Art Of The Day Weekly
#542 - from 7 February 2019 to 13 February 2019
Pierre Vasarely, Oerveng, from portfolio Progression 3, 1974, Offset poster, 41 x 41 cm. Éditions du Griffon, Neuchâtel © Editions du Griffon, Neuchâtel © Adagp, Paris, 2018
IN THE AIR
Vasarely steps out of purgatory
PARIS – In the seventies, he was all over the place: in the decoration of the television studios where Gérard Manset and Polnareff sang, on record covers, on the intellectual covers of the Tel collection at the Gallimard publishing house, as well as in the street, in schools, and in universities, of which he decorated the facades. Even on the hoods of Renault cars, since he redesigned the famous logo with his son Yvaral. Vasarely (1906-1997) even symbolized optic art (of which he is the true inventor, before the US artist) on the chain, almost more of an industrialist than an artist! The time of his redemption has come, as the Centre Pompidou now dedicates a large retrospective to him. The most famous part of his career – starting in the middle of the fifties – is well covered, with some surprising pieces such as the dining room of the Deutsche Bundesbank in Frankfurt reconstructed for the first time (1972). Back we travel back in time, with the Manifeste jaune at the Denise René gallery, and even further back, to his avant-guard beginnings linked to the Bauhaus, his first trials as an advertiser, his collages made of pebbles, his abstract paintings that are closer to Poliakoff than to the barcodes. We discover a person who is less monolithic than we thought, and well seated in our collective memory and always capable of surprising. Who today remembers the front cover of the weekly the Nouvel Observateur on 22 May 1968? Behind the title “The great upheaval”, a red and white whirlwind. By Vasarely, of course!
• Vasarely, le partage des formes at the Centre Pompidou, from 6 February to 6 May 2019.
Frederick Sandys, Vivien (detail), 1863, oil on canvas, 64 x 52,5 cm. Manchester Art Gallery © Manchester Art Gallery / Bridgeman Images.René Magritte La Mémoire, 1948, huile sur toile, 60 x 50 cm, Communauté française de Belgique.
LAUSANNE – 1837-1901: One of the longest reigns in history, that of Queen Victoria, at a time when – according to the lovely expression that nurtures the nostalgia of the Brexiters, “Britain rules the waves”. The span between these two dates saw a very rich artistic production, which exalts in a pompous manner Albion’s grandeur, but also expressed many different appetites, the search of an antique ideal for example, pure and chivalrous, light years away from any commercial impulses of the industrial leaders. This is actually the aspect that survived in Turner’s landscapes, in the naive pre-Raphaelite icons, in the Greco- roman revival of Alma-Tadema, or among the pioneers of photography, well represented in a specific section with Fox Talbot or Julia Margaret Cameron.
• La peinture anglaise, de Turner à Whistler at the Fondation de l’Hermitage, from 1 February to 2 June 2019.
Magritte in Finland
HELSINKI – Finland has its share of champions of what is absurd and comical, among them Arto Paasilinna, the author of Vatanen’s Hare recently deceased. He is one example among others, which counterbalances the tragic stories of Kalevala efficiently. The Finnish soul is therefore susceptible of harmonizing with Magritte’s art: and this will be the first time it will actually have the opportunity to do so. Helsinki has indeed never hosted a retrospective of the master. This one is centered on the famous conference of 1938, Lifeline, includes more than 80 works, beginnings marked by abstraction until the 60s. In the Amos Rex complex, an Art deco building of the 30s recently restored, an abundant program accompanies Magritte, with a cycle in the superb movie house and an installation of the Dutch collective group Studio Drift that makes a huge cement block levitate. While in Finland visitors may take advantage to go see the HAM (Helsinki Art Museum, and the impressive retrospective of Gilbert & George, who have a parallel way of digging out what is incongruous in daily life (until February 24 2019).
• Magritte at the Amos Rex museum, from 9 February to 19 May 2019.
From Africa to the Louvre
Here is a comic strip that will have everyone talking. Not about the drawings – well done, whether it is Paris or the desert - nor the dialogues – which are perfectly in tune – but rather because of the scenario. The story is the encounter between the destiny of a young migrant from Mali and two specialists in radiography at the Louvre. The latter manipulate the impressive accelerator AGLAE from the C2RMF. The heroine of the story is a statuette, the exact cousin of those exposed in the Pavillon des Sessions, the Maternité rouge (Red Maternity). But, contrary to the current tendency that consists in returning these objects to their native country, this young man from Mali does everything to have the precious object leave his country that is a bloody battlefield, and head the other way so it may find refuge in the supreme sanctuary, the Louvre. This could add fuel to the fire around this lively debate.
• Une maternité rouge by Christian Lax, Louvre editions/Futuropolis, 2019, 144 p., €22.