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September 28 2013

*Contrôle au faciès, le fléau de la Republique* ❝Un rapport inquiétant d'Open Society Justice…

Contrôle au faciès, le fléau de la Republique

Un rapport inquiétant d’Open Society Justice Initiative révèle l’ampleur et les conséquences sur la société française des contrôles d’identité “au faciès”.

http://www.lesinrocks.com/2013/09/28/actualite/controle-au-facies-fleau-republique-11430848

Ce n’est pas la première fois que les américains d’#Open-Society se penchent sur le cas français. En 2009 déjà, dans un rapport intitulé “Initiative, Police et minorités visibles : les contrôles d’identité à #Paris”, on apprenait que les #Noirs subissaient quatre fois plus de palpations que les #Blancs et qui si vous étiez #arabe et vous trouviez à la station Chatelet, vous aviez jusqu’à 15 fois plus de risques d’être contrôlé qu’un blanc. Artiste plus connu sous le pseudo d’Axiom, Hicham Kochman témoigne dans le cadre du nouveau rapport. Sa vision est plutôt sombre :

« Les gens qui ne vivent pas ce #harcèlement, en vérité, ils ne comprennent pas de quoi on parle… Ils ne savent pas ce que ça provoque en nous, ce que ça fait naître en termes de sentiment, d’être pointé du doigt, comme si on était de seconde zone, de troisième zone. Vous n’êtes rien, taisez-vous. Ils vous font comprendre que vous n’êtes rien, personne, voilà… C’est quand même d’une humiliation permanente, quotidienne, dont on parle. »

Toutes les études convergent ainsi vers le même constat : en #France, « les personnes issues des “#minorités_visibles” sont contrôlées bien plus fréquemment que leurs homologues blancs ». Au delà des idées reçues, cet état de fait ne concerne pas que la banlieue ou la jeunesse. Lanna Hollo, représentante d’Open Society en France, explique ainsi qu’ « un quadragénaire noir ou arabe en tenue de travail sera plus contrôlé qu’un homme blanc du même profil. » Et de poursuivre en expliquant que « les facteurs s’ajoutent les uns aux autres : si vous êtes un homme, jeune et arabe, vous cumulez les risques ».

Une police qui a les mains libres pour contrôler mais n’a aucun compte à rendre

Dans l’état actuel du #droit français, quatre normes juridiques distinctes autorisent le recours aux #contrôles d’identités mais seulement une seule d’entre elles astreint les agents à faire état de soupçons spécifiques pour contrôler un #individu. La loi laisse ainsi une grande marge de manœuvre à la #police pour choisir qui contrôler et comment le faire, ce qui revient, pour les rapporteurs, à proposer « une recette pour une discrimination assurée » puisque la police a « les mains libres et n’a pas de comptes à rendre ». Le rapport pointe également la perte de confiance envers la police et le sentiment d’#insécurité que les forces de l’ordre provoquent chez les populations minoritaires faisant l’objet de contrôles fréquents.

Lyes Kaouah, étudiant en art dramatique habitant Vaulx-en-Velin raconte : « Nous, quand on marche en ville et qu’on voit des flics, on se sent en insécurité. Il y a pourtant des gens qui grâce à la présence policière se sentent en sécurité. Qu’est-ce que c’est que ce fossé qui nous sépare ? C’est qu’il y a deux France, il y a notre France à nous, la France des quartiers, la France des #immigrés, des gens d’origine étrangère, des #chômeurs, des cas sociaux, et il y a la France des autres, ceux qui se sentent rassurés par les voitures de police. Et on a tous en tête, quand on se fait contrôler, des histoires de bavures, on se dit : « ça pourrait être moi », et plus on grandit, plus on pense à ça. »

Loin d’être sans conséquences, le sentiment exprimé par Lyes Kaouah se généralise et affecte le travail de la police sur le terrain. Le rapport explique ainsi que « lorsque la confiance dans la police s’effondre, les populations deviennent réticentes à signaler à la police les activités criminelles ou suspectes, et se montrent peu disposées à coopérer et à fournir des renseignements. (…) A mesure que le travail de maintien de l’ordre se complique et que son efficacité est ainsi entravée, la sécurité du public en pâtit à son tour ».

Un sentiment confirmé par Yannick Danio, major de police et secrétaire national du syndicat Unité Police : « Une police qui a la population contre elle ne peut pas fonctionner. Ce n’est pas possible. Les contrôles à répétition sont contreproductifs. Nous, policiers, nous le disons, les spécialistes, les universitaires, ces personnes qui nous observent le disent. Ça n’a ni queue ni tête ! Nous avons besoin de renverser la vapeur pour ne permettre que des contrôles d’identité justifiés au lieu d’en faire à la pelle. La police nationale a besoin de travailler avec les citoyens et pas contre eux. Sinon c’est le monde à l’envers. »

#Société #Stigmatisation #Politique #Citoyenneté #Relégation #Discrimination

August 21 2013

*_Le Monde diplomatique_, décembre 2012* (2012/12) –------- en accès libre --------

Le Monde diplomatique, décembre 2012 (#2012/12)
–------- en accès libre --------
http://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/2012/12

