Vision » (New Vision). From 13 December 2011 to 19 February 2012.

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• PARIS - Supervielle, poète de la pampa: the citizen from Montevideo (just like Lautréamont) is decrypted at the Maison de l’Amérique latine. From 8 December 2011 to 19 January 2012

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• PARIS - With Fantin-Latour, Manet, Baudelaire : l’hommage à Delacroix, the musée Delacroix shows the influence of the painter of Liberté guidant le peuple (Freedom guiding the people). From 7 December 2011 to 19 March 2012.

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Étienne Dinet (1861-1929), Jeunes filles essorant leur linge, oil on canvas, signed, 81,2 x 65,5 cm. Estimate :€ 250,000 € (lot 144). Courtesy Gros & Delettrez, Paris.

Crisis in Orientalist painting?

PARIS – Among the French end-of-the-year sales, that of Orientalist painting at Gros et Delettrez traditionally holds an important place, with its abundant lots (up to one million on good years) and its records (Etienne Dinet has gone beyond the one million Euros threshold). It seems it too has been harmed by the current sluggishness: this year the sale will take place in one single day rather than two, which points to the difficulty of attracting «good» merchandise in this period of uncertainty. Following a section dedicated to books and photo albums, it is once again the afore-mentioned Dinet who will lead the sale, with a few tempting nudes bathing in the Oued (Baigneuse dans la palmeraie estimated at 400 000 € or Jeunes filles essorant leur linge at 250 000 €). Very far behind we have George Washington, Léon Cauvy (Pêcheurs sur la darse de l’Amirauté at 30 000 €) or Roger Bezombes). What everyone is waiting to see of course is whether buyers from the Middle East will remain observers or whether they will continue to support a market they drove up to unexpected heights and which cannot survive without them.
Orientalisme at hôtel Drouot on 12 December 2011 (SVV Gros & Delettrez)

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Anne Deleporte, Dazzling painting © Anne Deleporte – CMN Paris.

Over with the animals

Certain creators who are interested in the animal world draw their inspiration from it and interpret it. But there have never been so many of them! We remember Beuys who lived with his coyote, Jan Fabre who covered the ceilings of the Palais Royal in Brussels with a million beetle elytra or Hubert Duprat who had gold cocoons knit for the larvae of trichoptera. A new generation now questions our relationship to nature at a time when GMOs, harm done to the biodiversity and pollution are eye-opening themes. The exhibition at the Conciergerie is a sort of ‘the best and the brightest’ with Karen Knorr, Françoise Pétrovitch, Sheila Concari – who plays the part of the woman-mosquito -, Erik Nussbicker – who locks up flies in a huge, cloth hourglass - , or Anne Deleporte – who helps create a zoo at Gaza by painting stripes on donkeys to turn them into zebras. So many ways of asking ourselves where we stand: in nature or outside of it? Animals, or nor here nor there?

. Bêtes Off at the Conciergerie until 11 March 2012. Catalogue published by éditions du Patrimoine, directed by Claude d'Anthenaise.

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. Sheila Concari at the gallery Dix9 (19, rue des Filles-du-Calvaire, 75003 Paris), until 14 January 2012.

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. Guillaume Dégé at the Semiose Gallery (54 rue Chapon, 75003 Paris), until 30 December 2011.

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Paris, three centuries of wild projects

A granite lighthouse, 370 metres tall, on place du Trocadéro, for cures of aerotherapy (Bourdais)? A huge, inhabitable, elephant statue at the Bastille (Ribart)? A night airport spread over the Seine (Lurçat)? A helicoid ramp for cars to access the second floor of the Eiffel tower (Basdevant)? A 200 meter-tall ring road wrapped 200 times around Paris (Perret)? A highway under the Seine (Maymont) or a Centre Pompidou in the shape of an egg (Bruyère)? These are some of the crazy projects, and which obviously have never been carried out, which historian Yvan Christ had selected for his classic work Paris des utopies, published 40 years ago. This new edition, thirteen years after the author’s death, should be a source of good ideas at a moment when the Halles sector is being re-planned and Parisian habitat is being thought of upwards…
Paris utopie by Yvan Christ, Nicolas Chaudun, 2011, 216 p., 42 €.

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LONDON – The Turner Prize 2011 has been awarded on 6 December to sculptor Martin Boyce.

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PARIS – The Fondation des Etats-Unis (United States Foundation) at the Cité universitaire inaugurated on 7 December 2011 the restored Art déco fresco by Robert La Montagne Saint-Hubert (done in 1930 and rediscovered in 1994).

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PARIS – The Cité de la céramique de Sèvres opens on 14 December 2011 six rooms that have been revamped.

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VERSAILLES – The ministry of Culture announced on 5 December 2011 the second phase of major works on the castle and the domaine of Versailles was being launched, with a budget of 171 million €.

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