Gigantism in Paris and Other Considerations: A Glance at Institutional Exhibitions in Paris during Paris + par Art Basel, Pascale Krief δημοσίευση στο Flash Art [3/11/2022]Marilena Pateraki
After several years of anxieties, deprivations, and basic fare, it feels as if Paris is back in bloom, offering a vast and maximalist institutional program whose gigantic scale seems have been boosted by the arrival of Paris + par Art Basel, which has come to replace FIAC. It seems the new fair, which is of high quality despite having “only” 156 booths in the Grand Palais Éphémère — a figure that should be closer to 200 in 2024, once work on the historic Grand Palais is completed — has joined forces with several institutions.
This effervescence, rarely taken to such an extreme, part of a programmatic and festive orgy manifested to a certain degree earlier in the year elsewhere in Europe, at Basel in June and in London at the beginning of October during Frieze, seems to have proliferated here, with its form, if not its substance, deliberately forgetting the dark tone of geopolitical, ecological, and political realities, leaving far behind the memory of austerity policies. Alternative fairs, from Paris Internationale to the Bienvenue Art Fair, Asia Now, and AKAA (Also Known as Africa), and programming at artist-run spaces, including the brand new Artagon Pantin and the 66th Salon de Montrouge, reinvented this year by Work Method (Guillaume Désanges and Coline Davenne), formed a dizzying ensemble, threatening saturation despite their quality. It was the same with gallery openings, ranging from the most international to the most local, which are usually more spread out over time. If not for my brief here — to report on institutional exhibitions — I would have liked to give an account of the full breadth of this incredible effervescence. Still, the temptation to add one or two venues may prove irresistible.
This contrast between maximalist exhibitions and other more modest and local but no less ambitious, between gigantism and acts of resistance, is undoubtedly at the crux of the mutation of the Parisian scene. Still, in almost all cases, there remains a balance between content and form that is typically French.
The exhibitions at the Bourse de Commerce are the most obvious example of this double tropism, which is expressed in a paradigmatic way in the monographic exhibition devoted to Anri Sala that closes the cycle “Une seconde d’éternité” curated by Emma Lavigne. The show, of which Caroline Bourgeois is co-curator, is articulated around video works by the artist and reflects both this trend toward monumentality as well as a richness of content — a contrast or double bind that is typical of a “French touch” or, perhaps more specifically, of a Parisian tendency. A meditation on the passing of time, the exhibition blends temporal, signifying, and musical strata across video installations in which expansive scale is not at odds with complexity. In the rotunda, the computer-generated Time No Longer (2021) occupies nearly a third of the wall, generating spectacular immersive special effects based on the image of a turntable playing Olivier Messiaen’s apocalyptic Quartet for the End of Time (1941), the meaning of which intersects with our current concerns. The piece has been rearranged for clarinet and saxophone as an ode to Ronald McNair, an African American astronaut and saxophonist who planned to make musical recordings in space. This installation echoes Take Over (2017), a work that combines two giant screens on which are projected the image of two piano keyboards playing The Internationale and The Marseillaise concomitantly. One composition gradually overlays the other, with a political significance that also evokes the slow process of making works and their historical stratification; indeed, the lyrics of the Internationale were written to accompany the music of the French national anthem before they acquired their own musical identity.
Η συνέχεια εδώ.