En #Inde, les périls du #tourisme_médical ;
l’#Europe face à l’hégémonie allemande ;
des sociétés malades de la vitesse ; par @mona #temps
qui défendra les #inspecteurs_du_travail ?
Un siècle de #statistiques sur l’emploi des #femmes ;
l’#AIEA, un gendarme du #nucléaire bien peu indépendant ;
la #Palestine refuse de disparaître ;
fin de la « stratégie sudiste » aux #Etats-Unis ;
en #Amérique_latine, gouvernements contre patrons de #presse ;
que reste-t-il des #frontières africaines ? #Afrique
Désunion nationale en #Birmanie ;
vertus de l’habitat coopératif ; #logement
Johannesburg, par Nadine Gordimer ;
état de guerre permanent dans le #Haut-Karabakh ;
en #Suisse, #matières_premières et #littérature ;
#recherche publique, #revues privées ; #open_access
refonte mercantile des #gares parisiennes… #urbanisme #Paris

July 26 2013

April 23 2013

Dynamo – A Century of Light and Motion in Art, 1913-2013 / Grand Palais, Paris (Remix)

Dynamo – A century of light and motion in art, 1913-2013 is the title of a survey art exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris, a show that brings together major works that deal with light and motion and includes artists such as Bruce Nauman, Dan Flavin, Hans Haacke, James Turrell, Yayoi Kusama, Jean Tinguely, Alexander Calder, Marcel Duchamp, Bridget Riley, Dan Graham, Anish Kapoor, Jesus Rafael Soto, Conrad Shawcross, François Morellet, Jeppe Hein, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Takis, as well as artistic collectives such as GRAV (Group of visual Arts research), and the Groupe Zéro. This is a video in our REMIX-series by Christophe Ecoffet and takes you on a fast forward 30 seconds tour of the show.

Dynamo – A Century of Light and Motion in Art, 1913-2013 / Grand Palais, Paris (Remix). April 16, 2013. Video by Christophe Ecoffet.

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November 16 2012

Paris Photo 2012

In this video, we provide you with a tour of Paris Photo 2012, the international art fair for historical and contemporary photography at the Grand Palais in Paris, France. On display are works by artists such as Nobuyoshi Araki, John Baldessari, Christian Boltanski, Constantin Brancusi, Lázló Moholy-Nagy, Helmut Newton, Man Ray, and Chritopher Wool. The fair takes place annually at the Grand Palais in Paris mid-November, and for the first time will be held at the Paramount Pictures Studios in Los Angeles at the end of April 2013.

Paris Photo 2012. November 14, 2012. Video by Daniel Barney.

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September 21 2012

Børre Sæthre: Untitled (The Buran Program) at Galerie Loevenbruck, Paris

The Norwegian artist Børre Sæthre is known for his immersive installations that take the audience into sci-fi-like environments. In his solo exhibition at Loevenbruck gallery in Paris (France), Børre Sæthre shows a series of new works. The show is called Untitled (The Buran Program).

The title refers to the Buran [Russian: Буран, IPA: [bʊˈran], Snowstorm or Blizzard] Program of the former Soviet Union that was a response to the United States’ NASA Space Shuttle program. The Buran Program was started in 1974 and – after only one unmanned flight in 1988 – the program was formally suspended in 1993.

Børre Sæthre was born in Oslo, Norway, in 1967. He lives and works in New York and Oslo. He studied at Oslo Academy of Fine Art and was awarded residency’s on the International Studio & Curatorial Program in New York (2000), followed by a residency at Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin (2001). Among others, had solo shows at MoMA PS1 Long Island (video), and recently at Mudam Luxembourg (video) (both of which were covered by VernissageTV; to watch the videos, click the accompaying link). Soon Børre Sæthre will be presenting a new monumental installation in Fantastic 2012, an exhibition at the Tri Postal, Lille, from 6 October 2012 to 13 January 2013.

Børre Sæthre: Untitled (The Buran Program) at Galerie Loevenbruck, Paris. Opening reception, September 6, 2012. Video by Daniel Barney.

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July 11 2012

x, y, z & t / Group Exhibition at Anne Barrault, Paris

Curated by Romain Salomon, x, y, z & t at the gallery Anne Barrault in Paris (France) features artists Jérôme Allavena, Sandra Aubry & Sébastien Bourg, Pierre-Laurent Cassière, Chloé Dugit-Gros. The exhibition aims to explore notions of temporality and space, decrypting these two constructions that define our lives. The artists’ approach strives to perturb visual references and upend our senses, modifying the visitor’s perspective. The show opened at Galerie Anne Barault in Paris on June 23, 2012 and runs until July 28.

X, y, z & t. Group Exhibition at Anne Barrault, Paris. Opening reception, June 23, 2012. By VTV correspondent Daniel Barney.

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July 05 2012

When It Stops Dripping From the Ceiling. Group Show at Kadist Foundation, Paris

Broaching subjects of edification, art and the role of the artist, the exhibition When it stop dripping from the ceiling, curated by Bassam El Baroni, develops a historical and political gaze through the critical perspectives of each oeuvre. Present are the works of artists Jesse Ash, Luis Camnitzer, Iman Issa, Per-Oskar Leu, Metahaven, Setareh Shahbazi, Humberto Velez and also featuring unidentified copies of sculptural works by Martin Kippenberger. A small publication accompanies the exhibition that contains texts written by El Baroni and writer and philosopher Aaron Schuster. The show opened at the Kadist Foundation in Paris on June 12, 2012 and runs until June 27.

When It Stops Dripping From the Ceiling. Group Show at Kadist Foundation, Paris. Opening reception, June 12, 2012. By VTV correspondent Daniel Barney.

