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L’art au large

Jean-Hubert Martin

He became famous with the exhibition “Les magiciens de la Terre” in 1989 at the Centre Pompidou and at the Grande Halle de la Villette in which he questioned the concepts of centre and the periphery and shed light on certain “tribal” artists next to stars of contemporary art. Jean-Hubert Martin likes to bring down barriers and in the context of his very fulfilling career as a museum curator he also directed the Kunst Palast in Düsseldorf and was the curator for the current Dali exhibition at the Centre Pompidou. He proves this in his writings of which the interest varies, but that cover a quarter of a century. His travel journals from the end of the 1980s show the energy spent and the numerable preparatory encounters, and shed an interesting light on the genesis of the Magiciens de la Terre. His thoughts on art and religion are less convincing than those dedicated to the cabinet de curiosités, which has been the object of a rekindled interest the author is somewhat responsible for. He indeed was a pioneer of those mixes between the present and Antiquity, between art and the scientific disciplines when he directed the château d’Oiron. We only regret there is no biography, not even a short one, that would allow us to connect some texts that are often very personal to a period of his life.

L’art au large, by Jean-Hubert Martin, Flammarion, 2012, 384 p., €29

L’art au large - Jean-Hubert Martin

Review published in the newsletter #290 - from 14 February 2013 to 20 February 2013

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