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FIAC 2009

J.Christian Guerrero writing for VINGT paris

With each season of contemporary art fairs in Paris, a window opens for us to take the temperature of the 'state of the art', as it were, in aesthetic consciousness and conscience. Last year's Show-Off expo clearly demonstrated that although there is always something inherently appreciable about honestly bleak representations of truly dire circumstances, the results of such testing can be less than encouraging.The sum total of the themes preoccupying the vast majority of new works on display at this year's FIAC, however, confidently indicated that present concerns have successfully moved out of last year's madly over-decorated, four-cornered cell of youth, money, death and design into a far more fertile space of investigation. This has been encompassed by predominant and often blending interests in hum/animality, architecture, dreams and information control.

 In 1804, the obscure French revolutionary philosopher, Destutt de Tracy, asserted with bold clarity that "ideology is a part of zoology". Very many of the works which addressed these four operant themes (often in combination) curiously seemed to focus on what such a still provocatively unfathomed assertion might mean in the context of the present day. Last year's broadsheeting of the ideological imaginary concentrated almost fetishistically on the textures of the bars enclosing various contingencies of semiotic exchange. By contrast, this year's interests in the idea of the human as a self-sanctifying type of animal and our modes of nesting and establishing the economies of our spaces as simultaneously private and public Rachel Whiteread - Ghost - Ghost II were unambiguously freer in their ranges and modes of expression and far less melancholic in tone, if only rarely shying away from how deeply problematic such dynamics always remain.

That at least three works on display were comprised of various takes on unhinged doors Rachel Whiteread - In OUT-IIindicates clearly that the question of negotiating the thresholds between personal and public domains - or taking the ever both necessary and impossible 'pas au-dela', as Maurice Blanchot once ingeniously phrased it - has become a matter that the contemporary imagination can no longer afford to ignore or stifle. Such disclosures about our modes of self-enclosure as being inherently problematic give meaning to the floor of the unconscious  that constitutes the abyssal basis of the spaces we inhabit on a quotidian level and renders especially
important a new attempt to focus upon the ways in which we exchange information across and throughout these spaces.

Although this present assessment can only briefly recap the essential themes which tied together the inherently historical logic of the concerns demonstrated at this year's FIAC as occupying contemporary aesthetic consciousness, the way in which these concerns are consistently providing an ongoing undercurrent to the contemporary art scene will be examined in an article to follow soon on how the works of Thomas Suire currently on display at Grace Teshima's Montmartre gallery through November 1 cover precisely the same terrain in ways as conceptually rich as they are acerbically witty.

Delpire & Cie at Maison Européenne de la Photographie

DSC_9300 Brendan Seibel writing for VINGT PARIS photos by Robin Margerin

Robert Delpire is a living hero of photography whose achievements overwhelm the halls of the venerable Maison Européenne de la Photographie. Over fifty years of history are spread throughout four floors, encompassing an astonishing career which has included magazines and book publishing, films, curatorships and advertising more photos here.

In acknowledgement of the wealth of materials the exhibition has been segmented to reflect the different pursuits of Delpire. The second floor, divided between two gallery halls, represents his contributions to the world of photographic publishing. Original editions of Neuf, the periodical created in 1950 when Delpire was a 23-year-old medical student, share display cases and wall space with photographic collections and prints from some of the artists. Included are famous works by Henri-Cartier Bresson, selections from Robert Franks' seminal "Les Americains", as well as images by Robert Doisneau, George Rodger and others.

More on: Delpire & Cie at Maison Européenne de la Photographie

CUTLOG at the Bourse du Commerce

IMG_1928Megan Fernandes writing for VINGT PARIS

During "FIAC week" The Bourse du Commerce hosted Cutlog, a new contemporary art fair where thirty selected independent galleries featured their most promising emerging artists - see more photos. The participating countries included France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan, and one small Brooklyn based gallery. The galleries arranged their artwork on a labyrinth of foamboards which snaked beneath the early 19th century iron and glass domed ceiling.  On Friday, October 23rd, a jury of professionals awarded the prize of the fair to Barcelona artists Patricia Gómez and María Jesús Gónzalez from the Raiña Lupa Gallery. The arresting photographs of textured fabrics and graffitied walls in an abandoned prison won Gómez and Gónzalez not only the 2009 competition, but also a heavily sought invitation to Cutlog 2010. Two German galleries had particularly compelling work. One project was a series of highly stylized aerial shots of cruise and cargo ships from Hengevoss-Dürkop, Germany.  The other displayed work by artist, Floriana Gavriel, who used narrative photography to document the devastating effects of genetically modified cotton in the Vidarbha region of Central India (Galerie Gavriel, Germany).