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Press release:

In present times, some are calling for the invention of new terminologies that can more accurately discern phenomena affecting our lives, culturally, socially, and politically. Sometimes, the terms that we need are not to be reinvented but merely excavated and given new meaning. Edification is perhaps one such term. A quick dictionary search will tell you that edification means ‘to instruct especially so as to encourage intellectual, moral, or spiritual improvement’, that it denotes an ‘uplifting enlightenment that results in understanding and the spread of knowledge’.

During the past three centuries, edification has been about indidual thinkers creating equations for resolving the gap between the inidual’s autonomy and the society the inidual functions within. These equations are eventually diluted, simplified, or reconfigured to become the intellectual basis of states, the cultural codes of sociopolitical systems, or the administrative mechanisms of oppressive regimes. This exhibition attempts to think about the impact of edification on the way we live, practice politics, make art, and communicate. It features a range of erse works by seven artists; which indirectly address the struggle, and ongoing debate between inidual autonomy and social collectivity.

But, how can we recognize edification? Think about how, although you have never read Gustave Flaubert’s novels, you have recently come to realize that you have been edified by them, or about how you know the essence of almost every article featured in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights despite the fact that you have never bothered to read it. Think about how in moments of great despair or pain you suddenly find yourself reverting to religious terminology, even though you are more of an agnostic than a self-proclaimed believer. Or about, how in the middle of an intimate interaction of love, you can only express your emotions in words that seem to be generic lines abundant in popular romantic movie scripts. Think about how many artists, curators, and art writers today either embody or struggle to escape the edification of such long-dead thinkers as Friedrich Schiller and John Ruskin*, reinventing or trying to escape the reinvention of the moral-aesthetical wheels that they first invented. Edification is not an ultimately determining factor controlling life nor is it an omnipresent external force but it is that which lives in the gap between the inidual’s will and a society’s idea of itself as a society.

The exhibition will be infiltrated with replicas of sculptural works by Martin Kippenberger (1953-1997) whose erse artistic output exemplified an artist’s confrontation with the legacies of past edifications of art and its history, and which in turn led his oeuvre to be among the most referenced by students in today’s art academies. Taking inspiration from the well known 2011 incident in which a cleaning lady mistakenly cleaned a trompe l’oeil puddle painted on a component of Kippenberger’s piece entitled ‘When it Starts Dripping from the Ceiling’,  these copies will be given an everyday use value and become part of other artists’ works, remaining largely unrecognizable as Kippenbergers for most visitors.

The exhibition’s title references the title of the Kippenberger work that was the subject of the cleaning incident, linking questions generated by the incident’s occurrence to larger questions surrounding the notion of edification. Is edification avoidable, escapable, desirable, or is it simply an unavoidable trait? When the cleaning lady removed the faux puddle on Kippenberger’s work she put a stop to the ‘dripping from the ceiling’ that the artist intended to evoke the start of. The exhibition suggests that it is in moments like these that edification’s problematic nature reveals itself and signals the need for further thinking about its history and present.

*Friedrich Schiller, (1759 – 1805) was a German philosopher who proclaimed that «only the aesthetic is a complete whole in itself « and took to the view that «beauty gives no inidual result whatever, either for the intellect or for the will; it realizes no inidual purpose, either intellectual or moral; it discovers no inidual truth, helps us perform no inidual duty, and is, in a word, equally incapable of establishing the character and enlightening the mind.» On the other hand, John Ruskin (1819 – 1900) who was England’s leading art critic during the Victorian era, in his later years of writing believed in art’s ability to improve society. Although, Ruskin supported artists such as William Turner, he also at times questioned the practice of such landscape painters when «No moral end has been answered, no permanent good effected, by any of their works».  Ruskin wrote a series of letters entitled Fors clavigera – Letters to the workmen and labourers of Great Britain (1871-1884), and it was in these letters that Ruskin sketched out the framework for his own utopian world which he called the Guild of St. George, a world where art and life were to merge as one whole.  Both Schiller and Ruskin where in search of a holistic experience that could create harmony between the autonomous inidual or creator and the wider society that that inidual existed in, two different senses of edification for one humanistic end. That today one can identify and distinguish between those who are indirect descendants of Schiller and others who are indirect descendants of Ruskin attests to the power of prior edifications that still live on inside of us in contemporary times.

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June 28 2012

Morgane Tschiember: Rolls and Bubbles at Galerie Loevenbruck, Paris

Morgane Tschiember’s solo show Rolls and Bubbles opened at Galerie Loevenbruck in Paris on June 8, 2012. Huge steel mesh tubes were created and hung on the walls. Used as rollers, the woven steel was dripped with oil and water based paints. As the steel was rolled, the paints were forced together without mixing. The audience is presented with a scene of material aggression and resistance in an attempt to merge that which will not. On the floor, wooden blocks are covered by rounded glass bubbles that seared and blackened the wood where the glass expanded and cooled after it was blown. The sculptures are surreal in appearance and about a dozen are scattered beneath the viewer, juxtaposed with the large cylindrical metal rollers hung around the room. As in previous exhibitions, Tschiember continues to use painting and sculpture within an artistic process that troubles material forms and explores the space between cohesion and opposition. Video by Daniel Barney.

Morgane Tschiember: Rolls and Bubbles at Galerie Loevenbruck, Paris. Opening reception, June 8, 2012.

