Artistic and summer tour de France
About 18 contemporary artists to be found in exhibitions throughout France.
The journalists of this summer's L'Oeil magazine had the good idea of proposing their own tour of France, by selecting the contemporary artists whose works of art they consider it imperative to go and admire at the summer exhibitions. And not necessarily by bike. Eighteen artists are presented in a few lines that make you want to travel the country artistically from north to south and from east to west.
Amélie Adamo's favourites are Olivier Masmonteil, François Boisrond, Hervé di Rosa, Gaël Davrinche and Jean Le Gac. Christine Coste's favourites are Thomas Ruff, Bernard Plossu and Arthur Jafa, while Stéphanie Lemoine chooses Ernest Pignon-Ernest and Orlan, Anne-Cécile Sanchez sets her sights on Hélène Delprat and Tatiana Trouvé, Anne-Charlotte Michaut does not fail to mention Annette Messager, Ann Veronica Janssens and Nairy Baghramian, and Fabien Simode spots Pierre Buraglio, Pascal Convert and Stéphane Thidet.
The advantage with Olivier Masmonteil, painter born in 1973 in Romiily-sur-Seine, is that if you missed the exhibition "Le Grand Tour de Davrinche et Masmonteil" which was on view at the Maison des Arts in Antony (92) until July 17, and where he was invited to revisit the key works of the history of painting, you can still go and admire his work in Alsace until October 2nd, thanks to the first large-scale retrospective devoted to him in a French cultural institution: "Olivier Masmonteil. Peinture : la fausse ingénue", at the Fondation Fernet-Branca in Saint-Louis (68). This is an opportunity to go through the key stages of the itinerary of a contemporary artist who has been painting for over twenty years. Olivier Masmonteil confronts in his paintings landscapes as well as portraits, bathers as well as still lifes, mythological scenes as well as historical scenes.
François Boisrond joined the Figuration Libre movement in the early 1980s, but, born in 1959 in Boulogne-Billancourt, he has never ceased to reinvent his practice in the light of modernity. The Paul Valéry Museum in Sète (34) is devoting an important retrospective to him until 6 November. A great opportunity to see everything that makes up the great tradition of painting, from the permanence of the great genres such as the nude, the still life or the portrait to the pleasure of "how it is done". And it is in Valence (26) that we will find one of his first accomplices, another emblematic figure of the revival of figurative painting in the early 1980s: Hervé di Rosa. The two men met at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris in 1977-1980. Until 28 August, the Valence museum is showing more than 200 pieces by the artist, who was born in Sète in 1959. The eclecticism of these works of art testifies to Hervé di Rosa's passion for all techniques and materials.
The relationship with the masters is just as present in the work of Gaël Davrinche, who also benefits from another exhibition, perfect if we missed the one in Antony that he shared with Olivier Masmonteil. It is the castle of Carrouges (61) which invites until September 18th to rediscover this founding aspect of the approach of the painter from Montreuil born in 1971, whose prolific work is declined in the form of paintings, drawings, sculptures or prints. Using total freedom, Gaël Davrinche explores the whole field of possibilities in a completely uninhibited way, by also asking the question of the portrait.
The German art photographer Thomas Ruff, born in 1958 and probably the most famous representative of the Düsseldorf School, gave a new dimension to the portrait with his large format prints from 1986 onwards. At the Musée d'Art Moderne et Contemporain de Saint-Etienne Métropole in Saint-Priest-en-Jarez (42), the first retrospective devoted in France to Thomas Ruff, until 28 August, shows that the artist has widened his horizons since the use of digital tools, the work from the archive and the manipulation of images begun in 1989.
Exhibitions devoted to the French photographer Bernard Plossu, born in 1945, are obviously more frequent in France. Nevertheless, at the Granet Museum in Aix-en-Provence (13) until 28 August, a new story is being told. "Plossu-Granet. Italia discreta" skilfully parallels the photographs taken during Bernard Plossu's various trips to Italy since the 1970s with drawings, washes and watercolours by François Marius Granet (1775-1849).
As for Arthur Jafa, the Afro-American artist and filmmaker born in 1960 in Tupelo, Mississippi, he is the subject of a major retrospective, never before seen in France, at Luma Arles (13). In "Live Evil, Arthur Jafa", there is a dialogue between films, sculptures and photographs: all recent works of art or those specially conceived for this exhibition that are very striking.
As we saw in a previous article published here, a beautiful exhibition is dedicated to Jean Le Gac at the Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire (41). Walking through the high galleries of the castle, the opportunity is as rare as it is beautiful to see so many works of this artist born in 1936 in Alès, so you really have to take advantage of it before October 30th! His paintings speak of cinema and literature as much as of painting or daily life, in a tasty and very inspiring fragmentary construction.
Don't miss Landerneau (29) either, to immerse yourself in the work of Ernest Pignon-Ernest, so masterfully linked to places, history and poetry. Here, a collection of three hundred preparatory drawings, in situ photographs and annotated books from the studio, admirably encapsulate the artist born in 1942 in Nice, from his humanism to his assiduous frequentation of poets, via his relationship with Naples and his fascination for mystics.
Hélène Delprat and her unclassifiable work, which includes drawing, photography, collage, video, sculpture and performance, can be seen in Nantes (44) until 11 September, but also at the Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris until 16 October. In Paris, you can also see Tatiana Trouvé's graphic works hanging from the ceiling and on the floor of the Centre Pompidou until 22 August. The artist, who was born in Italy in 1968 and grew up in Africa, is now represented by two art galleries, Gagosian and Perrotin. In Nantes, on the other hand, you should also visit the Miséricorde cemetery, where Pascal Convert is creating one of the most unexpected interventions of the Voyage à Nantes this year: "Miroirs des temps", a permanent work. In Saint-Nazaire (44), you can dive into a former German submarine base to be bewitched by Stéphane Thidet's monumental sandfall until 2 October.
The famous ORLAN is also very busy this summer, at the Frac in Toulouse (31) until 28 August, and also at the Musée Picasso in Paris until 4 September. As is that of Ann Veronica Janssens, whose monographic exhibitions have the habit of travelling the world, and whose immersive installations can be seen until 9 October at the Collection Lambert in Avignon (84), until 11 September at the CAB Foundation in Saint-Paul-de-Vence (06), and until 30 October at the Panthéon, in Paris. At the Carré d'art - Musée d'art contemporain de Nîmes (30), until September 18, the work of Nairy Baghramian, which borrows as much from minimal art, design and architecture as it does from performance, theatre and dance, is on display. Not forgetting Pierre Buraglio in an interesting dialogue with literature at the Maison de Balzac in Paris until 4 September, to whom the Ceysson & Bénétière art gallery in Lyon has just devoted a fine exhibition which ended on 23 July. Nor Annette Messager, of course, about whom we have already mentioned on this site the exhibition taking place in Villeneuve-d'Ascq (59) until 21 August at the LaM - Lille Métropole.