More on: CUTLOG at the Bourse du Commerce

Restaurant Review: Les Enfants Perdus

Nick Forrester writing for VINGT Paris

Lese1With a number of new and well established restaurants along the canal, there is plenty of competition for the recently re-opened Les Enfants Perdus. The quality of all these restaurants gives a very good indication of what most of us have known for a while – that the canal-side area north of République is moving up in the world, but this restaurant seems to offer something a little bit different from the norm. 

Les Enfants Perdus is located just north of the canal on Rue de Recollets. It has three stylistically different areas – the bar/cafe, the restaurant and the conservatory – which provide a nice atmosphere that welcomes all, from students to professionals. With their lunchtime formule (15 euros) and plats (between 14-19 Euros), they are in competition with many of Paris’s mid-range brasseries, though in reality they are a fairly upmarket bistro/restaurant. 

More on: Restaurant Review: Les Enfants Perdus

We Want Miles Cité de la Musique

David Britain writing for VINGT Paris

Hunched over his trumpet, eyes shut reclusively or hidden behind sunglasses, dead to everything other than the music. It is certainly an iconic image that has come to represent one of the greatest jazz musicians in history. Miles Davis himself hated being referred to as a ‘living legend’ as he believed it contradicted his tireless drive toward the new. However there is little doubt that he was one of the greatest jazz musicians in history.

If you have been on the Parisian metro in the last few days you can’t have missed the adverts for ‘We Want Miles’, a long overdue celebration and retrospective. The Cité de la Musique is devoting two large halls and a special website to the exhaustive exhibition, which traces his fascinating life and work from beginning to end.

More on: We Want Miles Cité de la Musique

Jay Reatard at La Maroquinerie

Brendan Seibel writing for Vingt Paris photo by redheadwalking

2489628021_b487f71a4c Fresh on the heels of his American/Canadian package tour Jay Reatard is set to launch a twenty-date European tour in Paris this Wednesday, 28th October ,in support of his sophomore album, "Watch Me Fall" (Matador Records,2009). It's a rare opportunity for continentals to catch the rising star of punk rock's most prolific chameleon as he guns it full throttle deep into an overdriven indie-pop nebula.

The past few years have seen a transformation taking place for this Memphis-based former enfant terrible. Originally known for his adenoidal vocals as well as a blood, guts and booze stage persona, Reatard has been shedding both his desensitized aural assault and his rich legacy of drunken, violent antics. In just thirty years on this planet Reatard has burned through the cathartic garage chaos of The Reatards, the bleak synth noise of The Lost Sounds, and the jagged jangle of Angry Angles, among a numerous cast of lesser-known acts.  Amidst the wreckage of projects past he has retained the various essences of music's sub-genres, distilling them into a ragged but tuneful solo debut, "Blood Visions" (In the Red Records, 2007).

More on: Jay Reatard at La Maroquinerie

SLICK Conference: When Art Gets Its Appetite

Sarah Moroz writing for VINGT ParisImg_thiebaud_frostedfractions_lg

Art is a feast for the eyes, as they say. A SLICK conference this Saturday (October 24) at 14h is suggesting that feasting your the eyes is but step one of art's sensual experience. And thus there is Le Goût de l’Art: Slick Dessert, a conference that merges the two wonders of the world, namely food and art. A bevy of panelists will weigh in on the nuances and delights of taste, both in terms of "aesthetic taste" and "taste-bud taste". Those panelists include: Philippe Mayaux, a plasticien who's received the prix Marcel Duchamp and created dîners-événements with chef Pierre Gagnaire; Jean-Marie Hiblot, of the Plaza Athénée, who works amongst 25 pâtissiers under Christophe Michalak; Marc Brétillot, a culinary designer who teaches at l’Ecole Supérieure d’Art et de Design de Reims, where he’s created his very own culinary design research atelier; Hélène Samuel, of the Delicabar and the Café Salle Pleyel; as well as restaurateur Fabrice Lextrait. Art and food consultant (...how do you get that job??) Frédéric Adida will moderate the event. You might want to get there early; if anyone else in this city is half as gourmand as we are, it could be quite a crowd.