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June 27 2012

Joana Vasconcelos at Versailles

From 19 June to 30 September 2012, the Palace of Versailles presents an exhibition with works by the Portugese artist Joana Vasconcelos in the State Apartments and the gardens. Video by Christophe Ecoffet. Versailles (France), June 18, 2012.

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June 21 2012

Maxime Bondu: 5 Mars 1982 / Galerie Joseph Tang, Paris

The exhibition of Maxime Bondu, “5 mars 1982,” recently opened at Galerie Joseph Tang in Paris on June 7, 2012.

Through a series of “conceptual jumps,” using Bondu’s words, the spectator is carried from one piece to another linked by history, artifacts and fiction. A newspaper dated 5 March 2012 is displayed in a two-way frame and chronicles the deaths of the authors who become main characters within the artworks conceptual development. A 70s era chair in olive green fabric with a similarly styled side table act as the display for the rewritten and reinterpreted book, (now oeuvre) “Germania,” rewritten by Bondu. Finally, displayed in the center of the space is a 1:35 scale concrete replica of a structure originally conceived for the Third Reich to test the resistance of the sandy soil of Berlin. The visitor, upon closer inspection of each piece, is confronted by a conceptual chronology that is tied together by the links, disconnections and fragments inherent to the installation and Maxime Bondu’s practice.

A new space in Paris, Galerie Joseph Tang is located in a small building near the Place de la République. Visitors ring a doorbell at street level to enter, traverse a small grey courtyard and walk up two flights of stairs before being welcomed by the crisp white and smartly designed interior of the gallery. Presenting the work of one artist and one installation per exhibition, the space creates an intimacy between artists/artwork and the visitor, aiming to enhance the reflection and discussion of the ideas presented.

Maxime Bondu: 5 Mars 1982 / Galerie Joseph Tang, Paris. June 7, 2012. Video by Daniel Barney.

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Reposted byfraeuleinchen fraeuleinchen

June 19 2012

Twilight of the Pharaohs (Le Crépuscule des Pharaons) - review

Exhibition at the Musée Jacquemart-André, Paris, offers clues on the battle to control ancient Egypt

The Musée Jacquemart-André in Paris has just launched the Twilight of the Pharaohs (until 23 July). "It was a more glorious period than is generally thought, with relative artistic freedom, an unprecedented diversity of styles and high quality works," says Olivier Perdu, the show's curator.

The 100 or so pieces on show are remarkably accomplished, having integrated all manner of outside influences. The artists were clearly highly skilled, particularly apparent in the portraits and a remarkable selection of royal heads sculpted in stone.

The exhibition focuses on a period of about 1,000 years, starting around the time when the Libyans, already present in the kingdom, seized power and culminating with the Roman conquest in 30BC. The country was over-run several times during this period. The black Kushite pharaohs ruled the country in the 8th and 7th centuries BC and the portrait of a Kushite king may well be Shabaka, the first to control Egypt on a lasting basis.

The face of an Achaimenid sovereign, probably Darius I, was sculpted in white limestone, with a cap on the top of his head and a long beard. Here too is a work of great virtuosity by a Macedonian artist, from the aftermath of Alexander the Great's conquest of Egypt in 332 BC.

It is a pity that these portraits should be so poorly presented and badly lit. The museum, originally a mansion belonging to the Jacquemart-André family, is better suited to showing paintings. The present exhibition brings together a host of masterpieces, most of which are fairly small and are arranged side by side, in series, in no particular chronological order. There is no perspective, no sense of the political, social or cultural context.

This article originally appeared in Le Monde


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June 11 2012

Cerith Wyn Evans: Dérive / Galerie Yvon Lambert, Paris

Born in 1958 in South Wales, artist Cerith Wyn Evans most current work strikes firmly on the chords of minimalism and experiential based sculpture and installation. In his newly opened exhibition entitled “dérive” at Galerie Yvon Lambert in Paris, Evans manages to create an unstable and ephemeral atmosphere. In the first room, works on paper are displayed in transparent frames mounted on the walls. These oeuvres exhibit barely visible text extracts from the works of authors Stéphane Mallarmé and Marcel Broodthaers. A black monolith fountain trickling water into the basin beneath it stands in the middle of the room, encircled by a light dusting of silver glitter that reflects the stark space. In the second room, a large neon sign etches a sentence into the air of the vast space of the gallery. The phrase, assembled in neon, establishes a critical dialogue between the construction of text and the context of demonstration. “Dérive” is on display in Paris until June 16, 2012.

Cerith Wyn Evans: Dérive at Galerie Yvon Lambert, Paris. Opening reception, May 12, 2012. Video by Daniel Barney.

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May 23 2012

Marie-Jeanne Hoffner: Déplis, Trames et Grilles / Galerie Dohyanglee, Paris

The work of Marie-Jeanne Hoffner is inspired by architecture and questions of space. In her exhibition entitled Déplis, Trames et Grilles at Galerie Dohyanglee in Paris, Marie-Jeanne Hoffner explores the visual notions of fullness, emptiness, construction and deconstruction through a myriad of mediums: photography, drawing, installations, video and models. The drawings on the first floor explore three dimensional space in various phases of deconstruction. Downstairs the viewer is confronted with balsa wood models, black and white photograms, and two videos that continue to examine the similar themes of an inbetween stage of assembly and disassembly. The show opened on May 12 and is on display until June 30, 2012.

Marie-Jeanne Hoffner: Déplis, Trames et Grilles / Galerie Dohyanglee, Paris. Opening reception, May 12, 2012. Video by Daniel Barney.

