Infinite Garden. From Giverny to Amazonia (group show)
Centre Pompidou-Metz, Metz
18 March - 28 August 2017
It was believed that gardens had been buried by modernity under the triumph of green spaces limiting the organic to functional areas. Yet, they remain a source of fertile inspiration all along the 20th century and continue to deeply appeal to many artists. The garden captivates, not only for its nourishing, curative and ornamental virtues but also for its subversion. Beyond the enclosed and organised space, the garden of this exhibition is a harbour for blurred, licentious and undisciplined private passions. A place of resistance and dissidence, of the most exquisite refinement as of the most wild exuberance, it becomes a biological, ethical and political laboratory. Backward intellectual currents such as Mannerism, the Decadent movement or Surrealism invade this space, opened to the incongruous and the irregular. Mostly contemporary, the works gather together for this exhibition draw the outlines of an obscure, chaotic and unpredictable experimental garden.
This exhibition of the Centre Pompidou-Metz depicts nature in the perspective of a metaphorical spring. Germination, blossoming and degeneration suggest the cycles of Earth, where the winter stop is the promise for future revolutions. Many artists venerate this vital momentum. Around 1912, in his essay about Creation in the Plastic Arts, František Kupka who is fascinated by the sexual reproduction of flowers, worships “a real pollen festival in the gynoecium bathed in sunlight” and translates theses celebrations in the organic impulse of Cosmic Spring (1913-14). Fertile ground of forms, the garden inspires artists with morphologies and fantastic metamorphoses revealing the intelligence of a nonhuman world. The explorations of the Earth lead to the ends of the known nature towards unspoiled territories that become new reserves of forms and motifs. Thus, fantasising the exotic nature, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster creates a tropical diorama, a proliferating garden-library in line with a series of installations inspired from illusionist’s devices of the 19th century. The Brazilian Ernesto Neto takes the Forum of the Centre Pompidou-Metz with a monumental sculpture, Leviathan-Main-Toth (2005), whose membranes take the shape of a biological landscape on a building scale.
Floating Worlds (group show)
14th Lyon Biennale, Lyon
20 September 2017 - 7 January 2018
Amid rampant globalisation that is generating constant mobility and a quickening of flows – the “liquidity” of the world and identities, as analysed by the sociologist Zygman Bauman – Emma Lavigne explores the legacy and reach of the concept “modern” in today’s art, in accordance with the definition advanced by the poet Baudelaire, who considered modernity to be “the transient, the fleeting, the contingent; it is one half of art, the other being the eternal and the immovable”. Take the presence of sounds, from David Tudor’s imaginary landscape Rainforest to the murmurs of the world broadcast by the Babel tower of Brazilian artist Cildo Meireles: some artworks remain deliberately open – influenced by the major works of modernity such as Mallarmé’s The Book, Spiritual Instrument – and hint at the thinking of both Luigi Pareyson, who defined an artwork as “the opening-up of an infinity that has been gathered into a form”; and Umberto Eco, who, in The Open Work (1965), analyses the artwork as “a field of events randomly open to some accidental unfolding”. The Biennale will stretch out like a shifting, atmospheric, expanding landscape that is forever reconstructing itself, as reflected in some of the modern masterpieces provided by the Centre Pompidou-National Museum of Modern Art as part of its 40th anniversary, such as the random compositions of forms that will be suspended in the Calder space at the Biennale; and Fontana’s paintings, opening onto endless cosmogonies. The White Cube is cracking up and turning into an organism or a constellation, where – from Hans Arp to Ernesto Neto, from Lygia Pape to Daniel Steegmann Mangrané – art and space biomorph, opening onto projects that challenge the abstraction of European modernity in order to reassess its global reach. The 2017 Contemporary Art Biennale will dock in the heart of a territory whose identity was partly shaped by the ubiquity of water, in a city that “rose from the waters”, and through which the Rhône and Saône run. It will reactivate the imaginative realm conveyed by the Rhône and its tributary, producing an archipelagic topography. Like the white fabric of Hans Haacke’s Wide White Flow or the kites in Shimabuku’s When Sky Was Sea, the Lyon Biennale’s Floating Worlds are being shaken by the wind of libertarian uprisings and contemporary poetic outbursts and aesthetic clashes.
Raymond Hains, Ernesto Neto
Vive Arte Viva, 57th Venice Biennale (group show)
Arsenale and Central Pavilion, Giardini, Venice
13 May - 26 November 2017
The Exhibition offers a route that unfolds over the course of nine chapters or families of artists, beginning with two introductory realms in the Central Pavilion, followed by another seven across the Arsenale through the Giardino delle Vergini. 120 are the invited artists from 51 countries; 103 of these are participating for the first time.
«La Biennale must present itself as a place whose method—and almost raison d’être—is dedicated to an open dialogue between artists, and between artists and the public.»
Biennale di Venezia