More on: SLICK Conference: When Art Gets Its Appetite

The Arts Arena Presents Françoise Heilbrun: Photography at the Musée d’Orsay

Sarah Moroz writing for VINGT Paris9782080300928FS

The Arts Arena is hosting Françoise Heilbrun at its next event. Heilbrun is the head curator of photography at the Musée d'Orsay, a collection comprised of no less than 50,000 prints and negatives. Her forthcoming book, tellingly entitled Photography at the Musée d’Orsay, will surely be an engrossing insider look at the museum's collection and, more broadly, at the history of photograhy itself. Having already written and contributed to 60 published books, this photography aficionado will undoubtedly be a great source of information to all of those who know their Edouard Baldus from their Pierre Bonnard...

The Arts Arena Presents Françoise Heilbrun: Photography at the Musée d’Orsay

Tuesday, November 3, 19h

The Grand Salon

31 avenue Bosquet 75007

Métro: Ecole Militaire or Pont de l'Alma

To reserve seating, please email artsarena@aup.fr

August Sander at Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson

Sarah Moroz writing for VINGT Paris Pop_expophoto_1b
August Sander sought to closely examine both the botanical and human spheres. The German photographer lucidly depicted an era of society, with clear indications to the period (Germany in the 30s) yet also with a timelessness regarding the categorical nature of society.

Sander zoomed in on plant life and zoomed out on crisp landscapes well before Ansel Adams. The sharp horizons of sky and field in contrast with the ripples of land and lake, sometimes catching that beautifully lit moment when the sun is just edging out from behind the clouds.

But, more powerful than the landscapes, is Sander's indexical inventory of portraits of German citizens, a project he called Men of the Twentieth Century. Sander captured people from all walks of life on film, indiscriminately casting his eye from one end of the spectrum to the other. Peasants with weathered skin in plain clothes among rural settings; respected professionals with proud posture sporting three-piece suits, crisp collars, and well-groomed mustaches; intellos in round glasses and dark capes. He classified his photos by giving them titles according to the subjects profession so as they become representations of their background rather than characterized people: the composer, the architect, the mailman, the coal worker. In all of these instances, the uniform is one indicator of their identity, reflecting occupation, social class, wealth, lifestyle.

Sander snapped portraits of children, too. These children look stangely somber, their startled eyes unsmiling, without playfulness, features more akin to adults with years of worry behind them than young children.

Pop_expophoto_1a Sander also photographed marginalized individuals:His work and gaze was unaffected by his subjects outsider status. Where Diane Arbus received much criticism for photographing similarly marginalized subjects, Sander's work does not seem susceptible to the problematic views heaped onto the slice of society Arbus focused in on. Dwarfs and circus folk accompany the judge and the philosopher in a complete picture of German society.

 


August Sander: Voir, Observer et Penser through December 20th.

Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson

2, impasse Lebouis 75014 

Métro: Edgar Quinet, Gaité

Fellini, La Grande Parade at Jeu de Paume

Sarah Moroz writing for VINGT ParisFellini_DolceVita1                        

Self-described as "neither chronological nor filmographic", the exhibit Fellini, La Grande Parade seems to structurally mirror the merry mayhem of a Fellini movie itself. The array of materials too is like a Fellini film: copious to the point of brimming over, with a vast scope of archival photos, press clippings, drawings, and film excerpts at regular intervals, all of which the two floors at the Jeu de Paume seem barely to be able to contain. A row of small archival photos from Pierluigi and Cineteca di Bologna usher the visitor into the exhibit, where things quickly devolve into a dizzying chaos of information and images. The first floor picks out thematic threads in Fellini's oeuvre, while the second floor explores the personal relationships he had with his stars and crew.

Federico Fellini was truly all-encompassing. He was prescient about modern pop culture (i.e. about rock & roll, the effects of celebrity, the paparazzi and the view of Rome as a European Hollywood) all while playing with Catholic traditions (even at the expense of angering religious authorities with his satirical interpretations) and maintaining a fascination with people both in the spotlight and in the margins.

More on: Fellini, La Grande Parade at Jeu de Paume

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