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May 21 2012

Adrian Searle encounters … chaos in Paris

Healers and tricksters, shape-shifters and spirit guides, transgressors and transvestites – two exhibitions in Paris send the Guardian art critic into a spiral of panic

In every encounter, you confront yourself first of all, your openness and your resistance. There's always a little voice in your head providing a running commentary. Some critics, recording this invisible guide's comments as they go, scribble their way through exhibitions. It is a surprise they see anything at all. I try to ignore my invisible little friend, the smart-assed creep on my shoulder. But if that doesn't work, there's always exorcism.

We were standing at a voodoo altar, curator Jean de Loisy, anthropologist Bertrand Hell and me. There were just a couple of pots on the floor, each containing a huge, multicoloured, waxy, fat-congealed mound of stuff. There might have been some chicken in there, and what looked like jawbones, of what I couldn't tell. It had been sitting under the gallery lights for a couple of weeks. Yum.

"What this thing needs to activate it is strong alcohol!" De Loisy exclaimed, and picked up a bottle of gin from beside the pots, giving the mounds a liberal sprinkling then taking a swig himself. These are the sorts of spirits I like, but he didn't pass the bottle. For a moment, nothing discernible happened. No voodoo, no who-do. The sorcerer from Togo who concocted the altar goes by the name of Azé Kokovivina, Sorcerer of the Giggles. Maybe that's where the gin comes in.

Suddenly I wasn't laughing, but plunged into a world of spirits, demons and creatures from the netherworld. Annette Messager's clothes flew about the room, powered by electric fans. A tiny carved Peruvian shaman, part baby, part boxer, and no bigger than my hand, took up a fighting stance. A medieval St Michael slew a demon, Joseph Beuys gave a lecture to a dead hare and Picasso transformed himself into a faun. A figure with a head like a dunce's cap gave me the eye, and what looked like a sock turned into a cuttlefish. Ancient beings of remarkable ferocity stalked my way and Sri Lankan masks gurned and yowled.

In the Garden of Addiction, Christophe Berdaguer and Marie Péjus's tangle of glass tubes, like so many evil flowers, proffered the scents of opium, cocaine, skunk and booze. Various modern-day witches and healers discussed their craft on a tower of TV screens. It was like watching a dozen cookery channels at once.

Cultures, eons, continents flew by. We were among the forces of chaos and disorder: healers and tricksters, shape-shifters and spirit guides, transgressors and transvestites. Housed in a mock-up cave of aluminium struts, wallboard and plaster-soaked scrim, the exhibition Les Maîtres du Désordre (Masters of Chaos) is an exercise in wild curating at the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris.

De Loisy has always been a bit of a maverick curator. Here, he has brought together a bewildering selection of artefacts, sculptures, costumes, masks and objects from past and present, and from every continent. Beautiful, tender objects collide with the monstrous and the devilish. Much of it has extraordinary power and vitality. Among it all are a number of more modern, western artworks – from Picasso to Paul McCarthy – as if to show the persistence of the transgressive and the search for hidden meaning in the world. Beuys, a latter-day shaman, thought he could heal the postwar world with his art. Randy old goat Picasso was a shape-shifter and trickster.

Other recent artists – Jonathan Meese, the Chapman Brothers, Russia's Oleg Kulik being led around on a chain and behaving like a mad dog – are just tricky. But if you want to be an artist, you've got to believe in something. The trouble with most contemporary art in this context is that little of it, if any, is the product of a shared belief system that glues the world, and the self, together. If there are no rules, there's nothing to transgress.

The exhibition's title is taken from Bertrand Hell's book Possession and Shamanism, yet to be translated into English. Masters of Chaos is also the culmination of De Loisy's own 20-year obsession with the subject. His previous curatorial projects have included exhibitions on beauty, on the face, and, in 2008, Traces of the Sacred, a tour of the persistence of the sacred in 20th- and 21st-century art. He also collaborated with Anish Kapoor and James Turrell and, after working at the Centre Pompidou, went sailing around the world for a number of years. He is a man in search of something. He has also recently been appointed director of the newly renovated Palais de Tokyo, just across the Seine, where the Paris Triennale is currently on view – the launch show in the expanded, renovated building.

The two exhibitions share an interest in the ethnographic, in cultural difference and transcultural proximity, but could not be more different in approach. De Loisy is passionate about objects. The Triennale, which goes by the title Intense Proximity, is much more cautious about the readings we might make of the vast corpus of paintings and sculpture, films and video installations, photographs and drawings brought together by guest curator Okwui Enwezor. De Loisy's show is a thematic romp. Enwezor's triennale admits to the difficulties of finding order and meaning in the world. The triennale is a trial for any spectator. I wandered like a lost tourist. One minute, you're in the Venezuelan jungle, the next at a mixed-race wedding in the new South Africa. One minute, I'm staring at the most intimate body parts of an Amsterdam sex-worker, the next watching a TV documentary about a talent contest for migrant Filipinos in Tel Aviv.

I twirl along to north African beats and stare at a group of closed and silent grand pianos. Here are Claude Levi-Strauss's notebook drawings and a great new painting by Chris Ofili; over there are some gorgeous black-and-white photographs of Bahia's Afro-Brazilian dock life in the 1940s. On a screen, blacked-up (now that really does seem transgressive), the young French artist Lili Reynaud-Dewar dances among a group of her own sculptures, in homage to Josephine Baker.

The day before my shimmy with the shamans, I'd spent almost five hours here and was still reeling. Enwezor, who directed Documenta 11 in 2002 and is now running the Haus der Kunst in Munich, has a very different take on art and ethnography to De Loisy. He sees a link between the ethnographer and the artist, ethnography and curating.

Intense Proximity focuses on this: the link between the close and the distant, the near and the far. It confronts us with the world's disjunctions. With so many cultural differences and competing interests in an ever-shrinking world, how do we even begin to make sense of it all? Is art a kind of news from elsewhere (whether a geographical place or a somewhere in the artist's mind), or a report from the close-to-home? Both exhibition catalogues quote the ironic opening phrase of Levi-Strauss's marvellous 1955 book Tristes Tropiques: "I hate travelling and explorers". The idea of exploration has changed immeasurably since the days of 19th-century colonial empire, and as much again since Levi-Strauss's first trip to Brazil in 1935. Bertrand Hell told me how little travelling French ethnographers and anthropologists undertake nowadays.

On the other hand, today's curators, and even critics, are always on the move. Enwezor admits to a kind of intellectual vertigo and spatial disorientation. Descending into the bowels of the Palais de Tokyo, I knew what he meant. It has hidden depths, basements leading to sub-basements, subterranean mezzanines and floors, traversed by ramps and open, curving staircases. Films are screened in rediscovered auditoria that had been walled up for decades, and in side rooms branching from dizzying Piranesian shafts. The place seems to go on for ever, and so does the triennale. When I described my journey through the triennale to De Loisy, he said he likes the idea of people getting lost in these basements. I like being lost, too. But this journey is accompanied by growing panic.

I'm bought up short by a sign that reads: "I am not exotic I am exhausted." How can anyone deal with all this stuff? The urge to see everything leads to the frustration of not seeing anything, of always being driven on to the next thing without absorbing the last. It is a flight that becomes ever more urgent, ever more futile. If it is an encounter with anything, it is with competing urges: the voice on the shoulder jockeying me on, and a desire for it all to stop. It is an encounter with the chaos of the world.

• Masters of Chaos is at the Musée du Quai Branly, Paris, until 29 July

Intense Proximity: La Triennale 2012 is at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, until 26 August


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Wim Delvoye: Rorschach / Galerie Perrotin, Paris

Rorschach, Belgian artist Wim Delvoye’s third solo show at Galerie Perrotin, opened in Paris on May 12, 2012. The show highlights the détournement and beautification of everyday objects and religious icons. Wim Delvoye’s work is provocative and at times unsettling. He has used live animals, sacred forms and banal objects within a controversial artistic process that aims at forcing the viewer to reconsider what is aesthetically pleasing and what is morally aceptable. In his solo exhbitiion at Galerie Perrotin, Delovoye appropriates the archecture of Gothic Cathedrals and the forms of religious sculptures, producing intricate manipulations of these well known forms. The show runs until June 16, 2012.

Wim Delvoye: Rorschach / Galerie Perrotin, Paris. Opening reception, May 12, 2012. Video by Daniel Barney.

PS: Click here for more Wim Delvoye-related videos.

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May 15 2012

Niels Trannois: Above Sea Level Kind of Things / Galerie Chez Valentin, Paris

Galerie Chez Valentin innaugurated the exhibition Above sea level kind of things by artist Niels Trannois on April 26, 2012 in Paris. Trannois engages with numerous mediums, shapes and textures developing a perception that floats within a dialogue of memory and mental sensation. The show runs until June 2, 2012.

Niels Trannois: Above Sea Level Kind of Things / Galerie Chez Valentin, Paris. Opening reception, April 26, 2012. Video by Daniel Barney.

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November 07 2011

Yayoi Kusama. Retrospective at Centre Pompidou, Paris

The Centre Pompidou currently presents the first French retrospective dedicated to the Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. The exhibition shows some 150 works dating from 1949 to 2011. The presentation of Kusama’s work is organized chronologically and divided into two major periods: Her years in New York (1958-1973) and in Japan (1973-2011).

This video takes you on a walk through the exhibition with Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Nets and Accumulations series, happenings and performances, Soft Sculptures, large paintings, environments and recent paintings.

The exhibition runs until January 9, 2012 and will then travel to the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, the Tate Modern in London and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.

Yayoi Kusama. Retrospective at Centre Pompidou, Paris. October 10, 2011. Video by Christophe Ecoffet.

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From the press release:

Kusama’s whole work is organised in successive series NEW YORK : 1958 -1973

INFINITY NETS SERIES: Having arrived in New York in 1958, the artist produced her first monochrome white, large-format Infinity Nets (sometimes reaching 11 m in length), an expression of her obsession with the infinite. In 1960 and 1961, she continued along on the same lines, but introducing colour (Infinity Nets Yellow, 1960, National Gallery of Art, Washington)..

ACCUMULATIONS SERIES: Kusama embarked on sculpture in 1961. Her textile sculptures are based on everyday objects picked up in the streets of New York (a sofa for the first, Accumulation No. 1, then a table, chair etc.), on which she clustered phallic forms in stuffed fabric. Aggregation: One Thousand Boats Show (1963, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam) is her first installation, returning to the principle of accumulation but deploying it to create an environment, images of a boat so treated being regularly repeated on the walls of the black box in which it is installed. Also on display will be another key work of this period, My Flower Bed (1962), from the Museum’s own collection.

HAPPENINGS AND PERFORMANCES: In 1966, Kusama began to stage her first happenings, inside her environments Peep Show and Phalli’s Field. Then came events in the New York streets, such as Walking Piece, 14th Street and the Anatomic Explosion series. The politically and sexually transgressive New York scene of the years of Peace and Love finds forceful expression in this element of her work.

JAPAN : 1973 – 2011

In 1973, Kusama returned definitively to Japan in a very fragile psychological state, the beginning of a period whose darkness is illustrated by a number of collages (War, 1977; I Who Committed Suicide, 1977, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo). In 1977, she decided to live in a psychiatric hospital, where she has worked simultaneously in a number of different domains.

SOFT SCULPTURES: These organic forms in stuffed fabric are set horizontally on the floor, in random fashion, to occupy large spaces (Clouds, 1982, courtesy Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo; The Moment of Regeneration, 2004, courtesy Victoria Miro Gallery, London).

LARGE PAINTINGS: In the 1980s and ‘90s, Kusama produced very large-scale polyptychs that pursue the idea of repetition, paintings that suggest an endless expansion of the visual field (Yellow Trees, 1994, Forever Museum of Contemporary Art, Akita; Flame, 1992, private collection).

ENVIRONMENTS: The artist has returned to the idea of her early New York experiments with total sculptures occupying entire spaces (floor, walls and ceiling), now playing with infinite repetitions of the dot though the use of mirrors and endless reflections (Dots Obsession, 1998, Les Abattoirs, Toulouse; Infinity Mirror Room, 2011, collection of the artist).

RECENT PAINTINGS: The exhibition at the Centre will also afford an unprecedented opportunity to see 31 recent paintings. Kusama visits her studio on a daily basis to paint on canvases set flat – a return to the tradition of Oriental painting and calligraphy. Sometimes producing at a rate of a painting a day, the artist understands this practice, like all her work, as an exorcism that allows her to bring out the inner chaos of her mind (Eyes of Mine, 2010; Spring Has Come, 2010, collection of the artist).


October 21 2011

Pierrick Sorin. Optical Theaters and Video installations at Galerie Albert Benamou, Paris

Pierrick Sorin is an important figure in the French Video Art scene. Sorin has realized films and video installation that have been shown at numerous international museums. His current exhibition at Galerie Albert Benamou presents seven “Théâtres Optiques”, two video installations, and a series of 30 photographs.

In his short films and visual devices, Pierrick Sorin makes fun of human existence and artistic creation. In his films he is often the only actor (and he has also starred in two feature films). Since 2006, Pierrick Sorin dedicates himself to the staging of performances, opera in particular. With his “Théâtres Optiques”, he blends new media and the traditional diorama. In these miniature stage sets he magically appears as small hologram.

Pierrick Sorin was born in 1960 in Nantes, France. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Nantes and received his Diplôme national supérieur d’expression plastique in 1988. In 2010, the culture center Lieu Unique in Nantes organized his first major retrospective. The exhibition at Galerie Albert Benamou runs until October 21, 2011.

Pierrick Sorin, solo exhibition at Galerie Albert Benamou. Interview with Pierrick Sorin, September 22, 2011. Video by VTV correspondent Christophe Ecoffet.

PS: For subtitles in English language click cc in the player menu.

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Info in French language:

Né en 1960 à Nantes où il vit et travaille, Pierrick Sorin réalise des films et des installations vidéo présentées dans de nombreux musées internationaux et de hauts lieux de l’art contemporain.
Dans ses courts-métrages et ses dispositifs visuels, il se moque, sur un mode burlesque, de l’existence humaine et de la création artistique. Fervent pratiquant de l’auto-filmage, il est souvent l’unique acteur des histoires qu’il invente. Mais l’artiste est aussi un enfant de Méliès : il crée en particulier des petits « théâtres optiques », mélanges d’ingénieux bricolages et de technologies nouvelles, qui lui permettent d’apparaître comme par magie, dans l’espace, sous forme de petit hologramme, parmi de vrais objets.
Depuis 2006, Pierrick Sorin se consacre principalement à la scénographie et à la mise en scène de spectacles, d’opéras en particulier. 
Adepte d’une attitude artistique qui, tout en étant contemporaine et intellectuelle, reste accessible à un large public, Pierrick Sorin a créé des dispositifs audiovisuels appliqués à la communication événementielle. Il a, par exemple, collaboré avec Jean-Paul Goude pour la maison Chanel. Pierrick Sorin est aussi comédien. Il a joué dans deux longs métrages et a tourné des scènes d’essais pour un  film d’auteur en 3D relief.
En mai 2012 au Théâtre du Châtelet : Pierrick Sorin signera la mise en scène (avec Giorgo Barberio-Corsetti) et la scénographie de Pop’pea, une version pop rock du Couronnement de Poppée de Monteverdi revisité, entre autres, par le dernier batteur des Clash, Peter Howard.


October 01 2011

Musée d'Orsay's 'renaissance'

The French museum's renovation has brought the grandeur of its 19th-century masterpieces back to life

The grandeur hits you as soon as you walk in. On the austere, slate-grey wall of the Musée d'Orsay's newly renovated impressionist gallery, Manet's Déjeuner sur l'Herbe stops visitors in their tracks.

The plump female nude at the heart of the canvas, who so scandalised 19th-century opinion in the Paris Salon, is recognisable, but there is something splendidly different about its new presentation.

After Manet, there are the other crown jewels of impressionism: the Degas ballerinas, Monet's poppies, Renoir's Moulin Rouge dancers, Cézanne's card players, and dozens more of the world's best-known 19th-century French masterpieces. The colours leap out from the long, sombre walls.

The museum's president, Guy Cogéval, had spoken before its reopening of a "renaissance" of the Musée d'Orsay and its world-renowned collection, and promised to show the impressionists as we had never seen them before. The expert judgment, ahead of the public opening of the new-look museum on 20 October, is that he has been true to his word.

It has taken almost €8m (£7m) to create this new gallery – part of a two-year renovation of the museum costing €20m – in which clever use of colour and illumination shows the works in an entirely new light.

Gone are the cramped corridors, the dead ends, the white stone walls and floors and the glaring light from the massive glass canopy that forms a central avenue over the top-floor gallery in the Pavillon Amont, the west wing of the building.

The new, subdued walls and floors, along with artificial lighting, have created what Cogéval describes as an "intimate", almost homely, atmosphere in a gallery that he says is the "beating heart of the museum".

"These paintings were, after all, intended to be hung on walls in homes, not in a museum," he says.

With his gelled hair, slightly rumpled suit and unbridled enthusiasm, Cogéval, 55, an art historian who took over as president of the Musée d'Orsay in January 2008, has the appearance and air of an over-excited schoolboy. "Everyone said I couldn't touch the museum when I arrived because it is a historic building and all that. But I have proved them wrong. I said we would do this, and we did," he says, with undisguised glee. "The whole space has been transformed. It's magnifique!"

The 19th-century painters, working in an era before the electric light bulb became widespread, would doubtless have appreciated the modern tricks of artificial light employed to show their work to extraordinary effect.

Developing artistic and scientific techniques to capture on canvas the way that light transformed landscapes and objects became an obsession among the impressionists. The focus was crucial to creating what they termed "optical realism".

Claude Monet said of impressionism, the movement he founded and led: "Light is the principal person in the picture." To that end, he strove over and over again to encapsulate the way that light danced over the Thames at Westminster, the cathedral at Rouen, the water lilies on the pond at his home in Giverny, and the nearby haystacks – all at different times and in different weathers.

Curator Xavier Rey, one of the team hanging the impressionist works in the new fifth-floor gallery, said that before the renovations the paintings had been lit solely by sunlight. "The new system of lighting has transformed everything. Now we have a combination of halogen and new-generation diode lights that reproduce the richness of sunlight, but directly light the paintings and reflect the colours and details. It really does mean the works are being seen in a new light, which was our intention."

He added: "Hanging the works on coloured walls is also closer to the way the impressionist paintings would have been displayed in their time."

As for the impressionists, the devil was in the detail and colour; Parisian architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte said his team had experimented with various shades of grey before coming up with the right one.

"It took three or four goes," said Wilmotte. "The grey paint, which is a specially made mix, changes colour depending on the light – sometimes it is green-grey, sometimes red-grey. It is a very special grey. It doesn't have a name, but if pushed to give it one I would say gris vivant [living grey] because it changes with the light. The light gives a kind of visual comfort and the painting stands out against this grey.

"We also tried to make the best use of the natural light by filtering it and using fractured glass that captures and diffuses the sunlight."

Cogéval admits that he was not convinced at first that profound grey was the right colour for the gallery, having expressed an initial preference for green. "It was this I hesitated over most. We tried it out in a small space like an apartment to see how it looked with different shades and different lighting. Now I see it is warm and elegant," he said. "The deep colour means the impressionists' palette can be seen like never before."

Since 2008 the Musée d'Orsay has been gradually abandoning the concept, popularised by the Museum of Modern Art in New York, of hanging paintings on white walls. "Outside 20th-century and contemporary art, white kills all paintings," said Cogéval. "When you place an academic or impressionist painting on a white background, the light from the white creates an indeterminate halo around the work, preventing the sometimes subtle contrasts and details being revealed."

The opening of the new galleries – including a chain of renovated rooms housing post-impressionist works by Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cross, Seurat, the Douanier Rousseau and a stunning new café designed by Brazilian brothers Humberto and Fernando Campana – will mark the Musée d'Orsay's 25th birthday.

Built on the left bank of the Seine, opposite the Tuileries Gardens, the museum was originally a railway station built by Victor Laloux for the Orléans line and was inaugurated at the World's Fair of 1900. At the station's opening, painter Edouard Detaille said presciently: "The station is superb and looks like the Palais des Beaux Arts." By 1939 it was already obsolete, its platforms too short for the new modern trains that appeared with the electrification of the railways.

Today its impressionist and post-impressionist collection boasts 34 Manets, 86 Monets, 43 by Degas, 56 Cézannes, 46 Sisleys, 81 Renoirs, 24 Van Goghs and 24 Gauguins, among others, that help to pull in around three million visitors a year.

Architect Dominique Brard, who also worked on the renovation, said it had taken months of long and hard negotiations to be allowed to change parts of the historic building. "It was complicated, very complicated. At times we were negotiating over small points. It took six to eight months of negotiations with the historic monuments people, but we got there in the end," he told the Observer. "In the end, our role is to show the works of art at their very best, and this is what I believe we have done."

On the way out, one of the museum's team of curators described how re-hanging the masterpieces had been "extremely exciting and emotional. It was as if we were seeing these paintings for the first time," she said. "It was extraordinarily moving. We were all blown away."


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